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  • Advanced Social Work MA

Advanced Social Work MA

Why choose this course?

This course for registered social workers gives busy practitioners structured opportunities for critical reflection in our well-resourced and research-informed learning community. It is designed and managed in consultation with employers, partner agencies and those accessing social work services.

It complements the range of development opportunities available to qualified social workers (including in-house training and career planning) and can be a springboard for progression to doctoral studies. This course offers a choice of MA, PgCert and PgDip; you will be able to follow the programme that suits your needs.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Part time 3 years 1 day a week depending on module choice September 2020

Please note: you can take free-standing modules as part of your CPPD in social work. The following qualifications are also available:

  • Professional Development in Social Work PgCert
  • Professional Development in Social Work PgDip
  • Leadership and Management in Social Care PgCert
Location Kingston Hill

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • The course incorporates recent changes in social work education and regulation; these include the Chief Social Workers' Knowledge and Skills Statements and responds to the requirements of Social Work England.  
  • Kingston University has a strong teaching partnership with organisations across South West London and Surrey to ensure you will be kept up-to-date with current practice.   
  • You will have excellent opportunities to network with experienced practitioners in specialist roles. 

What you will study

This flexible format allows you to construct a programme of study to suit your professional profile and areas of developing expertise while benefiting from exchange with practitioners in other specialist roles.  

You can combine specialist components across adult and children's services, such as in the Best Interests Assessor module, with generic elements, such as supervision, professional education and leadership, management and decision making. 

Modules

You will need to successfully complete two 30 credit modules to gain the postgraduate certificate; four 30 credit modules to gain the postgraduate diploma; and four 30 credit modules plus the 'capstone' project to gain the MA.

Available modules

Best Interests Assessor

30 credits

This module will enable students: 

  • To undertake the statutory role of the Best Interests Assessor in applying the principles and provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation Of Liberty Safeguards in practice. 
  • Keep appropriate records and to provide clear and reasoned reports in accordance with legal requirements and best practice. 
  • Develop the skills necessary to undertake the Best Interests Assessor role in a person centred manner that promotes human rights and recognises the capabilities and strengths of vulnerable people within a rights-based approach. 

Successful completion of the module will prepare students to undertake the statutory role of Best Interests Assessor (BIA). The BIA is responsible for deciding whether a person is being deprived of their liberty, whether it is in their best interests and for how long an authorisation should last. 

On successful completion of this module students will have the opportunity to return to the university to attend a one day ‘Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in Action' workshop that is included as part of the course. This will enable newly qualified Best Interest Assessors to share their experiences, gain peer support and enable a reflection of practice alongside an identification of future learning and support needs. 

Enhancing Knowledge and Skills for Social Workers in Adult Services

15 credits

This module equips registered social workers in adult services to review, update, enhance and validate what they know and what they can do as outlined in the Chief Social Workers' Knowledge and Skills Statements for Social Workers in Adult Services (DoH 2014). It is designed to assist transitions in the profession and is suitable for:

  • qualified social workers who have completed the ASYE;
  • social workers who may be returning to the profession or joining the profession with an international qualification; and
  • social workers who would like to refresh and update their knowledge and skills.

The module content is based on the Knowledge and Skills statement of the Chief Social Worker for Social Workers in adult services. Social workers who have completed the ASYE can benefit from Recognition of Prior Learning and gain an additional 15 credits on successful completion of this module.

  • Time commitment: Five full teaching days
  • Code: SW7033
Frameworks for Effective Safeguarding Practice with Adults

30 credits

This module is designed to provide students with opportunities to build on existing knowledge, skills and confidence in applying frameworks for decision-making relevant to safeguarding adults. The module focuses particularly on the frameworks of law, ethics and policy that should inform judgements in this practice area. Students will be required to reflect critically on decisions from current or recent experience in the light of these frameworks and to identify ways of applying learning from the module to future practice. There will be a strong focus on practice development (in terms of the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) standards) at social worker/experienced social worker level. It includes assessment in practice.

This is one of two specialist modules designed with the Kingston University and St George's, University of London partners to replace the previous specialist level award.

  • When provided: April to June
  • Time commitment: 30 hours – lectures and seminars
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Code: SW7020
Individual Work-based Learning Project

30 credits

This module provides an opportunity for students to undertake, under academic supervision, work-based projects and gain credit for this work. The work-based learning approach assumes self-directed and autonomous learning. The module develops the student's own critical reflection skills and to work as a mature self-directed student. Learning outcomes and the method of working will be agreed jointly by the student, module leader / academic supervisor and workplace mentor. The assessment strategy is based upon the principle that work based activities can be used to generate critical reflection and learning outcomes which are consistent with M level academic attainment. The assessment submission can take a variety of forms such as reports, essays, discussion documents, and practice analysis.

