Social Work BA (Hons)

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Gold award

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Gold award

Our commitment to high quality teaching has been recognised with a TEF Gold rating. The University has received an overall rating of Gold, as well as securing a Gold award in the framework's two new student experience and student outcomes categories.

Why choose this course?

Train to become a social worker with this degree, accredited by Social Work England. This course offers hands-on experience of social work and a foundation in ethics, diversity, psychology, sociology, social policy and law. You'll study mental health, disability, adoption, fostering, substance misuse, youth justice, and domestic violence.

You'll learn directly from people with lived experience and teaching consultants currently in practice. We're part of a teaching partnership network with seven local authorities and two voluntary organisations. 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.

We have a wide range of placement opportunities throughout South West London and Surrey, including child protection, youth justice, mental health, vulnerable adults settings, schools, drugs and substance misuse services.

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.

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time L501 2024
3 years full time (employment based) Apply via your employer. 2024

Read more about the employment-based route >.

Location Kingston Hill

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This course is accredited by Social Work England. Once you graduate, you must apply to register with Social Work England to work as a qualified social worker.
  • You'll develop your skills in our award-winning Practice Learning Suite through simulated interactions with people with lived experience.
  • Kingston is part of a sector-leading social work and teaching partnership network with nine local authorities and three voluntary organisations.
  • 95.5% of students thought staff were good at explaining things (NSS 2023).

Apprenticeship option

If you are already working in the social care sector, speak to your employer about being nominated for the Social Work integrated degree apprenticeship.

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.

Future Skills

Knowledge to give you the edge

Embedded within every course curriculum and throughout the whole Kingston experience, Future Skills will play a role in shaping you to become a future-proof graduate, providing you with the skills most valued by employers such as problem-solving, digital competency, and adaptability.

As you progress through your degree, you'll learn to navigate, explore and apply these graduate skills, learning to demonstrate and articulate to employers how future skills give you the edge.

At Kingston University, we're not just keeping up with change, we're creating it.

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What our students say

Entry requirements

Typical offer 2024

UCAS tariff points: 120–136

Relevant work, voluntary, and/or lived experience of providing support within social care, health, or educational settings desired.

GCSEs at grade C/4 in English. Enhanced DBS check and Occupational Health Clearance. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview including selection exercises.

The typical requirement for entry for this course is 120-136 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 or equivalent qualification e.g. Functional/Key skills level 2 in literacy.

Work experience

Applicants' prior relevant experience is considered as part of the admissions process. This might include relevant work, volunteering, study or personal experience. Applicants are encouraged to reflect upon what they have learned from this prior experience and how it might assist them with developing skills, values and knowledge related to social work.

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 an online interview with an academic accompanied by either a teaching partner or person with lived experience. You will also need to complete a short written assessment online.

Admission is subject to Occupational Health screening and an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check including checks against the Adult and Child Workforce Barring Lists 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 120 UCAS points. We assess each application individually, taking into account any experience and skills you may have in your chosen field.

Typical other routes include:

  • Foundation degree in related programmes 55%
  • 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.

You will also need to successfully complete an interview, an Occupational Health screening and an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (see below). Please note: if you have not been a resident in the UK for the past 5 years, you will be required to obtain a certificate of good conduct from the country where you were living. This application is through the UK government's criminal record check for overseas applicants portal.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Typical offer and UCAS points explained

Like most universities, we use the UCAS Tariff point system for our course entry requirements.

Find out more about UCAS Tariff points and see how A-level, AS level, BTEC Diploma and T-level qualifications translate to the points system.

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 (self-managed time)

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 coursework assignments, and preparing and giving presentations. 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, support you throughout your time at Kingston and 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 eight hours every week. Additionally, you will have the option to attend academic writing classes 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 in semesters one and two and typically involves 15 hours contact time per week with additional tutorial time.

Years 2 and 3: Academic teaching starts early, at the very beginning of September and takes place in blocks before and after practice placement and typically involves contact time per week with additional tutorial time. Placements are full time and students are required to be on placement for approximately seven hours a day, for five days a week

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 240 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 960 hours
  • Placement: 0 hours
Year 2
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 182 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 745 hours
  • Placement: 490 hours
Year 3
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 92 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 544 hours
  • Placement: 700 hours

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:

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Coursework: 71%
  • Exams: 21%
  • Practical exam: 8%
Year 2
  • Coursework: 100%
  • Exams: 0%
  • Practical exam: 0%
Year 3
  • Coursework: 100%
  • Exams: 0%
  • Practical exam: 0%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback to you on your 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 learning and 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

2024/25 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2024/25 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category Amount
Home (UK students) £9,250*
International Year 1 (2024/25): £17,800
Year 2 (2025/26): £18,500
Year 3 (2026/27): £19,200

For courses with a sandwich year, the fee for the placement year can be viewed on the undergraduate fees table. The placement fee published is for the relevant academic year stated in the table. This fee is subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body.

