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MA Advanced Social Work Practice MA

  • Level(s) of Study: Postgraduate taught / Professional
  • Start Date(s): Contact us for more information
  • Duration: 3 year(s)
  • Study Mode(s): Part-time
  • Campus: City Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information


Due to the modular nature of this course, it is suitable for practicing social workers, as well as nurses, occupational therapists and people working in other health-related professions.

The MA Advanced Social Work Practice is a flexible course that offers you, as a registered social worker, an integrated academic and professional qualification in the areas of adult and childcare social work.

As a social worker, you are tasked with intervening in the lives of those who are vulnerable. You are required to make decisions which can impact upon both the individual and wider society. This course offers you flexible access to a range of modules – relevant at whatever stage of your career you are at – and will equip you with the essential skills needed for current practice.

The modular delivery of the course allows you to meet your learning at a time and pace that makes sense to you and will support your professional development throughout your career. By completing the course you'll have the opportunity to acquire a master's qualification while making an original contribution to knowledge and understanding in your chosen field of professional practice.

The course has been designed to meet the requirements of the Professional Capabilities Framework and Social Work England’s Professional Standards. It's therefore an ideal opportunity for continuous professional development, which will support your continued registration with Social Work England as a qualified practitioner who has demonstrated commitment to and involvement in CPD.

What you’ll study

The modular framework of this course is designed to meet your learning at a time and pace that makes sense to your professional development. The course consists of single modules that you opt to study in order to support your Continuing Professional Development needs.

Each module is worth 30 credit points and these points can be built up over time to gain postgraduate awards. For example, the successful completion of:

  • two modules would provide 60 credits and lead to a Postgraduate Certificate
  • four modules would provide 120 credit points and lead to a Postgraduate Diploma
  • six modules would provide 180 credit points and would lead to a Masters in Advanced Social Work Practice.

The title of the awards will depend upon the PCF level of the modules completed (i.e. Social Worker level, Experienced Social Worker level or Advanced Social Worker level).

Each module will encourage you to explore specific themes, based upon experiences in practice. In this way you will be able to integrate learning across the theory and practice divide. The modules you complete will depend on the current stage of your social work career.

If, for example, you are newly qualified, you would usually undertake the Consolidating the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment module.

If you have experience, you may wish to access modules individually or undertake a number of modules in order to gain further postgraduate awards.

Consolidating the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE)

The module overview and aims are informed by the ASYE level descriptor in the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF). The framework states:

"By the end of the ASYE social workers should have consistently demonstrated practice in a wider range of tasks and roles, and have become more effective in their interventions, thus building their own confidence, and earning the confidence of others. They will have more experience and skills in relation to a particular setting and user group, and have demonstrated ability to work effectively on more complex situations. They will seek support in supervision appropriately, while starting to exercise initiative and evaluate their own practice."

Promoting Good Outcomes for Looked After Children Through Adoption

The overall aim of the module is expose students to the wide variety of evidence and practice interventions that are aimed at promoting good outcomes for Looked After Children. Key features of the module will be the expectation that students are required to apply the knowledge and skills acquired to their practiced and to critically reflect with a view to evaluating not only their own practice, but also the organisational dynamics are that operating and how they relate to corporate parenting principles. A further characteristic of the module will be that throughout students will hear the voice of children and young people in care represented in a variety of formats, as well as through the voices of care experienced adults.

Practice Educator One

Practice educators at this stage will be able to supervise, teach and assess social work degree students up to but not including the final assessment prior to qualification. At this stage they may contribute to the last placement but not take full responsibility for assessment or act as the practice educator on a day-to-day basis.

Practice Educator Two

This module builds on Practice Educator (One), to enable qualified social work practitioners to supervise, teach and assess social work degree students up to and including the final placement. These practice educators will be sufficiently competent to recommend with evidence that the social work students are fit to practice at the point of qualification.

Leading and Managing Social Work Services

The aim of this module is to equip you with skills, knowledge and understanding relevant to a leadership role in professional practice. The module will focus on theories of leadership, change and innovation, performance management, information management and decision making which can be applied in a wide range of settings.

Research Methods

This module is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills required to undertake critical and ethical research in your chosen field of professional practice. The module places an emphasis on practitioner-based research (a key feature being researcher reflexivity in relation to values and ethical issues).