Leading and Managing in Social Work and Social Care Organisations

30 credits

This module concentrates on the knowledge and capabilities required to successfully be a leader and manager within the context of social work organisations. It is targeted at current and prospective team and service managers and equivalent post-holders. Students will identify relevant and appropriate professional examples for discussion and draw on research and theory to reflect on, analyse and improve their practice and performance.

  • Time commitment: Six days equivalent to 42 hours including seminars, lectures and individual tutorials
  • Code: SW7031
Leading and Managing People in Social Work Practice

30 credits

This module provides the opportunity for those employed in or about to take on management roles in social work to expand their understanding of leadership and management behaviours and processes, and what these mean for organisational culture, team building, staff management, supervision and development and making decisions.

It will provide the opportunity for those in or joining first line manager positions to reflect on their management behaviours, enhance their capability in effective leadership and people management skills, and increase their capacity to be influential within and between teams. Students will identify relevant and appropriate professional examples for discussion and draw on research and theory to reflect on, analyse and improve their practice and performance.

The module is  underpinned by the Chief Social Workers' Knowledge and skills statements for practice leaders and practice supervisors and the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) at Advanced Level (management).

  • Time commitment: Seven days equivalent to 42 hours including seminars, lectures and individual tutorials
  • Code: SW7030
Managing Professional Responses to Safeguarding Adults at Risk

15 credits

This module promotes an in-depth exploration on safeguarding adults and considers good practice in relation to managing responses to safeguarding concerns in appropriate and sensitive ways that protects the rights of the person concerned. It will enable participants to develop their skills in managing the safeguarding adults' investigation process and develop their abilities to chair safeguarding strategy meetings and case conferences. In particular the module will examine the means by which decisions are reached in investigations concerning adult safeguarding, ethical concerns regarding these decisions and consider the multi-professional response required based on official guidance from central and local government. This module is co-delivered with partner agencies. It is targeted at the experienced social worker level/advanced social worker level.

  • When provided: on demand
  • Time commitment: 25 hours learning sessions in both university and training settings in the employing agency
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 15
  • Code: SW7022
Mentoring, Coaching and Advanced Assessment of Professional Practice

30 credits

This module aims to equip students to mentor, coach and assess colleagues at post-registration levels. It promotes critical evaluation of theoretical, professional and policy approaches to mentoring, coaching and holistic assessment of professional practice. The knowledge, understanding, values and skills necessary for mentoring and assessing professional practice in social work and related settings are examined. Students are assisted to develop strategies and techniques to enhance their skills in mentoring, coaching and assessment of professional colleagues in different contexts in practice settings. Students are required to mentor, coach and assess colleagues as part of the practicum for this module.

  • Code: SW7014
Planning and Delivery of Training

30 credits

This module is suitable for those undertaking training and development roles in the workplace. Students taking this module are required to identify and analyse learning and development needs which might be met by the provision of training. They will then undertake independent research and develop a short training programme to meet these needs. The practicum for this module includes the development, delivery and evaluation of a minimum of two training events in an agency setting and the development of a training manual. This module is targeted at targeted at but not limited to social workers.

  • Time commitment: 35 hours – workshops, group tutorials and observation of training practice in a work setting
  • Code: SW7012
Practice Education Stage 1

30 credits

This module equips registered social workers to undertake the responsibilities of a Stage 1 Practice Educator (Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS) of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW). Students who complete this module successfully 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. Students undertaking this module are required to undertake a practicum which entails acting as a Stage 1 practice educator to a degree in social work student on a first placement (70 days).

This module is only available to registered social workers with two years or more post-registration practice experience. It is targeted at social worker/experienced social worker level.

Practice Education Stage 2

30 credits

This module equips registered social workers to undertake the responsibilities of a Stage 2 Practice Educator (Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS) of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW). Students who complete this module successfully will be able to supervise, teach and assess social work degree students up to and including the last placement and to work with ASYE candidates. In effect, these practice educators will have the authority and capability to recommend, on the basis of appropriate evidence, that the social work students are fit to practise at the point of qualification. The module includes practice assessment.

This module is only available to registered social workers with three years or more post-registration practice experience and who have completed Practice Educator Stage 1 or equivalent. It is targeted at experienced social worker level.

