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Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations

  • Action Mental Health New Horizons
  • Barnardos
  • Bryson Charitable Group
  • Extern
  • 5 Health & Social Care Trusts
  • First Housing
  • Women's Aid

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles

  • Childrens Service Social Worker
  • Education Welfare Officer
  • Family Support Worker
  • Hospital Social Worker
  • Intensive Family Support Worker
  • Project Worker
  • Residential Support Worker


To provide students with a high quality learning experience to acquire the knowledge, skills and values to obtain gainful employment in social work.


The BSc Honours Degree in Social Work is a professional qualification that meets the requirements of the Northern Ireland Social Care Council. Training to become a social worker involves a mixture of academic study and professional practice learning opportunities for a total of 185 days during the Degree. During Practice Placements (two episodes of 85 days and 100 days) students will work full time alongside social work practitioners and supported and assessed by a Practice Teacher. A range of placement opportunities are provided by a wide range of agency partners from Health and Social Care Trusts and other voluntary and statutory agencies and these providers are integral to the development and delivery of the programme.

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Magee campus

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About this course

In this section


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 2, and one of 100 days duration in Year 3. The programme is recognised by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council for purposes of registration as a social worker. It is also recognised internationally, for example, by the Australian Association of Social Workers via their International Qualifications Assessment process.

Although the programme includes underpinning learning in the social sciences, such as social policy, psychology, sociology and law, the focus of the programme is on the development of skills, values and knowledge required for practice. You must successfully complete a preparation for practice learning module (Year 1, Semester II) prior to undertaking supervised practice learning on placement.

Associate awards

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Find out more about placement awards


Three years full-time at Magee campus

Belfast Metropolitan College/South West College also provide the first two years of the degree, with students transferring to the Magee campus to complete their final year.

Start dates

  • September 2020
How to apply

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Our Learning and Teaching Strategy is based on Ulster University’s Corporate Plan, ‘5&50’ which is a Five Year Strategic Plan, Fiftieth Year Strategic Vision (2016-2034) to offer the highest quality learning and student experience. Its overarching aim is to provide students with high quality, challenging and rewarding learning experience that equips students with the knowledge, skills, values and the confidence necessary to demonstrate critical intellectual inquiry, to progress in their career, to adapt to change, and to become responsible global citizens who make meaningful contributions to the Social Work profession. This is achieved through evidence based and research informed curriculum design, continuous quality improvement, student voice and feedback and through meaningful engagement with service users, who actively contribute to teaching and learning on the program.


The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

  • the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
  • the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
  • the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

Attendance and Independent Study

As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

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Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.


Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

Calculation of the Final Award

The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

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The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Research and Academic Skills for Social Work

Year: 1

This module provides introductory knowledge of key academic skills, including reflection, research and evidence appraisal, along with evaluation and presentation. These are essential skills for academic and professional for development in social work.

Introduction to Lifecourse Psychology

Year: 1

The module aims to introduce Level 4 Social Work students to key psychological concepts and theories applicable to the human life course. There is specific emphasis on early childhood development and attachment. The accompanying seminar programme facilitates the development of students observational skills and the application of theory to social work practice. All material is considered in the context of social work values and the principles of diversity, equality and social exclusion.

Introduction to Social Work Practice

Year: 1

The module provides foundation knowledge covering the key roles and responsibilities of the Social Work Profession in preparation for first practice learning opportunity. Core concepts relating to law, policy and practice are explored including the helping process and safeguarding.

Preparation for Practice Learning

Year: 1

The Preparation for Practice Learning module is a pre-requisite in order to progress to your first Practice Learning Opportunity (PLO). The module assessment has three elements; a written tuning-in assignment, a summative skills role-play assessment, and a written evaluation assignment. There is no compensation across these and students must pass all three elements in order to pass the module.

Assessment of this module will determine fitness to proceed to Level 5 practice learning, and successful completion is therefore a pre-requisite for placement.

Introduction to Service User Groups

Year: 1

This module will provide students with an opportunity to learn about the lived experiences of service users, carers and survivors and their evaluation of social welfare services, including social work. Students will critically explore the tensions and conflicts between personal and professional values in practice and develop an appreciation of the importance of the skills of reflective practice and emotional intelligence in contemporary social work practice. This will equip them for Level 5 Practice Learning.

Building and Maintaining a Professional Identity

Year: 1

This module will provide Level 4 students with the opportunity to explore and develop their understanding of the professional nature of Social Work and the importance of effective use of self as a Social Work student and Social Worker. Key concepts such as emotional intelligence, resilience and critical reflection will be examined alongside exploration of relevant codes of ethics and conduct.

