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Postgraduate Diploma-Master in Social Work

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  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements All candidates must possess a first degree, preferably at honours level in an area of social science. In very exceptional circumstances, candidates who not do have a first degree may be considered, if they have very extensive professional experience and can demonstrate academic ability at graduate level. It is preferable that candidates should possess Mathematics and English at Standard Grade (credit level), Intermediate 2 (A-C) or GCSE (A-C), or a recognised equivalent.
  • Academic Title
    Postgraduate Diploma/Master in Social Work
  • Course description
    This 2-year, full-time, post-graduate degree course.  The qualification is recognised throughout the UK and it is expected that in due course it will meet the criteria for recognition in the EU and elsewhere overseas. The course is based on the Standards in Social Work Education (SiSWE) and is to be validated by social work's professional body in Scotland, the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

    The degree is provided by the Glasgow School of Social Work, comprising the former departments of social work based in the universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow and the qualification is awarded by both universities.  The course is taught at the Jordanhill Campus of the University of Strathclyde but links are maintained with the University of Glasgow.  Students are registered with, and have access to the facilities and resources of both universities.

    The Glasgow School of Social Work draws on a long and rich tradition of education, research and consultancy in social work stretching back many decades and brings together a staff group with extensive experience in the varied areas of social work practice i.e. children and families, criminal justice social work and community care.  The Scottish Institute of Residential Child Care, a multi-million pound development funded by the Scottish Governement to support research and training in residential child care, the Centre for the Child and Society, and Community Care Works are all based within the School and contribute to both teaching in the course as well as to research and consultancy.  The Scottish Community Development Centre, based in the city centre of Glasgow and supported by the University of Glasgow has had a pioneering influence on underlining the importance of community work as a means of combating poverty and empowering disadvantaged people and their communities.

    The course provides a stimulating blend of university-based teaching and agency-based learning opportunities across both years. The teaching and learning approach is student-centred and aims to promote reflective learning. Problem-based learning, universally recognised as an effective way of developing the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed by busy professionals, is the key approach throughout, but that's not all. Lectures, seminar groups, simulations and individual skills rehearsal all feature, underpinned by a commitment to use interactive e-learning wherever relevant. At the heart of the course is practice learning in social work service agencies with formally assessable placements being undertaken in both years.

    Assessment methods consist of regular feedback on specific tasks related to teaching and learning as work on the module progresses. Modules are formally assessed in a range of different ways, including essay, report, presentations, peer group assessments.

    What are we looking for?

    Competition for post-graduate social work courses is considerable and we normally expect entrants to have had at least six months full-time work experience, or its equivalent in part-time work, prior to applying. We are more concerned with the quality of experience than with whether or not it is paid. It is useful to think about developing experience in three dimensions - duration, range and depth. While longer experience and more diverse experience is of great value, depth (or quality) is perhaps more important since this is what facilitates learning and professional development. Often experience is "deeper" in contexts where supervision is offered regularly, allowing for in-depth discussion of practice issues and dilemmas. Undertaking relevant reading and training while working also often helps people to "deepen" the quality of their experience. The following indicate the kinds of criteria which the School operates in considering the relevance and suitability of work experience.

    Relevant Work Experience

    Competition for post-graduate social work courses is considerable and we normally expect entrants to have had at least six months full-time work experience, or its equivalent in part-time work, at the point of the application.  We are more concerned with the quality of experience that whether or not it is paid.  It is useful to think about developing experience in three dimensions - duration, range and depth.  While longer experience and more diverse experience is of great value, depth (or quality) is perhaps more important since this is what facilitates learning and professional development.  Often experience is "deeper" in contexts where supervision is offered regularly, allowing for in-depth discussion in practice issues and dilemmas.  Undertaking relevant reading and training while working often helps people to "deepen" the quality of their experience.  The following indicate the kinds of criteria which the School operates in considering the relevance and suitability of work experience.

