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Social Work BSc (Hons)

Help the most vulnerable in society with this social work degree, approved by Social Work England. Practise home visit scenarios, communication, and observational skills before helping people on community placement.

Key information

UCAS code:



This course is Accredited

Typical offer:

112-120 UCAS points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, one of which must be in a relevant subject

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
Start date

Showing content for section Overview


Social workers change lives for the better and help protect some of society’s most vulnerable people.

On this BSc (Hons) Social Work degree, which is approved by Social Work England, you’ll be supported by passionate industry experts with many years of social work experience.

Once you graduate, you'll have the skills and knowledge you need to apply to register as a social worker.

BSc Social Work | University of Portsmouth

On this BSc (Hons) Social Work degree, approved by Social Work England, you’ll develop the key communication, relationship building and observation skills needed to change lives for the better and help protect some of society's most vulnerable people, while also gaining access to our innovative Simulation Centre to develop your practical skills.

Jacqui Westbury: The course is the BSc in Social Work. It's a really exciting course because it has both a combination of academic underpinning as well as a professional focus as well.

 [The BSc (Hons) Social Work course is accredited by Social Work England]

Jacqui Westbury: There are four main attributes to the course that we're really proud of.

[1. Face to face teaching]

Helen Sewell: The importance of face to face teaching to help our social work students learn is really key to the success of our course and our students.

Nicola Whitley: They're invaluable. They bring a wealth of experience. They allow us to learn the skills in a really safe environment.

[1. Face-to-face teaching. 2. Personal tutor]

Jacqui Westbury: We really invest in our students and we support them and their well-being and that they feel well-equipped to be able to enter placements and then real life social work.

[1. Face-to-face teaching. 2. Personal tutor. 3. Social Work Inclusion Group (SWIG)]

Helen Sewell: Our SWIG group are a group of service users who have experienced social work services themselves and they have worked with us for over 20 years now. That's really important in terms of thinking about their social work values and in terms of practice and skills.

Jacqui Westbury: The fourth attribute, which is a real asset for this course, is our simulation offer.

[1. Face-to-face teaching. 2. Personal tutor. 3. Social Work Inclusion Group (SWIG) 4. Centre for Simulation in Health and Care]

Jacqui Westbury: We've got a flat that we're sitting in now and we've got like a hospital ward. We also have access to different equipment and there's a whole host of simulated opportunities. Students come from a whole variety of backgrounds, and we really are proud actually, at Portsmouth, about how diverse our cohort is and continues to be.

Nicola Whitley: There's so many different people from so many different places at so many different stages of their life. People are constantly saying things that amaze me and I go away and I really reflect on it. And it's been a really good learning experience in that respect.

Helen Sewell: The students have two practice placements

[70 day placement in year 2]

Jacqui Westbury: It's a 70 day placement in level five, which is the second year.

[100 day placement in year 3]

Jacqui Westbury: And then there's a 100 day placement in level six, which is the third year. It's a supportive environment where you have us alongside you all the way as well in terms of the tutorial role, to give you that opportunity, to demonstrate those skills that you need to demonstrate for us, to feel confident that you can go out and become an amazing social worker, which is ultimately what we want to achieve.

Course highlights

  • Practise your social work skills in our Centre for Simulation in Health and Care, a safe and supportive environment where we use innovative technologies to simulate real-life scenarios
  • Work closely with the University of Portsmouth Social Work Inclusion Group (SWIG), to help you understand service user experiences
  • Build your professional experience by spending 200 days on placement working with vulnerable people, service users and carers in the community

Approved by:

This course is approved by Social Work England.


of graduates in work or further study 15 months after this course

(HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/2019)

Social Work England Logo | JPEG

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements

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BSc (Hons) Social Work degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBB-BBC
  • UCAS points - 112-120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, one of which must be in a relevant subject (Anthropology, Criminology, Critical Thinking, English, Health and Social Care, Law, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, R.E, Sociology, Social Policy, Theology). Access courses in Health and Social Care are also acceptable (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit. 
    Acceptable T Level Subjects: T Level in Health, T Level in Healthcare Science, T Level in Education and Childcare
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM-DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 25
  • All applicants must have an acceptable GCSE qualification in English at grade C/4 or above

Selection process

  • Successfully shortlisted applicants will be invited to a staged, holistic and multidimensional selection day which has been designed in accordance with Social Work England's standards.
    • The assessment day will commence with all shortlisted applicants completing a written task, which is assessed as a pass or fail.
    • In accordance with Social Work England standards, the written element will assess applicants’ command of English, ability to analyse and present written information, motivation to become a social worker, knowledge of the social work profession and relevant policies and legislation and ICT skills.
    • Applicants who pass the written assessment will be invited to attend an individual interview on the same day.
  • International applicants must provide a satisfactory police check/certificate of good conduct from their home country (with a certified English translation if necessary), before admission to the programme can be confirmed.
  • All successful applicants will be asked to complete confidential occupational health, immunisation, and disclosure and barring service (DBS) checks.
  • If successful, applicants will be required to declare if they have been subject to any disciplinary procedures of fitness to practice by any other regulator, professional body, employer or educational establishment.

You may need to have studied specific subjects –find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.

See alternative English language qualifications.

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

Supporting your application

We welcome students from diverse backgrounds including those who have experience of social care. If you're a care leaver, or if you feel you need further information or support to apply for this course, we can offer you a virtual support session to help guide you through the admissions process.

