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MSc Social Work

  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: Two Years
  • Start Date: September 2024

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As a Social Worker, you’ll help some of the most marginalised groups in society, supporting them in overcoming barriers to a fulfilled life. A career in Social Work is a rewarding and worthwhile profession, with no day being the same, make sure you’re properly prepared for the future with a Social Work degree from BNU.

This is no doubt one of the most valuable careers you can choose, so if you love the idea of working with people in a truly meaningful way, our MSc Social Work degree could be the perfect course for you.

I feel prepared to enter the working world as a social worker. All the teaching staff have gone above and beyond by making themselves available for extra tutorials.
Paula Reed
Paula Reed

Why study this subject?

As a Social Worker you’ll be aware of the impact social issues including poverty, deprivation, and exclusion have on your work. Social Workers aim to work in partnership with individuals and families to find solutions to unique problems. They also work towards improving quality of life for those in their care. 

As a Social Worker, you’ll work with complex situations and learn how to balance tensions between care and control. You’ll also engage in relationship-based practice whilst fulfilling the expectations of your employer.  

The choice to become a Social Worker shouldn’t be taken lightly. We welcome students who are committed to their future career and determined to make a difference to the lives of others.  

The lectures are brilliant, they are extremely knowledgeable in their field and they are all supportive. The course has an enriched curriculum that has made me feel confident going into a role as a social worker, they have given me the skills and knowledge I need to peruse my career.
Sophie Evans
A headshot of a smiling Sophie Evans stood looking directly into the camera

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

At BNU you’ll gain experience working with people who might need Social Work support because your study will combine classroom theory with real-life experience, some of which involves working alongside current Social Workers.  

We work closely with People with Lived Experience so you can hear first-hand about the impact you could make with individuals and communities.  

We work with a broad range of partners to offer interesting Social Work placements including Local Authorities, Healthcare Trusts, and organisations from the voluntary and independent sectors, all of which are within a 25-mile radius of our High Wycombe campus. 

Our MSc Social Work programme is accredited by Social Work England which means you’ll be eligible to apply for registration as a Social Worker in England as soon as you graduate.  

Our lecturers, all of whom are former Social Work practitioners, have rich experience from which to draw on. Our lecturers will help you make sense of the theoretical elements of your studies by introducing their practice wisdom to lectures. Our tutors remain up to date with the latest sector changes and many of them lead and are involved with external forums, discussing, and influencing the future of the sector. We also have course lecturers who are published authors in the field of Social Work.  

One of the most rewarding elements of studying Social Work is sharing your experience with other students. Some days will be intensely emotional, so it’s important that you have a friendly team around you. We pride ourselves in our ability to get to know all our students, so you’ll be supported by personal tutors in groups of no more than ten. This will help you to get to know us as well as each other. 

What facilities can I use?

Our library is packed with all the information you need for your assessments and there’s plenty of room to knuckle down for some quiet study.

Whilst studying with us you will also use our BucksAnywhere web service, which provides access to many of the software applications you use for learning and studying. BucksAnywhere can be used from your own device or from a University owned PC or laptop, from any location.

The programme emphasises the importance of theory and practical knowledge. Lecturers are passionate about the material that they teach which translates into an interactive learning experience for students. I have felt academically and personally supported throughout the course.
Paula Reed
Paula Reed

What will I study?

We recognise how crucial Social Workers are in the community and this course will prepare you to work with marginalised people across the lifespan, from birth to death.  

You’ll gain the necessary skills that employer’s value, like teamwork, communication, problem solving, analysis and evaluative skills.  

The modules you study will enable you to have greater self-awareness, which includes the ability to manage your emotions and the emotions of others. Modules also offer you the opportunity to gain relevant knowledge in theory, law, and policy and how to implement this knowledge in practice. The experiences of people who have Social Work support will also be explored and examined, both from a theoretical perspective and a practice perspective, during your placement experiences.  

Our modules cover important topics such as Law, Sociology, Psychology and Social Work Theory. We also explore Social Work skills, working collaboratively and develop understanding and use of leadership and management skills. You will also learn about research methods which support you to develop your final dissertation project.

How will I be taught and assessed?

Our Social Work programmes are full-time. Modules are taught to encourage independent study and to enable you to develop your own critical thinking, reflection, and research skills – all of which will assist you in practice as an autonomous worker. 

As well as group workshops, simulations, presentations, and tutorials led by industry experts, you’ll also complete two placements where you’ll further develop your learning and understanding. You’ll be required to work the hours of the agency you’re placed with, while receiving on-going support and guidance from your Practice Educator and/or Onsite Supervisor, as well as your personal tutor.    

You’ll be assessed through time constrained assessment, essays, presentations, a personal and professional portfolio to ensure you’ve grasped the key concepts in this important field. In your final year, you’ll explore a specific subject of interest through your dissertation project, meaning you can focus on an area of social work you’re particularly passionate about.  