Social Work Law 1

Year: 1

This module enables students to acquire an understanding of the legislation and legal practice underpinning key areas of social work practice in Northern Ireland, such as child protection, relationship breakdown, mental health and community care law. It builds upon the foundations laid in Social Work Law 1. In the areas addressed in this module, students are encouraged to critically appraise the application of the law. The contents of this module, and Social Work Law 2, reflect the content of the CCETSW publication, "Law for Social Workers", 1997.

Theories and Methods: Individuals & Groups

Year: 1

The module will provide the opportunity for students to acquire underpinning knowledge, skills and values for social work practice with individuals and groups. It will enable them to integrate theory with practice and will provide the foundation for practice during practice learning.

Year two

Social Work Law 1

Year: 2

This module enables students to acquire an understanding of the legislation and legal practice underpinning social work practice in Northern Ireland. Its initial focus is on legal method and the legal system, providing students with sufficient understanding of legal process to underpin the 'follow-on' law module in year 3. In the areas addressed in this module, students are encouraged to critically appraise the application of the law. The contents of this module reflect the content of the CCETSW publication, "Law for Social Workers", 1997.

Working with Service Users: Integrating Values and Reflective Practice

Year: 2

Students will be asked to reflect upon the interface between their own personal values in relation to the helping process and the opportunities and limitations generated by the professional social work role. The service-user/carer experience will be the primary focus in facilitating this critical evaluation utilising underpinning theoretical models.

Assessment and Risk Assessment in Practice Settings

Year: 2

The module is designed to provide Social Work students with a knowledge base of the assessment frameworks currently used in a range of Social Work settings in Northern Ireland. It provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their assessment skills in relation to analysing information, forming professional judgement and understanding of the Social Work role in a numbers of practice situations. It explores the issues and dilemmas for professional Social Workers in relation to the assessment of need in a resource limited service.

It also looks at risk thresholds and risk management strategies in Social Work practice and the learning from recent inquiries and departmental guidance and protocols. The module provides online resources and lecture material to assist in the development of assessment skills. The theoretical knowledge and evidence base practice research that underpins the assessment frameworks, and the need for multi-disciplinary working is also taught. The two hour lectures are supported by weekly interactive seminars.

Preparation for Practice Learning

Year: 2

The Preparation for Practice Learning module is a pre-requisite in order to progress to the first Practice Learning Opportunity (PLO). The module assessment has three elements; a written tuning-in assignment, a summative skills role-play assessment, and a written evaluation assignment. There is no compensation across these and students must pass all three elements in order to pass the module.

Assessment of this module will determine fitness to proceed to Level 5 practice learning, and is a pre-requisite for placement.

Assessed Practice 1

Year: 2

This direct practice learning module enables students to apply college based teaching in relation to social work knowledge, values and skills to the practice setting, to develop effective helping relationships and to work in accordance with statutory and legal requirements as an accountable member of the organisation.

Reflection on Practice 1

Year: 2

At first practice learning students must develop skills and capacity in reviewing and evaluating practice to ensure safe, effective and accountable decision making. Reflective processes are essential in assimilating the complex evidence base, and in facilitating personal and professional competence required for practice.

Case Study

Year: 2

At first practice learning students must develop skills working through the social work process of preparation, assessment, planning, intervention, endings and review. This module is designed to give them the skills to do this in a sufficiently professional and academic manner, in order to prepare students for the rigor needed in working with complex situations involving high levels of need and risk.

Introduction to Critical Aspects & Concepts of Social Work

Year: 2

The module provides essential underpinning knowledge and understanding for students on the 2 year BSc Honors in Social Work, prior to their 1st practice learning opportunity. It addresses the key roles and responsibilities of the Social Work Profession in relation to critical aspects of practice.

Working in Organisations

Year: 2

This module examines the organisational factors and professional factors underpinning a range of Inquiries and Case Reviews. Of necessity, it concentrates on regional cases impacting on different service user groups to enable students to identify systemic factors , highlighting professional responsibility and encouraging development of a model of good practice.

Critical Perspectives and Skills for Contemporary Practice

Year: 2

This module examines the changing nature of contemporary social work practice as a result of the transformation of the welfare state in the UK over recent decades and it examines the need for critical social work in a period of significant organizational and professional change. Furthermore the module provides appropriate knowledge and understanding of research methods and evidence informed practice to contribute to the development of critical thinking skills.

