MA SOCIAL WORK

Overview

Social work is a challenging and rewarding career. You will work alongside some of the most vulnerable people in society, working towards positive change with individuals, families and groups. The work is incredibly varied with possibilities to specialise, for example in work with children or young people, adults with disabilities or mental health needs. Social workers often spend their time with people – be it in hospitals, people's homes, schools or in the community. A patient, non-judgemental approach is needed, with the ability to communicate effectively with a host of different people.
The Social Work MA at LSBU is a well-established course, running for over 30 years. Our graduates are eligible to apply to register as Social Workers with Social Work England, and have gone on to work in an exciting range of settings, from local authorities to setting up their own businesses.

We're ranked 1st amongst London competitors for Overall Score in Social Work (Guardian University Guide 2023) and also ranked 1st amongst London competitors for Student Satisfaction and Overall Score in Social Work (Complete University Guide 2023).

This course blends an academic and professional focus with four strands underpinning our approach;

  1. We link practice-based learning and university learning
  2. We emphasise relationship based practices and co-production
  3. We offer research informed teaching
  4. We support you as autonomous and collaborative learners

On this course you will undertake two practice placements - 70 days in the first year and 100 days in the second year. Potential placements are varied, and are chosen from our diverse range of partner agencies in the voluntary and statutory sectors. Placements will be in different settings, service user groups, ages or methods. Placements may occasionally operate outside of normal working hours.

Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
ModeFull-time Duration2 years Start dateSeptember Application codeL508 Application method UCAS

Location

London South Bank University student union is located at 103 Borough Rd, London SE1 0AA.

If you are visiting our Southwark Campus, you may wish to use our downloadable campus map (PNG File 466 KB). For information on accessibility, see our DisabledGo access guides.

Walk or bicycle

The University is in easy walking distance of underground and leading overground stations. We are only 20 minutes away from the Thames. We encourage walking and cycling and have bicycle racks on campus. Please check the Transport for London cycling website for London cycling maps and route planners.

By bus

LSBU is very well connected, and a large number of buses travel to and connect in the Elephant and Castle area from across London.

By train or tube

The Bakerloo and Northern lines stop at Elephant & Castle underground station, which is right next to campus. The closest rail stations are Elephant & Castle, London Waterloo and London Bridge. To plan your train journey, visit the National Rail website.

By car

London South Bank University does not provide public parking space. There is a limited amount of parking in the area, so we strongly advise using public transport.

Do consider the Congestion Charge if you are driving through London to reach the campus. Find out if you'll be crossing the Congestion Charge zone to reach our Southwark Campus.

TfL journey planner

You can travel to Southwark Campus by using public transport, plan your journey using the Transport for London journey planner.

Entry Level Requirements

  • A Bachelor degree equivalent normally to a UK Second Class Honours Upper Division (2:1) or above in a relevant subject
  • GCSE English and Maths at grade 4 or above (previously A*-C or above) or a recognised equivalent
  • You will be required to present evidence of social work knowledge and social care as well as work experience in some aspect of social work/social care full-time over six months, or the equivalent part-time (e.g. 15 hours per week over one year in voluntary work). At least some of this experience needs to be in the UK

We are proud of our diverse student group and positively welcome those from a wide range of backgrounds and age groups. 

Selection criteria

Candidates will be asked several interview questions which are aimed to assess aptitude for the job of social work their answers will be timed, they will also complete a written test.

Self-certification of medical fitness to practice and Disclosure Barring Service Check (DBS)

In line with Social Work England requirements, any offer of a place is conditional on a clear police check and self-certification of medical fitness to practice.

Candidates who are successful at interview and accept a place on the course will be expected to pay for an enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check.

English language

For 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.

