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 the Health and Care Professions Council Standards of Proficiency. It's therefore an ideal opportunity for continuous professional development, which will support your continued registration with the Health and Care Professions Council 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, and / or the Consolidating Social Work Practice 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.
Social Worker levels modules
Consolidating Social Work Practice
This module will equip social work childcare practitioners with a consolidated understanding of social work values and practice. It will also enable them to critically evaluate working practices with particular emphasis on safeguarding, communicating with others, multi-agency working and child-centred practice.
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."
Experienced Social Worker level modules
Child Development for Social Work Practice
This module aims to develop experienced social work practitioners with a sophisticated knowledge of child development, which they can relate to their practice. Candidates will be equipped with critical understanding of the psychological and emotional developmental factors affecting the well-being of children in diverse situations and how to relate these theories to social work practice with families and children.
Evidence Informed Professional Practice
This module aims to produce social work childcare practitioners at Experienced Social Worker level who demonstrate "competence in depth" at that level of research-based subject knowledge and professional skills.
Promoting Good Outcomes for Looked After Children Through Adoption
This module is designed for all childcare practitioners and will relate to current policy agendas and draw on cutting-edge research to explore issues of placements for permanence: timely decision making for children, matching, and securing permanence for children who are not adopted.
Contemporary Approaches to Children and Families Social Work Practice
This module enables you to recognise how contemporary approaches to childcare social work can be used to understand and inform your practice through enabling effective relationships and communication and developing appropriate skills. It will also enable you to critically reflect on a range of interventions in order to promote positive change, support and protection, while balancing rights and risks.
This module is designed for current youth practitioners who want to expand upon their critical knowledge and understanding of youth crime and youth justice practice at both national and international levels.
Advanced Social Worker level modules
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.
Best Interests Assessor
The aim of this module is for social workers and allied professionals to qualify as a best interests assessor authorised to conduct Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding assessment in line with the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act (2005).
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.
Leadership and Management in Practice (An Action Learning Approach)
This module will enable practitioners and managers to critically apply and reflect on research and evidence in their own field of practice, through action learning and a project in their own workplace.
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).
Research Dissertation or Service Development Evaluation Project
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).
The Service Evaluation module will enable you to undertake an applied project relating to an evaluation of service delivery reflecting real world concerns of professional organisations.
Safeguarding Adults at Risk
This module aims to critically examine Safeguarding Adults within the context of adults at risk of abuse. You will apply a critical understanding to complex safeguarding adult issues whilst recognising ethical dilemmas, practice issues and inherent risks. The module will build upon the knowledge and skills already acquired by social work practitioners at point of graduation, and thus meet the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) requirements for continuous professional social work development and standards of proficiency (SoP).
Critical Thinking in Forensic Social Work
The module aims to critically examine Forensic Mental Health Social Work within the context of hospital and community settings. You will apply a critical understanding of different models of social work interventions within inter-disciplinary clinical mental health and criminal justice structures. The module builds upon the knowledge and skills already acquired by social work practitioners in their post-qualifying practice, and thus meet the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) requirements for continuous professional social work development and standards of proficiency (SoP).
Critical Incident Analysis
This additional module involves a written assignment about a practice experience. It allows you to consider the gaps in your knowledge and skills to inform your personal development plan.
Through face-to-face tutorial support and independent learning the module will equip you to:
- critically evaluate the legal and policy context of your role;
- analyse how organisational contexts influence your practice and the outcomes for service users;
- reflect upon how your practice changes the service users’ capacity to engage in social work interventions; and
- evaluate social work theories of intervention.
You'll have flexible access to a range of modules – relevant at whatever stage of your career you are at – which will equip you with the essential skills needed for current practice.
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.
As a guide each module would require attendance at five face-to-face taught study days which are usually delivered as one day per fortnight. At the study days you will engage in lectures, small group discussions, workshops, case studies, practical exercises and online reflective scenarios which will develop your skills in research and critical thinking.
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.
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.
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.
When you graduate you may be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and you will need to abide by a code of ethics and behaviour in relation to the profession.
On completion of the course you may choose to enter the profession by working in services for children or adults. Opportunities may also exist in social services departments, the private and independent sector, educational welfare, services such as guidance providing agencies, careers services and youth justice.
An ideal opportunity for continuous professional development, which will support your continued registration with the Health and Care Professions Council as a qualified practitioner who has demonstrated commitment to and involvement in CPD.
- 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 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 the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
- 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
If you need any more help or information, please email us.
How to apply
If you are interested in applying for any of the MA Advanced Social Work Practice modules please download the relevant forms and email us the completed version.
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All applications are made directly to the School of Social Sciences Professional Courses Team.
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