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Social Work (3 year full-time course)
BSc (Hons)

2020/21 Full-time Undergraduate course


Bachelor of Science with Honours


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences


Magee campus

UCAS code:

The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Start date:

September 2020

With this degree you could become:

  • Children's Services Social Worker
  • Hospital Social Worker
  • Residential Support Worker
  • Education Welfare Officer
  • Family Support Worker
  • Intensive Family Support Worker
  • Project Worker

Graduates from this course are now working for:

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


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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About this course


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 2) prior to undertaking supervised practice learning on placement.

Why choose a Career in Social Work?

  • When you become a Social Worker, you will have the opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives, and to champion human rights and social justice.
  • You will be part of a profession where you feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment.
  • You can apply for an incentive payment of £4,500 for each year of study if you live and study Social Work in Northern Ireland.
  • You can expect to choose from a number of social work employers - the Health and Social Care Trusts, Probation, Youth Justice, the Education Authority or in the third sector (voluntary, community and independent organisations).
  • Your starting salary as a newly qualified Social Worker in HSC will be over £22,000, with an automatic pay rise to £26,000-£32,000 after successfully completing the Assessed Year in Employment (AYE).
  • Newly qualified Social Workers receive extra support through the ‘Assessed Year in Employment’.
  • Your Social Work training will blend academic and practice learning, offering you direct contact with service users and carers.
  • When you graduate, there will be a variety of job choices working across the life-course (with children, adolescents, adults and older people); as part of specialist teams (mental health, addictions, family support), residential and day care settings, hospitals, schools, prisons and community development projects.
  • As a qualified Social Worker, your career will offer excellent opportunities for promotion, and access to high quality post-qualifying courses at Master’s and Doctoral level for continuous personal and professional development.
  • Your Degree in Social Work will enable you to work in countries outside of the UK throughout your career.

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

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.

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    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.

    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.

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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 is designed to facilitate students at Level 4 in developing essential research, and presentation skills, along with knowledge and skills in critical reflection for academic and professional learning and development. The acquisition of knowledge and skills on reflection and research are critical to academic and lifelong professional development in social work practice.

Psychology across the Life Course

Year: 1

Psychology for Social Work provides an introduction to the discipline of psychology and more in-depth exploration of aspects developmental psychology, and social psychology, which are particularly relevant to child and family work, and work with older people. Students are provided with an insight into the on-going advance of the discipline, and learn the value of consulting psychology's evidence base to inform social work assessment and intervention.

Introduction to Social Work Practice

Year: 1

This module aims to provide students with a basic understanding of the social work profession, its roles and functions in the statutory and voluntary sector and, additionally, to provide students with a theoretical and ethical base for practice at Level 5.

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.

Sociology & Social Policy for Social Work

Year: 1

This module is designed to encourage enquiry based learning by setting tasks that require problem solving and debate for students enabling them to construct their own learning on sociological and social policy concepts. This is important for social work as we want each student to start to develop and reflect on their own values, knowledge and experience of societal issues that in turn impact on service users, carers and providers we work with.

Building and Maintaining a Professional Identity

Year: 1

This module is designed to support the development of a strong professional identity. Identity in social work is essential for sustained, confident and competent professional social work practice. This module is designed to develop the foundations for this development including understanding the influence of self on professional practice and mechanisms for sustaining professionalism.

Social Work Law 1

Year: 1

This module provides students with a knowledge of the legal system and the legislation pertinent to Social Work practice. It also focuses on the interaction between Social Workers and lawyers, in what some refer to as the emerging discipline of Social Work law.

Theories and Methods of Intervention

Year: 1

This module will provide the opportunity for students to acquire underpinning knowledge of theories and methods of intervention for social work practice. It will enable students to identify and integrate relevant theoretical concepts and methods of intervention, providing a necessary foundation in preparation for 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 of the Degree. In the areas addressed in this module, students are encouraged to critically appraise the application of the law.

Experts by Experience, Citizen Educators and Communities

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 Experts by Experience, Citizen Educators and Communities 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

This self-directed module relates to Level 5 Practice Learning and will equip students with the ability to integrate and apply knowledge, skills and values in direct supervised 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.

Theories and Methods for Assessment

Year: 2

The module is designed to develop social work student assessment skills and the identification and management of risk across a range of practice settings. The module will prepare students for undertaking assessments of need and risk by providing knowledge on current assessment frameworks and guidance used across many Social Work settings.

