Social Work MSc
MSc Social Work
Whether you're already working in the field, or a graduate who wants to make a difference in social work, our MSc Social Work degree course can help you improve your skills – and enhance your career prospects too.
On this course, you'll become a confident practitioner in the changing arena of social work. With an emphasis on professionalism, professional judgement, relationship-focused work and protection, you'll learn to work across the social work spectrum, with some of the most vulnerable people in society.
We'll provide the expertise and support so you can develop your professional practice. Once you graduate, you'll have the skills and techniques you need for a career in social work, whether in local authorities, healthcare settings, voluntary organisations or as a practice teacher.
This Master's course is a professional qualification for social work approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Once you've graduated, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC, which means you can work as a professional Social Worker in statutory, voluntary and independent sector agencies.
What you'll experience
On this course you'll:
- Be taught by expert staff and researchers who are active in the social work field
- Learn through simulation, group work and skills workshops
- Study the theory and practice of social work, empowering service users and promoting inclusion, and legal and policy frameworks
- Understand how to work with children and families, mental health patients, people with disabilities and vulnerable adults
- Work closely with the University of Portsmouth Social Work Inclusion Group (SWIG), to help you understand service user experiences
- Practise your profession-specific skills in our Centre for Simulation in Health and Care, a safe and supportive environment which uses innovative technologies to simulate real-life scenarios
- Put your learning into action on practice placements
Values and the NHS Constitution
We embed the principles and values of the NHS Constitution in all our health and social care courses. When you apply for this course, we’ll expect you to demonstrate how your values align with the values of the Constitution.
Careers and opportunities
When you graduate from the MSc Social Work degree course, you'll have the knowledge and practical skills to work in any branch of social work.
Career opportunities include:
- social worker
- practice teacher
- care manager
- persistent offender coordinator
- family support worker
- housing adviser
- homelessness/substance abuse charities
- PhD study
We'll provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.
What you'll study
Core units in this year include:
- Core Skills Training Framework
- Empowering Service Users and Promoting Inclusion
- Legal and Policy Frameworks For Social Work
- Occupational Health Year 1
- Practice Learning 1
- Social Work Theory and Context
Core units in this year include:
- Critical Practice Across Service User Groups
- Evidence Based Practice and Other Approaches to Research
- Occupational Health Year 2
- Practice Learning 2
Changes to course content
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.
Work experience and career planning
We'll help you to identify opportunities that will complement your studies.
When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your social work skills to work.
After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.
As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
Teaching on this course includes:
- group work
- work with service users and carers
- simulation work
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to mid-May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- Mid-May to early June – assessment period 2
Most teaching takes place during the day, on Thursdays, Fridays and very occasionally on Saturdays. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- oral or portfolio evidence
- A 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject or a degree in an associated discipline. You'll be considered on an individual basis if you have a lower classification (2:2), considering relevant experience and academic achievement.
- You must have relevant work experience: more than 3 months in voluntary or paid employment in a health, education or social care environment.
- All shortlisted applicants are subject to interview.
- All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance and Occupational Health clearance.
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.
Tuition fees (2019 start)
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
- Full-time: £10,200 per year (subject to annual increase)
- Full-time: £13,900 per year (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
For mandatory placements you'll need to meet your own travel costs, which will vary depending on the distance travelled and mode of transport.
The NHS may meet some of the costs incurred.
Apply for this course using our online application form.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.