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Social Work BA (Hons)


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Key Information Set (KIS) Data is only gathered for undergraduate full-time courses. There are a number of reasons why this course does not have KIS data associated with it. For example, it may be a franchise course run at a partner college or a course designed for continuing professional development.


Social workers provide support and assistance to a host of individuals, families and groups, from the homeless, to people with learning and physical disabilities. Social workers often spend their time with people – be it at hospitals, care homes or at people's homes, assessing their circumstances and building relationships.

7 reasons to study here

Professional accreditation: Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.
Ranked highly: No.2 in London for research quality and overall score in Social Work (Complete University Guide league table, 2018).
Happy students: No.1 London modern university in the UK for Satisfied overall with course in Health Professions (Guardian League Table 2018).
Industry relevant: We aim to produce reflective social work practitioners who are ready to practice in the rapidly changing and developing world of social work.
Great teaching: Teaching is provided by industry experts with real-world social work experience - rated as No.1 University in London for Learning Resources (National Students Survey 2016).
Work experience: You will complete two placements, at suitable settings from a variety of social work sectors.
Strong alumni network: Become part of an 80,000-strong LSBU alumni network.

This degree course covers...

The Social Work programme at LSBU is inter-professional, collaborative and participatory. We aim to produce reflective social work practitioners who are ready to practice in the rapidly changing and developing world of social work. The course covers:

  • communication skills
  • human growth and development
  • sociology
  • ethics
  • welfare, policy and law
  • advocacy and partnership
  • professional practice


Key course information - ordered by mode
Mode Duration Start date Location
3 years
Start Date
Southwark Campus

Case studies

  • Thomas Petit, BA (Hons) Social Work

    Thomas Petit had grown dissatisfied of his previous occupation, so after a period of self-reflection, he identified social work as the career he wanted to pursue.

  • Dan Morton, BA (Hons) Social Work, mature student

    As a mature student, Dan made sure he made the most of his time at LSBU, getting involved in the People and Planet Society, and as a student representative on the Sustainable Development Group.


Methods of assessment for course overall: 63% coursework

Year 1

  • Communication skills for social work
    This module explores the professional values, knowledge and basic skills needed to be able to communicate clearly and accurately with others. The theory and practice of verbal, non-verbal and written methods of communication will be considered in a range of practice situations with people of different ages, comprehension and culture. The module introduces you to the issues associated with alternative forms of communication enabling you to engage with a variety of service users including children, young people, adults and older people as well as communicating with service users with impairment issues and those from diverse backgrounds including working with interpreters. 
  • Readiness for direct practice
    This module develops practice skills and awareness of the social work role and responsibilities. It will ensure you are ready for the initial period of direct practice and provide you with a foundation for skills development throughout the programme.  Service users, carers and practitioners will be involved in the development, delivery and assessments of the module. 
  • Human growth and development
    This module explores a range of human growth and development theories across the lifespan. It facilitates understanding of ordinary development and the impact of life events, disability, abuse, mental health problems, and drug/alcohol misuse on development throughout life. You will be assessed on your knowledge of psychological and sociological theories across the life course from infancy to later life. This will include key concepts, e.g. critical periods, transition; change and continuity; strengths, resources and resilience; adversity, vulnerability, risk and accumulation of risk (College of Social Work curriculum guide, 2012). 
  • Sociology for social work
    This module seeks to introduce themes and perspectives which constitute sociological thinking. You will be offered the opportunity of linking these themes to aspects of social work practice. This module examines the purpose of social work in society its role and function it also considers the nature of social problems that social workers may encounter. 
  • Value and ethics in social work
    Focusing on the most complex and contested areas of social work practice, the module introduces and addresses conflicting values by providing you with distinct ethical frameworks to consider these in the context of modern social work practice. 
  • Social problems and social policy
    This module is an introduction to key issues facing society. It builds on the sociology module from semester one and explores how social problems are defined within society and how societies respond to those problems. 
  • Social work theories
    This first year module introduces key theoretical approaches used in social work to inform practice. A blended learning approach will allow you to develop skills in IT and information literacy. 