Safeguarding Adults at Risk

15 credits

This module has been developed to enable professionals in both health and social care settings to develop their knowledge and skills in supporting adults at risk. The introduction of the Care Act 2014 and ‘Making Safeguarding Personal', developed by the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, promotes a cultural shift towards outcome-focused, person-centred approaches in how we support adults at risk. This module will develop practitioner confidence enabling them to critically reflect on these changes to ensure that their practice is person-centred, legally literate and informed by current research, legislation and policy. This module will explore key topics in contemporary practice including working with people who self-neglect, ‘Making Safeguarding Personal', the legal framework for adult safeguarding (which includes but is not limited to the Care Act 2014).

Supervision of Professional Practice

30 credits

This module examines the practice of supervision in the professional development of others. It aims to assist supervisors to develop the knowledge and skills relevant to professional supervision; to foster the growth of open, self-aware, flexible supervisors, with a clear sense of the professional boundaries and responsibilities of their role; and to promote critical debate and develop thorough knowledge of the supervision models available so that students can develop an approach which best suits their professional practice. It further provides a structured opportunity for students to develop their skills in providing reflective supervision and in the holistic appraisal of professional capability fostering critical evaluation of their own supervisory practice.

In order to take this module, students must have responsibility for providing professional supervision in a practice setting. This module is targeted at experienced social worker/advanced levels but is not limited to social workers.

  • Time commitment: 25 plus a minimum of two live supervision sessions in practice 
  • Code: SW7013

Required module (MA students only)

Final Research Project (Capstone)

60 credits

This module is required for students undertaking studies at Masters Level and is normally taken after achieving PG Diploma Level. The module will provide students with the experience of utilising principles of research and academic writing and thus demonstrate the intellectual skills learnt on the course. Students are expected to critically review research and to evaluate the evidence underpinning their own practice. The module will provide students with the opportunity to implement the knowledge and skills developed during the previous modules by conducting research focused on a topic of their choice related to their area of practice with the support of a research supervisor. The module will enhance students' presentation and publication skills as the assessment includes writing an abstract, oral presentation and writing an article suitable for publication in a peer reviewed journal.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

A professional qualification in social work and substantial current or recent experience in a relevant setting for the course.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 7.0 overall with special conditions in all elements. Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.

If you require a Tier 1-5 visa to reside in the UK (this includes a Tier 4 student visa), you may not be able to enrol on a part-time programme at the University. Kingston University has carefully considered the Tier 4 visa route and has decided not to offer Tier 4 part-time study. Tier 4 sponsorship is only available to students studying on a full-time course.

Teaching and assessment

The MA in Advanced Social Work offers a structured professional development pathway to assist qualified social workers in meeting capabilities and standards of practice that are consistent with the role of experienced and advanced practitioners.

It incorporates core elements relating to social work education and professional regulation, such as the Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work (PCF) and standards for continuing professional development set by Social Work England and the Chief Social Workers' Knowledge and Skills Statements.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

How you will be assessed

Assessment can include presentations, essays, critical reviews, online quizzes, posters, portfolio of practice, assessed practice, projects and a 'capstone' project that will enable you to produce an account of original research that is suitable for publication in a refereed journal.

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

  • 100% coursework

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetable

1 day a week depending on module choice.

Who teaches this course?

Every member of the teaching staff has substantial practice experience in social work. In addition, many are actively involved in social work research, presenting regularly at conferences and publishing in books and journals. In addition, our course teams draw on the wealth of experience provided by our professional contacts and service users and carers who feed into the design of our courses and provide teaching and supervision to enrich your learning.

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education. It is a unique partnership between Kingston University and St George's, University of London. This means you benefit from the experience and facilities of two complementary institutions. Kingston University has a long-established reputation for high-quality, vocationally relevant education. St George's, University of London combines teaching and research excellence in areas directly applicable to healthcare sciences.

The combination of academics and expert practitioners gives the Faculty a uniquely dynamic environment in which to further your studies and your career. We also have strong links with the NHS, education and healthcare providers and social services. We offer classic postgraduate programmes alongside research and continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities.

The Faculty is split between Kingston University's Kingston Hill campus and St George's, University of London in Tooting.

Course fees and funding

Here you can find more details about fees for this course, as well as any funding opportunities available to you for this course. Please note that fees relate to the academic year in question and will increase in future years.