United Kingdom

£

Tuition fees for home students

International

£

Tuition fees for international students

Tuition fees are subject to annual inflationary increases. Find out more about tuition fees

  • Full-time

    full-time

    MA Social Work (FT) - Year 1

    The fee shown is for entry 2023/24
    UK fee: £ International fee: £
    AOS/LSBU code: 4357 Session code: 1FS00
    Total course fee:
    UK: £17000
    International: £35000

    MA Social Work (FT) - Year 2

    The fee shown is for entry 2023/24
    UK fee: £ International fee: £
    AOS/LSBU code: 4357 Session code: 2FS00
    Total course fee:
    UK: £17000
    International: £35000

NHS Social Work postgraduate bursary

The Division of Social Work, Community & Public Health expect to be provided with a number of postgraduate bursaries for MA Social Work students.

Students will be nominated by LBSU using the criteria listed below. However, it is important to understand that prospective students will have to meet NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) eligibility criteria to be awarded a bursary.

LSBU Social Work nomination criteria

Students will be nominated if they pass all stages of the selection process, indicating they have met entry level of the PCF (Professional Capabilities Framework) outcomes.

We will then rank applicants who have accepted LSBU as their firm choice based on their overall selection score. The bursary nomination list is generally drawn up in March. Therefore, we strongly advise you to apply to the programme through UCAS as soon as possible.

For those applicants who apply after the UCAS deadline, they must accept an offer to study on the MA Social Work Programme at LSBU by the date the NHSBSA nomination list is completed (usually in early June) in order to be considered for a bursary nomination. Those applying after June will be placed on a ‘waiting list’ for bursary nomination.

Notification of nomination for a NHSBA Social Work postgraduate bursary will be sent out to applicants shortly after universities are informed of their annual allocation. Please note that nomination does not guarantee a bursary.

The LSBU bursary nomination list will be sent to NHSBSA, before the course commences with payments being made to eligible students once their enrolment and attendance has been confirmed.

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.

Postgraduate Advice Service

You are invited to book a one-to-one appointment with one of our Postgraduate Advisors. They offer a 30 minute face-to-face session where you can get tailored advice on fees and funding.
Book a 1-2-1 Advice Session

Home/EU applicants

Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
Mode Full-time Duration 2 years Start date September Application code L508 Application method UCAS

Although this is a postgraduate course all students apply through 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.

Interviews and written essay

If you have been successful in your application, you'll be invited to attend an interview day where we'll discuss your ambitions to work in social care and ask you to complete a short piece of written work.

You may find the following documents useful when preparing for your interview:

Disclosure Barring Service and medical fitness

In line with Social Work England requirements, any offer of a place is conditional on a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check and self-certification of medical fitness to practice. Candidates who are successful at interview and accept a place on the programme will be expected to pay for an enhanced DBS check.

Postgraduate Application Service

Book your time with one of our specialist Postgraduate Advisors. Over a one on one Advice Session they'll advise you on postgraduate degrees at LSBU that match your interests and experience.

Prepare to start

Disclosure Barring Service (DBS)

All pre-registration students need to be DBS cleared before going on placement. You’ll need to have an enhanced DBS check even if you have had one before and will not be able to go on placement until this is complete.

The DBS process is not difficult but can take some time so it's best to get started as soon as you receive your email. You will receive the email during Summer 2023.

DBS update service

If you're part of the DBS update service, your subscription is up to date and you already have a DBS certificate, please bring in your original green DBS certificate for the document check. To take advantage of the update service, your certificate needs to be classified as 'Enhanced' and workforce must be listed as 'Adult and Child'. If you have any queries, please email us at hscdbsoh@lsbu.ac.uk.

How to complete your DBS

Our DBS supplier, Verifile, will send you an email with all the details you need to complete your DBS.

Verifile will give you instructions to log into their system and complete your personal details and information. To complete the process, you'll need your passport or driving licence and 5-year address history including dates when you moved in/out.

You can use your application number to track the progress of your DBS.

When you've finished, your Disclosure Statement will be mailed to the most recent address in your submission, so please make sure it's correct. We don't automatically receive a copy of this Statement, which is why we need you to bring it in as part of the next step.

Frequently asked questions

My Social Work friends said they need to pay. Do I need to pay?

Only Social Work applicants need to pay for their DBS. It costs £46 and can be purchased on our online store.

What do I need to declare on my DBS?

