MSc Social Work

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Awards available MSc
Programme length Two years full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Open to international students Yes
Start date September 2017

Programme overview

This two-year programme is designed for people who want to qualify and practice as a professional social worker.

Social work is a demanding but highly rewarding profession, which is often in the public spotlight. As a qualified social worker you will be able to work with both children and adults, helping them to be safe so that they can cope and take control of their lives again. You will work with them to assess their needs, find what will help them, build their self-confidence and link them to other services. This requires an ability to appraise complex and difficult situations, drawing on social science research, social work theories and methods of intervention. You will need a thorough understanding of social policies and a firm grasp of the legal powers and duties that underpin your practice.

The MSc in Social Work combines university-based learning with two extended periods of supervised practice as a student social worker in a social work agency. Completion of the degree will make you eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council and practise as a qualified professional social worker in a range of areas including statutory, voluntary, private and independent sectors.

You will develop an understanding of the structural and personal factors that lead to disadvantage, oppression and discrimination and learn to apply this understanding to your practice. You will develop skills as a reflective practitioner, appraising relevant evidence, including research, to evaluate your own and others' work, and to contribute to the development of policy and practice.

To find out more, take a look at these videos, including an overview of the programme structure and interviews with students.

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


Fees quoted are per annum and subject to annual increase.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2017/18

There is a social work bursary available to students (subject to eligibility/residency criteria). The Department of Health continues to review the bursary allocation for social work education. The University of Bristol will be allocated a set number of bursaries for each academic year, and the number of bursaries available does not usually cover the number of places we have available on the course. Consequently, some students enter the programme without a full bursary. They are either self-funded or sponsored by their local authority. We allocate bursaries according to performance during the interview day.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

First year

Social Work Studies

  • Social Work with Children and Young People
  • Social Work with Adults
  • Mental Health Social Work
  • Housing and Homelessness
  • Substance Misuse
  • Domestic Violence

Applied Social Science and Law

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Law
  • History and Contemporary Context of Social Work
  • Organisations and the Professional Task

Foundations of Social Work: The Professional Role

  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Professional Values and Ethics
  • Social Work Theory and Methods
  • Integrative Groups
  • Skills based workshops

Practice Learning 1

  • Preparation for Practice
  • Communication and Interviewing Skills
  • Practice Development Groups
  • 70-day Practice Placement

Second year

Social Work Studies 2

  • Social Work with Children and Families OR Social Work with Adults
  • Mental Health Social Work with Adults
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health
  • Community Social Work Practice

Research in Social Work

  • Research Methods in Social Work
  • Dissertation

Practice Learning 2

  • Preparation for Practice
  • Practice Development Groups
  • 100-day practice placement
  • ASYE Workshops

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in any discipline. Relevant social work/social care-related experience. GCSE English and Mathematics grade A-C (or equivalent) are required.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile B
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.


Completion of the degree will make you eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council and practise as a qualified professional social worker.

How to apply
Application deadline:

10 May 2017. Early application recommended; places may fill before our deadline.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 38% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 42% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 18% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 2% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Get in touch

Emma Western Senior Postgraduate Admissions Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 954 6785 Email:

School for Policy Studies
University of Bristol
8 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TZ


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