Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

120 (September 2021 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

This applied course paves the way for you to register and practise as a qualified social worker, reaching out to help people from many different backgrounds to assess and tackle their problems.

If you already hold a degree and are looking to qualify as a social worker, find out more about our MA Social Work.

We prepare you to work as a confident, caring and highly skilled social worker in a variety of settings. This wide-ranging course equips you with the skills, knowledge and theories you need to make a difference from day one in your role.

11th Social work subject area satisfaction with teaching**Guardian University Guide 2021

Join a new generation of social workers

Becoming a social worker will challenge you in ways few other careers ever will. You need resilience and flexibility to manage complex cases, but the rewards are immense as you make a genuine difference to people’s lives.

Your role could involve supporting young people who need protection, homeless children and adults, people with mental health problems, teenagers in care, or people with drug or alcohol dependency.

You will learn how to form effective partnerships with individuals, families and other professionals and will become skilled in assessing, interpreting and addressing people’s individual problems. Our emphasis is on helping you to develop empowering, supportive and focused solutions to those problems.

Gain professional credibility

Because our course is accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), you will be working to the standards set out in the Code of Practice for Social Workers , giving you the ideal preparation for real workplace environments.

When you graduate, you will be able to register with Social Work England to practise as a qualified social worker, as long as you meet their requirements.

Placements to inspire and challenge you

This course features substantial periods of work placement so that you can apply the theory you are learning to practice. You will have 80 days of placement during stage two and 90 days of placement in stage three, all providing you with effective, practical and meaningful experience which will stand you in good stead for your future career.

Thanks to our strong professional partnerships with local and regional employers, we offer opportunities for you to work with adults and children in both voluntary and statutory settings. Our students have, for instance, been placed in local authorities with teams specialising in children and families, adult social care, disabled children and looked after children.

They have also worked with child and adolescent mental health teams in hospitals and have undertaken voluntary sector placements focusing on issues such as housing, substance abuse, sexual abuse and domestic abuse.

Pursue your specialist interests

We offer opportunities for you to undertake projects which match your professional ambitions and personal interests. The Independent Study module provides a chance for you to explore a particular theme in depth and our students have produced thought-provoking research into a wide range of topics.

Recent examples have seen them investigate how dementia patients are institutionalised and marginalised in the UK; how social workers can effectively intervene with sibling sexual abuse; how mental illness can affect personal relationships; and the impact parental alcohol dependency can have on adolescents.

Support from our expert team

You’ll be taught by a supportive, enthusiastic and inspiring team, all of whom are qualified social workers. They offer a wealth of professional experience, sharing practical insights which will keep your learning up to date and relevant.

Their experience spans all aspects of social work, including areas such as loss and grief, poverty, inequality, housing and homelessness, learning and physical disabilities, social exclusion and mental health. In some cases, they combine their teaching with continuing social work caseloads and roles with leading professional bodies such as the Care Quality Commission.

A dynamic learning experience

We are committed to enriching your learning, offering a range of activities such as guest lectures by leading professionals, visits to various workplace settings and work shadowing opportunities which form part of our Skills Days.

Among new initiatives on the course, we have launched a scheme where students from the second and third stages of the degree act as mentors to first year students.

Working together to learn from each other

Successful social work professionals have to be adaptable, versatile and prepared to work in multi-agency teams. You will therefore have opportunities to learn with, and from, students from other disciplines through our Inter-Professional Learning agenda.

This is important in preparing you to work alongside other professionals after graduation so that you can achieve positive outcomes for clients. We adopt this approach right from the start of your course, where you will attend a major conference with other new Health and Social Care students representing courses ranging from nursing to counselling.

In tune with latest developments

We’re proud to say that our courses are closely mapped against the needs of health and social care employers which ensures that our curriculum is always up to date and relevant.

We respond to national developments such as latest government policies and, as a result, some of the information about our courses may change.

What you will study

Year 1Year 1Year 2Year 2Year 3Year 3

Code: 4SW500

Attitudes and Values

Social Workers work with some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society. In order to work effectively with people who use services and enable them to regain control in their lives Social Workers must guard against further exploitation of people through unethical practice. It is therefore essential that Social Workers develop a commitment to anti-discriminative and anti-oppressive practice, and to value and respect the rights, responsibilities and dignity of individuals. This module aims to develop your understanding of how personal and societal attitudes and values develop and impact on individuals, groups and Social Work practice.

