Subject Guide

Social Work Degree

Uni Compare  · Oct 5th 2020

Social work is centred on people, of all ages, races and class backgrounds and attempts to make their lives better.


Social workers collaborate with individuals and families to improve outcomes and quality of life. It’s an intense and responsible job, and an employee’s actions will have consequences, whether they are right or wrong. Social workers ensure the welfare of vulnerable groups or individuals who need that extra support. Social work as a subject area includes elements of psychology, law and sociology.

A Social Work degree is the study of various areas of policy, within a political or governmental setting, and is concerned with everything from the welfare state, to social services. Social Work is an academic study of theory, rather than current systems and draws from psychology, sociology, philosophy, and economics.

Social Work Degree

What A Levels do I need?

Each university will ask for varying grades and UCAS tariff points from their prospective candidates. Therefore students are advised to check with their chosen institutions and degree programmes to ensure they understand what they need to obtain to gain admission.

The Social Work degree entry requirements will change depending on where you apply, so best to check beforehand, especially if you're looking to do a postgraduate Social Work degree.

What are my study options?

Social work degree programmes mix vocational training with academic learning, and the majority of courses will be three years in length. Some universities ask students to complete placement days, where they have to complete a certain number as part of their assessment. Students are taught in a classroom environment, which can be applied to real-life situations, either through placements or employment.

Samuel L. Jackson worked as a social worker for two years in Los Angeles. He graduated with a Bachelors of Arts (BA) degree from Morehouse University in Atlanta in 1969.

Most degrees offer candidates the chance to specialise in an area of interest in the second and third years. Students will study a range of modules, and each programme will offer similar, or different modules, so it’s important students choose the right university and course as they will have some play with tweaking the modules.

Examples of modules available are as follows: developing professional practice, ethics and values, law and social policy, social work theory methods, research and evidence, interprofessional practice, and comparative perspectives of welfare, these are also touched on in a part-time Social Work degree.

There is a range of Bachelors of Arts (BA) and Bachelors of Science (BSc) degrees available after completing your Social Work undergraduate degree, including, learning disabilities nursing and social work, sports rehabilitation, social welfare and advice, applied for social work.

Social Work Degree

What should I expect from studying Social work?

Social Work will offer high levels of expertise in politics, economics, sociology, theory and history. It provides more room for creativity, as candidates do not just focus on the content of the policies themselves, but actively seek solutions to police problems. Completing a degree in Social Work will offer skills that are useful for a handful of careers, especially the theoretical and analytical capabilities that employers find desirable.

The placements will provide powerful insight into what the job will involve; however, it can be difficult not to become personally involved, and to control emotions in this type of career – however, this will become easier to deal with through experience.

How will I be assessed?

Students will be assessed through a mixture of methods, including, written examinations, coursework, project work, presentations, and placement days if the degree programme requires it.

What skills will I learn from studying Social work?

Individuals will gain skills in analysis, critical thinking, and evaluate situations, as well as strong communication and social skills.

Each university will ask for varying grades and UCAS tariff points from their prospective candidates.

Students who attend university gain a numerous set of skills that they can use in employment and other areas of their life after they graduate, especially time-management and organisation by working towards deadlines.

Why study Social work?

A Social work degree opens up opportunities to work in private businesses, charities, public agencies, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and police departments. A social worker enjoys working with individuals in a community and cares about their quality of life and will be interested in helping out every person they can.

What happens after I graduate?

Some students find work quickly after they graduate, primarily through successful placement work, while others, with no experience, may find it harder to secure employment. Prospective candidates should check if their degree offers placement work, as it will not only aid learning throughout the course but could be the difference of finding a job quickly after graduating.

Social Work Degree

Will it help me get a job?

Social work degrees teach individuals’ skills, such as research, communication and presentation, which is highly sought after by employers. Furthermore, students can volunteer throughout their degree to gain more experience to aid their job search when they finish, even as part of their online Social Work degree or Social Work Foundation degree or Social Work Top Up degree, although people may ask for more experience than a Foundation degree in Social Work.

Students should also contact the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) if they are worried about employment opportunities. The association offers a lot of advice and information for students and graduates of social work/policy degrees.

Social Work will offer high levels of expertise in politics, economics, sociology, theory and history.

What can you do with a Social Work degree?

Particular Social Work degree jobs include; probation officer, careers advisor, counselling, charity work, adult guidance, volunteer coordinator, youth work officer and a social worker, it is harder to find jobs in Social Work without a degree.

What can I study after Social work?

Individuals who want to study after obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Social Work can complete a Masters degree in Social Work with the following options; Masters of Arts (MA) or Masters of Science (MSc) degrees in the following subjects: adult services support, advanced clinical practice, social work, advanced child protection, neurorehabilitation and autism practice, which are touched on further in Social Work degree postgraduate courses.

Famous Social work studies alumni

Samuel L. Jackson, known for his roles in Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, Jackie Brown and as the galaxy's angriest Jedi - Mace Windu in the Star Wars trilogy worked as a social worker for two years in Los Angeles. He graduated with a Bachelors of Arts (BA) degree from Morehouse University in Atlanta in 1969.

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