Please include any and all major and minor, spent and unspent convictions, cautions, warning and reprimands, even if they relate to juvenile offences or seem trivial or unimportant. Some minor offences will not prevent you from going on placement or being offered a place on your course, but still need to be reviewed so it’s best to be honest and include everything. Also, the more information you include about any offences can help reduce the time it takes to assess them.

I’ve applied for/had a DBS in past. Do I need to do it again?

Yes, you do. You need to have an up-to-date DBS. Once you have received the email from our DBS supplier make sure you start the process straight away. All details of how to do this will be outlined in the email. If you don’t complete your DBS in the timeframe given, we may withdraw your offer even if term has already started. So it’s important that you get started as soon as you receive the email.

Why do I need an enhanced DBS check?

Government legislation requires all Higher Education Institutions who offer courses where students may come into unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults to have this check. These checks also help us to ensure duty of care to our students, and create a safer environment for patients seen by our students.

Who reviews my DBS?

As part of the University’s admissions process, declarations of any offence may be referred to a virtual panel made up of senior managers from partner NHS Trusts and/or other sectors within Health and Social Care. Any DBS that is considered by the panel will be anonymised. The panel members then deliberate and make a recommendation whether the application be rejected, accepted or request further information or documents.

When will I hear back from the panel about my DBS?

If you have declared an offence, we might ask for more information from you in writing which will help the panel make a decision. Once your declaration has been referred to the panel it can take up to 28 working days to be processed.

Which address do I use?

You need to put your current address on your DBS application because this is where your Statement will be mailed. If you’ve moved house between submitting and receiving your DBS, make sure you have mail forwarding set up so that you’ll receive your statement. If you’ve moved recently, make sure you have proof of your new address (such as a new bank statement) to bring for your document checks.

I’ve lost my statement. What do I do?

If you’ve lost your statement you will need to pay £46 to purchase a new one.

I’ve had my application rejected due to my DBS declaration/disclosure. Can I appeal the decision?

Yes. If your application has been rejected due to your DSB declaration/discloser, you will be sent a letter to confirm this. There will be instructions in the letter about how you can appeal and which supporting information you need to provide. Once a decision has been made you will receive a letter from the School Executive Team.

Document check

Once you have completed the online part of the DBS process, you will need to produce three accepted documents from this list to be verified.

Document check on campus

Southwark: Southwark Student Help Desk in the K2 building Monday – Friday between 9am-11am or 1pm-4pm

Havering: come to reception at Havering Monday – Friday between 8:30-10:30am, 12-2pm, 4-5pm

Document check at the Post Office

If you’re not able to come to campus, you can get your documents checked and certified at the Post Office for a fee of £10.50. To do this, make photocopies of your three accepted ID documents and take your DBS form, copies and originals of your documents to the Post Office. The Post Office will stamp the form and photocopies and given them back to you. Email your post office receipt, stamped form and stamped documents to hscdbsoh@lsbu.ac.uk.

Enrolment and Welcome Week

Before you start your course we’ll send you information on what you’ll need to do before you arrive and during your first few days on campus. You can read about the process on our new students pages.

Holidays

Your holiday periods will not follow the normal University timetable because of placements. You’ll receive more details once you start your course.

Additional skills days are woven into the programme to support preparation for practice. Students are required to travel to placement which will be no further than 1.5 hours from their home, but in many cases located much closer.

