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  • Social Work BA (Hons)

Social Work BA (Hons)

Why choose this course?

You will be taught in the award-winning Practice Learning Suite by well-established and published academics that have practice and research experience in social work. 

We are involved in a unique teaching partnership with seven local authorities and two voluntary sector agencies. This means that you will be taught in the classroom by practising social workers who will bring theory to life with their front-line experiences. 

You'll be expertly prepared for social work practice with placements in field, residential, day care, hospital, prison and service user-run settings. Placements will be supported by studies of assessment, intervention, evaluation, safeguarding, evidence-based practice, research and law. Employment skills workshops are provided by the partnership to maximise your chances of securing employment within the partnership at graduation. 

Kingston University will pay for your professional student membership of the British Association of Social Workers during your degree. 

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time L501 2019
3 years full time (employment based) Apply direct to the University 2019
Location Kingston Hill - sessions may be occasionally taught at St George's, University of London, Tooting; Roehampton Vale campus; and Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This course is accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Once you graduate, you can apply to register with the HCPC to start work as a qualified social worker.
  • You'll use our award-winning Practice Learning Suite, with simulated interactions with service users (on doorsteps, in living rooms, in reception areas and interview spaces).
  • This course received 100 per cent overall student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2018).

What you will study

You will gain a foundation in ethics, diversity, psychology, sociology, social policy and law for social work practice. You will study best practice with adults and children, engaging with areas such as mental health, disability, adoption and fostering, substance misuse, children in conflict with the law, and domestic violence. You will choose a specialist practice area to explore in depth.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1 develops your skills through the simulation and recording facilities of our Practice Learning Suite. You will also gain a foundation in ethics, diversity, psychology, sociology, social policy and law for social work practice.

Core modules

Readiness for Direct Practice

30 credits

This module runs throughout the first year and focuses on readiness for direct practice.  It is an interactive module which includes skills workshops and a high level of involvement from service users, carers and practice educators from partner agencies. Students learn about the role and tasks of social workers and develop professional skills in verbal and written communication. They have the opportunity to receive formative feedback on written work and on their communication skills. Service users and carers provide simulated interviews in the Practice Learning Suite.

Human Development, Relationships and Social Contexts

30 credits

The module provides students with an understanding of human growth and development by reviewing theoretical perspectives and research regarding infant, child, adolescent and adult development across the life course. This module will provide students with an understanding of the concepts of relationships within families, and issues of progression at different stages of life, identity and the life worlds. The module draws on theory and practice from a variety of perspectives including the main schools of thought in psychology and sociology.  The module also examines the key research methods employed in the social sciences and encourages students to develop an analytical and critical approach to learning in preparation for professional practice.

Working with Ethics and Diversity in Social Work Practice

30 credits

This module provides an introduction to developing awareness of issues of diversity, values and ethics. There is an emphasis upon participatory learning through class debate, workshop and seminar activities.  These experiences are supported by lectures that introduce the main tenets and theories.  The module begins by exploring power, inequality and diversity within society, encouraging students to consider their own social location and its different intersections.  The initial focus is on the personal. This shifts to exploring personal and professional values and ethics as learning progresses. The focus is on developing a greater awareness of one's values in situations where there are ethical dilemmas to resolve. This module links to the tutorial support programme.

The Practice Context: Law and Social Policy for Social Work

30 credits

This module provides an introduction to law and policy for professional practice.  Legal and policy frameworks are central to an understanding of the role of professionals in making judgements and decisions affecting the lives of people who use social work services.  The module will introduce students to key concepts for understanding the significance of law and policy for social work, drawing on historical perspectives and highlighting important areas of law and policy for contemporary practice.  Students will be encouraged to recognise the links with ethical frameworks studied in other modules on the programme.

In Year 2, you will study models on reflection, assessment, intervention, evaluation, safeguarding, evidence-based practice and law. You will learn about best practice with adults and children and families, while engaging with areas such as mental health, disability, adoption and fostering, substance misuse, young offenders, and domestic violence.

Core modules

First Practice Placement

30 credits

This module is a practice placement of seventy days, undertaken in an agency within the statutory or voluntary sector. Students will be provided with relevant learning opportunities and supported and supervised by practice learning staff. By the end of their placement, students will be expected to evidence their practice against the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) at the standard required for students at the end of their first placement.

Practice Skills and Methods: Assessment and Intervention

30 credits

This module builds upon level 4 studies of human growth and development; sociology, psychology and law. In this module students will develop a holistic approach to assessment, planning and intervention that is critically reflective, analytic and is informed by a clear value-base that reflects an awareness of diversity and rights, and includes individual and team approaches to risk and encourages service user self-assessment. It will further enable students to develop skills in working with people, within policy, legal and ethical frameworks, and core skills in communicating and engaging with people, recognising some of the tensions that may arise from a risk-focus, including working against the wishes of service users and positive risk-taking. It will draw upon students' own experiences on placement, promoting the integration of academic and practice learning and enhancing the development of reflection and self awareness. Learning will include applying concepts from theory and research in lectures, interactive workshops, try-outs in the practice learning suite and case studies drawn from students' own practice.

