MSc Advanced Social Work with Children and Families

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Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available MSc , PG Certificate (Postgraduate Certificate), PG Diploma (Postgraduate Diploma)
Programme length Two to five years part-time, depending on the programme;
up to two years for students registering on the occasional route (1-2 units only: no award).
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes, part-time only
Start date This is a part-time modular programme and there are three entry dates per year: September, January and April.

Programme overview

This is a part-time modular programme providing continuing professional development for qualified and registered social workers who are currently working in some capacity with children and young people, their families and carers in the UK.

The programme leads to one of three awards; you can enter at MSc, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma level. Alternatively, you are welcome simply to take any of our units on a credit-only basis.

The programme is normally accessed by qualified social workers as part of their employment with local authorities or voluntary/independent sector organisations in the south west of England. However, we also welcome applications from appropriately qualified and experienced practitioners/managers working elsewhere in the UK. It is managed in partnership with local employers.

Fees for 2020/21

Fees are set on a per-unit basis for this programme. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

£1,120 per 20-credit unit
£1,670 60-credit dissertation fee
£2,570 per 20-credit unit
£3,850 60-credit dissertation fee

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

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 2020/21

Funding is normally provided by students' employers or through self-funding.

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

Programme structure

The programme is timetabled so that you study on a part-time basis, and access to units is modular.

Postgraduate Certificate students must take three units, normally including at least two of the four core units (a total of 60 credit points). Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Social Work with Children and Families.

Postgraduate Diploma students must take all four core units and two of the optional units (a total of 120 credit points). Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Social Work with Children and Families.

Master's students must take all four core units and two of the optional units. Successful completion of the dissertation leads to the full master's award (a total of 180 credit points). You will undertake research methods training before accessing the dissertation unit. Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our MSc in Advanced Social Work with Children and Families.

Credit-only students can undertake any of the units available on the programme. This will give you the opportunity to gain academic credits towards your continuing professional development. However, if you want to build up academic credits to work towards a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma or MSc, you will need to take careful note of the requirements for these programmes in terms of core and optional units.

There is also a Graduate Certificate in Social Work with Children and Families for prospective students without an undergraduate qualification.

Entry requirements

Professional social work qualification (or equivalent) and current registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (or equivalent). An honours degree (or equivalent qualification demonstrated through experience in the field), and a demonstrable ability to study at postgraduate level.

As part of the application, you will be asked to submit a personal statement of 550-700 words (300-500 words for those undertaking individual 'credit only' units).

As this is a practice-focused programme, students are required to be in professional social work practice with children and families in some capacity in the UK.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile B
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement


Students on the MSc in Advanced Social Work with Children and Families are qualified and experienced social workers, who are currently employed in a variety of children and family settings in the UK. The programme is aligned with the British Association of Social Workers' Professional Capabilities Framework and the Department for Education’s Knowledge and Skills Statement for child and family practitioners.

It has been designed to provide high-quality continuing professional development for social work practitioners and managers. Successful completion of the programme will support professional registration and enhance opportunities for career progression.

How to apply
Application deadline:

29 November 2019 (for January 2020 start)
28 February 2020 (for April 2020 start)

International students

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

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REF 2014 results

  • Social Work and Social Policy:
  • 38% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 42% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 18% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 2% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

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

Open days and visits

Find out about opportunities to visit Bristol.

Get in touch

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

Heather Ottaway Programme Director Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 0691 Email:

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


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