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Social Work MA

Social Work is a rewarding profession which enables you to have a significant impact on the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable people. 

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DMU has a 30-year history of delivering social work education at undergraduate level. This course uses this experience to offer social work qualification at postgraduate level with successful completion providing eligibility to apply for registration with Social Work England.   

The course is vocational and up to half of it is spent on placement in social work settings. The course aims to produce capable and competent students ready to enter the profession and make a difference to service users’ lives. The qualification is generic so you will be able to work across a range of adult and childcare settings in both the statutory and voluntary sector.   

You will benefit from a variety of teaching methods including formal lectures, student-led learning, problem-based learning, self-directed study and e-learning. Alongside this, the Social Work MA has 170 days of practice-based learning. 

We have strong links with placement providers which produce high quality placements supervised by practice educators. Placements are normally within the Leicester City or Leicestershire geographical area and are full-time work-based learning commitments.

Key features

  • Develop your professional skills by transferring theory into practice in the 170 days on placement.
  • We have strong links with the local statutory and voluntary sector to ensure good quality and supportive placement experiences.
  • The course has been developed to provide the academic teaching in year one before placements to ensure that you feel equipped for practice learning.
  • You will be taught by experienced social work practitioners and researchers, ensuring a rich learning experience.
  • Service users, carers and current social work practitioners are directly involved in our teaching.
  • Benefit from a 30-year history of delivering social work education at DMU.
  • Study a range of modules including Children and Families Social Work, Human Growth and Development, Social Work with Adults, and Social Work Theories and Methods.




DMU offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships and bursaries to help you realise your academic ambitions.

International student scholarships

Find out about available international scholarships or visit our fees and funding page for more information.


View frequently asked questions

DMU has been shortlisted for the Postgraduate Award in the 2024 Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs), as voted for by students.

  • UK
  • EU/International

Course code: L50080

Duration: Two years full-time

Attendance: You will be required to achieve a minimum of 70% attendance. 

The course is a full-time course across the two years.  

Start date: September 2024

Fees and funding:

2024/25 tuition fees for UK students for the two year course will be £9,800.

Social work bursaries and student loans

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

There will be a restricted number of NHS Social Work bursaries available for postgraduate social work students through universities in England. Further information is available on the NHS Business Services Authority

This funding route could be subject to change so do check the situation with NHS Business Services before application. Any social work bursaries awarded to DMU will be allocated to students on a competitive basis. 

Students who have not been successful in gaining a bursary may be eligible for a student loan for study depending on their circumstances.     

This course is now closed to international students.


Entry criteria

  •  Applicants should hold an honours degree 2:2 or above in any discipline
  • Applicants are required to have GCSE English or English Literature at grade 4/C or above
  • You must have three months (approx. 400 hours) recent experience, either full-time or part-time, paid or voluntary in a relevant field of social care, health or education. This must be evidenced by a work-based reference.

Please note that references and a Disclosure and Barring Service check will be required prior to the commencement of study.

English language requirements:

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 7 or equivalent when you start the course is essential with no component below 6.5. English language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning (CELL), is available both before and during the course.

Please visit for more information.

Applicants holding degree level qualifications are still required to meet English qualification level criteria.


Applicants who meet the entry criteria will be invited to attend an interview with a member of the Social Work team, usually in conjunction with a person with lived experience, a practice educator or a local practitioner.

The Social Work programme selection process will consist of two parts. Firstly, you will be asked to complete a suitability declaration and a work experience statement. These will be reviewed and if you meet the work experience criteria you will be invited to attend an interview.

Professional conduct during the interview will contribute to the decision making regarding your application. Applicants must meet the interview threshold score to receive an offer.

Interviews are currently being conducted remotely via Microsoft Teams.

Non-academic requirements

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

As part of the admissions process, applicants are required to go through our processes for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Any criminal record declaration will be managed in accordance with the programme’s DBS process in a timely manner, with the aim of confirming an applicant’s suitability for the programme prior to enrolment.

We strongly advise that you opt for the DBS update service as it is possible that future placement providers may request a recent DBS and not one from the start of the programme. If you decide not to opt for this service then you will have to pay for the DBS again if requested by your placement provided – the university will not cover this cost. 

Suitability Declaration

You will be required to complete a suitability declaration before the interview that also enquires about health conditions. Please note that if we require a form of written medical evidence you will need to pay for this yourself. We may also ask you to attend a suitability assessment meeting.

