Social Work BA (Hons)

This degree course is accredited by University College Birmingham.

This course is subject to validation and approval.

Overview (NV)

BA (Hons)

Course length
3 years full-time
UCAS code
Fees (Home/EU)
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Fees (International)
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Supporting and safeguarding children, young people, families or adults at risk is at the heart of social work. With a Social Work degree from University College Birmingham, you will receive the advanced training you need to kick-start your career in this rewarding, person-centred profession. Our course will enable you to become a professionally qualified Social Worker, working with adults or with children and families, either in the statutory field or in the voluntary sector.

The professional title ‘Social Worker’ is protected and therefore the routes to qualifying are regulated by Social Work England. Completing this course will enable you to register as a Social Worker with Social Work England in line with the regulator’s requirements, which is a requirement before entering employment in the field.

This course will give you the knowledge and skills you need to work professionally with a wide range of people, dealing with complex issues. Your day-to-day social work practice will involve assessing the needs, strengths and wishes of individuals, families, groups and communities, empowering them to make informed choices within legal frameworks. This will require you to provide support, signpost to other services and agencies and keep detailed records. Social work practice also involves assessing and managing risk (either in relation to child protection or adults at risk) by following adequate safeguarding interventions in line with relevant legislation. The qualification is generic and prepares you for practice in all social work contexts.

You will learn about human development throughout the lifespan and how to apply social theories, values and ethics when working with people from different backgrounds. You will gain knowledge around social policy and legislation concerning social workers, while you will have the opportunity to expand your communication skills to become an efficient practitioner.

Social workers are employed in various settings, including local authorities, charitable organisations or independent agencies. Child and Family Social Workers are mainly involved in working in the fields of children in need, children with disabilities, child protection, family court or fostering and adoption, while Adult Social Workers support and safeguard adults with physical or learning disabilities, mental health problems or a combination of the two. Upon graduation, you will be able to practise in frontline services and can progress to management and Quality Assurance roles. As an Adult Social Worker, you can also progress to becoming a qualified Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) or Mental Capacity and Best Interest Assessor.

By choosing UCB to study your Social Work degree, you will have a knowledgeable team of lecturers who are qualified Social Workers from various backgrounds. You will focus on practice skills and interactive learning methods in simulated scenarios, giving you the chance to apply theories in practice. Throughout the course, there is also ample opportunity for you to work alongside qualified Social Workers by undertaking practice placements in a range of settings.

University College Birmingham is working towards accreditation by Social Work England upon graduation.

Why choose this course?

  • Work placements – You will gain vital real-world experience by undertaking two compulsory, assessed work placements in different settings, with at least one in the statutory field. You will learn from qualified Social Workers, who are also practice educators, to help you develop the range of skills required of a successful social worker
  • Excellent facilities – You will have use of our brand new teaching facilities at Moss House
  • Develop your knowledge – You will be taught in small groups, with excellent support from academic lecturers and personal tutors throughout your degree. You will have ample opportunity to apply knowledge and skills in practice, with full support and assessment
  • Expert teaching Lectures and practical lessons are delivered by qualified Social Workers who have expert knowledge in different areas of the sector, while guest lecturers will contribute to teaching in specialised topics
  • Employment edge – You will have the chance to develop transferable skills such as professional communication, leadership and management and become equipped to be innovative and creative to respond to future challenges in social work

Kick-start scheme

As a new student studying this degree full-time, you will receive £300 per year via our Kick-Start Scheme (eligibility criteria applies). The scheme will support your studies and future career by contributing to course-related materials, uniform or selected items on campus. You might even qualify for an additional £500 per year.

Open days

Our open days are designed to give you as much information as possible about UCB and the areas you are interested in studying. Come along and we may make you an offer on the day. 

Teaching & Assessment (NV)

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is carried out by highly-experienced and qualified teachers including registered, qualified Social Workers and practice educators.  Some may be practising Social Workers from different fields who are guest lecturers, and some lessons are delivered in a multi-professional context.       