Throughout the module you will explore issues of power in different relationships, how your own attitudes and values systems have developed and how these might impact on your practice within a diverse society. This journey will be achieved through a series of small group work sessions facilitated by tutors exploring a range of issues using exercises, large group lectures and discussions in the class room and through electronic discussion forums.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4SW502

Communication Skills

The BA (Hons) Applied Social Work qualification will assess social worker student’s ability to communicate with service users, carers and other allied professionals from all sections of the community. The recently formulated Professional Capabilities Framework requires students to demonstrate effective communication skills and the capacity to develop those skills further. Additionally, they must be able to inform individuals, families, carers, groups and communities about their rights and entitlements. Social workers have to communicate and share information in an open and honest way and; be able to listen actively and to talk to those requiring and using services as well as those caring for service users, with due respect for their age, ethnicity, culture, understanding and needs. Individuals, families, carers, groups and communities also need to be involved in decision making and to be given choices and options.
20 Credits

Code: 4SW504

Preparation for Practice Learning

This module prepares the student for entering practice, linking closely with the practice learning module and providing a pre-requisite for their first practice learning experience by assessing suitability and readiness for practice.
40 Credits

Code: 4SW505

Social Work Law and Policy

Social Work is a constantly developing and changing profession and frequently works with some of the most vulnerable individuals and groups in society. This module aims to provide you with an understanding of Social Policy in Britain and how developments in Social Policy impact on Social Work and lead to changes in practice. As a profession, Social Work is regulated by legislation. This module will help you to understand the general legal context and key legislation relevant to Social Work in England and Wales. The module will focus on service user and professional practitioner perspectives and the impact of the law and social policy upon those two stakeholders. There will be a theme of anti-oppressive practice throughout the module. You will be encouraged to explore ethical dilemmas in using the law.

The module will be delivered utilising a blended learning approach. This will include face to face whole group lectures, small group work either in the class or using electronic discussion boards. In order to succeed you will be directed to reading to allow you to gain a depth of understanding.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4SW507

Applied Sociology

This module aims to provide the student with the opportunity to review and explore how applied sociological perspectives might inform social work critical decision making at an individual and organisational level. The concepts such as ‘Family and Identity’ are used as tools for exploring the landscape of contemporary sociology, linking to and utilising learning from across the programme.

The module introduces range of sociological approaches, and examines the sociological theories on family and identity, particularly the insights each offers into the way the family and society work and the part that identity and culture play within it. It explores how these concepts when applied to family and identity can be shaped by the conscious and unconscious behaviour of people as they interact with others and themselves, before making connections with the social construction of reality, difference, culture and modernity. Students will be required to link the concepts and theories to social work practice.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 5SW501

Human Growth and Development

It is essential that Social Work practitioners understand human growth and development. Understanding the needs and developmental process of human beings is the foundation to an awareness of the life cycle from childhood to old age. This module aims to further enhance students understanding of theories relating to human development by building on knowledge gained in year one. Students will examine how theories of human development can be applied to Social Work practice. The module will enable students to develop the ability to appraise the strengths and limitations of a range of development theories with regard to their relevance to practice in a multi-racial and diverse society.
20 Credits

Code: 5SW502

Mental Health

The Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work highlights that professional knowledge including theory and legislation must underpin intervention with individuals, families and communities. The module critically considers the current context of mental health policy and practice including the promotion of mental health and wellbeing and the improvement of mental ill-health. Central to this is an understanding of the shared priority for health and social care in commissioning and integrating services and the module enables students to explore a variety of roles and responsibilities for social work assessment and intervention with mental health service users. The module will be firmly underpinned by a philosophy of service user empowerment, inclusion and rights.
20 Credits

Code: 5SW503

Assessing Risk, Need and Vulnerability

The ability to assess and manage risk is a core requirement for Social Work. Social work professionals are required to understand the concepts of risk, vulnerability and need. Understanding of legal and procedural duties to assess and protect is necessary for safe and effective practice with vulnerable service users. Tragedies in the field of child and adult protection highlight the consequences of professionals lacking skills in identifying, assessing and managing risk.

The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) requires students to demonstrate knowledge of theories and methods relating to a range of service user groups and demonstrate their ability to assess and manage risk. Specific Social Work Subject Benchmark Statements also require demonstrable understanding of models and methods of assessment; processes of risk assessment; theoretical perspectives underpinning behaviour and development; interprofessional roles and responsibilities and conflicts and dilemmas arising from duties to provide care and control. This module builds on learning from level 4 modules and is designed to underpin students’ engagement in level 5 practice learning.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 5SW505

Substance Use

In taking this module as part of your Social Work qualifying degree you will be able to explore this area of specialist practice in relation to substance misuse. You will explore the attitudes and values in relation to users of substances and apply current research and reading to gain an understanding of the impact on the individual as well as on others who are/become involved.
20 Credits

