Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400
Email: cenquiries@uclan.ac.uk

  • Duration:

    Full-time: Two years, Part-time: (employer sponsored only) three years // UCAS Code: L508; Short form: MA/SW

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time and Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

Leading to a professional qualification in social work, UCLan’s MA Social Work course has been developed in close co-operation with social work agencies in the voluntary, independent and statutory sectors and in conjunction with service users and carers. It incorporates 170 days placement experience as well as structured academic learning, including input from service users. A work based (part-time) route taking a minimum of three years, is available for employees who are sponsored by our partner agencies. The course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and has been developed in line with the HCPC Standards of Proficiency, the College of Social Work Professional Capabilities Framework, and the QAA benchmarking statements. A key principle of the programme is the promotion of student self-directed and enquiry based learning, with the model of action learning sets embedded within the teaching and learning strategy of the programme. The aim is to enable students to develop advanced knowledge, skills and values for social work.


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Entry Requirements

Honours degree normally* 2:1 or above

GCSE English or English Language grade A-C or equivalent (Key Skills Communication Level 3 or Functional Skills level 2)

*A second class Honours degree, at 2:1 is preferred. Applicants with a 2:2 plus substantial relevant experience and thorough understanding of social work will be considered for shortlisting. IELTS 7.0 with no subscore lower than 6.5.

Please note that applicants who fail to make clear how they meet, or plan to meet the entrance requirements in the year of application, will not be shortlisted to attend the applicant day.

Non-academic requirements

At Shortlisting:

In addition to clearly demonstrating how they will meet the academic requirements of the course, applicants must demonstrate significant experience relevant to Social Work and should indicate a clear motivation for applying for the course on their UCAS statement (UCAS code: L508). Significant experience refers to experience which develops relevant values and skills and applicants’ understanding of social work roles.

Applicants must provide one satisfactory academic reference, (if in education within the last three years), otherwise a reference on their UCAS form which supports the above statement about experience.
At Applicant Days

  • Applicants must pass a written test 
  • Applicants must pass an interview 
  • Applicants must sign a declaration confirming competence in IT

Declarations of Suitability:

Candidates who are successful in their written test and interview must complete a Declaration of Suitability form in which they will make declarations in respect to Criminal Convictions, Conduct, Health and Overseas Residency.

Where declarations are made the School Suitability Panel will consider those declarations in respect to its terms of reference. The panel may require that the candidate submits further information or evidence. The Panel may withdraw any offers of places on the course in line with its terms of reference.

Programme at a Glance

Year 1


  • Social Work Practice 1: Understanding the Practice Context (Practice Learning module)
  • Understanding and Communicating with People
  • Safeguarding Law and Practice
  • Social Justice in Practice: Contexts, Themes and Debates

Part-time (Employment based)

  • Understanding and Communicating with People
  • Safeguarding Law and Practice
  • Social Justice in Practice: Contexts, Themes and Debates

Year 2


  • Social Work Practice 2: Developing as a Professional (Practice Learning module)
  • Critical Evidence and Research Based Practice (Dissertation module)
  • Critical Themes and Debates for Social Work Practice

Part-time (Employment based)

  • Social Work Practice 1: Understanding the Practice Context (Practice Learning module)
  • Critical Evidence and Research Based Practice (Dissertation module)

Year 3

Part-time (Employment based)

  • Social Work Practice 2: Developing as a Professional (Practice Learning module)
  • Critical Themes and Debates for Social Work Practice

Further Information

Social workers work with a wide cross section of society, which includes a significant proportion of some of the most disadvantaged and excluded people in our society. Social work students therefore need to develop the knowledge, skills and appropriate values to work positively with service users and carers. This course will offer you opportunities to develop and integrate knowledge, skills and values for and in practice, which will allow you to demonstrate that you meet The College of Social Work Professional Capabilities at the Qualifying Level for Social Work in England as well as the Health and Care Professions Council Standards of Proficiency in practice by the end of the course. 

The MA Social Work course will consist of 1800 hours structured academic learning and 170 days of learning in practice settings.

As part of the taught element of the course which is University- based students will experience a minimum of thirty skills development activity days. In Year 1 the focus is on generic skills which form the basis of an assessment of the student’s Readiness for Direct Practice and the development of capabilities at ‘end of first placement’ level. These include: communications skills; interviewing skills; skills of observation; understanding social work contexts; and direct communication with and learning from service users and carers. In Year 2 students will have the opportunity to develop more ‘advanced skills’ such as working with ‘hard to engage’ service users and direct work with children.

Key aspects of the programme include:

  • Professionalism: developing awareness in students of how to behave as a professional social worker
  • Values and ethics: understanding and applying to practice the ethical values and principles of social work
  • Diversity: recognising diversity and applying anti-oppressive principles in practice
    The advancement of human rights, social justice and economic well-being
  • Applying knowledge for social work: knowledge of human growth and development, psychology, social policy, sociology, law and theory for social work
  • Critical reflection and analysis in respect to professional decision making
  • Skills to intervene to promote independence provide support and prevent harm and abuse
  • Working in organisations including collaborative working between agencies
  • Taking responsibility for the professional learning and development of others through leadership


Please note applications for this course should be made through UCAS using code L508.


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

Email: cenquiries@uclan.ac.uk

Fees 2020/21

Full-time: £6,900 per year (UK/EU)
Part-time: £880 per 20 credits (seconded route)

Former UCLan graduates who receive a bursary to cover part of the MA Social Work tuition fees will not be eligible for the UCLan PG Discount.

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

If you're thinking of studying a master's or doctoral degree you could be eligible for a loan from the Government to help you study.

For additional help with financing your studies, UCLan offers a range of Postgraduate scholarships, studentships, bursaries and the Alumni loyalty discount.

View further information

DBS Checks

This course will involve you working with vulnerable groups of individuals, including children. In order to ensure that the University offers places on their programmes to suitable candidates you will all be required to obtain a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service clearance (formerly termed CRB). We will be able to guide you through this process once you have been offered a conditional place of study at the University of Central Lancashire.

It is important to note that should your Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check prove to be unsatisfactory for the purpose of the course you have applied to, your offer of a place for that course may be withdrawn. If you have already enrolled on a course and your DBS check subsequently discloses a criminal conviction, you may be required to withdraw from the course even if you have already started. If you are aware that your DBS check will disclose a previous conviction, please contact the course leader for advice as not all convictions may preclude you from continuing with the course.

Professional Accreditation

This course has been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as meeting the Standards of Education and Training required for social work programmes. Students who successfully complete all social work elements of the course are eligible to apply to the HCPC for registration as qualified social workers.

Learning Environment and Assessment

Teaching and learning opportunities include lectures, workshops, use of action learning sets and facilitated tutorials, student-led projects, presentations, e-learning, discussion groups, workshops and self-directed study. Social work practitioners and service users and carers contribute to programme delivery.

The modules, plus practice learning opportunities, enable students to meet the academic and practice outcomes as specified by external regulators.

Academic assessments include; essays, exams, presentations, case studies, oral interviews, practice placements, portfolios and a 10,000 word dissertation.


Recent graduates have successfully gained employment in social work teams in a variety of settings such as child protection, parenting and family support teams, youth justice, community drug teams, community mental health teams, adult social care services. Some graduates have returned to the School to undertake post qualifying courses for experienced practitioners and continue their academic study.

Students can access the ERASMUS scheme, which provides students with opportunities to travel to UCLan partner universities in Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Portugal.  In addition, there may be a range of opportunities for international study visits – students recently have visited Istanbul, Copenhagen, Cyprus & Ireland.