Undergraduate Course

BA Social Work

BA Social Work

Overview

The details
Social Work
L500
October 2024
Full-time
3 years
Southend Campus

Social work is all about people: it is an extremely rewarding and challenging profession. You'll need to be hard working, adaptable, honest and, above all, passionate about finding long-term solutions and supporting positive changes for children, adults and families. You develop the skills, knowledge and understanding of how to support people to improve personal, practical, psychological and social aspects of their lives.

As a student of BA Social Work at Essex you experience a lively, informal environment with many possibilities to pursue your own interests whilst being part of a multidisciplinary school. We provide you with an active and stimulating environment for your studies and the chance to really make a difference within an essential profession in today's society.

A unique feature of our School of Health and Social Care is that many of our staff work with our Local Authorities and other local agencies, which enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, the major issues of the day and practice.

As a School, we specialise in applied, multidisciplinary research that addresses issues of national and international concern to health and social care policy and practice and related fields. We also host the NIHR Research Design Service for the East of England.

The School of Health and Social Care is proud to work closely with our Service User Reference Group (SURG). SURG is made up of service users, carers, and volunteers who generously share their first-hand experiences of health and social care. We work collaboratively with SURG to design our courses to ensure that we truly are putting the needs of patients and clients at the heart of what we do. SURG are involved as part of our course application processes and often form part of our interview panels. This helps us to be confident that we are selecting the right applicants for the course and their future careers. SURG members also support the delivery of our teaching sessions and research activity, which means you'll benefit from an insight into their lived experiences of living with a diagnosis, health condition, or circumstance. You'll find that not only does your clinical knowledge expand, but your empathy, compassion and ability to advocate develops also.

Location

Whilst this course is offered at both our Southend and Colchester campuses, we recommend that you consider which location would suit you best and apply for that campus. If you apply to multiple campuses, you will only have one interview and your chances of being offered a place will be the same as if you had only applied to one campus.

If you wish to change campus at any point during the admissions process then please contact your Admissions Adviser who will do their best to accommodate your preference. Changing campus is subject to availability.

Placement Opportunities

Within the School of Health and Social Care, we value the experience and opportunity that a placement can give you. It is an intrinsic part of many of our courses. Within our BA Social Work you will do at least 170 days in practice placement during your time with us - you will even have the opportunity to do an international placement as part of this.

Our partnerships with placement providers ensure you gain effective, high-quality training, allowing you to gain experience working with children, adults, families and communities.

When you are on placement, the placement provider is expected to meet the travel costs incurred as a result of work carried as part of that placement (i.e. travel to meetings, etc). However, you will be expected to meet the costs of travel to and from placement.

Social Work students may be eligible to apply for the NHS Social Work bursary, which can be put towards paying for tuition fees, maintenance costs, or travel to placement. More information is available on the NHS BSA website.

DBS and Occupational Health Checks

This course requires a satisfactory Occupational Health Check and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check (including child and adult barred list check) - both of these are organised by the University. Please contact our DBS team or Occupational Health team if you have any questions in relation to these checks.

You will also be required to register for the DBS Update Service (information relating to this service can be found here). You will need to register for this within 30 days of your DBS certificate being issues. The Update Service costs £13 per year, which the University will reimburse. You will need to keep the subscription to this Service active for the duration of your course. If you do not register for the Update Service within 30 days, or your registration lapses, and you later attend placement where this is a requirement, you will have to pay for a new DBS check, which will enable you to sign up to the Update Service. Please contact our DBS team if you have any questions relating to this.

A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, in addition to a DBS Check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more. Further information about how to obtain an Overseas Criminal Record check can be found on the Gov.uk website.

We continue to recommend Covid and flu vaccination to all of our students. This is to protect both yourself and the vulnerable people that you may meet throughout your placement.

Professional accreditation

Approved by Social Work England (SWE) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with SWE as a social worker in England.

Why we're great.
  • Our partnerships with placement providers ensure you gain effective high-quality training.
  • You study a wide range of specialist areas to gain the broadest possible perspective.
  • We meet Social Work England's standards.

Our expert staff

A unique feature of our School of Health and Social Care is that our staff continue to work within social care and other local agencies, which enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, and the issues of current social work practice.