Knowledge for Social Work Practice 1

30 credits

This module will develop students' knowledge for practice as they prepare to undertake their first placement.  In concentrating on knowledge, it complements SW5002, the module studied during this year which focuses on skills, methods and reflective practice. In this module, students will examine social work practice and law relating to work with  a range of children and families, adults and older people whilst also considering the legal framework relating to cross cutting provisions particularly looked after children, fostering and adoption, mental health and youth justice. Secondly, they will be introduced to the knowledge-base for safeguarding with reference to a range of service user groups whilst also learning specifically about mental health, relationships under stress, domestic abuse and substance misuse. In thinking about evidence-based practices, students will study research methods and develop skills in evaluating the quality of research findings. Thirdly, they will develop knowledge of ethical principles and the theory underpinning anti-oppressive practices.

Knowledge for Social Work Practice 2

30 credits

This module enables students to reflect critically on practice experience and to analyse their application and use of social work knowledge in work with individuals, families and communities in the light of their first placement experience.  In this way, it allows them to develop and extend their knowledge in preparation for the second practice placement taken in the third year of study.  Drawing on practice placement experience, students will examine how social work knowledge, ethics and values are used in practice to inform assessments and interventions, including how legal and policy frameworks and guidance inform and mandate social work practice. Students will debate  how the implementation of social welfare policy impacts on people, social work, other professions, and inter-agency and inter-professional working, and evaluate the extent to which the  expertise and voice of service users and carers is taken into account in shaping service delivery. The use of research to inform practice is developed in this module and understanding of research methods in order rigorously to question and evaluate the reliability and validity of information from different sources is developed.  Students will also analyse how organisations are structured and the extent which support anti-oppressive practice, examining lines of accountability and the limitations and boundaries of professional autonomy and discretion. Learning on this module will inform their personal and professional development plan for the final year of the programme.

In Year 3, you will learn about recent developments in law, research and practice. Studies culminate in a capstone project on a specialist practice area of your choice.

Core modules

Contemporary Social Work Practice

30 credits

In this module you will be looking forward to qualified social work practice with the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) in mind. It offers an opportunity to make sure that you are up to date with new legislation, the latest relevant policy and current practice initiatives. You will also explore new developments in anti-oppressive practice, rights, justice and wellbeing. Taking forward your knowledge relating to ethics and diversity and in line with the forward-looking quality of the module, you will study key practice-related capabilities such as personal resilience, the ability to manage stress, the ability to engage effectively with others in inter-professional work and the practice of leadership. The module offers an opportunity to consciously prepare for competitive interview when seeking employment.

Research in Practice Study

30 credits

This module is a core requirement for students on the programme. It draws on a specific area of social work practice.  It is a capstone project designed to enable students to utilise their learning throughout the programme and demonstrate that they can make critical application of the theoretical and research evidence base underpinning social work practice.

Critical Analysis of Practice

30 credits

The module is undertaken alongside a practice placement of one hundred days. Students will be reflecting on and analysing their learning on placement. Students will be expected to evidence how their practice has met the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) at the standard required for students at the end of their final placement and how their knowledge base has informed practice.

Final Practice Placement

30 credits

The module is a practice placement of one hundred days, undertaken in an agency which offers statutory interventions. Students will be provided with relevant learning opportunities and supported and supervised by practice learning staff. By the end of their placement, students will be expected to evidence their practice against the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) at the standard required for students at qualifying 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.

What our students say

Entry requirements

Typical offer

The typical requirement for entry for this course is 120 UCAS points, Health and Science subjects preferred:

  • A Levels BBB (General Studies not accepted)
  • BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Distinction Merit
  • Access to HE course to value of 120 UCAS points normally achieved with 30 Distinctions and 9 Merits

Additional requirements

GCSE at grade 4 or above (or grade C or above for GCSEs taken before 2017) in English Language and Mathematics or equivalent qualification e.g. Functional/Key skills level 2 in numeracy and literacy.

Work Experience

We expect all applicants to have experience of direct contact with service users in a social work setting or in a setting in which social work tasks are undertaken. As important as the amount of experience is what applicants have learned from their reflection on that experience. As a guideline, we look for the equivalent of six months part-time experience, but we adjust this for younger applicants e.g. school leavers.

Experience gained whilst at school or during the course of a placement undertaken as part of an Access or BTEC course can be included. (There is a facility in the electronic process whereby more information about experience can be sought). It is very important that you give clear and complete details of your relevant experience in your Personal Statement - what you have done, how many hours per week you have done it and for how long.

Your Personal Statement should also explain your motivation to train as a social worker, and should be well-written and free from errors in punctuation, spelling and sentence construction as it plays a significant role in our decision about whether to shortlist you.