Year 2

  • Social work methods
    The module explores the different models used by social workers to intervene and problem solve. This module integrates the core social work values and the professional codes of ethics. The module offers the opportunity for you to reflect on the social work role and tasks and skills required in practice. 
  • Welfare, policy and the law in social work practice
    This module introduces welfare, policy and legal contexts and interfaces within which social workers work; giving an understanding of welfare benefits, and the statutory duties and powers social workers have in England.  You will critique social policy and its impact upon service users and social work practice, comparing with Europe, USA and beyond; as well as gaining knowledge of local policy, practice and resources.  You will develop a sound understanding of key legislation, guidance, regulation and case law relevant to practice, applying this to specific areas of practice within a value based human rights framework. 
  • Advocacy, partnership and participation
    This module examines the core values of partnership working within the context of social work practice, focussing on the role of advocacy and self-advocacy, emphasising the importance of service user participation within these processes. The module explores partnership working in the context of advocacy and service user involvement within a variety of social work practice settings; aiming to help you understand this in relation to your social work practice. This includes gaining an understanding of the full range of those aspects of the social work role traditionally described as advocacy, gaining practical advocacy and negotiation skills. Key to this module is service user involvement throughout; which will include you being taught and working alongside service users. 
  • Practice learning opportunity 1 
    70 days practice learning in practice placement. 

Year 3

  • Social work research project
    This module will develop an understanding and appreciation of research and its relationship to social work. The module consists of an independent student-managed proposal designed to develop the capacity for autonomous learning and an opportunity to develop research skills. The self-directed learning is complemented by a series of research lectures and seminars designed to familiarise you with some of the principles of research in practice settings. You will be encouraged to develop a wide range of research proposals and to make use of a range of research methods.  You will develop an understanding of research methodology and be able to evaluate research and disseminate findings.
  • Contemporary issues in social work
    This module builds on earlier teaching through exploring complex and often competing issues encountered in a variety of social work settings. It offers a choice of subject areas from which two options can be chosen, including safeguarding adults, safeguarding children, substance misuse, mental health, domestic violence, learning disability. The module aims to utilise the knowledge and experience of both service users and those in practice to offer a holistic approach to assessment, intervention, problem solving and recording.  In small groups, you will be required to bring your placement experience into the sessions to develop reflection and depth of understanding. The module is essentially a content free module and aims to be responsive to the needs of students who are required to bring cases, dilemmas or incidents from practice into the classroom to develop reflection and a depth of understanding. It aims to utilise the knowledge and experience of those still in practice and service users to offer a holistic approach to assessment, intervention, and problem solving. 
  • Professional practice
    Looking at the practice issues common across all settings. The module is centred around problem solving events where you are invited to draw on your knowledge and research to tackle complex scenarios.
  • Practice learning opportunity 2
    100 days practice learning in practice placement.


Social Work LSBU - phase 1b

Social work as a career

You will normally specialise in a certain group of society, such as children. Much of the work is around helping decide the level of support or protection required, responding to requests for help and working with other agencies and professionals for the best outcomes. Most opportunities are with local authorities. However there are also opportunities available at private care homes, charities and NHS Trusts.

Recent graduates from this course have secured roles in a variety of settings, including local authority children and adult services departments, as well as in the voluntary sector. 

A patient, non-judgemental mind-set is needed, with the ability to communicate effectively with a host of different people and gain their trust. The work demands a level of resilience and a genuine desire to help people, as some cases may be disturbing, and some people won't want your help.  

Career progression

On graduation you will be eligible to register as a social worker, with starting salaries ranging from £19,500-£25,000, and this possibly rising to £40,000 with experience and further responsibilities. (National Careers Service)

As a graduate from this course you will be able to apply for further study at postgraduate level. Find out more about our professional development portfolio through our online CPPD prospectus.

LSBU Employability Service

We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search.

As an LSBU student you have access to the Employability Service and its resources during your time here and for two years after you graduate.

Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or a placement/internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the career you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

  • Direct engagement from employers who come in to network with students
  • Job Shop – daily drop in service to help with, tailoring CVs, cover letters and applications, sourcing online resource, mock interviews and general job searching. One to one appointments for further support also available
  • Mentoring and work shadowing schemes
  • Higher education achievement report - The HEAR is designed to encourage a more sophisticated approach to recording student achievement, which acknowledges fully the range of opportunities that LSBU offers to our students.
    It pulls into one certificate: Module grades, Course descriptions, Placements, LSBU verified extra-curricular activities
  • Employability workshops - delivered free to students all year round on a variety of related topics
  • Careers fairs throughout the year to really focus your thoughts on a career after university

Find out about any of these services by visiting our student employability page


Time spent on placements

During the course you will spend a certain amount of your time involved in academic study and the rest in practice within a broad variety of primary and social care settings. A practice placement allows you to put theory into practice by working with a range of primary and social care professionals to develop the skills, knowledge and experience required to become a competent social work practitioner. Although sometimes initially challenging, practice learning is one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of learning to be a social worker.

You will complete two placements throughout the course:

  • First placement is 70 days in duration
  • Final placement is 100 days in duration

Placement settings

At LSBU we work closely with a number of primary and social care organisations to provide a wide range of suitable placements. These placements take place across a variety of settings from all sectors including local authorities, private, voluntary and independent sectors. The providers offer placements across the required service user communities; children and families, adults, learning disabilities and mental health.

