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Social Work Studies (MSc-Postgraduate Diploma)

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  • Objectives
    The programme is run in partnership with statutory and non-statutory agencies in Stirling, Falkirk, Clackmannan, Fife, Perth & Kinross, Edinburgh City, Midlothian, West Lothian, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders. The programme aims to provide you with an integrated academic and professional programme which develops the intellectual and practice skills necessary for professional practice as a Social Worker. This is achieved through providing a sound foundation in relevant social sciences, in professional ethics and law, in research and in skills of direct work with individuals, groups and families.
  • Entry requirements
    Entrance Requirements A degree in any subject or, exceptionally, a diploma or certificate at degree level. Previous experience of paid/unpaid social work is desirable. A criminal record check will be carried out before placements begin. Registration with the Scottish Social Services Council is a requirement for the programme. An Enhanced Disclosure Scotland check will be made at the beginning of the programme and again before placements begin.*
  • Academic Title
    Social Work Studies (MSc/Postgraduate Diploma)
  • Course description
    Structure and Content

    The taught programme consists of nine modules which include two periods of assessed practice, and is delivered through lectures incorporating small group discussion, student-led project work, micro skills teaching and one or two day workshops.

    Placements are in a wide range of statutory and voluntary agencies and provide the opportunity for classroom-based teaching to be applied in practice. Every student has a practice teacher to supervise and assess their practice. Contact with the University during this time is maintained through visits by your tutor and recall days back in the University when placement experiences can be shared within the student group.

    Year One

    You will study three modules during Semester One on:
        Theory and Practice of Social Work I: Introduction to social work practice and theory, ethics and anti-discriminatory practice.
        Social Work and the Law: Social policy, social security systems, welfare rights and ethics.

    Human Development: Development across the life cycle; young child observation.

    During Semester Two you will be on full-time supervised Practice Placement (65 days) in a statutory or independent agency.

    Year Two

    You will study four modules during Semester Three on:
        Knowledge for Practice I – Health, Illness and Disability: Significance of illness, disability and learning difficulties, social work practice and health care.
        Knowledge for Practice II – Criminal Justice (half module): Criminal justice social work.
        Knowledge for Practice III – Children and Families (half module): Working with children and families.
        Theory and Practice of Social Work II: Work with families and groups, work in day and residential settings, social work with children and families, social work in criminal justice.

    The second supervised Practice Placement runs from the end of Semester Three through the summer period and ends during Semester Four (95 days).

    During Semester Four you complete the second Practice Placement and take one module on:
        Risk, Power and Politics in Contemporary Social Work

    The award of Postgraduate Diploma is made at this point, following satisfactory completion of all assessed work.

    Year Three

    Students proceeding to the MSc complete Year Three. The dissertation period, when you undertake and write up research, is three months (full-time) or six months (part-time).

    Delivery and Assessment

    Assessment is designed to meet University and professional regulations through a variety of modes that reflect the different skills required of social workers.

    With the exception of the Law Examination and Welfare Rights test in the first year and an oral and a written examination in the second, all assessment is on a continuous basis. You are assessed on conventional essays (2,000 or 2,500 words), placement-associated written work and videos of role-played practice, accompanied by a written critique. Practice placements are assessed on the basis of reports from both yourself and your supervising practice teacher.

    Career Opportunities

    Successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma or the MSc provides the ‘licence to practise’ as a qualified social worker who is registered with the regulatory council of the country in which they work. In Scotland, this is the Scottish Social Services Council.

    The qualification is recognised throughout the UK and for work in community-based teams, hospitals, day and residential centres and voluntary agency projects. In Scotland and Northern Ireland it is also the qualification for Social Work in prisons and criminal justice teams. In England and Wales it is not a requirement for probation work but may be accepted as appropriate.

    Students completing the programme can expect to find employment in social work within six months of qualifying.

    *Full details of Scottish Social Services Council registration and checks will be provided to successful applicants.

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