Gert Scheepers qualified as a social worker in 1990 in South Africa and has worked in both the UK and South Africa. Gert is the programme lead for our BA Social Work, and his field of expertise is Adult Social Care.

Stephen Jordan originally worked as a senior social work practitioner from 1988-2004 then from 2011-2014. He joined the school in 2014 and has recently completed his Professional Doctorate in Social work with the Tavistock and Portman/ UEL doctorate programme. The focus of his doctorate was the relationship between humour, jokes and social work. Stephen also sits on the panel of a local fostering agency. His field of expertise is Children and Families.

Full details of our staff can be found on the HSC Staff Profiles page.

Specialist facilities

The School of Health and Social Care is located at two sites; in the Kimmy Eldridge building at our Colchester Campus and in the Gateway Building at our Southend Campus.

BA Social Work is well established at our Southend campus. There you will find purpose-built accommodation to meet the needs of a growing and lively School. The Forum, our landmark new education facility, houses our student support, finance, registry, IT services, and an integrated library.

BA Social Work is new to our Colchester campus for October 2022. Colchester is the largest of our three campuses, with 15,000 students and 200 acres of beautiful parkland. On-site, we have shops, restaurants, a theatre, as well as a gym and a cinema.

On both campuses, we offer excellent physical and online resources in terms of libraries, computer labs, datasets, archives and other research materials, and have simulation labs where you can practise developing your skills safely, knowing that you are learning up-to-date and evidenced based practice from experienced registered practitioners.

Your future

With 100% of our School of Health and Social Care students in highly skilled employment or graduate-level further study (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021), we're confident that this course will be just the start of great things for you. As a qualified Social Worker, you'll be able to work with a variety of client groups in various settings, and it's likely that no two days will be the same.

Successful completion of this course leads to eligibility to register with Social Work England as a Social Worker, but please note that other criteria also apply. See their website for further information.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

Our published entry requirements are a guide and we welcome applications from those who have achieved one of the below qualifications with lower grades but meet our GCSE English (or equivalent) requirement.

  • GCSEs: English Language C/4. Acceptable alternatives are listed further down this page
  • A-levels: BBB - BBC or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A-levels.
  • BTEC: DDM - DMM or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of the equivalent of 2 full A-levels.
  • Other UCAS tariff qualifications, and combined qualifications: 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A levels or equivalent. Tariff point offers may be made if you are taking a qualification, or mixture of qualifications, from the list on our undergraduate application information page.
  • IB: 30 - 29 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555-554.
  • IB Career-related Programme: We consider combinations of IB Diploma Programme courses with BTECs or other qualifications.
  • QAA-approved Access to HE Diploma: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit.
  • T-levels: We consider T-levels on a case-by-case basis, depending on subject studied. The offer for most courses is Distinction overall. Depending on the course applied for there may be additional requirements, which may include a specific grade in the Core.

We also consider vocational level 3 qualifications and welcome applicants who can demonstrate social activity, awareness, lived experience or relevant work experience. If you are taking or have achieved any qualifications that are not listed here, and would like further information, email Undergraduate Admissions.

GCSE/level 2 requirements

All applicants must have, or be working towards, an acceptable level 2 English qualification such as GCSE grade C/4 or equivalent.

  • If you don't need a Student visa and are either a first language English speaker or have a lived in the UK for over three years, we can accept OFQUAL regulated level 2 English qualifications, including Functional Skills level 2, Key Skills level 2 or literacy units taken as part of an Access to HE Diploma.

Additional requirements

Some paid or voluntary experience in health or social care in a relevant social care or childcare/education setting is also required.

This course has additional requirements including a satisfactory reference, Occupational Health Check and Disclosure and Barring (DBS) check. For more information see the Health and Social Care Undergraduate page

Contextual Offers:

We are committed to ensuring that all students with the merit and potential to benefit from an Essex education are supported to do so. For October 2024 entry, if you are a home fee paying student residing in the UK you may be eligible for a Contextual Offer of up to two A-level grades, or equivalent, below our standard conditional offer.
Factors we consider:

  • Applicants from underrepresented groups
  • Applicants progressing from University of Essex Schools Membership schools/colleges
  • Applicants who attend a compulsory admissions interview
  • Applicants who attend an Offer Holder Day at our Colchester or Southend campus

Our contextual offers policy outlines additional circumstances and eligibility criteria.