Working in Organisations

Year: 2

This module examines the organisational and professional factors underpinning a range of Inquiries, Case Reviews and examples of effective service improvement. A range of service user groups are considered to enable students to identify cross-cutting themes linked to systemic factors, highlighting professional responsibility and encouraging development of a model of good practice. By understanding the complexities in working in an organisation. This will enable students to keep the focus on the service user by promoting anti-oppressive practice, strengthening their own resilience in their workplace and ultimately increasing their employability.

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.

Family and Child Care

Year: 3

The family and childcare module will prepare final year undergraduate students for Social Work practice in a range of Social Work roles and settings. The three main areas of child care practice, safeguarding/child protection, family support and looked after children (including fostering and adoption), will be covered. A range of social work and other professionals will provide the lectures on current, evidence-informed family and childcare practice and multi-disciplinary working. The multi-disciplinary and interagency practice learning component normally includes inputs from the police, primary health care, voluntary child care organisations, social services and specialist child care services. The module has a clear child protection/safeguarding focus including teaching on, the signs and indicators of abuse and neglect, recognising and responding, the use of assessment frameworks, professional decision making and child safety planning. There is service user input on the module.

The legislative and policy context for family and child care practice in Northern Ireland is critically examined and the module is informed by child care theory, research and Inquiry reports from the UK, Ireland and the international context. The module is supplemented by online resources, plus seminars/workshops to prepare students for practice with children and families. The module is assessed by a written examination at the end of the module.

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, ensuring human rights, inequalities, and anti-oppressive practice with values and ethics and social justice principles underpinning interventions in practice.

Assessed Practice II

Year: 3

This module, which relates to Level 6 direct practice, will enable students to consolidate knowledge, skills and values acquired during Level 5 practice experience.

Reflection on Practice 2

Year: 3

This self-directed module relates to Level 6 Practice Learning and will equip students with the ability to integrate and apply knowledge, skills and values in direct supervised practice.

Evidence Based Case Project

Year: 3

This module, which involves self-directed study, will enable students to develop an enhanced knowledge of a particular service user group in relation to the social work service they receive. Students will be encouraged to critically appraise key literature and empirical evidence to support their discussion.

Assessed Study and Practice Abroad 2

Year: 3

This module is optional

Study abroad and pre-departure information sessions containing individual and group exercises, help students explore and anticipate potential personal and professional development.
Lectures and seminars at host institutions inform students about the international dimension of their academic discipline whilst absorbing wider experiences.

Recording and updating learning through reflective practices gives students the opportunity to document their learning, their goals and aspirations and their plans.

The module is web supplemented and is administered (in part) using the University's virtual learning environment plus other secure online systems.

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.

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 120 UCAS tariff points to include a minimum of 4 subjects at Higher Level and 1 at Ordinary Level, including English and Maths at 04/H6 or above.

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).

United States of America flagAdditional information for students from United States of America


Each programme will have slightly different requirements, both in terms of overall points and certain subjects, so please check the relevant subject in the undergraduate on-line prospectus.

Normally Ulster University welcomes applications from students with:

High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and to include grades 3,3,3 in 3 AP subjects
High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and to include 1000 out of 1600 in SAT
Associate Degree with GPA 3.0

English Language

Financial Information

In addition to the scholarships and bursaries open to all international students, US students may apply for Federal and Private US loans

Level 12 English Lang in HSD

View more information for students from United States of America  

Careers & opportunities

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course are now working for:

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

Job roles

With this degree you could become:

  • Children's Services Social Worker
  • Hospital Social Worker
  • Residential Support Worker
  • Education Welfare Officer
  • Family Support Worker
  • Intensive Family Support Worker
  • Project 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;
  • Within Northern Ireland a wide range of Post Qualifying opportunities at Masters level are available in social work and related disciplines.

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). This 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).


Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions Office rather than by individual University Faculties. 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. Applicants are advised that 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 (NI_SCC), 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. 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. 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. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.

Other Qualifications

Applicants offering other qualifications, such as Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma and Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, Irish Leaving Certificate, Access Course or a Foundation Degree 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 qualification. Offers are made on the basis of ‘Successful completion of the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma with overall grades DDM (RQF) or overall grades DDD (QCF).

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). Where offers are made, these are based on completion of the full qualification, which is normally available on a one-year, full-time or two-years, part-time basis. For last year's entry, the standard set was ‘Successful completion of the Access Course with an average of 65% (Level 3 Units)'.

Applicants who have progressed beyond A-level (or equivalent Level 3 qualification)

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) for entry to Year 1 with overall MERIT to include 60 Level 5 credits at Distinction.

