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Duration: 26 months (full-time)|Hope Park|Start month: September 2018
International students can apply
Entry Requirements
Teaching & Research


Please note the MA in Social Work is now full and closed for 2018 entry.

The main aim of the MA in Social Work is to produce competent, reflective, analytical and research-minded social workers, who are vocationally qualified, with advanced knowledge and skills to bring about innovations through collaborative practice and continuous learning.

The new programme was developed in consultation with Social Care Service Users and Stakeholders, who are also, actively involved in delivery of the programme. Practising social car professionals ensure teaching is relevant to the cutting edge of today's social work agenda and teaching methods facilitate participative learning. The MA course is nationally recognised and validated and leads to eligibility to register with the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) as a professional social worker.

Why choose this subject?

  • Choose this subject if you want to make a difference to people’s lives and feel passionate and committed to social justice.
  • Our students say: “The MA in Social Work delivered at Hope gives prospective Social Workers an opportunity to engage with what I have found to be a unique blend of traditional, mainstream and radical ideas on Social Work which is also underpinned by current and critical and cutting edge teaching and research” (David Christie, MA student).
  • The student intake each year is limited to 25 students – you will get to know the teaching team well and also have the opportunity to develop excellent peer group support.
  • The team has expertise in children and family social work, theorising childhood, racism and anti-racist social work, mental health and mental health user movements, youth justice, radical social work histories, community engagement and international social work.
  • The Masters qualification is highly regarded by employers.

Curriculum Overview

All students are allocated an academic tutor and integrated seminars will be held throughout the two years to allow for more focused discussion and an examination of issues in greater depth. Full attendance for all academic learning and practise placement opportunities is expected and is monitored throughout the programme. The programme is a combination of structured academic learning and 200 days of practise learning. The academic teaching is delivered in Year One from September to December and in Year Two from September to February. The practise placements are from January to May in Year One and from May to September in Year Two.

Year 1 teaching provides grounding in social work law, ethics and methods. This study of law and methods is located within a wider theoretical context which allows students to understand the roots and origins of differing approaches and focuses on key social divisions and their impact on people’s ‘life-chances’.

  • Law and Ethics (20 credits)
  • Framing Social Problems (20 credits)
  • Methods and Theories of Social Work Interventions (20 credits)
  • Practice Learning Opportunity – 30 days preparation including a day each week in a community-based project and 70 days in an agency placement.

In Year 2 you will engage with the ‘Grand Narrative’ traditions and with the debates surrounding professionalism, partnership working, power and responsibility. Contemporary issues in Social Work are explored with local practitioners from a range of statutory and voluntary sector agencies in the Merseyside region.

  • Critical Themes and Issues Influencing Contemporary Practice (20 credits)
  • Power, Partnership and Professionalism (20 credits)
  • Advanced Research-based seminars
  • Practise Learning Opportunity - 100 days

Practise Learning

  • Total of 200 days
  • Practise and portfolio graded at pass or fail (must pass in order to be awarded qualification)
  • Opportunity for overseas placement, e.g. India or Michigan
  • Final placement must be undertaken in a statutory setting or provide the opportunity for statutory work
  • Students must be available to work full-time during normal office hours


  • Total of 20,000 words consisting of: Research proposal and literature review 4,000 words and Final dissertation 16,000 words

Dissertation preparation begins in June of Year 1 and continues throughout Year 2 (until placement) through a combination of lectures, seminars, group and individual tutorials.


Academic assessment is through a combination of methods including: essays, case study work, presentations, book/journal paper reviews and seminar work. The pass mark on all courses is 40 per cent (at Masters Level) and students must pass each and every element of assessment on all courses to proceed and gain their degree and qualification.

Practise capability is assessed by service user feedback, observation, and practice portfolio work. You will be assessed by a practise educator during your placements and your portfolio is examined by a Practise Assessment Panel comprising academic and agency staff. You must pass your practise placement and portfolio.


The degree is full-time for 24 months commencing in the first year in the third week of September with induction and preparation for practise. Teaching is full-time then until Christmas. All academic assignments must be completed before going out on placement. Placements start in January and normally finish by early June. You then return to the University in late June for dissertation preparation. The second year follows a similar pattern except that the year begins in September with further dissertation preparation and the placement starts in May. The dissertation must be submitted by the end of April before commencing placement.

Entry Requirements

Normally a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours Degree

GCSE Grade C or above in Mathematics and English (Grade 4 or above in the new grading system) or equivalent before application

Appropriate and relevant experience

Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (formally the Criminal Records Bureau – CRB).

All candidates subject to interview and satisfactory health check.

All applicants must apply for this programme via UCAS.

Applications from students who do not hold a 1st or 2:1 Honours Degree (or equivalent) may be asked to demonstrate potential to achieve a Masters award via a sample of academic writing and interview before an offer is made.

International Entry Requirements

For students whose first language is not English there is a language requirement of IELTS 6.5 overall (reading 6, writing 6), TOEFL ibt 87, or other equivalent recognised English language qualification.

For additional information about country specific entry requirements visit the your country pages

Teaching and Research

Practising social care professionals ensure teaching is relevant to the cutting edge of today’s social work agenda and teaching methods facilitate participative learning. The Department has an active research base framed within the spheres of social justice and radical social work and prides itself on a policy oriented approach. The MA is taught within this ethos and students are encouraged to consider questions about inequalities in social work policy and practise and how they might be countered.

The Social Work team are all research active and contribute regularly to relevant social work journals. The team has expertise in children and family social work, theorising childhood, racism and anti-racist social work, mental health and mental health user movements, youth justice, radical social work histories, community engagement and international social work.


Tuition fees for Home/EU students for 2018/19 are:

£3,180 per year


We offer a number of scholarships and loans to help fund your postgraduate studies. Visit our scholarships pages for more details.



If you are an international student, visit our international scholarships pages.

Please note you will pay £5,700 each year of the two year course if you are an international student.


Social work is a large and growing sector which provides a wide variety of career opportunities. About half of Social Workers are involved in some way with supporting children, families and young people. However, if you prefer to work mainly with adults there are many specialist areas in which to develop your skills and your career, such as working with people using mental health services or enabling people with a learning disability to live independent lives. For more information see the British Association of Social Workers