Social work & social policyOur courses

Social Work

We're one of the largest providers of social work education in Scotland, offering both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Our BA (Honours) in Social Work and the Postgraduate Diploma/Master in Social Work (MSW), are both validated by the Scottish Social Services Council.

Three post-qualifying programmes allow students to specialise in different areas of practice. These are:

  • MSc in Advanced Residential Childcare
  • MSc in Child & Youth Care Studies by Distance Learning
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health Officer Social Work (MHO) Award

We also offer the BA Education & Social Services.

Social Policy and Social Work are both ranked in the top 10 for the UK in the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

BA (Hons) Social Work

Validated by the Scottish Social Services Council and closely aligned to the Standards in Social Work Education, the BA (Honours) 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 also 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.

Find out more about the BA (Hons) in Social Work programme.

Master in Social Work (MSW)

The MSW in Social Work is a two-year, full-time, postgraduate degree course. The qualification is recognised throughout the UK and it’s 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 and is validated by social work's professional body in Scotland, the Scottish Social Services Council.

The course provides a stimulating blend of university-based teaching and agency-based learning opportunities across both years. You'll undertake a range of taught modules, a dissertation and assessed placements in a range of social work service settings.

The places are supported by a bursary from the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). If you are interested in applying, please complete an application via UCAS.

Master in Social Work (MSW).

MSc Advanced Residential Childcare

The MSc in Advanced Residential Child Care has been developed within the Department of Social Work & 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.

Find out more about the MSc in Advanced Residential Childcare.

MSc Child & Youth Care Studies by Distance Learning

This programme has a fresh, engaging curriculum that covers:

  • globalised childhoods
  • international policy contexts
  • the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
  • bringing up children
  • research methods

The programme is aimed at students with an interest in developing positive strategies for affirming and developing the professional identity of child and youth care practice.

Discover more about the MSc Child & Youth Care Studies (distance learning).

BA Education & Social Services

This innovative degree is a joint programme between the University of Strathclyde and three further education colleges (James Watt, Langside and Motherwell).

The BA Education & Social Services responds to the Scottish Government’s aspiration for different services to communicate more effectively and to work in a more integrated way to meet the service-user needs of children, young people and adults.

You'll enter college at Diploma of Higher Education level, having first studied a relevant HNC, then go on to study Year 3 for the BA at Strathclyde.

Read more about the BA Education & Social Services.

Social Policy

Social policy is a discipline which looks at the welfare of societies and individuals. It provides an exciting opportunity for students to critically analyse contemporary social issues such as inequalities, disadvantage, diversity, globalisation and crime.

The courses we offer take an international and comparative perspective, ensuring that issues discussed are considered in their global context.

Our undergraduate BA programme and the Postgraduate programmes use a variety of engaging approaches to teaching and learning, where students have opportunities to actively engage.

The BA in Social Policy has been declared joint number 1 in the UK by The Complete University Guide 2019 league table for Social Policy.

BA Social Policy

This joint honours degree programme gives you the opportunity to learn more about the social and economic challenges facing Scottish society and enables you to place these in a broader international and comparative perspective.

It also addresses some of the major questions of our time, such as how should social policy adapt to a changing global, digital, connected and information-rich world; how can we adapt social policies to the needs of a more diverse society; and how should resources be distributed, not only between generations, but also within them?

MSc Social Policy & MSc Social Policy (Research Methods)

These programmes will offer you the opportunity to develop and extend your knowledge and understanding of key social policy issues together with advanced training in research methods.

They aim to improve your knowledge and understanding of the factors which shape social needs and the ways in which different societies have responded to these; to enhance your research skills; and to enable you to undertake an independent research project on a topic of your choice.

They are suitable for students who:

  • have studied social policy at undergraduate level and who wish to build on the foundations they have already laid before entering employment or embarking on further study
  • graduates of other disciplines who wish to improve their knowledge and understanding of social and welfare issues whilst also enhancing their research skills
  • individuals already in employment who wish to update their existing knowledge and skills before moving onto the next stage of their careers

Read more about MSc Social Policy

Read more about MSc Social Policy (Research Methods)

MSc International Social Welfare

This unique International Social Welfare Masters programme is aimed at students with an interest in international social work and global social policy. The course will provide advanced knowledge about the theory and practice of social work and social policy in an international context.

Read more about the MSc International Social Welfare

MSc Criminology & Social Policy

This course has been designed, and will be delivered by, a dynamic team of international scholars with globally-recognised expertise in Criminology, Criminal Justice and Social Policy in an inclusive learning environment to provide you with a critical understanding of contemporary theories, issues and debates in criminology, criminal justice and social and penal policy. 

This course will provide you with a cutting-edge understanding of the individual, relational, cultural and structural factors that intersect with, and underpin, offending and related social issues, locally and globally, drawing on critical arguments, theories and debates at the forefront of criminology and criminal justice, social and penal policy and practice.

It will equip you with an understanding of social science research methods and skills which will enhance your research skills and enable you to undertake an independent research project on a topic of your choice.

Read more about the MSc Criminology & Social Policy

MSc Health & Social Policy

This programme offers you the opportunity to develop and extend your knowledge and understanding of how key health and social policies and outcomes intersect, while also providing advanced training in research methods. It aims to improve your knowledge and understanding of the factors which shape people’s health and wellbeing, and the ways in which different societies and governments have intervened to shape these relationships.

This integrative approach to health and social policy is inspired by recent policy efforts to develop whole-of-government and systems approaches that focus on understanding cross-policy links - efforts that are, in turn, informed by evidence demonstrating such approaches are more cost-effective. 

There is strong focus on combining postgraduate level research methods training with study of research challenges from a policy perspective. The programme includes opportunities for students to undertake a placement-based dissertation module, examining advocacy and research challenges in partnership with non-governmental organisations (NGO), policy bodies, or academic research teams.

Read more about the MSc Health & Social Policy