MA Social Work

  • International Students Can Apply
  • Professional Practice Placements
  • Professional Accreditation


UCAS Code:P052350
Course Length:2 Years Full-Time
Start Dates:September 2020
Department:Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine
Location:Edge Hill University

Cheshire & Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership logo

Health & Care Professions Council logo

  • Study to become a professionally qualified social worker whilst gaining a Masters degree;
  • Discover creative and innovative ways to engage with the complexity of contemporary social work;
  • Develop expertise in research methods and critical analysis techniques;
  • Understand the perspective of those who use the services of social workers and learn from their experience.

Effective social work demands a strong bond and understanding between professionals of different disciplines so that users of social work services receive the best possible care. This Masters degree, delivered alongside our partners in the Cheshire & Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership, combines perspectives from social care, health, education and other relevant disciplines to ensure you can work effectively in the multi-disciplinary environment of today’s social work.

The programme emphasises effective practice and the practical relevance of theory in practice learning placements. You will have the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge and experience of a range of academics, practitioners, employers, policy makers, service users and carers who have backgrounds in social care, social work, health education and other cognate disciplines.

If you are a graduate from a relevant discipline, who is able to recognise the perspective of service users, their families and carers, and who can demonstrate a clear commitment to becoming a social worker, then this Masters degree is for you. Upon successful completion of the course, you will gain eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a qualified social worker.

In Depth

What will I study?

The programme is underpinned by the national requirements for social work education and training as agreed by the Health and Care Professions Council and The College of Social Work. The degree therefore requires you to demonstrate an understanding of, for example:

  • Human growth, development, mental health and disability;
  • Assessment, planning, intervention and review;
  • Communication skills with children, adults and those with particular communication needs;
  • Social work law and policy;
  • Partnership-working and information-sharing across professional disciplines and agencies.
  • Safeguarding;
  • Working with conflict.

In Year 1, you will examine the historical and contemporary functions of social work in society and consider the legal and social policy frameworks within social work practice. You will be introduced to a range of sociological and psychological theories and social policies in order to understand some of the social problems and issues faced by individuals, families and communities in contemporary society. The concepts of social inclusion and exclusion will also be considered. Upon the successful completion of an assessment exercise, designed to ensure that you are fully prepared for direct practice, you will undertake a practice placement.

Year 2 is designed to develop your competency to practice in specialist social work contexts. It will also enhance your research skills. You will adopt a global perspective on social work and focus on issues such as race, diversity and equality. A second practice placement will be undertaken and you will complete a period of independent research, culminating in the submission of a dissertation.

How will I study?

Academic-based learning will be delivered through lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops.

You will spend 170 days in practice learning placements supported by 30 days of assessed social work practice skills across the programme. These placements are organised and monitored by the University. You will be responsible for travel and parking costs while on placement, where you will also undertake supervised and assessed work, all of which will contribute to the outcome of your degree.

As practice education is arranged in collaboration with the Cheshire and Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership, most placements will be drawn from the partnership’s geographical footprint across Greater Merseyside, Cheshire West and Chester, and West Lancashire.

How will I be assessed?

The programme is assessed through a combination of essays, presentations, text analysis, group work, portfolios, carers’ assessments, video/audio diaries, role plays and examinations. Practice learning will also be assessed, using a range of techniques.

Who will be teaching me?

Social work education at Edge Hill University is provided in collaboration with the Cheshire and Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership. The teaching partnership comprises of four universities, eight local authorities, two community NHS trusts and one voluntary sector organisation.

You can expect input from staff with expertise and knowledge of a range of health and social services settings, together with high quality and emergent research profiles. Contributors to the programme also include people who have direct experience of services, expert practitioners, magistrates, politicians, senior managers and policy makers.

A Great Study Environment

A Social Work student speaks to a tutor in a classroom.The Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine is one of the leading providers of education and training for health and social care professionals in the North West of England.

Offering some of the best facilities for health, social care and medicine students in the country, the outstanding teaching and learning resources include leading edge clinical skills facilities, an 860-seat lecture theatre, and a variety of teaching rooms and social learning spaces.

Edge Hill University has excellent relationships with NHS hospital and community trusts, enabling us to offer practice-based learning opportunities across a variety of care contexts, with placements at more than 600 locations in Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire.