* For full-time programmes of a duration of more than one academic year, the published fee is an annual fee, payable each year, for the duration of the programme. Your annual tuition fees cover your first attempt at all of the modules necessary to complete that academic year. A re-study of any modules will incur additional charges calculated by the number of credits. Home tuition fees may be subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body. Full-time taught International fees are subject to an annual increase and are published in advance for the full duration of the programme.

Eligible UK 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.

2023/24 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK), 'Islands' or 'Overseas' student. In 2023/24 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category Amount
Home (UK students) £9,250*
International Year 1 (2023/24): £15,800
Year 2 (2024/25): £16,200
Year 3 (2025/26): £16,600

* 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 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.

Note for EU students: UK withdrawal from the European Union

The Government has recently announced that new students from the European Union and Swiss Nationals starting their course after August 2021 will no longer be eligible for a student loan in England for Undergraduate or Postgraduate studies from the 2021/22 academic year. This decision only applies to new EU students starting after 2021/22. If you are an existing/continuing EU student, you will continue to be funded until you graduate or withdraw from your course.

Social work bursaries

The Department of Health has a bursary scheme for students taking the BA (Hons) Social Work programme. Bursaries are only available for the second and third years of the programme, and not all students receive bursary funding. The Department of Health requires the university to rank students for bursary funding, and we do this on the basis of the marks awarded for the modules during the first year of study. The Department of Health may change the scheme in the future.

For more detailed information please go to the NHS bursary website.

Need to know more?

Our undergraduate fees and funding section provides information and advice on money matters.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that 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, access to shared 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 (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.


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 buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

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. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost from £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees; this may cost up to £100 per year.


Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston-upon-Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.


All English students can apply for a travel bursary which is approximately £800 for help with travel to and from placement in years 2 and 3.

DBS check

The University pays for the processing of the application which is £51 but students are expected to pay a small fee (approximately £7) to the Post Office to get their ID documents verified and £13 per year for subscribing to the Update Service. This subscription allows universities and potential employers to view any changes to students' DBS.

Occupational health

You will need to fill out an Occupational Health Form. In some cases, we will require extra information and may ask you to get your GP to complete a routine screening form. All GPs have their own policies on charging fees for completion of these reports. The minimum fee recommended by the BMA is £30. Some GPs will not charge you for completion of the form but some GP surgeries are unable to make exceptions and will charge you the standard rate for their practice (in some cases this can be £50 or more). Neither the Faculty nor Occupational Health will be able to reimburse students for fees charged by their GP.

The majority of the required vaccinations should be free from your GP or via the NHS. Our Occupational Health Service will see you in the first two weeks of the course to ensure you have obtained the necessary vaccinations and will undertake any vaccinations/screening tests you have missed. Neither the Faculty nor Occupational Health will be able to reimburse students for any fees charged by their GP or other vaccination providers for vaccinations incurring a cost. If you are being charged for a vaccination we would suggest that you wait until you start the course where you will be able to obtain the vaccination at no cost to yourself.

Membership and professional fees

Social Work England renewal fee for qualified social workers is £90 a year.

Social work internships

The Developing Together Social Work Teaching Partnership offers a number of unpaid student internships each year to both undergraduate and masters social work students studying at Kingston University.

Successful students will undertake two practice placements within their preferred local authority before being interviewed for a newly-qualified social worker position upon graduating.

Placements are available in a variety of practice settings and the scheme is ideal for students who have a clear idea of which organisation they might like to work for at the end of their degree. Organisations that have offered internships to date are:

  • Achieving for Children (providing children's services for Kingston and Richmond)
  • London Borough of Sutton (children's social work)
  • London Borough of Merton (adult social work)

Other partners that may offer future opportunities are:

  • London Borough of Croydon (adult social work)
  • Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (adult social work)
  • London Borough of Sutton (adult social work)

Applications for undergraduate students open in Spring each year (towards the end of the student's first year).


Placements are available in a range of 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.


Our Art Room is a specialist room designed to replicate a secondary school classroom where students learn a range of creative practices for values-based work with children and young people.

We collaborate across Kingston University and external organisations to come up with creative ideas to solve social care issues in the community, so that students are given the opportunity to apply their learning to real-world problems. 

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 skills.




After you graduate

There are opportunities in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors. Social workers increasingly work in integrated interprofessional teams in social care, health, education and criminal justice.


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.

Employment-based route

The BA (Hons) Social Work Employment Based Route is available to employer agencies who wish to sponsor groups of eligible employees into the generic 3-year course via a Partnership Agreement. Interested employing agencies may contact the Course Leader to discuss this option.

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).

Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.