Undergraduate Course

BA Social Work

Now In Clearing
BA Social Work


The details
Social Work
September 2019
3 years
Southend Campus

Please note that this course is no longer accepting applications from international applicants for 2019 entry.

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.

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.

Professional accreditation

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC 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 the Health and Care Professions Council and College of Social Work standards.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

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.

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

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 clinical skills safely, knowing that you are learning up-to-date and evidenced based practice from experienced registered practitioners.

Your future

100% of our undergraduate School of Health and Social Care students are in professional employment or postgraduate study within six months of graduating from Essex (DLHE 2017).

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2019 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

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 equivalent).

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

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.


Example 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..

Introduction to Law and Social Policy

How does legislation and social policy inform social work practice? What are the foundations behind them? Explore the answers to these questions by looking at the core legislation in the areas children and young people, mental health, youth and adult justice safeguarding and protection and disability to develop your understanding.

View Introduction to Law and Social Policy on our Module Directory

Lifespan Development

From the moment we are born, we are constantly changing as we pass through different stages of development. You will explore the key phases of life, from infancy and childhood, adolescence to early adulthood, middle to old age and look at the interactions of lifespan development and social work practice.

View Lifespan Development on our Module Directory

Professional Skills 1

What are the theories that guide social work? How are they implemented in professional practice? You will look at number of contemporary theories and explore approaches such as problem solving, task-centred, solution-focussed, narrative therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy, to help you develop a critical reflective understanding of social work practice.

View Professional Skills 1 on our Module Directory

Interpersonal Skills for Practice

Communication is not just about words. Other factors such as tone of voice, posture, gestures, behaviour and appearance can all impact on how we communicate and how others respond to us. By exploring these aspects of yourself you will understand how your behaviour, responses and feelings can impact on social work practice and the benefits that good interpersonal skills can bring to it.

View Interpersonal Skills for Practice on our Module Directory

Sociological and Psychological Frameworks

What role does social work play in our society? What is the basis for effective social work practice? How do social workers and service users see the world? You will explore the theories behind these three key aspects of social work to develop your understanding of the sociological and psychological frameworks behind the practice.

View Sociological and Psychological Frameworks on our Module Directory

Introduction to Research Methodologies

Evidence is vital to the practice of social work, where it is used to justify any decisions that are made that affect people’s lives. You will look at the ways in which research is conducted and how data is collected and interrogated to develop your understanding of the processes involved in the gathering of evidence.

View Introduction to Research Methodologies on our Module Directory

Legislation, Regulation and Ethics for Practice

What are the legal issues and ethical dilemmas that can arise in social work practice? How can you prepare for this eventuality? You will explore the answers to these questions and further develop your understanding of the role of social legislation previously established in module HS191. You will also explore the topics of domestic violence, immigration and immigration and welfare rights and housing in more detail.

View Legislation, Regulation and Ethics for Practice on our Module Directory

Professional Skills 2

What role does reflection and evidence based practice play in contemporary social work? How can collaborative working improve practice? Why is developing personal and professional resilience important? You will explore the answers to these questions by looking at a variety of models and perspectives to enhance your understanding and develop your own practice skills, building upon the foundations gained in module HS194 (Professional Skills 1).

View Professional Skills 2 on our Module Directory

Practice Placement 1

This module will help you prepare for your practice placement and support you throughout its duration. You will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills in a workplace setting and build on the taught elements of the course. You will also explore the concept of reflection and learn how to critically evaluate your own practice.

View Practice Placement 1 on our Module Directory

Emotional, Relational and Mental Health Issues

Social work practice can sometimes be difficult and challenging, particularly when dealing with emotional, relational or mental health issues. You will explore effective work strategies to help you develop the understanding, skills and confidence required to work in this area and the different approaches you can take to support others.

View Emotional, Relational and Mental Health Issues on our Module Directory

Independent Study

Through a combination of group sessions, 121 tutorials, tutor led input and skills and development sessions, you will develop the skills required to apply your knowledge and understanding and undertake a study of an extended piece of work relevant to social work practice.

View Independent Study on our Module Directory

Research Perspectives

When and how do social workers use research? Why is it essential for effective practice? You will study a range of perspectives in contemporary research, looking at objectives and methodologies to extend your knowledge and further develop your skills in critically appraising and applying research in practice.

View Research Perspectives on our Module Directory

Practice Interventions

Assessment and intervention are two fundamental skills required for effective social work practice. In this module, you will explore them in more detail. You will look at different theories, models and methods of intervention and develop your knowledge and understanding of assessment, analysis, making judgements and implementing intervention further.

View Practice Interventions on our Module Directory

Practice Placement 2

The focus of this placement will be on assessment. You will have the opportunity to use your knowledge and experience gained to date, to further develop your understanding of why assessment is at the core of social work practice and gain practical experience in this essential area.

View Practice Placement 2 on our Module Directory

Critical Reflection and Professional Challenge

Why are the principles of critical reflection and professional challenge such significant issues in contemporary social work practice? You will explore these core approaches to effective social work practice and look at the impact they have on collaborative working with other professionals.

View Critical Reflection and Professional Challenge on our Module Directory


  • 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


  • 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/EU fee


International fee


Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee 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.

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing


We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.

Apply now
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