Year three

Social work law 2

Year: 3

This module enables students to acquire an understanding of the legislation and legal practice underpinning key areas of social work practice in Northern Ireland, such as child protection, relationship breakdown, mental health and community care law. It builds upon the foundations laid in Social Work Law 1. In the areas addressed in this module, students are encouraged to critically appraise the application of the law. The contents of both modules reflect the content of the CCETSW publication, "Law for Social Workers", 1997.

Family and Child Care

Year: 3

The family and childcare module will introduce students to the key area of Social Work practice in a range of social work roles and settings. The three main areas of child care practice, child protection, family support and looked after children (including fostering and adoption), will be taught and the student's developing skills, values and knowledge will be subjected to assessment in an exam at the end of the module. A range of lecturers, managers, trainers and practitioners will provide learning on current, evidence based, family and childcare practice. In addition the inter-professional dimension to family and childcare work will also be examined. The module will have a strong emphasis on the social work role in assessing child abuse and neglect, within a theoretical evidence-base, and within the Northern Ireland legal and policy context. Social Work theory and models for intervention and assessment will be examined within a Northern Ireland, UK and international context. Online discussions and seminars will be used to assist students in exploring professional ethics and values, in preparation for their final year family and childcare practice-learning opportunities. The module is assessed by a written exam at the end of the teaching

Interventions in Practice

Year: 3

Students will acquire knowledge on a range of Social Work interventions in Adult Care and explore their application within specialist and multi-disciplinary settings. Students will critically reflect on how Social Workers can effectively intervene with adults from a range of service user groups.

Assessed Practice II

Year: 3

This direct practice learning opportunity consolidates learning from Assessed Practice I. In addition to undertaking more complex work with service users in an alternative placement setting, students are expected to evidence a level of critical analysis and reflection consistent with final placement.

Reflection on Practice 2

Year: 3

At qualifying level students must have developed skills and capability in critically reviewing and evaluating practice to ensure safe, effective and accountable decision making. Reflective processes are essential in assimilating the complex evidence base and practice environment, in facilitating personal and professional competence required for a career in social work.

Evidence Based Case Project

Year: 3

This module requires students to critically engage with the research and evidence relevant to a specific service user group and issue. In doing so students develop transferable skills in scrutinising and synthesizing the range of knowledge and evidence, in preparation for practice as newly qualified social workers.

Assessed Study and Practice Abroad 2

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides the opportunity for students to continue to develop their social work practice by exposure to practice in a foreign country. They will reflect on how this experience helped to develop their knowledge skills and they will develop their empathetic understanding of isolated, excluded and oppressed groups.

Outgoing Ulster University students will be awarded a Diploma in International Studies.

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 A Level requirement for this course is BBB.

You may satisfy the requirement for one A Level B grade by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as recognised by the University.

Applied General Qualifications

QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma, award profile DDD

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma, award profile DDM

Irish Leaving Certificate

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) grades H3, H3, H3, H3, H3 plus English and Maths at Grade H6 or above (HL) or Grade 04 or above (Ordinary Level) if not sitting at Higher Level.

Scottish Highers

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is BBBCC

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is CCC.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum 26 points (13 at higher level).

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Access Course (120 credits) with an overall mark of 65% to include NICATS Maths (25 credits) or Maths 1 & 2.


You must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course.

GCSE profile to include Grade C or 4 (or above) in English and Mathematics.

Pass in Level 2 Essential Skills/Application of Number is acceptable as an alternative to GCSE Maths.

Pass in Level 2 Essential Skills/Communication is acceptable as an alternative to GCSE English.

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.

Additional Entry Requirements

The University will carry out an AccessNI check and health screen for all new students. Students must pay for this service.

Qualifications other than those listed above are acceptable including:

Pass HND (total of 120 credits) for entry to Year 1 with overall Distinction with distinctions in 75 Level 5 credits

Pass HNC (total of 120 credits) with an overall Distinction to include 90 Level 4 credits at Distinction.

Examples of acceptable combinations include:

2 A Levels and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

OCR National Diploma and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

2 A Levels and Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma

A Level and BTEC National Diploma

Exemptions and transferability

All modules are compulsory.

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

Exit Awards are available at the end of year one (Certificate in Applied Social Studies) and year two (Associate Bachelor in Applied Social Studies).