Code: 5SW506

Practice Learning 1

This module aims to give you a clear understanding of the 9 domains of the Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work and how it underpins The College of Social Work guidelines for assessing practice in the first placement. An 80 day placement will enable you to critically reflect and analyse approaches, communication, skills and knowledge in a practice setting providing an opportunity to gain a wider understanding of the roles and responsibilities in a social care setting.
20 Credits

Code: 5SW507

Research Methods for Practice

This module allows the concept of evidence based practice to be developed, including the exploration of predominant research methods within health and social care. This will include the critical understanding of different sources of evidence locally, nationally and internationally. The module will also examine in greater depth the ethical issues relating to research, along with key areas relating to the use of data and information in health and social care.
20 Credits

Code: 6SW504

Practice Learning 2

The module aims to give you a clear understanding of the 9 domains of the Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work and how it underpins The College of Social Work guidelines for assessing practice in the final placement. A 90-day placement will enable you to critically reflect and analyse approaches, communication, legislation, skills and knowledge in a practice setting providing an opportunity to gain a wider understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a professional Social Worker.
40 Credits

Code: 6SW505

Protecting and Safeguarding Children and Young People

This module is intended to extend the student’s existing theoretical and practical knowledge and their understanding of their role and responsibility in protecting children and young people from abuse and harm. The module examines the current laws and legal procedures and policies which underpin and drive child protection in this country. Students will consider recent and current papers and reports to understand developments which will prepare them for practice considering practice models in an interprofessional environment.
20 Credits

Code: 6SW997

Independent Study

The Independent Study forms an essential component of the undergraduate honours award. It provides the major opportunity for the student to demonstrate an ability to work independently. This module aims to enable the student to demonstrate critical analysis, problem-solving, objective evaluation and reflection on an area of Social Work practice. In addition to the application of subject-specific skills and general skills such as critical analysis, reasoning and the development of an argument, students will also be expected to display initiative, creative thinking, familiarity with the literature and organisational skills.

Students are required to select an area of study and to explore fully its relevance to their professional field reflecting their in-depth study of a chosen topic area of practice.

Key considerations of this individual study will include the application of theory to practice and the critical analysis of sources of evidence within a field of social work practice.

More information
40 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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Campus Tours

Campus Tours are a great way to explore our campuses, facilities and halls of residence. We’ll be running the tours in two-hour timeslots, giving you the best possible experience while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Book your Campus TourBook your Campus Tour

Virtual Open Day

Delve deeper into the course with our Virtual Open Day, packed with subject and course information to help you make your choice, including tours of facilities, 360° views of award-winning accommodation plus advice and insight from students and academics.

Explore our Virtual Open DayExplore our Virtual Open Day

How you will learn

This course is exciting and challenging. You’ll undertake 170 days on placement to gain experience and develop your skills. You’ll be taught in a number of ways, including activity-based group work, lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops. You’ll also complete your own self-directed study.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, including written assignments, presentations, one exam, written reports, assessments, placement portfolios, court experiential learning, role play and professional discussions.

We are constantly introducing new and effective methods of assessment to enrich your learning experience. We have just, for instance, introduced a VIVA approach – which involves a spoken assessment – for two modules.

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Who will teach you

Ben Wyke
Programme leader

Ben is a senior lecture in social work.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

September 2021 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points120
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS7.0 (with 6.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionYes - see interview details

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

Additional requirements

An Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service certificate cleared by the University is required for this course. We will contact you with information on how to complete this once you have applied. More information.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year





Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras


Any undergraduate social work bursaries awarded to the University of Derby (by NHSBSA) will be allocated according to the following criteria: performance at an interview during the admissions process; the written test during the admissions process; attendance during year one of the programme; and academic achievement in the Preparation for Practice module. Students must pass the Preparation for Practice module to be considered for a bursary.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit


There is a growing demand for qualified social workers who can excel in a variety of fields, so this course opens doors to an exciting and diverse range of career opportunities.

Your role could involve addressing issues such as child protection, mental health, disability and youth justice or working with vulnerable or older adults. You could work in settings such as hospitals, day centres, social services, residential centres, schools and the voluntary sector.

Once you are a qualified social worker, you'll be expected to continue your professional development so you can keep up to date with current trends in the sector. You could also choose to specialise in particular areas of practice once you have qualified.

Careers support

Our Skills Days include sessions where we invite our partner agencies to talk about issues such as effective job applications and interview skills. Former students who have secured employment will also share insights and advice with you.

Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with help, guidance and support from day one of your course – and for up to three years after you’ve completed your studies.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

Minimum numbers

Please note that this course is subject to minimum numbers in order to run.

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