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Social Work MSc frequently asked questions

Programme enquiries

What does this programme aim to do?

The Social Work MSc programme aims to educate and train individuals to be reflective, research-minded Social Work practitioners who are able to work critically and professionally, in accordance with the principles of anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice.

Is the programme full-time? 

Yes – you'll be expected to be available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday to study in the University and attend practice learning placements.

How many days will I spend in practice learning?

There are 170 placement days, with the working week divided between time in the University and time in the practice learning setting. While we aim to start these placements as early as possible, there are many constraints which mean that the start date will vary from placement to placement. The placement day is an 8 hour day (including a 1 hour lunch break).

Will the placements be close to Brunel or my home? 

The Practice Learning team will try to locate a placement for you as close as possible to your home address. However, proximity needs to be balanced with other factors, such as the need to have experience in different settings. While most placements are located in London and the surrounding areas, you may have to travel up to two hours (each way) to attend your placement. 

What is the timetable for the programme? 

Unfortunately we do not know until September as it varies from year to year and depends on the university’s timetable. You'll be given your timetable as soon as you start your course.

How will I be assessed? 

You'll be assessed using a variety of assessment methods including written examination, essay, report and dissertation. Your practice learning will also be assessed by a portfolio, and you must pass these to pass the programme.

Will I get a bursary? 

The Department of Health has confirmed that the postgraduate social work bursary will be maintained to ensure a continuation of highly qualified graduates. However, the Department of Health will cap the number of undergraduate and post-graduate bursary recipients to ensure a sufficient supply of high quality students is maintained.

Further information will be available shortly on the NHS webiste


Admissions process enquiries

How do I apply for this programme? 

You need to apply through UCAS (UCAS code: L508; Short form of course: MA/SW). Further information can be found on the Social Work MSc enquiries section

How do you select students? 

This is a highly selective programme. We receive applications through UCAS. We invite those applicants who have satisfied our educational entry requirements to a selection day where they undertake a written test. Those passing the test are invited to stay on in the afternoon to take part in a group exercise and individual interview. We take into account all aspects of the selection process including performance on this day along with written references to make offers to the most suitable candidates.

What are the educational entry requirements? 

We normally require a First Class or 2.1 Honours degree or an equivalent internationally recognised qualification. We will also consider applicants with at least a 2.2 Honours degree in a related subject (e.g Education, Sociology, Social Policy, Politics, Psychology, Law, Health and/or Social Care). All candidates must have GCSE Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics, or an acceptable equivalent. All applicants must also possess appropriate basic IT skills prior to the start of the programme.

What do I need to include on my personal statement?

Your personal statement is used to give us an idea of how well prepared you are to undertake our course. In completing your personal statement you need to: demonstrate an understanding of the aims of Social Work; recognise the positive effects of Social Work intervention; show awareness of the multi-disciplinary nature of Social Work; comment on the personal qualities that make you suitable for the course – substantiated by relevant examples. You must comment on the insights you have gained into Social Work through your experiences and should demonstrate an understanding of the role of research in informing Social Work practice.

Do I need to have a social work experience? 

There is no formal requirement for a set amount of time spent getting work experience. However you will need to demonstrate what you have learnt from your own life/educational/work/voluntary experiences as appropriate to your life stage and how these have prepared you for a career in social work.

Do I need to have a criminal records check, even if I have previously had a DBS check? 

Yes, a satisfactory criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service must be received prior to registration on the programme. You must declare all criminal convictions on this and meet any costs associated with it. You will need to pay for this check. A satisfactory health check must also be completed prior to registration on the programme.

How much does accommodation at Brunel cost? 

See our Accommodation webpages for more information. 

What arrangements are in place for students with disabilities? 

Yes, the modes of assessment are appropriately adjusted for disabled applicants where not doing so could lead to the applicant experiencing disadvantage. To find out more on the services we have available for students with disabilties, see our DSS webpage.

When will I hear if my application has been successful or unsuccessful? 

You should receive our decision within three weeks of attending an interview.

How many references do I need? 

You will need two references. One needs to be an academic reference and the other a character reference. The second reference should be given by someone who can testify to your suitability for social work (such as a past employer). This person should be someone who is able to comment on how your experiences (paid/voluntary/within the community) have prepared you for a career in social work.