MSc Social Work Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

Typically, students in this course will have a 2:1 degree, however you may be considered if you have a 2:2 with significant (relevant work) experience  in the Social / Health care or closely related subjects. You will have worked with a variety of people either in paid employment or as a volunteer.

Social Work is both an academic and vocational course so it's important you show success in your previous education and have experience.

For this course, applicants must hold GCSE English Language at Grade C/4 or above, or equivalent qualifications such as Level 2 Functional Skills in Literacy.

Please list all your qualifications on the application form as you will be asked to provide copies when we receive your application.

Every application is considered on an individual basis.
For further details of our international English entry requirements, please visit our international pages.

Selection days

If your application is successful, you’ll be invited to attend a Selection Event. This will include completing a written test to assess your written English ability, a group activity to assess your verbal English ability, and an individual interview. 

Information about health, criminal, employment and personal history will be collected as part of the Selection Event but will not be disclosed to the interview team or used to make a decision about making you an offer. 

If you disclose something that needs further exploration, this will be done separately from the interview process and any offer of a place will be made on a conditional basis, while your circumstances are assessed further. 

All offers are subject to passing the Social Work Selection Event and you will be informed of the outcome either via UCAS Track or directly by us. 

You will also require a clear occupational health assessment alongside the declaration of suitability for social work and satisfactory DBS checks (an admissions requirement).


This provides a guide of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

What are the tuition fees

  • Home, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £9,750 per year
  • Overseas/International, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £17,000 per year

Fees quoted are for tuition only unless stated otherwise, and we’re committed to ensuring there are no hidden extra costs while you’re at university. If you require a Visa to study with us, you must have the fees in your account for a period of 28 consecutive days. Please find further information here: VISAs

All fees are quoted in pounds sterling and are charged per year. Fees quoted above are for the specified year only. Fees may increase in future years for both new and continuing students. Fees, Liability and Instalment Dates 

You may be eligible for an NHS bursary in your second year. The university is awarded a small number of bursaries which are allocated according to a set of criteria that includes your progress and attendance in the first year.  You can find full information about funding your studies and paying your fees in our Financial Support, Bursaries and Scholarships

You can also find information and guidance about applying for the Social Work Bursary here: Social Work - Apply for Undergraduate Bursary | NHSBSA

Additional costs for consideration

Please find listed below any additional costs you may incur that are not covered by your tuition fee:

For September 2024 entry:

  • Laptops, tablets and mobile devices and any software used on personal devices. Access to a personal computer is strongly recommended for your study. If you are experiencing financial difficulty, visit our website for information regarding Undergraduate financial support
  • Textbooks, general stationery, and other supplies. Our library is stocked with a large range of textbooks and online resources, free of charge
  • We will meet the cost of an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
  • Accommodation and cost of living expenses. More information can be found here: High Wycombe Accommodation, Cost of Living Hub
  • All the halls in High Wycombe are within walking or cycling distance to campus. There is a free shuttle bus between Uxbridge campus and High Wycombe
  • When you are on practice learning placements, you will need to fund travel between home and the organisation or agency. You will be reimbursed for business travel undertaken during your placement
  • Whilst you are responsible for travel costs to and from your placement, including car parking charges, where possible, these are minimised as part of the placement allocation process. International students are not exempted from these additional costs.
  • Sports and societies memberships are free but there may be associated costs. Please see the student union website for further information: Societies
  • There is no parking available on campus, so we suggest you car share where possible and find affordable parking to cover university days 10am – 5 pm
  • When you are on practice learning placements, you will need to fund travel between home and the organisation or agency. You will be reimbursed for business travel undertaken during your placement 

Questions about fees?

If you have any questions about the fees above, contact our Enquiries team by calling 0330 123 2023 or emailing

What are my career prospects?

Throughout your time with us we'll support you on your journey to becoming a Social Worker. We'll help you to develop crucial skills, enabling you to become flexible in your thinking and stay calm even in a crisis.

Here at BNU, we have a high employability rate for Social Work because we make sure all our graduates leave with confidence in their skills and able to impress employers. We have good relationships with local employers who are always impressed with how prepared our graduates are for the transition from University to work.

We're so proud of our consistently high employability rate for our graduates. We offer a recruitment event in the final year where you're able to meet with employers to explore the next steps in terms of your first year of newly qualified status.

Our partners are very keen to ensure they provide opportunities for our successful graduates every year. We also encourage you to start networking in your final year placement which is often a springboard to future employment. We recognise that your journey to becoming a Social Worker doesn't simply end with us and we strive to ‘mind the gap’ between your education and new career.

On successful completion of the MSc Social Work degree, students are eligible to apply for professional registration with Social Work England (SWE). Your degree may also be recognised and accepted in other countries around the world.  

Once qualified, you can work within a range of settings including local authorities, hospitals, and voluntary services for drug and alcohol users or youth justice services.


Course leader

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Jo Edwards
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Chris Sallans
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Dr Des McDermott
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Nicola Cavill
  • Placement Coordinator/Associate Lecturer
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