Foundation Degree

Applications from those offering a Foundation Degree are welcomed and each is considered individually on its merits. 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.


All applicants require GCSE Mathematics and English at minimum Grade C or equivalent. Essential Skills, Level 2 in Application of Number and Communication is acceptable in lieu of these requirements.

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 in Receipt of an Offer

Applicants who pass the suitability interview, are invited to an information evening, which is usually held in May following the UCAS notification of offers. The date of this event will be communicated in due course. This opportunity will allow you to visit Ulster University at the Magee Campus, to 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 University.

Deferred Entry

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.

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


Because of 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. All applicants must have the same entry requirements as those applying direct from A-level (or other acceptable qualification) and must have passed any exams taken at University.


If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the Admissions Office at Magee Campus, giving full details of your qualifications and educational background -




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 and pro forma will be sent to you. If you receive a Consent & Declaration letter and pro forma from both Ulster and Queens you must complete each pro forma (tick box) and return to the relevant institution, to the email/address indicated.


Personal Statement

You will receive an email asking you to provide (type) a 600-word Personal Statement.The Personal Statement is assessed and graded by either a member of academic staff within the Social Work team in the School of Applied and Policy Sciences at Ulster University, or by a nominated Social Work agency representative. You will be asked to respond to three statements, which will be used to shortlist applicants for interview. The Personal Statement is an opportunity for you to clearly identify your motivation for a career in Social Work, and to demonstrate your understanding of the Social Work role. Normally applicants refer to the knowledge, skills and values which they feel would make them a suitable candidate.

You will be given 10 working 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/late February right through to late April.

The interview is a two-stage process:

Stage OneCase Scenario

On attending for interview, applicants will be issued with a short Case Scenario and will be allowed 10 minutes, under supervision, in preparation for their formal interview. Provision will be made for applicants to make notes under supervision, which may only be used during the interview.

Stage Two – Formal Interview

The first two questions at interview will focus on the Case Scenario. The remaining four questions will concentrate on your motivation to pursue a career in social work and your understanding of different aspects of social work practice. It is important that you draw upon any life or work experience, and you consider skills, knowledge and values important to social work.

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.


Social Work Offers: Following completion of the interview process applicants who pass the ‘suitability interview’ are ranked by interview score. Offers are processed 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.

After the initial round of offers Ulster and Queen’s will email/write to eligible applicants asking if they wish to be retained on a ‘reserve list’ if additional places become available. This may not be until August following receipt of all examination results. You should note that 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 NI_SCC Standards of Conduct for Social work students available at the following link NI_SCC Standards of Conduct for Social Work Students

As part of the registration process you will be asked to provide information so that NI_SCC can assess your suitability to train as a social worker. This is known as, ‘Fitness to Practice’. The purpose of Fitness to Practice 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 scheme. This is a bursary valued at 4000 GBP per year with an additional fund of 500 GBP 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

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: £4,275.00

England, Scotland, Wales and the Islands: £9,250.00  Discounts available

International: £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 Record Check and Occupational Health Screening Costs

This course is subject to Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (2003) legislation. Applicants with confirmed place require an Enhanced Access Northern Ireland Criminal Record check due to the nature of social work. This will cost approximately 33 GBP. This Criminal Records 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 a confirmed place). Costs associated with this currently are 35 GBP for initial health screening with an additional 50 GBP 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 GBP. Please note these are 2019/20 prices that are subject to change in 2020/21.

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: +44 (0)28 71675 146

Admissions contacts, Emer Carlin/Sarah Harkin

Course Director: Ms Emma McGinnis, +44 (0)28 7167 5761

For more information visit

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences


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"My experience so far as a Social Work student at Ulster University has been extremely fulfilling on both a personal and professional level. Not only have I been provided the opportunity to further my knowledge and understanding of social work on an academic basis, I have also been able to apply this learning to a practice whilst on placement. Being able to gain invaluable first-hand experience of working in a social work setting has been extremely rewarding and has helped me to become more confident in my own abilities. The lecturers are engaging and supportive whilst also encouraging independent working, and the modules on the course are interesting, useful and relevant to a career in social work. I have also met so many like-minded, friendly people in my fellow students and have really enjoyed my experience at Ulster so far."

Year 2 Social Work Student

"Before starting the social work degree, I didn’t have a great concept of the work that is involved when becoming a social worker. This is my second year of the degree and I’m loving it! I am learning and developing so many skills and knowledge that will benefit me in social work practice and I’m growing in my own personal skills. I have learnt so much already and I am excited to keep learning."

Year 2 Social Work Student