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations. Here are some examples:

  • Action Mental Health New Horizons
  • Barnardos
  • Bryson Charitable Group
  • Extern
  • 5 Health & Social Care Trusts
  • First Housing
  • Women's Aid

Job roles

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:

  • Childrens Service Social Worker
  • Education Welfare Officer
  • Family Support Worker
  • Hospital Social Worker
  • Intensive Family Support Worker
  • Project Worker
  • Residential Support Worker

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 voluntary sector, criminal justice system, education welfare or in adoption and fostering.

Work placement / study abroad

There is an opportunity to participate in Erasmus+ which offers the exciting opportunity of studying in Germany during your course. There are also opportunities to complete a 3-week Summer School in Oslo during the course.

The Diploma in International Academic Studies (module code SWK302) is a separate and additional award to the degree. Students will be provided with opportunities to reflect upon and assimilate their knowledge learned in the earlier parts of the programme through their work with service users in a foreign country.

Professional recognition

Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC)

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


How to apply Request a prospectus

All the information on your application is important and you should ensure that full details are given about qualifications completed or still to be completed. Some experience in employment or voluntary work of a social work nature is beneficial but not essential.

Applicants who meet the initial selection criteria are asked to provide an additional 600 word personal statement regarding their reasons for wishing to pursue a career in social work and this is assessed. Applicants who are reapplying are encouraged to build upon and update their personal statement. Those who meet the required standard will then be called for interview to assess their suitability for Social Work training. This is a requirement of the professional body i.e. The Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC), as set out in its ‘Rules for Approval of Degree in Social Work courses’. The interview is organised on a regional basis enabling applicants to have a single interview for all Northern Ireland Social Work programmes.

Decisions on applicants who have been unsuccessful following academic assessment, in the personal statement or interview will be made on an ongoing basis and notified to the applicant via UCAS. Offers are not made until all applicants who are eligible have been interviewed, normally late April/early May. This is a high demand degree programme and therefore not all applicants deemed suitable for Social Work training will receive an offer. Thresholds vary from year to year. Further details on the ‘Application and Selection Process Timeline’ are outlined in Appendix 1.

Deadline for Applications

All applications submitted by the normal closing date of 15 January (18:00 hours) are given equal consideration. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.


Offers are normally made on the basis of 3 A-levels i.e. BBB. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The offer for repeat applicants is set in terms of 3 A-levels and is the same standard as for first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.

Combination of A-level plus BTEC Level 3 Qualifications

Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.

Other Qualifications

Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma and Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, Irish Leaving Certificate, Access courses or Foundation Degrees will also be considered.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma

The same GCSE profile is usually expected of those applicants taking a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma. Offers are made on the basis of ‘Successful completion of the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma with overall grades DDD (RQF 2016 suite) or grades DDM (QCF 2010/2012 suite).

Irish Leaving Certificate

Offers are normally based on 5 Highers in the Irish Leaving Certificate i.e. grades H3, H3, H3, H3, H3. If not offered at Higher Level, English and Mathematics are required at Ordinary Level minimum grade 04.

Access courses

Applications from those offering Access Diploma/Certificate in Foundation Studies courses are welcomed and each is considered individually on its merits. Access Courses are designed for adults who left formal education without the qualifications needed for entry to higher education, who did not progress beyond Level 3 qualifications, e.g. A-levels, and who are returning to study after a significant break (normally a minimum of two years). Offers are made on the basis of successful completion of the Access course with an overall average of average of 65% (Level 3 Units).

Higher National Certificate (HNC)/Higher National Diploma (HND)

HNC (total of 120 credits) with an overall DISTINCTION to include 90 level 4 credits at Distinction. HND (total of 120 credits) with overall DISTINCTION to include 75 Level 5 credits at Distinction.

Foundation Degree

Successful completion of Foundation Degree with an overall mark of 55% in Level 5 modules


This course is open to graduates with a minimum of a Lower Second Class Honours degree. Applicants with a Third Class Honours degree will not be considered.

NB: All applicants require GCSE Mathematics minimum Grade C or equivalent. Essential Skills, Level 2 in Application of Number is acceptable in lieu of GCSE Maths.

GCSE English Language grade C is required (or equivalent). Level 2 Essential Skills Communication is accepted in lieu of GCSE English.

Personal Statement and Academic Reference

The information provided in the personal statement should demonstrate a commitment to social work. The academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of the BSc Hons Social Work degree, are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.

Applicants who pass the suitability interview are invited to an information evening, which is usually held in May following the publication of offers. This opportunity will allow you to visit Ulster University at the Magee campus, meet staff and to find out more about the degree programme and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Ulster.