Examples of placements include:

  • Traditional local authority services
  • Hestia Supported housing services including mental health and domestic violence
  • St Mungos
  • Victim Support
  • Schools
  • Mind
  • Age UK
  • Carers organisations
  • Prison placements through PACT and Spurgeons

70 day placement 

During the first practice placement, you will be expected to practice as trainee professionals being responsible of cases under close supervision and undertaking social work interventions in less complex situations and operating as a member of the inter-professional team. You will demonstrate knowledge, skills and commitment to core values of social work as well as capacity to work with people and situations where decisions are not always clear-cut. You will be encouraged to develop oral and written communication skills, negotiating skills, IT skills and presentation skills. You are actively encouraged to use this opportunity to test out your new knowledge base and to try different social work methods and approaches.

The 70 day placement will usually be within the private, voluntary and independent sectors or occasionally within a local authority setting. You will be placed with a Practice Educator who will be responsible for you whilst on placement and will act as a mentor throughout your time on placement as well as offer guidance and feedback.

100 day placement

The final practice placement will prepare you for the statutory aspects of social work by offering you opportunities to demonstrate engagement with formal assessment processes (observation, gathering information, analysis, reporting, use of evidence base, development of clear recommendations) to include: formal processes considering risk and/or safeguarding for child protection, for mental health or with vulnerable adults  and opportunities to reflect on, discuss and analyse appropriate use of authority and use of formal agency recording for assessment/risk. You will also apply and understand legal frameworks relevant for social work, practice and organisational policies and decisions as well as their impact on service delivery to service users, multi-agency working, including planning interventions with other agencies and analysing and managing tensions. You will present outcomes for formal assessment processes including analysis of risk/recommendations in line with organisational policy/procedure at e.g. panels/meetings/courts as well as meet the demands of a high pressured environment where time and competing interests have to be managed effectively.

Find out more about social work placements by reading through our case studies.


Michelle Evans

School/Division: Health and Social Care / Primary and Social Care
Job title: MA Recruitment Lead; Senior Lecturer - Social Work

Michelle’s special interests are in sensory awareness (deafness, deafblindness including Usher syndrome, and visual impairment) and phenomenological qualitative research.

Claire Felix-Baptiste

School/Division: Health and Social Care / Social Sciences
Job title: Senior Lecturer

Claire specialises in teaching social work theory. Her interests lie in black and minority ethnic (BME) mental health and academic success and social work education. Claire has over 25 years’ worth of work experience of community social work focusing on the progression of black and minority communities in the UK.

Darlene Lamont

School/Division: Health and Social Care / Primary and Social Care
Job title: Senior Lecturer

Darlene Lamont is a Senior Lecturer for Continuous Professional Development and Practice Education in the department of Primary and Social Care. She has a particular interest in negotiating and promoting good quality placements for social work students of all levels.

Dr Andrew Whittaker

School/Division: Health and Social Care / Primary and Social Care
Job title: Associate Professor

Andrew Whittaker is an Associate Professor in Social Work (half time) and Health and Social Care Research (half time).

Jill Yates

School/Division: Health and Social Care / Social Sciences
Job title: Course Director - Practice Learning Social Work

Jill Yates specialises in practice learning and practice education with interests in service user involvement in teaching and learning and its application to developing innovative practice placements.


Teaching and learning

Assessment methods

Our practice-based learning approach is complemented by teaching and learning in the University. Awareness raising and knowledge acquisition, conceptual understanding, learning on placement and reflection on performance, all play a part in helping to acquire knowledge and understanding. The teaching includes lectures, seminars and e-learning, debates, group work, group discussion, research projects, problem-based learning, reports and presentations, videos and computer simulations and workshops.

The programme features a range of assessment methods, including essays, presentations, case studies and exams. As part of the course you will also undertake:

  • A five-hour child observation at the start of the course
  • Two placements in Years 2 and 3.
Percentage of time spent in different learning activities
Lectures and seminars Self-directed study Work-based placements
Year 1 28% 72% 0%
Year 2 18% 52% 30%
Year 3 8% 54% 38%

Entry requirements

2018 Entry

  • A Level BBB or;
  • BTEC National Diploma DDM or;
  • Access to HE Diploma in Nursing or similar with 24 Distinctions and 21 Merits or;
  • Equivalent level 3 qualifications worth 122 UCAS points
  • Applicants must hold 5 GCSEs A-C including Maths and English or equivalent (reformed GCSEs grade 4 or above).

All offers are conditional and subject to satisfactory completion of a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check and references. You will be expected to have gained some direct experience of working in social care, either in a paid capacity or as a volunteer.

