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BASocial Work

Why this course?

Social workers have a responsibility to promote the rights of powerless people, protect the vulnerable and disadvantaged and address the causes and effects of offending behaviour.

Validated by the Scottish Social Services Council and closely aligned to the Standards in Social Work Education, the degree will give you a recognised professional award in social work. It will also prepare you for the challenging role of being a social worker.

You'll have the opportunity to work/study abroad, thanks to our well-established links with the University of Greensboro, North Carolina in the United States and an exchange agreement with the University of Malta.

What you’ll study

Classes throughout the four years focus on social work practice issues. Subjects studied include:

  • psychology
  • social policy
  • law
  • social work practice

In Year 4 you'll write an Honours dissertation.

Work placement

During the course you’ll undertake three placements - one observational placement in Year 2 and an assessed placement in Years 3 & 4.

These placements take place in a variety of social work settings including within social work departments and voluntary organisations. You'll get the opportunity to work with children and young people, older people and adults and people with disabilities or mental health problems and people who use criminal justice services.

Please read our important information about the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. This is for all applicants applying for courses which involve placement opportunities (working with children or vulnerable adults).

Major projects

You'll undertake a dissertation during Year 4. You can choose a social work topic that is of interest to you and you'll be allocated a supervisor with similar interests. You'll have the opportunity to carry out research with social workers and/ or people who use services.

Postgraduate study

Upon qualification as a social worker there are a number of opportunities for further study. The BA in Social Work is a generic qualification which enables you to work with a wide range of service user groups.

Postgraduate study offers the opportunity to specialise for example by undertaking the Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health Social Work or the MSc in Advanced Residential Childcare.

International experience

The BA in Social Work at Strathclyde has Erasmus exchange agreements with the University of Malta, meaning there is the opportunity to undertake your final year placement there.

Course content

Year 1

Semester 1
Preparing for Lifelong Learning

This module is designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge required for a proactive approach to learning and study.

It aims to help you reflect on your own approaches to learning, understand the role of academic enquiry and research within this.

You'll consider how perceptions of learning arise and how they influence the process and outcome of learning.

Understanding Social Science & Social Research

This module introduces and explores social science theories and approaches which are relevant to contemporary social work, drawing in particular from sociology and social policy.

The module also has an emphasis on research awareness. For example, public discourses around social policy and interpreting research data relating to issues such as poverty and inequality. You're introduced to an appreciation of how research is used in public policy. 

Psychology for Social Work

This module will introduce you to the key socio-psychological theories informing an understanding of human development and behaviour. Areas covered will include individual, group and community factors such as identity, family, disability and culture.

You'll develop an understanding of the process of development for individuals and groups. This will include discussion of the key factors in promoting resilience and those which may inhibit healthy growth. 

Semester 2
Poverty, Disadvantage and Discrimination
This module will contribute to the development of your awareness and understanding of issues of inequality. It will develop some of the theories and concepts from the module "Understanding Social Science and Social Research" and consider how inequality impacts on the lives of vulnerable individuals and groups within society.
Values, Ethics and Justice

This module provides you with a historical overview of the development of social work values and ethics. It introduces you to core ethical concepts in social work and encourages you to understanding the ethical dimensions of choice, decision-making, interventions and the use of professional discretion.

Social work elective including:

  • Understanding Domestic Violence and Abuse
  • Crime and Criminology
  • Summer Exchange Programme with University of Greensboro, North Carolina

Year 2

Semester 1
People, Communities and Society

This module will prepare you for work with individuals, families and communities. It will equip you with the skills necessary to develop a critical understanding of the complex interactions between individuals, groups and wider social contexts.

The module will assist you to identify the social processes that can result in inequalities within communities and will build on the sociological and psychological theories introduced in year one of the course. The module will consider the ways in which sources of inequality can be challenged at an individual, community and structural level.

Social Work Organisation and Collaborative Practice

This module examines the delivery models and organisational structures that underpin social work services. A key issue to be addressed will be the extent to which changes in organisation and structures facilitate the role and value base of social work.