Due to the demand for places and the lengthy selection process applicants applying for deferred entry are not considered unless there is evidence of extenuating medical circumstances.


Due to the competition for places to study Social Work and the nature of the course structure, transfers are not considered. However, candidates who commence another course of study may submit a fresh application via UCAS for consideration.



Following receipt of your UCAS application the admissions team will assess your academic qualifications. If you meet/can meet the academic entry requirements for social work your application will progress to Stage 2.


A Consent & Declaration email will be sent to you. If you receive this email from both Ulster and Queens you must complete both forms and return to the relevant institution.


You will receive an email asking you to provide (type) a 600 word Personal Statement based on three set questions. You will be given 10 days to complete the Personal Statement and to return it to the email address provided. Failure to provide the Personal Statement within the agreed timescale may result in your application being withdrawn via UCAS. If you achieve the required benchmark score in the 600 word Personal Statement you will receive an email inviting you to attend for interview. Interviews run from mid February to early April.

The interview is a two-part process:

Part One – Case Scenario. On attending for interview, applicants will be issued with a short Case Scenario and will be allocated 10 minutes, under supervision, in preparation for the formal interview.

Part Two – Interview. The first two questions at interview will focus on the Case Scenario. The remaining four questions will concentrate on your ability to demonstrate your knowledge of social work, your ability to use your life experience and work experience to make links with social work, and your ability to reflect on yourself and your learning about social work practice.

NB: That it is assumed that if an applicant presents for interview that they are fit to undertake this. If unwell on the day, a request should be made for an alternative appointment and this will be accommodated, if possible.


Following completion of the interview process applicants who pass the ‘suitability interview’ are ranked by interview score. Offers are made in early May however, not all applicants who are deemed suitable for ‘social work training’ will receive an offer at this stage. This is due to the government quota for social work at both Ulster (including Belfast Met and South West College) and Queen’s. You should note that, if you have applied to both Queen’s and Ulster, it is possible to receive an offer from one institution and not the other.

Applicants who are successful in the interview but who do not receive an offer will be held on a reserve list in the event of additional places becoming available. This may not be until August following receipt of all examination results. Please note there is no guarantee that additional places will become available. Please note if you are unsuccessful at any of the above stages we will notify you as soon as possible, via UCAS, normally within 10 working days.

Registration with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council

Social work students in Northern Ireland are required to register with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NI-SCC). You will be asked to sign a declaration that you will comply with the NISCC Standards of Conduct for Social work students available at the following link

As part of the registration process you will be asked to provide information so that NISCC can assess your suitability to train as a social worker. This is known as, ‘fitness to practice’. The purpose of fitness to practise is not to punish potential registrants but to protect the public. Each case is considered separately and on its own merit. Further information can be accessed at the following link

Incentive Scheme, Department of Health

Social work students currently receive an incentive bursary. This is valued at £4000 per year with an additional fund of £500 to assist students with the cost of studying. This scheme remains under review. Please see full details, following the link below.

Start dates

  • September 2020

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 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

Northern Ireland & EU:

England, Scotland, Wales
and the Islands:

£9,250.00  Discounts available

£14,060.00  Scholarships available

Scholarships, awards and prizes

The Eamon McFadden Memorial Prize: First year prize for preparation for practice learning module.

The Excellence in Social Work Practice Award: Awarded in final year to the student who has achieved the highest total score in the all practice based components (placements/practice learning opportunities) within the programme of study.

The Huw Griffiths Working with Service Users Award: Awarded to the student who has achieved the highest mark in the working with service users module.

Additional mandatory costs

Criminal Records Checks and Occupational Health Screening Costs

This course is subject to Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (2003) legislation. Applicants with confirmed places require an Enhanced Access Northern Ireland Criminal Record check due to the nature of social work. This will cost approximately £33. This check happens in advance of becoming a student and may be repeated prior to two practice learning placements the during the 3-year training cycle.

Occupational Health Screening is required in advance of becoming a student (those with confirmed places). Costs associated with this are subject to change but are currently £35 for initial health screening with an additional £50 charge if vaccinations are required. A further Hepatitis B vaccination may be required if a student is allocated a placement in a clinical or hospital setting at an additional cost of £90.

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.


Admissions Office:

T: +44 (0)28 71675 146/259


Course Director: Ms Emma McGinnis

T: +44 (0)28 7167 5761


For more information visit

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences


  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.