Social work (post-qualifying) credit-bearing short course

Why choose this course?

If you are a qualified social worker, this programme enables you to study individual postgraduate modules on a standalone basis as short courses for continuing professional development (CPD), or gain academic credit towards a postgraduate award or towards continuing professional development (CPD).

This is a flexible approach through which you can develop your skills and knowledge, and gain academic credit towards an Advanced Social Work MA.

All modules include application of learning to professional practice. All modules can be taken as 'free standing' modules.

  • Postgraduate Certificate: students must pass 60 Level 7 credits
  • Postgraduate Diploma: students must pass 120 Level 7 credits
  • MA: students must pass 180 Level 7 credits (including the Capstone Research Project)
Mode Duration Start date
Part time Dependent on modules selected October
Part time Dependent on modules selected January
Part time Dependent on modules selected May
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 can build modules to gain a qualification.

What you will study

You can choose from a variety of modules. There are specialist modules for social workers working with adults and for practice education.

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.


Working with adults

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. 

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).

Professional education and training, leadership and management

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.

Applying the Vanguard Method to People Centred Service

30 credits

This module introduces students to applications of the Vanguard Method (Seddon, 2003) in their practice setting. It focuses on the two key elements of the Vanguard Method in people centred services: systems theory and intervention theory. Practical application of these theories will involve the study of a work system in the student's own organisation using the Vanguard Method. The pedagogical approach is based on action learning, and combines university-based teaching with work-based learning. Students will apply their learning by using the Vanguard Method to study a system within their own work setting. 

  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Code: SW7037
Mentoring, Coaching and Advance Assessment of Professional Practice


This module aims to equip students to mentor, coach and assess colleagues at postregistration 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.

  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Code: SW7044
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.

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

To apply for these modules, you must be a qualified social worker.

Recognition of prior learning

Applicants with prior qualifications and learning may be exempt from appropriate parts of a course in accordance with the University's policy for the assessment of prior learning and prior experiential learning. Find out more about recognition of prior learning for health and social care courses to find out more.

International language requirements

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.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements may be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from one of the recognised Majority English Speaking Countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Fees for this course

Fees for 2020/21

Module Credits Fees
Practice Education Stage 1
30 £1,725 (£450*)
Practice Education Stage 2
30 £1,725 (£510*)
Final Research Project 60 £3,000
Best Interest Assessor (BIA) 30 £1,725
Safeguarding Adults at Risk 15 £900
Applying the Vanguard Method to People-Centred Services 30 £3,500

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 will cover registration and academic assessment fees.

Teaching and assessment

These modules offers a flexible 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.

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

These modules offers a flexible 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 these modules 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 modules 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.