Year 1

  • Readiness for direct practice
    This module develops practice relevant skills and awareness of the social work role and responsibilities. It will ensure that you are ready for your initial period of direct practice and to 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. 
  • Methods and theories for practice
    This module introduces the core body of knowledge clustered around the major social work theories, processes and methods.  A major emphasis will be on anti-discriminatory practice, evidence based practice and critical reflection.  You will learn about a range of theoretical perspectives and methods of intervention and their application in practice.
  • Human growth and development
    This module critically explores a range of human growth and development theories across the life course in order to facilitate understanding of ordinary development and the impact of life events, disability, abuse, mental health issues, drug and alcohol use on development throughout life. You will complete a series of child observations over the period of the module which provide a key opportunity to integrate theoretical knowledge with practice, and to develop reflective skills. 
  • Law for social work
    This module introduces legal context and statutory responsibilities of social workers in England and Wales.  You will be familiarised with the basic principles of English Law and the systems through which the legal process operates. You will be enabled to develop a sound understanding of the key legislation relevant to professional practice.  There is a strong focus on the key major current legislation Children Act (1989), the NHS and Community Care Act (1990), the Mental Health Acts (1983 and 2007) and the Mental Capacity Act (2005).  The module aims to ensure that you not only understand relevant law but are also able to apply it to specific areas of practice.  The module familiarises you with the powers and duties of social workers and others in relation to children and families, and vulnerable adults.  It also examines the implications for social work practice of the UK legislation on discrimination and the implications of the incorporation into UK law of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Social PolicyThis module brings together selected key areas of social policy relevant to social work. There will be a strong emphasis on the use of social policy to illuminate the challenges facing social work in contemporary British society. Using a critical analysis of the impact of neo-liberalism and globalisation the module will be a focus on the dimensions of decision making and practice delivery of policy.
  • Practice placement 1
    70 days practice learning in practice placement.

Year 2

  • Social work with adultsThis module is designed to complement the Social Work with Children, Young People and Families module. Both modules are aimed at helping you prepare for social work practice in the real world, as you decide which area you want to work in post-qualifying. The module aims to help you develop your understanding of and ability to work with the complex issues experienced by adults using social work services. It will include a focus on report writing as a core social work skill.
  • Social work with children, young people and familiesThis is the final module on the programme, and is designed to complement the Social Work with Adults module. Both modules are aimed at helping you prepare for social work practice in the real world, as you decide which area you want to work in post-qualifying. The module aims to help you develop your understanding of and ability to work with the complex issues experienced by children, young people and families using social work services. It will include a focus on report writing as a core social work skill.
  • Practice learning placement 2
    100 days practice learning in practice placement. 
  • Limited systematic review dissertation
    This module provides the opportunity to undertake a limited systematic review into a contemporary and novel topic of choice with reference to the specific profession of social work. The findings would add to the professional evidence base. Dissemination of findings by publication is encouraged and expected. 

Current Research and Knowledge Generation

LSBU is a leading centre for research into street gangs, violence and criminal exploitation of young people. Our research has been discussed in parliamentary debates and featured in TV and radio interviews with BBC, ITN and Radio 4 and in press articles in every national newspaper. Staff members have recently completed an analysis of professional decision making in a high-profile child death inquiry in Queensland, Australia and acted as a Commissioner for the Poverty and Inequality Commission chaired by Baroness Tyler.

Careers

Employability Service

At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:

  • Free employability workshop and events for student all year round, more details can be found on our event section.
  • Online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
  • LSBU Careers Hub offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and support, guidance on future careers, as well as loads of career resources, connecting you with employers, exciting events, 1-1 support and relevant workshops.

Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.

Social work as a career

There are a diverse range of employment opportunities for qualified social workers, including local authorities, NHS trusts, voluntary sector organisations and innovative social enterprises. Salaries vary according to region, and you are likely to earn more working in London. Many of our graduates successfully seek positions in ASYE schemes (Assessed and Supported Year in Practice).

Career progression

On graduation you will be eligible to register as a Social Worker, with starting salaries ranging from £29,000-£30,000, with this possibly rising to £40,000 with experience and further responsibilities. (National Careers Service)

After qualifying as a social worker there are a variety of postgraduate professional development courses you could undertake. To find out more about what's on offer visit our online CPPD prospectus.

This course has been developed in partnership with local authority and voluntary sector partners, with input from a wide range of service users and carers. We work in partnership with a number of London local authorities, and other organisations on both the public and private sector, who contribute to planning the programme, to learning and teaching, and to the provision of practice learning opportunities.

The course is approved by Social Work England.

Teaching and Assessment

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Contact information

Course Enquiries - UK

Tel: 0207 815 7500

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