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MScAdvanced Residential Child Care

Why this course?

Consensus is growing that residential child care practice is complex, challenging and requires requisite knowledge, skills and capacities of the workforce. 

If children and young people are to have positive care experiences which improve their life chances, then those who care for them, and those who support those who care for them, must be supported in developing and maintaining that knowledge.

The MSc in Advanced Residential Child Care has been developed within the School of Social Work and Social Policy alongside the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) to support the development of direct practice and leadership in the residential child care sector in Scotland and beyond.

The course is unique in the UK in offering a Masters-level award specifically in residential child care.

By taking this course, you can expect to experience development in your knowledge, skills and relational capacities in practice. You can also expect to contribute to professional leadership, practice development and research and evaluation in your own agency and possibly beyond.

The changing profile of children in residential care and the complexity of their needs demands an increasingly skilled, competent, confident and qualified workforce. There can be few more important and challenging tasks than caring for some of the most vulnerable and troubled children and young people in our society. We must recognise the importance of this work in the aspirations we have for this workforce."

(Higher Aspirations, Brighter Futures: National Residential Child Care Initiative Overview Report, SIRCC, 2009)

You’ll study

The course is made up of different modules and you'll attend the University for six days per module.

You’re expected to complete the six taught modules over a 17-month period. A further six months is allowed for completion of a practice-based dissertation.

Core modules include Critical Perspectives on Residential Child Care; Understanding & Assessing in Children’s Life-spaces; Ethical Leadership and Management in Residential Child Care; Skilled and Reflective Use of Self in Residential Child Care.


Both the MSc and the Postgraduate Diploma meet the management part of the requirement for registration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) for managers in residential child care.

Teaching Staff

The core teaching team is comprised of:

Course content


  • Critical perspectives on residential child care
  • Understanding and assessing in children's life-spaces
  • Ethical leadership and management in residential child care
  • Skilled and reflective use of self in residential child care
  • Intervening effectively in residential child care
  • Methods: ethical and effective research in residential child care
  • Professional enquiry in residential child care: dissertation

Learning & teaching

Constructivist learning theory informs the approaches to learning and teaching on this course, in that you'll be encouraged to explore, challenge and build upon your already existing knowledge and experience.

Classes may involve a small amount of lecture-style content, but will be mostly dialogical. Discussions will often be based on interrogating relevant research, theory and social policy as it relates to your practice. One module will also involve the use of video recording to enhance your communication skills and reflective capacities.


Assessment is made up of group or individual presentations and essays, both of which apply research, theory and social policy to your practice and the practices in your place of work.

In one module, assessment will involve your reflections on a video you’ve made of your communication in practice. You need sufficient access to practice in residential child care settings through which you’ll evidence practice requirements. However, these requirements are broad enough to allow those in external management, training or other relevant positions to meet the requirements of the assessments.

Entry requirements

  • undergraduate Honours Degree (Second Class) or equivalent qualifications and experience
  • applicants with HNC/SVQ3/SVQ4 qualifications will be asked to provide a supporting written assignment
  • students with professional or academic qualifications other than social work will be considered

Fees & funding


Fees for this programme are paid through a Scottish Government grant award (subject to continued funding) to the Centre for Looked After Children (CELCIS). No charges apply to students employed in residential child care settings in Scotland.


  • £2,100

Rest of UK

  • £2,100

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

Contact us


Applications are open for 2020 and the deadline for 2020 applications will be decided next spring/summer.

Advanced Residential Childcare - Dissertation only

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Aug 2020, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Advanced Residential Childcare

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2020, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

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