Annex 2: Regulations for Specific Programmes


1. The Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes (referred to throughout these Regulations as "the Code") will apply to this degree, except where separate provision is made below.


2. Application for admission to the degree of MSc in Social Work shall be subject to the Taught Code, and the relevant admissions statement, which can be found at


3. The curriculum for the degree shall extend over a period of not less than two academic years and shall consist of lectures, seminars, placements, fieldwork and training periods as specified by the school. The curriculum aims to develop candidates' practical, theoretical and applied social work skills and knowledge in line with professional requirements.

Progression and Examination

4.  In year 1 of the programme, students are required to achieve a pass in the Readiness for Practice portfolio in order to progress to the practice placement.  Students who fail to meet this standard will be required to withdraw from the Programme, and credit will be awarded at Masters level in respect of any unit in which they have satisfied the examiners up to the point of withdrawal.

5. Students will normally be required to have gained 160 credit points in order to progress from year 1 to year 2.

6. The degree of Master of Science in Social Work shall be awarded to a candidate who satisfies the examiners in the following areas:

(a) satisfactory completion of prescribed work for the taught curriculum;

(b) satisfactory completion of social work practice placements;

(c) satisfactory completion of the dissertation; and

(d) obtains a total of 320 credits at level 7 for the degree of Master of Science including 260 credits for the taught /practice learning component and 60 credits for the dissertation.

Assessment of Practice

7. The school will establish a Practice Assessment Panel with the following responsibilities:

(a) monitoring the assessment of students’ practice, and making recommendations to the school Board of Examiners in individual cases where special circumstances have occurred;

(b) monitoring the quality of placement provision.

Composition and terms of reference of the Panel will be determined by the school, and it will normally include a balanced representation of practice educators and university staff.

8. In the event of a student being required to re-take a placement, or requesting a placement outside the programme’s normal geographical or timetabling arrangements, the School will approach a maximum of three placement providers to attempt to identify a suitable placement provider who can offer the student the necessary opportunities.  In the event that these efforts are unsuccessful, the student will be required to withdraw from the programme, and, subject to the eligibility criteria in clause 12, will be awarded a qualification in Social Welfare Studies.

9. A candidate who, without good cause, fails to take up a placement offered, or who withdraws from a placement, will be deemed by the Board of Examiners to have withdrawn from the entire programme.

Appointment of External Examiners

10. In compliance with requirements of the Health and Care Professions Council (or any future successor to this agency), at least one of the external examiners appointed to the MSc in Social Work programme must be a registered Social Worker.

Award of Postgraduate Diploma

11. A candidate who has failed to satisfy the examiners in the dissertation, or, exceptionally, chooses not to proceed to the dissertation, may be recommended for the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work subject to the following conditions:

In the case of the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work, candidates must obtain 260 credits in total through successful completion of all the taught and practice learning components of the programme.

Award of MSc in Social Work with Merit or Distinction

12. In addition to the final programme marks thresholds specified in the Code, regarding the award of Merit or Distinction, the following condition will apply to the MSc in Social Work.

To be granted the award with Merit or Distinction, candidates for the MSc in Social Work must normally pass both practice placements at the first attempt. Exceptions to this rule will normally be made only where the failure to achieve the necessary standard was demonstrably outside the control of the student concerned. Where appropriate, the school’s Practice Assessment Panel may act as an Extenuating Circumstances Committee to consider such cases and make recommendations to the Examinations Board.

Award of qualification in Social Welfare Studies

13. Students who satisfy the academic requirements and achieve 60, 120, or 180 credit points, but who:

(a) fail the practice learning components or are otherwise deemed unsuitable for professional social work, or

(b) choose not to proceed to the postgraduate Diploma or MSc in Social Work,

will be eligible respectively for the award of Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Science in Social Welfare Studies.  The 180 credits for the MSc in Social Welfare Studies must include 60 credits awarded as a result of successful completion of the dissertation.

The University does not award Aegrotat qualifications for the Social Work Programme, and the awards of PG Certificate, PG Diploma and MSc in Social Welfare Studies do not confer eligibility for admission to the Health and Care Professions Council Register of Social Workers.

Protected Title

14. The MSc in Social Work is a programme approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Successful completion of the programme (at MSc or PGDip level) confers, on the successful candidate, eligibility for registration with the HCPC as a social worker.  ‘Social worker’ is a protected title and the MSc and PG Diploma in Social Work are the only awards available at the University of Bristol that confer eligibility for admission to the Register of Social Workers.

Suitability for Social Work Procedure

15. A candidate whose continuance on the programme causes serious concerns, whether arising from academic work, placement work or their general conduct, will be subject to the ‘Suitability for Social Work Procedure’ (or any future successor procedure).