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Degree type

MSW

Course length

21 months full-time

Location

Durham City

Program code

L5K480

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Please note: Courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Applicants will be informed of any changes which we are required to make to course entries as a result of Covid-19.

Course details

The Durham MSW is a 21 month course engaging you with the knowledge, skills and values that underpin social work practice with individuals, groups and communities. Academic study is complemented by two practice placements with different service user groups. Practice experience of statutory interventions with children and families or ‘vulnerable adults’ is complemented by opportunities for innovative practice in the voluntary and independent sectors in areas such as family justice, homelessness, substance use, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, community interventions and self-advocacy. With strong involvement of service users, carers and practice partners throughout the course, the MSW provides strong foundations for practice in any field of social work.

Local and global perspectives

Our approach to social work education reflects the connections between individuals, their families and communities. We offer you a broad foundation for social work practice underpinned by the global definition of social work and emphasise the connections between local and global issues in social work.

Excellent employment prospects

There is very strong demand for Durham MSW graduates by employers in local authorities and non-government organisations regionally, nationally and internationally. Durham MSW graduates have been able to transfer their registration to other countries including Australia, Canada, Scotland and the USA.

Course Structure

The MSW is structured around seven modules designed to meet the academic and practice learning requirements for a degree in social work.

Year 1

  • Social Work in Practice (40 credits): Understanding perspectives of service users and carers; social exclusion; social policy and law for social work
  • Social Work in Context (40 credits): Human growth and development through the life course, disability and mental health; social work theories and methods; working in organisations
  • Professional and Personal Development (30 credits): Principles, values and ethics; critical thinking and evidence-based practice; skills development; Interprofessional working
  • Social Work Practice 1 (50 credits): 70-day practice placement in a partner agency.

Year 2

  • Research in Social Work (45 credits): Research and evaluation design and methods; ethical issues in social welfare research; dissertation
  • Advanced Social Work (30 credits): Advanced application of theories and methods; critical analysis of social work policy; protection and empowerment of vulnerable children, young people and adults
  • Social Work Practice 2 (70 credits): 100-day practice placement.

Learning

The MSW is full-time, starting in early October and continuing over 21 months. The course does NOT run to normal university term dates. There are approximately 12 weeks of vacation, including public holidays, during the course of the whole course. In Year 1 the first four months are spent developing the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare you for your first practice placement of 70 days. In Year 2 you undertake a 100 day placement, with a different service user group and in a contrasting setting, where you will gain experience of statutory interventions in social work. Practice placements provide the opportunity to develop a range of skills set out in the Professional Capabilities Framework. You also extend your skills in linking theory, policy and practice, and undertake a research dissertation.

Assessment

A range of assessment methods is used including essays, observation studies, project reports, case studies, group and individual presentations. Knowledge and understanding of social work law and policy is assessed in a take away exercise. Before embarking on the first placement, you will undergo a practical assessment of your communication skills in readiness for direct practice. Practice placements are assessed by critically reflective accounts of work with individuals, groups or communities and by your practice educator who provides regular supervision and observes your practice. You are also expected to seek, and reflect on, feedback from service users and professional colleagues. Research in Social Work is assessed through a 10,000 word dissertation.

Practice Placements

Placements normally take place in the North East region and students are required to travel independently to these.

Entry requirements

  • Normally a minimum second class honours degree (2:1)
  • GCSE Mathematics and GCSE English grade 4 (or C) or above, or equivalent, at the time of application
  • Applicants must have sufficient recent experience (in employment, as a volunteer, as a service user or carer) in social care, health care or related voluntary setting to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the capabilities of a social worker as indicated at the entry level of the Professional Capabilities Framework. As a guideline, this period of experience is unlikely to be less than six months
  • Applicants for who English is not your first language will be required to demonstrate evidence of English Language Competence equivalent to IELTS 7 with no element less than 6.5.

You will also be required to:

  • Attend an interview*
  • Demonstrate fitness to undergo social work training.

a. At the interview stage, you are asked to declare any health conditions or disabilities that may affect your ability to undertake a practice placement safely and effectively b. Upon acceptance of a firm offer on the course, you are asked to complete an occupational health screening in line with national guidelines agreed with relevant professional bodiesc. Provide evidence that you do not have a criminal record that might restrict your opportunities to work with children or vulnerable adults. Candidates will be required as a condition of admission to undertake, or provide evidence of, a current DBS check.

*Candidates who are based overseas and cannot attend an interview in person may be interviewed remotely and should contact the admissions office (msw.office@durham.ac.uk) if necessary to seek advice.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £8,065 per year
EU students £21,200 per year
Island students £8,065 per year
International students £21,200 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Sociology

Our degrees are an excellent foundation for careers in a wide range of sectors, including health and welfare, the Civil Service, local government, the voluntary sector, banking and academia. We support students in gaining excellent employability skills. As well as pursuing further study, recent graduates have proceeded to careers with a range of high-profile employers.

Department information

Sociology

We are a leading international centre of excellence in applied social research that shapes and informs social policy and practice. We enhance individual, community and social wellbeing, promote social inclusion, and form the foundations of research-led education. We have expanded over time to provide a focus for collaboration across the related academic disciplines of applied sociology, criminology and social work.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • World Top 150 in the QS World University Subject Rankings for Social Policy and Administration 2021.

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the Department of Sociology pages.

Facilities

Our Departmental buildings are located in the centre of Durham City and we teach, supervise and meet students in these. Our main office building is in 32 Old Elvet and includes a student common space, networked computer access and our main teaching and learning offices. Our University library is one of the best in northern Britain and is well resourced with books, ebooks and journals supporting all of our areas of study. College libraries also hold copies of some of the main textbooks.

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 24/11/2021
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Register for open day
Discover Durham Tours
  • Date: 25/10/2021
  • Time: 13:30 - 16:00
Register for open day