The faculty is home to a thriving research culture which includes a series of staff and student conference programmes, guest lectures and seminars, as well as active research groups.


Expand All

SWP4000Contemporary Social Work Practice (20 credits)

Contemporary Social Work Practice introduces you to social work as a concept and an activity and locates it within both historical and contemporaneous frameworks. The module will explore the complexity of social work practice and enable you to develop knowledge and understanding of the settings and contexts within which practice takes place. You will explore issues regarding inter-agency and inter-professional collaboration, as well as the topography of social work and social care. The module will also introduce you to issues relating to social justice, anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice, the importance of values and ethics, the nature of society and the range of practices undertaken by social workers and other professionals in identifying and responding to social need.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

SWP4001Research and Practice (20 credits)

Research and Practice enables you to develop and demonstrate research mindedness and evidence-based knowledge relevant to current social work practice. You will focus on a specialist area of social work theory and practice and work independently to develop advanced understanding of the role of research as well as your particular area of enquiry. The module will develop your awareness of the relevance of research to practice, the importance of being able to access research, write effective research proposals, how to critique research, the importance of the research process, relevant paradigmatic considerations, methodology and associated methods, design considerations, ethical issues and how to effectively implement, review and write-up a research project.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

SWP4002Specialist Social Work Practice with Children, Young People, Families and Carers (20 credits)

Specialist Social Work Practice with Children, Young People, Families and Carers provides you with the opportunity to develop your subject specific knowledge and a range of critical abilities to be able to deal confidently and competently with the complexities of multi-agency practice with children, young people and their families. You will explore a range of topic areas pertinent to working with this diverse group. In doing so , you will consider a range of ethical and other dilemmas faced by practitioners operating in this arena, often characterised by complexity, uncertainty and risk.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

SWP4003Social Work Theory and Methods (20 credits)

Social Work Theory and Methods examines a range of theories, methods, approaches and concepts central to social work, in order to equip you with the knowledge, skills and values necessary to provide an effective social work service to individuals, families, carers, groups and communities. The module will enable you to explore not only the current context of practice but also encourage you to recognise the need to adopt a critical, reflective approach to your own practice when interacting with service users, carers and professionals.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

SWP4004Specialist Social Work Practice with Adults (20 credits)

Specialist Social Work Practice with Adults immerses you in promoting and supporting the wellbeing of adults, many of whom may be vulnerable. Ensuring protection from all forms of harm is a primary aim of both professional and governmental policy and practice. In order to be an effective practitioner, you need to understand the range of theories, legislation, policies and other structures that both frame and guide practice and be able to transfer knowledge and skills across a range of contexts involving adults within different settings, including families, other groupings and communities. Inherent within this module is the need for you to engage critically with issues appertaining to agency and capacity, as well as the importance of critical awareness, effective assessment skills and working with uncertainty, sometimes in ethically demanding situations.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

SWP4005Social Work Law and Policy (20 credits)

Social Work Law and Policy introduces you to the legal and social policy frameworks within which social work practice is located. The module will enable you to examine some of the tensions and contradictions in the relationship between social work, the law and social policy. You will be introduced to the relationship between legal rules, organisational context and professional social work practice. You will examine legal systems and social work’s legal duties, powers and responsibilities, as well as the applications of these to various practice settings. The relationship between law and social work practice will be explored and the ethical and moral dimensions of applying the law in practice will be examined.

Assessment: Written Exam(s): 60%, Practical(s): 40%.

SWP4007Placement 1 (10 credits)

Placement 1 is based in an external agency, either statutory or in the private, voluntary and independent sector, and is full-time over 70 days. On the placement, you will apply and consolidate your learning and begin to gain the experience in a practice setting which is necessary to achieve a professional qualification in social work.

Assessment: Practical(s): 100%.

SWP4008Placement 2 (10 credits)

Placement 2 is based in an external agency, either statutory or in the private, voluntary and independent sector with significant statutory involvement, and is full-time over 100 days. On the placement, you will apply and consolidate your learning and use this as a basis to develop further knowledge and understanding of, and skills in, social work. This will be achieved through engagement with more complex and challenging placement duties and through the application of theory and critical thinking to contemporary practice issues. You will also enhance your understanding of the overarching socio-political factors impacting on the profession.