    Criteria for Work Experience

        * Does it entail direct contact with people either as service users, e.g. individuals, families or groups where the focus is on helping them live with or manage major difficulties in their lives, or in stimulating collaborative ventures to seek social change?
        * Does it develop critical awareness of the range, depth and complexity of social and personal problems and the variety of individual and agency responses which can address these?
        * Does it develop basic knowledge of the functions of social work, social care and/or community development agencies?
        * Does it develop skills in helping other people in difficulty, e.g.; skills in identifying and assessing problems; jointly planning and supporting a response to them; coping with stress?
        * Does it provide opporunities to reflect on, and take action to combat, discrimination and oppression in people's lives?
        * Does it generate an awareness, and an ability to act in the light, of the value dilemmas involved in both helping activities and social change activities, e.g. reflecting on the tensions between individual rights and freedoms and collective social obligations?

    Relevant Work Settings

        * Work may be undertaken in a wide variety of settings (e.g. community-based offices, residential provision, day care services, community organisations).
        * Work may be carried out with a range of client groups; these will commonly be people who experience various forms of disadvantage.
        * It should be supervised by a member of staff of the status and experience to provide a reference indicating suitability for entry to social work education.

    Personal Qualities

    The kinds of personal qualities which we look for include:

        * the ability to convey genuine warmth and interest in people
        * ability to see strengths and potential in even the most difficult circumstances and people
        * a genuine interest in difference and diversity and a demonstratable ability to adapt and change
        * a willingness to question conformity and risk discomfort in challenging attitudes which foster discrimination and complacency
        * the capacity to support people who live with difficult, sometimes worsening circumstances
        * being able to help people set and follow their own agendas, yet  being capable of asserting your authority where their welfare requires it
        * being level-headed and helpful in the face of people's distress, pain and anger - even when it's turned on you
        * a quiet confidence in your own ability and the capacity to argue and defend your views in a constructive way
        * satisfaction in helping manage and, where possible, resolve conflict, but never at the expense of sacrificing the interests of vulnerable people
        * taking enjoyment from both using your own initiatives as well as working accountably as part of a team
        * the ability to accept constructive criticism and learn from your mistakes
        * a passion to fight for the rights of disadvantaged people

    Communication Skills

    The ccmmunication skills which we would expect all applicants to demonstrate would include the capacity to:

        * engage appropriately with a wide range of people
        * communicate expressively, fluently and convincingly in verbal and written form
        * understand, calculate and present accurately, basic numerical and financial information
        * possess at least a basic understanding of information and communication technology and be able to acquire sufficient competence by the end of year 1/level 1 of the course

    Course Outline

    Please note that changes in the course may be introduced at short notice as a result of our commitment to continuous improvement.

    Year 1 - Semester 1

    Three modules (15 credits each):

        * Human Development and Functioning examines the impact of diverse social contexts on human growth, development and behaviour.
        * The Context of Social Work explores the historical, societal, legal and structural (including social policy) context of social work service provision.
        * Social Work Theory and Practice 1 is the foundation module for exploring the values issues and developing the knowledge and skills base required for the sustained placement in a social work agency.

    Year 1 - Semester 2

    One 15 credit module: Professional Practice 1 consists of a formally supported and assessed placement of 85 days in one of a range of social work service settings. These include: area service centre offices, schools, groupwork projects, criminal justice settings, hospitals and other health settings, residential and day care centres, specialist service centres in the community, emergency services. Students may be required to work unsocial hours and shift patterns to accommodate the needs of service users. Placements are to be found in both local authority and the independent sectors

    Year 2 - Semester 1

    Three modules (15 credits each):

        * Harm, Risk, Care & Protection examines critically the concepts of risk and protection and explores how social work services seek to balance the oft-competing objectives of managing risk effectively while promoting peoples' rights to independence and autonomy.
        * The Organisational Context looks at the impact of social workers' agency context on workers and services and considers strategies designed to promote effectiveness in service provision.
        * Social Work Theory and Practice 2 builds on the earlier modules around practice preparation and seeks to develop a wider repertoire of approaches and methods.

    Year 2 - Semester 2

    One 15 credit module: Professional Practice 2 consists of a formally supported and assessed placement of 85 days in one of a range of social work service settings. These include: area service centre offices, schools, groupwork projects, criminal justice settings, hospitals and other health settings, residential and day care centres, specialist service centres in the community, emergency services. Students may be required to work unsocial hours and shift patterns to accommodate the needs of service users. Placements are to be found in both local authority and the independent sectors.

    Work towards the Masters Dissertation is mostly scheduled for the period beyond Year 2 of the programme; arrangements will be notified during year 1

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