We welcome qualifications from around the world. Those whom English is not their first language must achieve a minimum score of 7.0 overall or equivalent with not less than 7.0 in the listening and reading sections and not less than 7.0 in the writing and speaking sections for the International English Language Test Score (IELTS) at the time of application.

How to apply

Instructions for Home/EU applicants
Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
3 years
Start date
Application code
Application method

All full-time undergraduate students apply to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply webpage for undergraduate students.

Personal Statements

Remember the personal statement on your application is extremely important. This is essentially a selling tool on why you are right for the course. The personal statement is taken into consideration when shortlisting applicants for interview. Download our personal statements guidance (PDF File 80 KB) to help you write your personal statement.


If you have been successful in your application, you will be invited to an interview where we will discuss your ambitions to work in social care.

Before you attend your interview you will need to download and complete a Declaration of Character and Conduct Form (PDF File 166 KB) and return it to

There is no parking available at the University, please use public transport to make your journey to the campus.

Fees and funding

Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursary Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.

The fee shown is for entry 2018/19.
UK/EU fee: £9250International fee: £13125
AOS/LSBU code: 4355Session code: 1FS00
Total course fee:
UK/EU £27750
International £39375

The individual Tuition Fee for this course is shown above. For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for undergraduate students.

Social Work Bursary Scheme

If you are applying to a Social Work course you may be eligible to receive a non-income assessed basic bursary awarded by the NHS Business Services Authority .This is dependent on where you study and whether you study full-time or part-time. The amount of the basic bursary for undergraduate students is dependent on whether you are subject to variable tuition fees. 

In April 2013 the Department of Health announced new arrangements for the Social Work Bursary Scheme.

In summary the new arrangements are:

  • There will be a cap of numbers of bursaries at undergraduate level, which means there is no guarantee of a bursary for those applying for a Social Work course at university  
  • The undergraduate bursary will be retained in years two and three. This means no new undergraduates in 2013 will receive a bursary in their first year of study. The bursary in years two and three will include the basic bursary and indicative travel expenses for placements. LSBU will make decisions on who is awarded the bursaries at the end of year one
  • Undergraduate students can apply for tuition fee loans and maintenance loans from Student Finance England (subject to eligibility criteria) to help cover the costs of the course during their studies
  • Practice placements travel expenses will continue to be paid to those who do not  receive a bursary but would have under the previous scheme

For further information on the Social Work Bursary Scheme and Bursary changes to Social Work courses please refer to the NHS Business Services Authority website.

Case studies

Select a case study and read about practical project work, students' placement experiences, research projects, alumni career achievements and what it’s really like to study here from the student perspective.

  • Thomas Petit, BA (Hons) Social Work

    Thomas Petit had grown dissatisfied of his previous occupation, so after a period of self-reflection, he identified social work as the career he wanted to pursue.

  • Dan Morton, BA (Hons) Social Work, mature student

    As a mature student, Dan made sure he made the most of his time at LSBU, getting involved in the People and Planet Society, and as a student representative on the Sustainable Development Group.

Prepare to start

We help our students prepare for University even before the semester starts. To find out when you should apply for your LSBU accommodation or student finance read the How to apply tab for this course.

Applicant Open Days

To help you and your family feel confident about your university choice we run Applicant Open Days. These are held at subject level so students start getting to know each other and the academic staff who will be teaching them. These events are for applicants only and as an applicant you would receive an email invitation to attend the relevant event for your subject.

Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) criminal record disclosure

You are required to complete a Declaration of suitability for Social Work form at your interview and if successful at interview you will be asked to complete a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) criminal record declaration (formerly known as the Criminal Records Bureau or CRB) and declare any previous convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands. 

To check the categories as identified by the DBS as being filtered and will therefore not be included in any criminal record certificate issued by the DBS look at the filtering rules for the criminal record check (PDF File 82 KB) certificates. 


Students should apply for accommodation at London South Bank University (LSBU) as soon as possible, once we have made an offer of a place on one of our academic courses. Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.

Enrolment and Induction

Enrolment takes place before you start your course. On completing the process, new students formally join the University. Enrolment consists of two stages: online, and your face-to-face enrolment meeting. The online process is an online data gathering exercise that you will complete yourself, then you will be invited to your face-to-face enrolment meeting.

In September, applicants who have accepted an unconditional offer to study at LSBU will be sent details of induction, which is when they are welcomed to the University and their School. Induction helps you get the best out of your university experience, and makes sure you have all the tools to succeed in your studies.

Read more about Enrolment and Induction.

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Contact information

Course Enquiries - UK/EU

Tel: 0800 923 8888

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6100

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