Assessment: Practical(s): 100%.

SWP4009Dissertation (40 credits)

Dissertation enables you to develop and demonstrate research mindedness and evidence-based knowledge relevant to current social work practice. You will focus upon a specialist area of social work theory and practice and work independently to develop an advanced understanding of the role of research and of your particular area of enquiry. The module will develop your awareness of the relevance of research to practice and guide you through the research process, relevant methodology and associated methods, design considerations, ethical issues and how to effectively implement, review and write-up a research project.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.


You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.


Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of accrediting bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

Entry Criteria

Entry Requirements

To join this MA you should have a degree equivalent to UK first class or upper second class honours (2:1 or above) in a relevant subject, such as social sciences, psychology, criminology, or health and social care. GCSE English Language and GCSE Mathematics at Grade C or Grade 4 or above (or nationally recognised equivalent) are also required.

You must have relevant paid or voluntary work experience and be able to relate this to the skills and values of social work. An interview, written exercise and group-based task form part of the selection process.

If you accept an offer from Edge Hill University, you will be required to complete a medical questionnaire. In exceptional circumstances you may need to have a medical examination in order to establish your medical fitness to enter the social work profession. Medical fitness to practice is a mandatory requirement for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Upon accepting an offer of a place, you will also be required to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure indicating that you meet the mandatory criteria of ‘Clearance to Work with Children and/or Vulnerable Adults’.

English Language Requirements

International students require IELTS 7.0, with a score no lower than 6.5 in each individual component, or an equivalent English language qualification.

If your current level of English is half a band lower, either overall or in one or two elements, you may want to consider our Pre-Sessional English course.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Edge Hill University recognises learning gained elsewhere, whether through academic credit and qualifications acquired from other relevant courses of study or through recognition of an individual’s professional and employment experience (also referred to as ‘experiential learning’).

Previous learning that is recognised in this way may be used towards meeting the entry requirements for a programme and/or for exemption from part of a programme. It is your responsibility to make a claim for recognition of prior learning. For guidance, please consult the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning Policy and contact the faculty in which you are interested in studying.

Career Prospects

What are my career prospects?

A Masters degree in Social Work is your entry to a range of career opportunities in working with children, adults and communities. You will be able to work within the statutory, voluntary, private and charitable sectors.

Upon successful completion of the programme, you will gain eligibility to apply for registration with the regulator for social work. As social work is a regulated profession, you will be expected to adhere to the standards set out by the professional regulator as well as other profession-specific organisations and agencies, such as the British Association of Social Workers. The regulator also monitors the performance of social work courses at universities, the reports of which are in the public domain.


Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for students joining this MA in academic year 2020/21 are £6,120 for Year 1 for UK and EU students and £13,250 for Year 1 for international students. Tuition fees for Year 2, studied in academic year 2021/22, are still to be announced. You are advised to check this page regularly and once the position has been confirmed we will update this information.

Financial Support

For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK and EU students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University, together with details of how to apply for potential funding, please view our Money Matters 2020/21 guide at

Financial support information for international students can be found at


How to Apply

There is an online application process for this programme.

For academic year 2020/21 entry, you will need to apply using our own online application system rather than UCAS Postgraduate.

Details of how to apply for academic year 2020/21 entry will be announced before the end of October 2019. Please keep checking this page for updates.

Further information for international students about how to apply is available at

Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

Visit Us

If you are considering applying to study at Edge Hill University, the best way to gain an insight into student life is to discover our stunning campus for yourself by attending an open day. You can view dates and book your place at

Alternatively, if you are unable to attend an open day, you can find out more about all of our events for prospective students, including monthly campus tours, at

Request a Prospectus

If you would like to explore our full range of taught Masters degrees, MBA awards and our Masters by Research (MRes) degree before you apply, you can order a postgraduate prospectus at

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about this programme or what it’s like to study at Edge Hill University, please contact:

If you would like to talk to the programme leader about the course in more detail, please contact:

International students should visit or email with any queries about overseas study.

Course Changes

Expand All This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years.

This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years. No material changes have been made to the information for this programme in that time. Any future amends will be tracked here.