Social Work BA

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

About the Course

This is a broad-based course which benefits from a wide range of staff specialisms. All qualifying programmes like Brunel which were approved by the GSCC have automatically received transitional approval from the HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council).

Our degree in Social Work is delivered in partnership with a number statutory and voluntary agencies alongside service users and carers group BEC (Brunel Experts by Experience Committee) and our Alumni group of past students. The BA is awarded via either the 3-year full-time route or the 6-year part-time route.

The professional and academic elements of the course are closely integrated throughout. Seminars, tutorials and formal classes are integrated with professional practice, and theory is applied through the analysis of social issues and problems.

You must be able to attend university and your placement. The programme is generally delivered between the hours of 9am and 5pm each day but can extend beyond these times.

Candidates must demonstrate the capacity to undertake the academic demands of the course and have relevant work based experience.

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This BA (Hons) Social Work degree programme aims to provide high quality undergraduate social work education and training to equip students with a beginning capability to work in any agency employing social workers in the United Kingdom. It also confers eligibility to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council for registration as a social worker upon successful completion of the prescribed programme of study.  Although the statutory sector is the major employer, increasingly social workers are being recruited into the voluntary and private sectors, whether as commissioners or providers of services and whether in field, residential or day services. The programme seeks to encourage the personal responsibility of students to function as independent learners and to develop a critical and reflective appreciation of the role of social work in society. 

The curriculum provides teaching in both academic and practice elements, which at Brunel University London are fully integrated. It is designed to ensure that learning occurs in an incremental way, with learning outcomes that develop across levels enabling students to demonstrate progression in professional knowledge, skills and values through three years of study. Specifically, the programme aims to:

  • prepare students for critical and reflective professional practice according to the HCPC’s approval standards of education, and The College of Social Work’s Professional Capabilities Framework;
  • equip students to practise ethical, innovative and effective social work practice that actively promotes social justice in a diverse society;
  • integrate learning in academic and practice elements of the programme so that students have a holistic understanding of social work in variety of professional contexts;
  • enable students to identify, understand and critically appraise evidence and research which can inform social work practice;
  • enable graduates to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and apply for membership of The College of Social Work (TCSW) and the British Association of Social Workers (BASW).


BA Admissions Tutor (PT and FT)

Department of Life Sciences
Brunel University London

Web Social Work subject pages

Related Courses

Course Content

Typical Modules

Year 1

  • žIntroduction to Academic and Professional Practice
  • Social Work Themes, Roles & Contemporary Practice
  • Human Behaviour and Development
  • Social Policy & Sociology
  • Introduction to Social Work Law
  • Service Users, Carers and Providers
  • Critical Reflection and Skills Development 1

Year 2

  • Reflective Practice
  • Theories for Social Work Practice
  • Social Policy for Social Work
  • Social Work Law in Context
  • Values & Contemporary Issues (options)
  • Practice seminars
  • Critical Reflection and Skills Development 2
  • Level 2 Placement (70 days)

Year 3

  • Social Research Methods
  • Level 3 Professional Pathways:
    Social Work with Children & Families OR Social Work with Adults
  • Level 3 Electives:
    Family Work OR Groups & Communities OR Social Support, Personalisation & Networking
  • žCritical Reflection and Skills Development 3
  • Level 3 Practice Learning (100 days)
Your placements could involve work in the following areas:
  • Children and families
  • Mental health work
  • Older people
  • žIllness and disability
  • Addiction/substance misuse
  • Homelessness
  • Residential work

Special Features

  • The Social Work Division has an excellent academic record and reputation, and we are currently ranked number one Social Work Division in London (Guardian, 2013).
  • Students enjoy first-rate facilities in a modern and vibrant campus setting.
  • We are one of the leading providers of university-based social work research in London and have attracted funding from, amongst other sources, the ESRC, the AHRC, the Rowntree Trust, the Department for Education and Skills and the NHS.
  • Students benefit from close links with social services and voluntary organisations which include on site student units.
  • Recent groundbreaking research into comparative social work, community care, child development, and race and social work feed into our taught programmes, making them highly relevant and up-to-date. We have an active research centre, as well as an international reputation for our work in the field of social policy. Lecturers include authors of best selling books on citizenship, community care and child protection.
  • We have a diverse teaching team which reflects the diversity of our students. Anti-discriminatory practice and a commitment to social justice has been at the core of our teaching philosophy for many years and this emphasis is evident in the teaching on the course.

Facts and Figures

College of Health and Life Science

Health and Life Sciences have become one of the most hotly discussed and debated issues of our time and is a subject that can be studied from a biological, psychological, sociological, philosophical, political, environmental or cultural perspective. It affects us individually and through our families, communities and society as a whole.

Health and social care issues have always attracted legal and ethical debates ranging from questions about the beginning and end of life. These issues have become more complex as consumers of care services become more demanding and more knowledgeable of their rights.