2020/21 fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA part time: £7,010
  • PGCert Professional Development in Social Work part time: £2,900
  • PG Diploma in Professional Development in Social Work full time: £4,530

Individual module fees 2019/20

Please note that you can take free-standing modules as part of your CPPD in social work. The 2019/20 individual module fees are as follows:

Module Module fee for Home/EU students
Best Interest Assessor
£1,300 
Enhancing Knowledge and Skills for Social Workers in Adult Services
£8500
Final Research Project (capstone) £2,900
Leading and Managing People in Social Work Practice £1,560
Practice Education Stage 1 £1,560*
Practice Education Stage 2 £1,560* 
Safeguarding Adults at Risk £850
Supervision of Professional Practice £1,560

*Discounts available for selected partner agencies. If the trainee practice educator provides a placement to a Kingston University student, part of the fees will be charged against the degree in social work programme. This will mean that the fee payable by agencies sponsoring students actually entail a payment of £300 only to cover registration and academic assessment fees.

Individual module fees 2020/21

Please note that you can take free-standing modules as part of your CPPD in social work. The 2020/21 individual module fees are as follows:

Module Module fee for Home/EU students
Best Interest Assessor
£1,400 
Enhancing Knowledge and Skills for Social Workers in Adult Services
£900
Final Research Project (capstone) £3,000
Leading and Managing People in Social Work Practice £1,725
Practice Education Stage 1 £1,725*
Practice Education Stage 2 £1,725*
Safeguarding Adults at Risk £900
Supervision of Professional Practice £1,725

*Discounts available for selected partner agencies. If the trainee practice educator provides a placement to a Kingston University student, part of the fees will be charged against the degree in social work programme. This will mean that the fee payable by agencies sponsoring students actually entail a payment of £350 only to cover registration and academic assessment fees.

Funding

Visit our Fees and funding page to find out about the student funding options available to help you fund your postgraduate studies. 

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting a course at Kingston, you will be able to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to study for a postgraduate masters degree. 

Discounts for Kingston University alumni

Kingston University is pleased to offer a 10 per cent discount on full-time and part-time postgraduate degree course tuition fees (including PGCE courses) to our alumni. Visit our Alumni discount page to find out more.

Social Work Skills Lab

The skills lab is a purpose-built facility where social work students have the opportunity to learn and to practise key social work skills.

Social workers undertaking continuing professional development courses develop their assessment and intervention skills and other skills such as mentoring, teaching and providing reflective supervision.

What's available?

The skills lab is divided into several sections including:

  • a seminar/case conference room for a maximum of 20 people;
  • a simulated living-room and front door to assist in developing skills relating to home visits;
  • five interview rooms simulating work environments;
  • a control room with two-way mirror and viewing monitors; and
  • all rooms have fitted cameras and microphones so that activities can be recorded.

A flexible, creative space

The skills lab has been designed to be a multi-functional space which allows flexible use. The furniture is all portable and can be changed according to the simulated activities required.

The small rooms can be used for practising communication skills and simulating supervision sessions.

The large room can be used as a teaching or seminar room and can be set up as a simulated case conference room or duty desk.

Participants have the opportunity to engage in creative skills development activities and benefit from live supervision and feedback from the recorded material.

Where this course will take you

This degree programme offers a structured professional development pathway to assist qualified social workers in meeting capabilities and standards of practice that are consistent with the role of experienced and advanced practitioners.

The skills and knowledge gained through this degree will assist practitioners at these levels in undertaking diverse roles such as team leader, workforce development manager, service manager, principal social worker, and other senior leadership and management roles. This course also offers a route to undertaking further research and scholarship potentially leading to doctoral studies.

Links with business and industry

We are involved in a unique teaching partnership with seven local authorities and two voluntary sector agencies, including Achieving for Children, Croydon Adult and Children's services, Kingston Adult services, Merton Adult and Children's services, Surrey Children's services, Sutton Adult and Children's services, Richmond & Wandsworth Adult services, Wandsworth Children's services, NSPCC and Welcare.

The course has strong long-standing links with other local employers in south-west London and Surrey including:

Practising social workers are involved in teaching, bringing theory to life with their front-line experiences.

Representatives of service users and carers contribute to assessment and quality assurance on our programme.

Current research in this subject

Many of our staff in the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education are research active, often in partnership with NHS Trusts. This ensures they are in touch with the latest thinking and bring best practice to your studies.

Social work research activity focuses around several key areas:

  • risk and child abuse;
  • children's rights;
  • learning processes and partnership approaches in professional education;
  • management of child protection systems;
  • safeguarding adults;
  • mental capacity; and
  • effectiveness of community-based responses to crime.

We conduct much of our social care research and consultancy either in partnership with or on behalf of the social service, voluntary sector and probation agencies.

Postgraduate study
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