For further information about what a contextual offer may look like for your specific qualification profile, email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

If you haven't got the grades you hoped for, have a non-traditional academic background, are a mature student, or have any questions about eligibility for your course, more information can be found on our undergraduate application information page or get in touch with our Undergraduate Admissions Team

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Structure

Course structure

This course consists of three years, each with a particular emphasis which reflects your development as a trainee social worker and the journey you take into becoming a professional practitioner.

Within the programme the central themes reflecting core values and principles of practice are always present; these include safeguarding and protection; evidence-based relational practice; inter-professional working; impact of practice; professional challenge; empowering service users autonomy; social justice and values; and equality and diversity.

These carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore, question, and create powerful ideas. Picked to give you an extensive and in-depth education, they’ll equip you with the specialist knowledge, vital transferrable skills, and the confidence to make a genuine difference to the world around you.

Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students..

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

HS191-4-PS
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 02: CORE

HS193-4-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: CORE

HS194-4-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: CORE

HS192-4-AU
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: CORE

HS190-4-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: CORE

HS290-5-PS
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 02: CORE

HS292-5-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: CORE

HS294-5-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: CORE

HS293-5-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: CORE

HS291-5-AU
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: CORE

HS390-6-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 02: CORE

HS392-6-AU
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: CORE

HS394-6-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: CORE

HS393-6-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: CORE

HS391-6-FY
(15 CREDITS)

Teaching

In the first year, Social Work students generally are campus based 2-3 days per week and complete 30 on-campus skills days in preparation for practice placement. In the second year, students are campus based 2 days per week, and on placement 3 days per week. In the final year, students are campus based 1 day per week, and on placement 4 days per week.

  • First year modules reflect fundamental understanding and skills essential for social work practice
  • As required by the Social Work Reform Board you will undertake a minimum of 30 days of development including interpersonal and communication skills
  • Gain experience through a 5 day Child Study as part of Lifespan Development
  • Second year placement of 70 days in a non-statutory setting
  • You will be actively engaged with service users and carers who are experiencing issues related to their emotional and mental health
  • Undertake a 100 day assessed placement in a statutory agency
  • Explore your own practice and to develop further a specialist area of interest
  • This course combines University learning, e-learning and work-based learning to help you enhance your practice skills
  • Modules have their own accompanying webpages on Moodle where you can download relevant readings, power-points, podcasts and YouTube clips, and contribute to online discussions
  • We also work closely in partnership with the NHS and the independent health sector to provide placement opportunities

Assessment

  • You are assessed by a combination of practical examinations, viva voce examinations, essays, reflective writing and poster and seminar presentations, practice-based learning assessment and practical examinations in the academic setting

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

International fee

£19,500 per year

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details on how to apply can be found on the filling in your UCAS undergraduate application web page.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L' and ‘S' respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Offer Holder Days

If you receive an undergraduate offer to study with us in October 2024 and live in the UK, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Offer Holder Days. Our Colchester Campus Offer Holder Days run from February to May 2024 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus events run in April and May. These events provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. To support your attendance, we are offering a travel bursary, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Offer Holder Days, including terms and conditions and eligibility criteria for our travel bursary, please visit our webpage.

If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Offer Holder Days if you are able to - we will let you know in your invite email how you can do this.

Interview

Undergraduate students who apply for our health-related courses are required to pass a compulsory interview before an offer can be made. If you are shortlisted for interview based on your application, you will be invited to interview with us via Microsoft Teams. We use the interview as an opportunity to get to know you, to find out about your ambitions, and assess how prepared you are for the course. It's important for us to be sure that you know what you're signing up for, so we'd expect you've done some research about the course and the associated careers it may lead to. We have some more information about how to demonstrate you have what it takes at the bottom of our undergraduate page

Students giving each other a piggy back on the beach

Visit Southend Campus

Want to live in a central city location, with state-of-the-art facilities at your finger tips? Southend is the perfect environment for living and learning in a close-knit international community.

If you're joining our School of Health and Social Care, East 15 Acting School, or Essex Business School, you may well be studying at our Southend Campus.

View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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