The module will also take account of the increasing emphasis on inter-professional working across public services. It will examine the evidence base for pursuing inter-professional working and the challenges it poses for the voice and values of social work to be heard amongst other professional disciplines.

Social Work Processes & Practices

This module is intended to equip you with the practice skills and theory required in order to take Assessed Practice 1.

The module will provide you with the opportunity to rehearse skills fundamental to sound and appropriate professional relationships It's the primary means by which you're assessed as competent to undertake practice learning in a service delivery setting.

Semester 2
Law for Social Work Practice

The module will provide you with a thorough understanding of the legal basis for social work intervention and the significance of the relationships with statutory social services and the independent social services sector.

It will enable you to understand the social worker’s role as statutory agent with duties and responsibilities to protect the public and uphold the law by providing you with a firm grounding in the legislation that underpins and impinges on your practice.

Social Work in Diverse Contexts

You have the opportunity to choose between three strands:

  • residential child care
  • community care
  • criminal justice

Social workers practise in a diverse range of settings. This module comprises a series of options which enables you to develop a deeper, critical understanding of social work practice in a particular setting.

Understanding Risk and Protection

The module will offer a range of learning experiences to help you develop skills in assessing and managing risk.  There will be a thorough examination of the concepts of risk and protection. The social and political dimensions of risk and protection will be explored using material contained in public enquiry reports.

You'll be required to consider the models and methods of risk assessment and risk management across service user groups.

Year 3

Semester 1
Assessed Practice 1

This module is intended to provide you with opportunities to develop skills, values, knowledge and competence in a specified range of key components of social work practice, and to integrate this with learning across all prior modules undertaken on their course.  This will be undertaken in an 80 day placement in a social work agency.

Semester 2
Social Work Approaches and Methods
This module seeks to develop your awareness of complex assessment, approaches and methods which you need to meet the requirements of your second and final practice learning opportunity. The learning outcomes and content are closely matched to Standards in Social Work Education. It builds directly on the year two module Social Work Processes and Practice.
Social Research for Social Work

This module aims to encourage you to take a reflective approach to research and its links to social work policy and practice and to develop research-mindedness as a requirement of ethical and effective practice.

The module will communicate the importance of research in contributing to continuing professional development and will prepare you for undertaking your dissertation in Year 4 of the course.

Social Work in a Global Context

The process of globalisation has resulted in an increasing diversity in Scotland’s population. There's a need for social work practice which recognises effectively this diversity and difference and the marked adversity or disadvantage and discrimination faced by some migrants. 

Year 4

Semester 1
Assessed Practice 2

This module is intended to provide students on qualifying courses for social work with opportunities to:

  • develop competence in all specified components of social work practice
  • build on development achieved in the module Practice Learning I
  • integrate leaning across all prior modules undertaken on their course

This will be undertaken in an 80-day placement in a social work agency.

Semester 2
Lifelong Learning for Social Work

This module aims to help you establish and strengthen the knowledge, understanding and skills required to engage in professional development at a range of levels after qualification.

It aims to provide a focus for you in the process of tracking, recording and reviewing your individual development (a process which began in the module ‘Preparing for Lifelong Learning’ and continued in activities through Years 2 and 3 of the course). The module will allow you to be able to use this process as a basis for individual development planning beyond the degree programme.

Honours Dissertation

Social workers need analytical and research skills in order to plan, monitor and evaluate professional practice.

This module builds on learning in Research for Ethical and Effective Practice by providing you with the opportunity to develop your research competence by undertaking a small scale research project on some aspect of social work for your honours dissertation.


You will be assessed by essays, reports, presentations (which may include video), peer group assessments and, in only a few cases, examination.

Learning & teaching

Our teaching methods include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • group work
  • video
  • online resources

The course is delivered by a skilled staff team many of whom hold a professional social work qualification.

Guest lectures

A range of guest lecturers offering expertise in a range of subjects also contribute to the course. This includes input from social work practitioners and people who use services and their families.

Entry requirements

Required subjects are indicated following typically accepted grades.

