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


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

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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 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.

Linked programmes

Associate awards

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 2017
How to apply

Entry conditions

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

In this section

A level

The A Level requirement for this course is BBB*.

* Applicants can satisfy the requirement for an A-Level Grade B by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University.


Overall BTEC award profile DDM (to include a minimum of 9 distinctions).

Irish Leaving Certificate

Overall Irish Leaving Certificate profile H3H3H3H3H3.

English Grade H6 (Higher Level) or above, or Grade O4 (Ordinary Level) or above, if not sitting at Higher Level, is required.

International Baccalaureate

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

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Pass Access Course (120 credits) with an overall mark of 70%.


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

English Language Requirements

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

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

Exemptions and transferability

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

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

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:

Job roles

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

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.

The Diploma in International Academic Studies (module code SWK302). This is a separate and additinal 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).

Academic profile


Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.
Apply by 15 January.

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

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

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

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2017

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
View Ulster University’s 2017 fees policy

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

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

From 2016 entry students must also complete an Occupational Health Check (£35).

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.


Course Director: Ms Denise MacDermott

T: +44 28 7167 5313