Our selection process consists of a 30-minute written test, a group exercise and also four interviews, each of six minutes, with a service user or carer, a social worker, and two social work lecturers. If you have a diagnosed learning need, then you will be given extra time for the written test, provided you bring with you appropriate evidence of your need. Admission is subject to Occupational Health screening and an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check if you are offered and accept a place on the course.

Alternative routes

We welcome a wide range of qualifications and qualification combinations to the value of 112 UCAS points. We assess each application individually, taking in to account any experience and skills you may have in your chosen field.

Typical other routes include:

  • Foundation degree in related programmes 65%
  • International Baccalaureate 27 points
  • FETAC Level 5 Distinction in all modules


We welcome applications from International Applicants. Non-native speakers who do not have the equivalent of GCSE English at grade 4 (formerly grade C) (e.g. Functional Skills Level 2 Literacy) require an IELTS score of 7.0 overall with 7.0 in all elements.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning opportunities are varied and stimulating. They include field visits, classroom discussion of case studies and film clips as well as lectures and seminars led by experienced social workers, service users and academics.

Our Practice Learning Suite enables simulated interactions with service users (on doorsteps, in living rooms, in reception areas and interview spaces). Recording facilities enable you to observe and reflect on your practice. Teaching also comprises lectures, problem-solving approaches and small group sessions for learning support.

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.

Academic support

Our academic support team here at Kingston University provides help in a range of areas. 

Dedicated personal tutor

When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. This is the member of academic staff who will provide academic guidance, be a support throughout your time at Kingston and who will show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer at Kingston University. 

Your workload

In the first year learning takes place primarily in classroom and simulation settings (Practice Learning Suite) enabling you to develop a baseline in knowledge, values and skills before workplace learning commences. These core activities occupy seven and a half hours every week. Additionally, you will have the option to attend academic writing classes, a field visit and social work discussion groups such as Film Club and Department Seminars. Student support or tutorial time will occupy up to five hours per semester. 

 Academic teaching again takes place in blocks in the weeks both before and after practice placement and typically involves fifteen hours contact time per week with additional tutorial time. 

Type of teaching and learning Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity: 20% 15% 8% 
Scheduled teaching and learning: 240 hours 182 hours 92 hours
Guided independent study: 960 hours 745 hours 544 hours
Placement: - 273 hours 564 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules. 

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods are responsive to a range of student preferences and include group poster presentation, essays, case study analyses, exams, reflections and practice portfolios.

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:

Type of assessment Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Coursework 71% 100% 100%
Practical exam 8% - -
Written exam 21% -

Feedback summary

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

Your timetable

Your individualised timetable is normally available to students within 48 hours of enrolment. 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 6pm. For undergraduate students Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities, but there may be occasions when this is not possible. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

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.

Course fees and funding

2019/20 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK or EU), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2019/20 the fees for this course are:

Fee category  Amount
Home (UK and EU students) £9,250*
International Year 1 (2019/20): £14,200
Year 2 (2020/21): £14,600
Year 3 (2021/22): £15,000
Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) To be confirmed by the Island Authorities

* These fees are annual and may increase in line with inflation each year subject to the results of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Eligible UK and EU students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials, security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Text books

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses.


In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.

Note for EU students: UK withdrawal from the European Union

EU students starting a programme in the 2019/20 academic year will be charged the same fees as those who began in 2018/19 (subject to any annual increase in accordance with the applicable terms and conditions and the Kingston University fees schedule).

They will also be able to access the same financial support for the duration of their course as students who began in 2018/19, even if their degree concludes after the UK's exit from the EU.

No assurances have yet been made regarding 2020/21 and beyond. Updates will be published here as soon as they become available.


Placements are available in field, residential, day care, hospital, prison and service user run settings. They cover all service user groups, including:

  • Children and families
  • People with disabilities
  • People with learning disabilities
  • Older people
  • People with mental health problems
  • People within criminal justice settings

Please note that placements are arranged with our partner agencies, which are relatively close geographically to the University. The maximum travelling time to placements will not normally exceed two hours each way from the University.

During the second year a practice learning experience of 70 days forms an important part of the course as you move on to test and hone your practice in real-life situations. Practice placements involve normal full-time working hours (with occasional variation for practice setting), from November until the end of February. Academic teaching takes place in blocks in the weeks both before and after practice placement and typically involves fifteen hours contact time per week with additional tutorial time.

In the final year, the full-time practice placements take place over 100 days from the end of September to March.


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

The suite 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.

After you graduate

This is an exciting time to enter social work and a very high percentage of graduates quickly obtain qualified social work posts. There are excellent employment and career opportunities in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors for qualified practitioners. Social workers increasingly work in integrated inter-professional teams in social care, health, education and criminal justice settings.


Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to be replaced by the new Social Work England.

Links with business and industry

Both local employers and service users and carers make a crucial contribution to the design and management of the course. This keeps it relevant, up-to-date and closely in touch with changes in social work.

We have long-standing partnerships with a wide variety of practice settings in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

Undergraduate study
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