You must meet and fulfil all non-academic requirements before 17 July 2023. Failure to meet this deadline may result in your offer being withdrawn.

Work experience

The range and types of work experience will be considered in the application process. We are able to consider some relevant course- based placement experience and some informal care experience as part of this requirement (such as that for which Carer’s Allowance is paid). You will be required to complete a Work Experience statement before the interview and this will be assessed in conjunction with your suitability declaration and interview score before you can be offered a place on the course.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessment

Registration as Social


Proposed Modules

Year One

  • Children and Families Social Work
  • Social Work with Adults
  • Values and Social Justice
  • Social Work Theories and Methods
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Understanding Professional Practice in Social Work
  • Research Methods
  • Skills Development days

Year Two

  • Placement One
  • Placement Two
  • Research Dissertation 
  • Skills Development Days

Note: All modules are indicative and based on the current academic session. Course information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to review. Exact modules may, therefore, vary for your intake in order to keep content current. If there are changes to your course we will, where reasonable, take steps to inform you as appropriate.

Teaching and assessment

There will be a variety of teaching methods e.g. formal lectures, student led learning, problem based learning, self-directed study and e-learning within the course.

On-going assessment is informed by essays, group presentations, case studies, skills exercises, a placement portfolio and other methods. In your final year you will complete a dissertation.  

You will be allocated a personal tutor who will support you with your academic learning.

The Social Work MA has 170 days practice based learning which you will complete in your second year. You will be assessed as being ready for direct practice before your first placement by participating on skills days related to social work practice.

We have strong links with placement providers which produce high quality placements supervised by practice educators. Placements are normally within the Leicester City or Leicestershire geographical area. Placements are full-time work-based learning commitments.       

Teaching and learning is structured around the relevant professional standards for social work – Social Work England’s Professional Standards and Education and Training  Standards.  In addition, the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) for Social Workers The standards will inform your academic and placement based assessment.

Teaching contact hours

During teaching semesters it is envisaged there will be three / four days teaching per week.

Registration as a Social Worker

The title of Social Worker is legally restricted. As a result, only suitably qualified and registered persons can describe themselves as such. Only successful completion of the whole MA Social Work degree (including both placements) will confer your eligibility to apply for registration as a qualified social worker with Social Work England (SWE). 

Social Work England have Professional Standards in relation to conduct, performance and ethics and standards in relation to health for graduates who apply to register as social workers and registrants.

The same expectations are applied to students on the programme in relation to their conduct and suitability. As part of ensuring this, applicants are asked to complete a declaration form in relation to previous convictions as well as their suitability for the programme and there is an expectation that students will inform the team of any changes in their circumstances.

Facilities and features

Health and Life Sciences facilities

Substantial investment in Health and Life Sciences has developed our teaching and learning facilities to help you develop your practical experience and theoretical knowledge beyond the classroom.

The 19th century Hawthorn Building has facilities designed to replicate current practice in health and life sciences, including contemporary analytical chemistry and formulation laboratories, audiology booths and nursing and midwifery clinical skills suites.

Purpose-built clinical skills areas allow you to apply theory to practice in a safe environment. You will receive guidance and support from staff, to ensure that your practical ability in the clinical skills suites is accurate.

Library services

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including Learning Zone, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.

Learning zones

Our Learning Zones and The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.

There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.

You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.

Opportunities and careers

Find the people who will open doors for you

DMU's award-winning careers service provides guaranteed work experience opportunities DMU Careers Team


You will complete one 70 day and one 100 day placement during the second year of the programme. 

Our placements cover a wide range of opportunities in statutory and voluntary sector environments primarily within Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. 

During the placement you will be supported by your placement tutor from the University and a practice educator from the placement organisation. 

Our placements offer a wide range of opportunities for students to develop their skills in applying theory to practice and developing their understanding of the relevant legislation.  Importantly, they also enable students to develop their communication and confidence.  


Career Opportunities

This course is vocational - up to half of the course is spent on placement in social work settings. The Social Work MA aims to produce capable and competent students ready to enter the profession and make a difference to service user’s lives.

The qualification is generic so you will be able to work across a range of adult and childcare settings in both the statutory and voluntary sector.  


DMU Global

This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through DMU Global, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.

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