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Social Work (MA)

The MA in Social Work at Cardiff University embraces an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses the social sciences, including sociology, psychology and social  policy and is based in the School of Social Sciences. Social work education and research have a long history at Cardiff. Following major reform of social work education, the University now offers education and training for the professional award of master’s degree in social work. On successful completion of this award, students will be entitled to use the protected title of ‘social worker’.

Course Highlights

  • Excellent staff/student relationships
  • Excellent partnerships with social care providers
  • Strong tradition of research and scholarship. All social work teaching staff are active researchers and experienced practitioners
  • Situated within the broader environment of the social sciences providing an informed and critical approach to the acquisition and appreciation of knowledge about the social context within which social work is practiced
  • Programme continues to meet CCW requirements with no conditions according to 5 year review
  • The School of Social Sciences, of which the Social Work group is a part, achieved highly in the last RAE exercise (gaining a 5 for sociology and 5* for education), representing research of international standing
  • Bursaries may be available; Wales based students see the Care Council for Wales website for more information.
  • The opportunity to study through an employment-based route for those already in the social care sector
  • The opportunity to take part in student exchange (ERASMUS) and carry out some study abroad (currently Holland, Finland, Lithuania, Canada or Germany)


The programme aims to provide:

  • An educational experience which ensures that all students are able to address and critically engage with the formal knowledge base underpinning social work practice
  • The basic professional training in social work to meet the requirements set by the Care Council for Wales
  • A programme of study that develops the knowledge, skills and values required for effective anti-discriminatory practice in a diverse society
  • Develop students’ personal and intellectual qualities so that they are able to respond effectively to changes in society and social work practice
  • Prepare students for employment and lay the foundations for continuing professional development

Intake in 2013: 48

The School of Social Sciences also offers post-qualifying study for experienced social workers: the MSc in Advanced Social Work and the professional Doctorate in Social Work.

Programme Aims

The programme aims to enable students to build upon their existing academic and occupational experience and to achieve a professional qualification in social work within a 2 year period. Although the programme is aimed primarily at graduates, in certain circumstances, the programme also provides a route for non-graduates to qualify as social workers.

Entry Requirements

Applications are invited from both direct entry and employer-supported:

  • Graduates with a degree awarded at 2ii or above with relevant experience.
  • Non-graduates over the age of 25 with a minimum of 2 years relevant experience and evidence of degree equivalent academic capacity.
  • On application, all applicants will need to refer to relevant social care experience and to evidence Key Skills of communication and number (numeracy) at Level 2 (GCSE A-C) or equivalent

In accordance with Care Council for Wales programme approval criteria, at application stage, all applicants will need to refer to relevant social care experience and to evidence Key Skills of communication and number (numeracy) at Level 2 (GCSE A-C) or equivalent. Candidates must demonstrate academic ability and outline their previous experience in relation to social care with reference to how this previous experience has helped their understanding of social care and/or the social work role.

Candidates will be selected for interview based on whether they meet the entry criteria on their application form.  Applications that do not clearly show required qualifications in Maths, English a first degree (or ability to study at masters level if over 25 and with substantial practice experience) or that do not demonstrate how their experience has helped their understanding of social care and/or the social work role will not be invited for interview.

Programme Structure

The programme comprises 100 days of university based teaching and 100 days of agency based assessed practice learning in each of Years One and Two. All university and agency based teaching and learning are structured in accordance with the National Occupational Standards for Social Work and the requirements of the Care Council for Wales. The programme is delivered between early September and late July of each year with one week vacation periods at Christmas and Easter.

Course Content

The first year of the course consists of the following core units:

  • Foundations of law
  • Introduction to Social Work Practice and Introduction to Social Work Theory
  • Social Science Perspectives
  • Social Work and children, young people and families
  • Social Work with Adults
  • Principles and Practice of Research Design

The second year consists of the following units:

  • Working in and across organisations
  • Social Work with Individuals, Families, Group and Communities
  • Research Processes/Dissertation
  • Workshop programme
  • Special Interest Group area of particular practice - one of be chosen from Social Work with Children, Young People and Adults; and Social Work with Adults

Fees and funding

The fees for 2013 are £6670 per year.  Funding may be available from the Care Council for Wales for Welsh students and NHS Business Service Authority. See frequently asked questions for more details.

Staff Directory

Social Work Research

Information on social work research in the School can be found here.


Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including essays, project work, class tests, case studies etc. Agency based practice learning is examined and a ‘a pass recommendation' by the designated practice assessor is required together with a pass in academic work.



Applications should be made through UCAS (Universities & Colleges Admissions Service) at or by telephoning 01242-544610. Contact Abyd Quinn Aziz, Admissions Tutor for further details:


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