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MA-PgDip Social Work

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  • Objectives
    This programme is a professional qualification with graduates eligible to register as social workers with the General Social Care Council (GSCC). It is an internationally renowned programme previously based at St Lukes, University of Exeter and now to be taught at the main University of Plymouth campus from September 2007. We are excited about bringing this programme to the same base as our BSc (Hons) Social Work and Continuing Professional Development courses. Within the recent Guardian League Tables the Social Work area consistently receives a high rating with particular praise for our innovation. This innovative approach combined with the impact of our Centre of Excellence in Professional Placement Learning mean that we are excited about the opportunity of further enhancing what is already a highly regarded programme. Students may undertake the programme independently, with financial support from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) bursary scheme, or be supported by their current employers. The structure of the programme enables employer-supported students to undertake practice learning in their employing agency for approximately half of the duration of the programme.
  • Entry requirements
    Applicants are normally required to have a first degree (with at least second class honours), together with at least 12 months" experience of working with vulnerable or disadvantaged people in a welfare capacity (either paid or unpaid). In addition, all social work students must have attained at least Key Skills level 2 in English and Maths (or their equivalent) and have satisfied criminal conviction and medical clearance requirements. Applicants who do not have the necessary English and Maths qualifications (eg GCSE Grade C or above; GCE O level; CSE Grade 1), will be required to have obtained these qualifications before commencing the course.(We do advise students who do not have these academic entry qualifications to contact their local FE College to identify possible short courses which will prepare them for the proficiency test. Further details will be made available on relevant test centres if a candidate is offered a place on the programme.)
  • Academic Title
    MA/PgDip Social Work
  • Course description
    Programme highlights

    -Learn in practice with dynamic partnerships with local social service departments and voluntary agencies
    -Develop expertise in anti-oppressive practice, child care disability, mental health and social policy

    Staffing
    The MA programme is part of a range of qualifying, post-qualifying and research programmes and activities in social work provided by the University of Plymouth’s social work staff who are supported by a wide range of other stakeholders, including practice assessors, service providers, service users, and carers.

    There are a number of staff dedicated to the programme. Current staff include Professor Bill Jordan (Head of Research), Dr Brynna Kroll, Andy Taylor, Clare Colton (admissions tutor), Pam Freeman, Caroline Hickman, Todor Proykov and Dr Stuart Williams. Further details about staff publications and research interests can be found on the Faculty of Health and Social Work pages on the website.

    Duration
    2 years full time

    General programme structure
    The aim of this programme is to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills required to become confident and competent, reflective and analytical professional social workers. Students will divide their time equally between academic study and practice learning.

    The teaching programme offers practice learning opportunities in both the statutory and voluntary sectors throughout the far south-west region.

    The programme, based on up-to-date research and current practice, has been devised to provide a highly integrated theoretical and practical training experience. Whilst rooted in theory, a high percentage of the training is experiential in nature, with an emphasis on practice and personal development.

    Students may undertake the programme independently, with financial support from a nationally provided bursary scheme, or be supported by their current employers. The programme structure enables employer-supported students to undertake practice learning in their employing agency for approximately half of the programme duration.

    Detailed programme structure
    The training experience includes:

    -Practical placements
    -Lecture/seminar programmes
    -Supervision
    -Critical evaluation of current legal provision responsibilities and duties relating to social work
    -Knowledge of current law relating to the social care of vulnerable adults and children
    -Evaluation of the requirements of the law against ethics and values upheld by social workers
    -Practice-based dissertation
    -This programme is NOT part of the Taught Integrated Masters Scheme

    Learning and assessment
    Teaching is normally arranged to take place on two days each week, with the rest of the time used for directed academic study. It is not possible to undertake the programme on a part-time basis, whilst remaining in employment (on anything other than a very limited/occasional basis) with either a sponsoring agency or any other employer.

    All students are assessed by written assignments, a law exam, and practice portfolios. To gain the MA, students must also successfully submit a practice-based dissertation.

    Practice Learning
    Placement opportunities will be provided in agencies in both the statutory and voluntary sectors throughout the far south west region. Several local authorities arrange placements for the programme (Devon, Somerset, Plymouth, Torbay and Cornwall), together with a wide range of voluntary sector agencies, including Rethink, The Richmond Fellowship, NCH, Age Concern, Families for Children, and the Exeter Housing Action Group. All placements will provide opportunities to meet the National Occupational Standards for Social Work, with assessment being undertaken by accredited Practice Assessors. While effort is made to match placements to the personal circumstances and needs of individual students, many students will have to travel considerable distances (or temporarily re-locate) to access their placements. For students receiving a GSCC bursary, travel costs, both to and from the placement agency, and for work on the placements, are met. Whilst on placement, students will be required to work normal agency hours (ie full time).

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