We'll send you details of this after you apply. You'll also get as much support as you need through phone and email, and have access to ongoing personal and financial support during your course. Find out more about support for care leavers.

Your facilities


Develop communication, relationship building and observation skills in the realistic flat, bedroom and hospital ward of our Simulation Centre.

You'll practise home visit scenarios and visits to care homes and hospitals, and complete assessments to ensure you're ready for practice placement.

Careers and opportunities

Social workers provide essential care and support to adults and children who need it most. They work directly with people in need, as well as their families and other carers, and offer care that includes counselling, independent life skills, and mental and/or physical health support. 

There's an urgent need for more social workers in the UK, in fact adult social worker vacancy rates have risen back up to pre-pandemic levels. 

This BSc (Hons) Social Work degree will train you for a rewarding and challenging career as a social worker. You'll study topics including safeguarding, law and social policy, and social work practice with children and adults, and learn through simulation, group work and skills workshops.

When you successfully complete the course, you'll be eligible to apply to be a registered social worker and to work in settings such as social care, drug and alcohol services, domestic abuse services and schools.

The social work course itself is outstanding. The support provided by my tutors has been invaluable. Studying social work at the University of Portsmouth has been an experience that I will never forget and will forever be grateful for.

Hannah Manders, BSc (Hons) Social Work

What areas can you work in with a social work degree?

You could work in areas such as:

  • social care settings
  • rehabilitation services
  • criminal justice
  • voluntary organisations
  • advocacy agencies
  • housing advice
  • education settings such as schools and colleges

Graduate roles and destinations

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • social worker
  • care manager
  • missing children and child exploitation coordinator 
  • family support worker
  • housing adviser
  • independent domestic violence adviser
  • adult wellbeing manager
  • primary mental health worker
  • learning disability practitioner

Ongoing careers support

After you graduate, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability Service as you advance in your career.

They've gone to work for organisations including:

  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  • Mind
  • Hampshire County Council
  • Portsmouth City Council
  • Essex County Council
  • Spectrum Centre for Independent Living
  • Southern Advocacy Services

Potential salary

Working as a social worker for a local authority, you could expect to start on a salary at £38,607, after successful completion of the assessed supported year in employment you can earn between £39,582 - £47,805 with a recruitment and retention package depending on where you are working.

Placements have been really helpful in preparation for practice. I have had two local authority placements during my degree. They have enabled me to obtain a full time position in adult services upon completing my course.

Daran Jarman, BSc (Hons) Social Work

Placements and work experience

You'll do at least 2 work placements on this course, giving you more than 200 days of practical experience. You'll also take part in skills days at our simulation centre, learning from people with lived experience of social work.

You can do placements in various areas to develop your social work skills and knowledge, including:

Potential social work settings

  • social care settings for children and families
  • social care settings for adults
  • residential care for people with disabilities
  • community mental health teams
  • hospital social work departments

Potential community work settings

  • voluntary organisations working with both children and adults
  • advocacy agencies
  • drug and alcohol treatment centres
  • homelessness projects
  • schools
We can also help you find further relevant work experience during your course to boost your career prospects further. We help you identify placements, internships, and voluntary roles that will complement your studies.


Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

What you'll study

Core modules in this year include:

  • Equality Diversity and Inclusion – 20 credits
  • Human Development and The Life Course – 20 credits
  • Readiness for Learning and Practice – 40 credits
  • Social Work Theories and Models – 20 credits
  • Social Issues, Policy and The Law – 20 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • BSc Social Work Practice Placement 1 – 40 credits
  • Service User Inclusion and Co-production – 20 credits
  • Social Work With Adults – 20 credits
  • Social Work With Children and Families – 20 credits
  • Using Evidence and Research in Social Work – 20 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • BSc Social Work Dissertation – 40 credits
  • Professional Development and Employability – 20 credits
  • Safeguarding - Adults and Children – 20 credits
  • Social Work Practice Placement 2 – 40 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • tests (academic or practical/skills based)
  • compilation of filmed and recorded artefacts
  • online assessment
  • academic written work/portfolios
  • presentations
  • dissertation/project
  • group work

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • practical workshops
  • simulation     
  • report writing

You'll learn from expert teaching staff, researchers, practitioners from the field and people with experience of social work today.

Values, the NHS Constitution and Social Work England

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.

Find out more about the values we look for

The values in the NHS Constitution (working for patients, respect and dignity, commitment to quality of care, compassion, improving lives, and everyone counts) align with Social Work England's Professional Standards.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

You'll take part in scheduled study blocks for up to 20 hours a week and in placement activities for roughly 37.5 hours a week.

In your first year, you'll be involved in more timetabled activities, such as tutorials, lectures and workshops alongside independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. As you attend your placements in your second and third years, you'll have less scheduled teaching and independent study.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday.

There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

Supporting you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty 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
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students:
    • Year 1 – £17,900 (subject to annual increase)
    • Year 2 – £17,200 (subject to annual increase)
    • Year 3 – £17,200 (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

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.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

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.

You’ll need to meet the cost of travel for your placements. Your travel costs will vary depending on location and the transportation you use. The NHS may meet some of these costs.


How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – L500
  • our institution code – P80

 Apply now through UCAS


If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.