This Course provides relevant graduates with the knowledge, skills and values to practice as a professional Social Worker across a range of settings.


The Degree in Social Work was introduced in 2004 to meet the requirements of the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, which, along with other Councils, agreed that all social work training would be offered at Honours degree level. One of the main features is the introduction of a pre-registration year. This means that when you complete the degree, you will then have to successfully undertake an assessed year in employment before being eligible for full registration as a Social Worker with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council. Within Northern Ireland this is called the 'Assessed Year in Employment'

The programme is for those who intend to work as professional social workers, and includes a substantial element of practice learning. You will undertake two contrasting practice placements - one of 85 days duration in Year 1, and one of 100 days duration in Year 2. The programme is recognised by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council for purposes of registration as a social worker.

The programme includes underpinning relevant theory in the social sciences, including social policy, psychology, sociology and law, the focus of the programme is on the development of skills, values and knowledge required for social work practice. You must successfully complete a preparation for practice module prior to undertaking supervised practice learning on placement.

The design and delivery of this ‘fast track’ degree programme is premised on the relevant graduate qualities of the applicant in meeting the demands of this accelerated learning programme.

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About this course

In this section


This course is recognised by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council as the professional qualification for social workers in Northern Ireland.

The design and delivery of this ‘fast track’ degree programme is premised on the relevant graduate qualities of the applicant in meeting the demands of this accelerated learning programme.

In acknowledging the reality of meeting the requirments of the degree within the limits of the academic timetable; the Northern Ireland Social Care Council require students to partake in Professional Development Days (additional to the scheduled timetable,15 days each year), in acquiring key knowledge for university and practice learning. More information is provided regarding these at Induction.

Associate awards

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Find out more about placement awards


The Course lasts 2 years with full time attendance on campus, plus placements.

Start dates

  • September 2018
How to apply

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

A level

The 2 year accelerated Social Work course is not open to school leavers. Applicants must be graduates, Second class honours degree in a cognate area.

A relevant degree (second class lower division or higher) is deemed to be an Honours degree, where at least 33% of the programme passed at Honours level comprises one or more of the following: Sociology, Psychology, Social Policy/Social Administration, Law, Teaching, Nursing, Community Work, Youth Work, Early Childhood Studies and other cognate subjects at the discretion of the programme provider.

Applicants who do not have a cognate degree should apply to the three year course.


You must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass in English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above (or equivalent). Please note that we do not accept Essential Skills Application of Number as equivalent to GCSE Mathematics.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

As this is a professional course, all modules are compulsory.

Students who do not pass the Preparation for Practice Learning module may transfer to a related academic subject within the Faculty e.g. BSc Hons Health and Social Care Policy, BSc Sociology with Options.

Careers & opportunities

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Career options

A social work career can lead to employment in a range of diverse settings, such as;
• family and childcare
• physical disability and learning disability
• drug and alcohol abuse
• mental health
• homelessness
• Older people

Some social workers follow careers in the criminal justice system, education welfare or in adoption and fostering.
Within Northern Ireland a wide range of Post Qualifying opportunities at Masters level are available in social work and related disciplines.

Professional recognition

Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC)

Accredited by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC).


How to apply Request a prospectus

Apply via UCAS by 15 January.

Once your application is received at Ulster, it will be screened for short-listing. The first stage of this process is whereby applicants will be asked to complete a 600 personal statement on a given topic. You must clearly outline any relevant experience and knowledge you have of social work, express your motivations for applying to the course and your general interest in the field.

Successful applicants from stage one will be invited to attend for interview. The interview panel will comprise of a member of academic staff plus a social work practitioner.

Applicants who are successful at interview, will be given either an Unconditional or Conditional offer based on their academic qualifications.

Start dates

  • September 2018

Fees and funding

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Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 18/19 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

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Additional mandatory costs

This course is a 'regulated and/or care position' within the meaning of the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (NI) Order 2003 (POCVA) and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (NI) Order 2007. It may involve access to children and/or vulnerable adults and is therefore subject to an Access NI criminal history check, the fee for which is £33.

Students who are placed in clinical settings will be required to undertake an initial occupational health screening to ascertain if they require any additional vaccinations to include Hepatitis B and any other outstanding required vaccinations identified via the initial occupational health screening process.

The cost will range from £35 for the initial occupational health screening up to £175 depending on the additional vaccinations required. Students will be responsible for paying for these costings.

We would advise any student prior to commencing their studies on the social work programme to review their vaccination history.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.