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

2020/21 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

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. 

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.

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
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).

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. Postgraduate research students may also contribute to the teaching of guest lectures.

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.

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
£1,725 (*£1,400)
Final Research Project (capstone) £3,000
Practice Education Stage 1 £350 (reduced from £1,725)
Practice Education Stage 2 £350 (reduced from £1,725)
Safeguarding Adults at Risk £900 (*675)

*Discounts available for selected partner agencies. Contact us for information.

Recognised partner agencies: Achieving for Children, NSPCC, Welcare, Surrey County Council and the London Boroughs of Kingston, Richmond, Wandsworth, Sutton, Croydon, and Merton.

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. 

International students

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

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.

Changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19

Changes detailed here are for students joining this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021).

Course information (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Composition of the course

We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. number of modules or credits in a year, as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Modules

We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.

Entry requirements (changes for 2020/21 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.

Teaching (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

Provision has been made for the addition of synchronous and asynchronous online learning sessions for all post-qualifying modules being taught where onsite teaching is not possible.

Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.

While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.

Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.

Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Staff (changes for 2020/21 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.

The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.

In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Additional (changes for 2020/21 entry)

International students

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.

Students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities

The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.