Best Interests Assessor

The module has been designed for social workers and allied professionals to qualify as a Best Interests Assessor (BIA) authorised to conduct Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding assessment in line with the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act (2005). The module aligns with Social Work England and BIA Capability Statements.

The module aims to provide practitioners with:

  • An in-depth understanding for the legal and practice requirements of a BIA with an emphasis on practice based learning alongside taught input
  • Up to date case law and practice requirements, with extensive focus on mental capacity, best interests, deprivation of liberty assessment and risk assessment of harm and proportionate intervention.
  • A thorough understanding of positive risk and strengths-based approaches as a means of risk management in cases where individuals with capacity choose to make unwise decisions.
  • Recognise where general or independent mental capacity advocates (IMCA) may be appropriate and beneficial to support a person to make a decision.

Research Dissertation or Service Development Evaluation Project

Research Dissertation

The Research Dissertation module will enable you to undertake an extended piece of research that builds on your pilot project completed in the Research Module (a pre-requisite).

Service Development Evaluation

The Service Development Evaluation module will enable you to undertake an applied project relating to an evaluation of service delivery reflecting real world concerns of professional organisations.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Student Profiles

Hetvi Parekh

The support from the teaching faculty was exceptional wherein they were available to support me and signpost me to the right resources for my assignment.

How you’re taught

We recognise that as professionals undergoing CPD education on a part-time basis, you have many competing demands on your time and this has informed how we have structured the modules that you can take to complete the course, and the student support arrangements available to you.

Delivery mode

Teaching is primarily delivered online through lectures, class discussions, group work activities, assignment surgeries, research and critical reflection. However, there may be occasions, for the purposes of supporting the programme of teaching when students will need to attend in person.

Delivery is also supported by a range of online learning materials and access to library resources for personal study.

Self-directed study and assignment preparation will also be essential and you will have full access to interactive eLearning on the University's virtual learning environment, NOW.

You will be taught by enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff who draw upon established expertise, research interests and professional experience.


A variety of assessment methods are used including essays, research and policy reviews, case study analysis, practice setting analysis, group and individual presentations, observations of practice and a dissertation. There is a strong focus on helping you to develop your practice as part of your academic achievement, and the course will require you to explore and reflect on your practice as part of the assessment process.

As well as formal (graded) assessments you will undertake formative (developmental, ungraded) assessments for which academic staff will provide informal feedback on your progress and development.

Staff Profiles

Simon Cauvain - Head of Social Work, Care and Community

School of Social Sciences

Simon Cauvain

Careers and employability

This employment focused course has strong links with the statutory, voluntary and private sectors. There is a strong emphasis on the integration of practice into the curriculum and all students undertake work-based learning in their current organisation.

There are a wide range of opportunities for career development for social workers and this course will support your development towards senior practice and management roles.

Opportunities may also exist in Local Authority social care departments, the private and independent sector, educational welfare, services such as guidance providing agencies, careers services and youth justice.

Continuing education is central to the delivery of quality social work. If you have a particularly interest that is not covered above, please contact us and see what we can offer.

Campus and facilities

As a Social Sciences student you will have easy access to the fantastic facilities in the Chaucer and Taylor buildings including:

  • Lecture theatres and teaching classrooms;
  • Open access PCs and secure wireless points;
  • Study areas and social spaces;
  • Chaucer cafe serving drinks and light snacks;
  • Our brand new School of Social Sciences reception, providing you with easy access to our helpful and friendly support staff.

Entry requirements

  • You will need a professional social work qualification. This may be a Social Work degree, Diploma in Social Work, CQSW, CSS or their predecessor UK equivalents, or a recognised international equivalent accompanied by statements of verification issued by a relevant UK Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) such as Social Work England, the Health and Care Professions Council or The General Social Care Council.
  • Applicants from allied disciplines may be eligible to apply for entry onto specific modules. Please contact the course team to discuss your options.
  • Applicants must be a registered social worker with Social Work England.
  • You will also be required to demonstrate in your application that you have access to appropriate learning opportunities through your practice settings and that your employer will allow you to use your work in these settings as learning opportunities for the modules on the course.

Please note that some Advanced Social Work Practice modules will require you to have an ascertained amount of post qualification experience and / or prerequisite modules that must be completed before you are eligible to enrol. You may also be asked to complete a written task as part of the entry process for certain modules.

Getting in touch

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Fees and funding

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How to apply

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Keeping up to date

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