Highers (entry generally from S6)

Standard entry requirements

AABB (English (or a social subject) B, Maths/Applications of Mathematics National 5 C)

A Levels

Year 1 entry

Entry requirements: ABB (GCSE English Language 6/B or English Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 6/b)


HNC/HND: Year 1 entry: HNC in Social Care, Social Sciences, Early Education and Child Care, Counselling, Working with Communities, and Learning and Development with A in graded unit; Year 2 entry: relevant HNC/HND plus minimum six months relevant and challenging work experience. All applicants from college must hold a maths/numeracy qualification at the minimum of SCQF Level 5, or equivalent, e.g. Maths National 5 C/Applications of Mathematics National 5 C /Intermediate 2 C.

Deferred entry

Deferred entry accepted

Additional information

  • we look for evidence of professional suitability through a follow-up questionnaire and character reference. Registration with Protecting of Vulnerable Groups scheme is required (offending history does not exclude you from consideration)
  • suitable candidates with less than six months relevant experience of working with vulnerable people will be interviewed; those with experience may be selected on the basis of their application form

Widening access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

International students

Find out entry requirements for your country.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?


All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

  • £1,820
Rest of UK
  • £9,250

Assuming no change in Rest of UK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2017/18, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and Integrated Masters courses); MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on Integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.


  • £14,650

Dean’s International Undergraduate Scholarship

The Dean’s International Undergraduate Scholarship is open to new international students who will begin a full-time undergraduate course in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in September 2019. The award is a £3,500 scholarship per year for the duration of your degree. All offer holders are eligible to apply for this scholarship

University preparation programme fees

International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Additional fees

PVG scheme (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) 

PVG scheme paid for through SSSC

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

Students from Scotland and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

International Students (Non UK, EEA)

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Available scholarships

We have a wide range of scholarships available. Have a look at our scholarship search to find a scholarship.


Qualified social workers are in demand in a number of areas, especially children and family services. They are now among the best paid public sector workers.

Graduates from this course work in all levels of social work, including senior management positions, local authorities and in the independent sector.

Many graduates remain in contact with the University after securing employment, some acting as placement mentors for future students.

Contact us


How to apply – 10 things you need to know

  1. All undergraduate applications are made through UCAS
    Go to the UCAS website to apply – you can apply for up to five courses.
  2. It costs £12 to apply for a course
    The cost is £23 for two to five courses.
  3. The deadline is 15 January each year
    This is the application deadline for most courses. However, please check the details for your particular course. View a full list of UCAS key dates.

    Applications are still welcome from international students (non-EU) and those living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  4. You might be asked to attend an interview
    Most of our courses make offers based on the UCAS application. However some might ask you to attend an interview or for a portfolio of work. If this is the case, this will be stated in the prospectus entry requirements.
  5. It’s possible to apply directly to Year 2
    Depending on your qualifications, you might be able to apply directly to Year 2 - or even Year 3 - of a course. Speak to the named contact for your course if you want to discuss this.
  6. There’s three types of decision
    • unconditional – you’ve already met our entry requirements
    • conditional – we’ll offer you a place if you meet certain conditions, usually based on your exams
    • unsuccessful – we’ve decided not to offer you a place
  7. You need to contact UCAS to accept your offer
    Once you’ve decided which course you’d like to accept, you must let UCAS know. You don’t need to decide until you’ve received all offers. UCAS will give you a deadline you must respond by.

    You’ll choose one as your firm choice. If the offer is unconditional or if you meet the conditions, this is the course you’ll study.

    You’ll also have an insurance choice. This is a back-up option if you don’t meet the conditions of your first choice.
  8. You don’t need to send us your exam results (Scotland, England & Wales)
    If you’re studying in Scotland, England or Wales, we receive a copy of your Higher/Advanced Higher/A Level results directly from the awarding body. However, if you are studying a different qualification, then please contact us to arrange to send your results directly.
  9. We welcome applications from international students

    Find out further information about our entry and English language requirements.

    International students who don’t meet the entry requirements, can apply for our pre-undergraduate programmes.

    There’s also an online application form.

    For further information:
  10. Here’s a really useful video to help you apply

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