Learning strategies include:

  • Lectures in a range of topics to set a solid foundation of knowledge and skills
  • Practical lessons in a skills lab, roleplaying simulated case scenarios
  • Small seminars to allow discussion, peer working and academic discourse
  • Self-directed study – students are expected to commit to supporting their studies through their own work, in their own time
  • Placement learning opportunities in the field, with one practice placement in a statutory setting. This rich learning environment will allow you to develop and achieve your own goals outlined in your Personal and Professional Development Plan. Your practice learning will be supported and assessed by qualified Social Workers and practice educators.

Individual study

You are expected to commit to approximately 20 hours a week of your own study time in preparation for teaching sessions and preparing for and completing assessment. Canvas, UCB’s e-learning platform, gives you access to learning and support material 24 hours a day.


Assessment will be carried out throughout and at the end of each module. A variety of assessment formats will be used, including practical exams, OSCEs (Observed Structured Clinical Examinations), written multiple choice questions and written assignments. 

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2015-2020.

Entry Requirements (NV)

Entry requirements

A-level: Grade profile of BBC

BTEC: Grade profile of DMM, which can be achieved from either an Extended Diploma or a combination of smaller BTEC qualifications 

Tariff: Other Level 3 qualifications are accepted at UCB for entrance – a minimum of 112 UCAS Tariff points will be required

Access to Higher Education Diploma: 112 UCAS Tariff points including a minimum of 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction


  • GCSE/IGCSE English language and maths grades 9-4/A*-C or equivalent

Students must also complete an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check as well as a satisfactory occupational health check. UCB will coordinate and fund the completion of the DBS check.

EU/International students

Academic entry requirements: Please visit our Country Specific Information page.

English Requirements: Overall score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each component

Non-academic entry requirements

Previous experience in a social care setting or other relevant settings will be considered and taken into account. We need to know how your previous work experience has helped you to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to support you to work towards meeting the professional standards by completion of the course.

Please let us know in your application if you have lived experience of social work as you are entitled to support, for example, if you are a care leaver.


The Admissions team will use the entrance criteria, as well as your personal statement, reference and work experience information, to shortlist candidates for interview. All interviews will take place after the UCAS equal consideration deadline on 15 January. Successful applicants will be invited to an interview which will consist of:

  • Value-based interview – You will be assessed on your motivation and understanding of the social work profession and relevant legislation and policies, as well as the Professional Standards set by Social Work England.  The interview is an assessment for the values and behaviours expected of social workers in accordance with the professional standards
  • Observed group discussion – This will assess your communication skills, including listening skills and ability to communicate as part of a group. In an observed group discussion, applicants are put in small groups and asked to discuss a topic. Observers will include teaching staff, social workers, practice educators, employers and people with lived experience of social work

UCAS Tariff calculator

You can use our calculator below to convert your predicted/achieved grades into UCAS Tariff points.  

If your total predicted/achieved points do not meet those outlined above or your qualification(s) do not appear on the UCAS Tariff please contact the Admissions team directly on 0121 604 1040 or email

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Qualification Grade Points
Modules (NV)


Year 1

The first year will give you a good foundation in the theoretical knowledge and practical skills you will need for a career in social work. You will gain an understanding of the importance of professional values and ethics as well as safe professional practice and safeguarding. You will learn a range of social work theories and how to apply those in practice. You will gain knowledge around social policy and legislation concerning social workers, and you will have an opportunity to expand your communication skills to become an efficient practitioner.

Contemporary Issues Professional Values and Ethics Safe and Professional Practice Social Policy and Legislation Social Work Theories and Practice Understanding Communication in Practice

Year 2

The second year will build on the knowledge and skills gained in the first year and expand the area of personal and professional development. You will gain an understanding of multi-agency working and working with others, as well as developing your knowledge of the effective use of technology when communicating with service users and carers, in recording and in report writing. The second year will include a 70-day practice placement either in the statutory or voluntary sector. This will be supervised and assessed by practice educators, who are experienced social workers and work alongside students. The practice placement is underpinned by university recall days to help you reflect on your practice learning and expand skills and knowledge applied in a specific setting. The second year also provides the opportunity to explore more complex and challenging scenarios and to apply learned theories and methods in practice.