The courses offered at Brunel aim to meet the needs of social workers working within a wide range of settings across a broad range of needs.

We aim to combine a thorough professional education with academic excellence and have a substantial record of research, innovation and publication which is reflected in the quality and relevance of our teaching.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching methods combine seminars and tutorials with more formal classes. These emphasise the integration of social science subjects with professional practice and the application of theory to the analysis of social issues and problems.

Tutorial and Practice Educator Support

All students have an academic tutor during the course, and an experienced practice educator on each placement alongside a practice tutor. Individual and group tutorials are a core timetabled part of the curriculum. Your academic tutor has particular responsibility for helping you to maintain links between your university-based and placement-based learning.


Assessment in practice placements is continuous and culminates in the placement report, to which both student and practice educator contribute. Students are required to meet the Professional Capabilities Framework to progress through the course.

Academic work is assessed through a range of assignments, with published submission dates. These assignments include tests, presentations, essays and examinations.

All elements of assessment must be passed for the student to progress.


Practice Learning

Practice Learning and Skills development is an essential part of the course at Levels 1, 2 and 3. The professional and academic elements of the course are strongly integrated. The requirement is 170 days in practice learning settings, 70 days at Level 2 and 100 days at Level 3.

You will have a practice tutor and an experienced trained practice educator in each placement. Individual and group tutorials are a core timetabled part of the curriculum. Your practice tutor has a particular responsibility for maintaining links between your university-based and placement-based learning and ensuring that you meet the College of Social Work Professional Capabilities Framework and the HCPC Standards of Proficiency.  


Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey

Social Work is a very vocational degree and on successful completion of the course graduates may apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and practice as a Social Worker. 

In 2012/13, six months after graduating:

  • 62.1% of graduates with a first degree were in employment
  • 10.3% were in full-time further study

Read more about graduate destinations for this subject area

The programme aims to produce graduates with critical understanding of a range of knowledge, concepts and theories including the values, principles, methods and intervention skills of social work; theories of life span development; causes and impacts of social disadvantage and vulnerability; the political, social, economic, historical and other structures in which social and health policy is developed and applied; the relevant legislative frameworks and the organisational contexts in which social work services including statutory, voluntary, private and other sectors, are governed and delivered; and evidence-based underpinnings to social work practice.

Graduates of the programme should also have an ability to critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise complex material, and make sound judgments in problem-solving and decision-making processes; examine and utilise relevant social work theory and research evidence in the analysis of practice with service users and the context in which practice is delivered; review research literature, research methods, research ethics, user involvement in research, programme evaluation and evidence-based practice; and independently identify, reflect on and analyse ideological assumptions, feelings and actions in relation to direct practice, research activities and professional development.

Many students who complete the BA in Social Work go on to attend one of our post-qualifying courses.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2014/15 entry

UK/EU students: £9,000 full-time; £6,750 part-time ; £1,000 placement year

International students: £16,000 full-time

Social Work Bursary

The social work bursaries are available to students ordinarily resident in England studying on an approved undergraduate course. Amongst other eligibility criteria, students must also meet certain residency criteria. 

The availability of bursaries for the 2013/14 academic year has been under review and consultation.

The latest information to hand is that there will be no bursary for the new BA1 social work students in 2013 and there will be a cap of 2500 bursaries available in 2014/15 as they move into year 2 however the methodology for how decisions will be made as to who gets bursaries has yet to be published on the NHS website.

Application forms for the new bursaries will be available from May from the NHS social work bursaries website and prospective students should visit this website for those and for additional information about the social work bursary.

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements for 2014 Entry

  • GCE A-level BBB (General Studies not accepted for this subject at all)
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma DDD in a related subject.
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma 32 points
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass a related subject Access course with 45 credits at level 3 and 15 credits at level 2 with Merits in all units. Applicants aged 21+ are considered on an individual basis.

GCSE Mathematics grade C and GCSE English grade C are also required.

For BA Social Work we would also consider applicants who are taking: Functional Skills Level 2 in Application of Communication and Application of Number, Key Skills Level 2 in Application of Communication and Application of Number, 12 credits in GCSE English and Maths equivalent units from Access an course, IELTS: Overall grade 7 (min 6.5 in all areas). International GCSE Grade C Maths and English qualifications are also accepted.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants as well as our full GCSE requirements and accepted equivalencies in place of GCSE’s.

Interviews: All shortlisted applicants sit a written test, are observed in a group task and then have individual interviews. Each task requires successful completion.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, previously known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check: All students undertaking this degree will be required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) application, The application will cost £51.86 (this amount may be subject to change) and the University will send further instructions as part of the admissions process. For further guidance please Contact Admissions.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country is not listed here please contact Admissions

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6.5W, 6.5L, 6.5R, 6.5S) 
  • Pearson: 64 (58 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (65% in all areas)

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accept a range of other language courses. We also have a range of Pre-sessional English language courses, for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a range of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.

Page last updated: Wednesday 27 August 2014