Personal and Professional Development Use of Technology in Social Work Working with Others Social Work Practice 1

Year 3

The final year will consist of three learning modules, which are focused on the topics of research and evidenced-based decision making and effective recording and report writing in social work practice. The third year will include a final 100-day practice placement in a different setting from the second year placement. You will be able to work more independently, under close supervision of a practice educator who will guide and assess you in the field of practice. You will have opportunities to explore contemporary practice issues and caseload management. In this final year, you will also explore potential anxieties, stress factors and emotional impact of working in a practice setting. You will have opportunities to reflect on issues of emotional resilience, stress management and the development of professional self, building on experiences gained in both practice placements.

  Please note
The modules listed on the website for this course are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by industry as well as the latest teaching methods. Unless otherwise stated, the modules listed above for this course are for students starting in the academic year 2020/21. On occasion, we may need to make unexpected changes to modules and if this occurs, we will contact all offer holders as soon as possible.


Placements (NV)

Work placements

In order to demonstrate ‘fitness to practise’, you must satisfactorily complete 200 days of practice learning. 30 days will take place in year 1 at the University, followed by 70 days in year 2 and 100 days in year 3 in two different social work settings.

You must have experience of:

  • Working in at least two different practice settings, providing you with experience of working with different service user groups applying different theories, methods and models. At least one practice placement needs to take place in the statutory field
  • Statutory social work tasks involving legal interventions, enabling you to meet the Professional Capability Framework (PCF) requirements, the Knowledge and Skills Statement (KSS) set by the government and the Professional Standards set by Social Work England.

In each placement you will be supported, supervised and assessed by experienced social workers who are trained as practice educators. This practice experience is not only essential for the course but also enables you to experience the challenges and complexities a social worker will encounter in their work, providing you with opportunities to critically reflect and learn from practice experience in a supervised and supported environment.

Placements are arranged and undertaken in the second and third year. You will need to be flexible and travel to a range of placements throughout the West Midlands and surrounding areas, and be able to commit to being on placement for 30 hours per week.

Two lecturers are also practice educators who have direct experience of how to support and assess students on placement. They will overview your placement and be the first point of call for employers who offer practice placements.

Work Placement - School of Education, Health and Community - University College Birmingham

What our employers say

At UCB, we understand the importance of work placements within academic study, and our employer contacts say they give preference to students with qualifications who also have experience within the field. Our hired@UCB team will make sure that you are well matched for your placement and support your progress throughout your work experience.

If you do well on your placement, there are additional opportunities available such as recommendation for the Assessed and Supported Year of Employment (ASYE) to kick start your future career.


Employability (NV)

Graduate Careers

This course provides an excellent platform for those seeking a career as a social worker in a range of settings, including:

  • Local authorities
  • Charities and hospices
  • Residential homes
  • Child and Family Court Advisory Support Service (CAFCASS)
  • Probation
  • Parenting assessments
  • Community settings

Successful graduates may choose to continue with further postgraduate studies. UCB offers a range of postgraduate degrees and you may be eligible for a postgraduate loan.


hired@UCB is our student and alumni support service designed to provide a single reference point for information, advice and guidance regarding opportunities to develop and demonstrate employability and enterprise skills. Based in new facilities on the ground floor of Moss House, the hired@UCB team comprises specialist and qualified staff with knowledge and experience of:

  • Careers advice and guidance
  • Placements, work experience and volunteering
  • Employer engagement
  • Part-time and seasonal work
  • Internships and apprenticeships
  • Graduate schemes and alumni support
  • Unitemps - UCB's recruitment agency 

Find out more about hired@UCB services.