MSW Social Work

Postgraduate, Full-time

Social Work MSW

Gain the professional knowledge and skills you need to qualify and practise as a registered social worker with the ability for leadership


This course is designed for graduates who wish to qualify as a social worker within a two-year time frame.

The course is unique in that it has been developed alongside the MSc Physiotherapy and MSc Occupational Therapy programmes to prepare you to work effectively within the complex and rapidly evolving environment of health and social care. You will learn alongside pre-registration students in Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy throughout your studies with us, and graduate together. The Simulation and Clinical Skills Centre provides the facilities to develop your skills in realistic settings including the home environment. Being both intellectually challenging and practical, this programme will prepare you for the real world of social work within the areas of Children and Families, Criminal Justice and Adult social work. You’ll enter the workplace as a confident, competent and autonomous social worker, equipped to lead the delivery of personalised and responsive services, which place individuals and families at the centre of their care and support.

Please note: The programme is approved by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

We are no longer accepting applications for Social Work for January 2022 entry. Applications for January 2023 will open in Spring 2022.
MSW Social Work student.

Mode of Study:



2 years

Start date:


Course details

Year 1: Developing an understanding of the social work role

The first year of the course sets the foundations for understanding the social work role within the areas of Children and Families, Criminal Justice and Adult social work. You’ll explore the legal and ethical context of social work in these areas, establishing some of the key knowledge, skills and values you’ll require to involve people who have experienced adversity, abuse and other forms of social injustice in the assessment of their needs and in decision making around their support. This first year introduces you to Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy students as key partners in promoting health and wellbeing within an integrated health and social care context. The multi-professional student groups will learn and work together across the two years of the course so that you can develop confidence in your own role as well as developing a deeper understanding of the roles of others. The importance of research and evidence is highlighted throughout, and a full-time work placement at the end of the first year provides the opportunity to integrate theory with practice and to consolidate all of your learning throughout the year.

Year 2: Challenging the social work role and shaping the future

The second year of the course builds in complexity by addressing the process of risk assessment and decision making within the context of uncertain and partial information. You’ll develop your communication skills with particular service user groups in situations of conflict and risk, and you’ll consider the possibility that children and adults who are in need of our care and support may also present risks to others. You’ll be asked to take a global perspective in questioning the role of the social worker, and, along with your colleagues in occupational therapy and physiotherapy, to develop the entrepreneurial capacity and skills required to lead innovation in a changing health and social care environment. Your research experience will be enhanced, culminating in the production of a dissertation.  You’ll then undertake a final full-time work placement which will enable you to make the transition into the workplace as a competent, confident and autonomous practitioner.

Subjects include:

Year 1
  • Working Together in Health and Social Care Contexts
  • Negotiating the Legal and Ethical Landscape of Social Work
  • Working with Individuals, Families and Communities
  • Research Approaches in Health and Social Care
  • Social Work approaches to Assessing Compromised Health and Development
Year 2
  • Risk, Uncertainty and Complex Decision-Making
  • Working Creatively with the Complex Tensions between Intra-personal and Inter-personal Processes
  • Leading Innovation in Health and Social Care
  • Public Protection in a Complex and Changing Global Context
  • Masters Dissertation
  • calendar How you’ll be taught This is a full-time course delivered over two years. The teaching will involve practitioners and people who use services, alongside academic staff. The first two trimesters each year focus on theory, knowledge and skills development, and in the third trimester each year you’ll undertake a work placement in order to consolidate your learning and to integrate the theory with practice. You’ll otherwise learn by a variety of teaching methods including scenario-based learning, tutorials, seminars, simulation, group work and independent study.
  • note and pen Assessments A variety of assessment approaches will be utilised relevant to the skills you’ll require in practice, including report-writing, oral presentations and some reflective essays.
  • briefcase Work placement In each year of the course you’ll undertake a full-time placement of 85 working days, supervised by a practice educator. This will allow you to experience the social work role in interesting and challenging settings including those with a focus on health and social care integration.
  • library Facilities The facilities provided by the Simulation and Clinical Skills Centre offer highly realistic environments within which to develop your communication and engagement skills and to integrate theory with practice in a range of situations including visiting people in their own homes.


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Placement and study abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

A Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with honours at a minimum of 2.2 preferably in a Social Science related subject.

In order to meet the Standards in Social Work Education (SiSWE), evidenced study in the area of English and Maths is also required.

In addition to academic qualifications, candidates must demonstrate commitment to and knowledge of Social Work as a career. Candidates should evidence this through their application form and personal statement. A wide range of experience may be considered to be relevant including paid employment in social care, voluntary work related to Social Work, and life story experience of Social Work services, particularly care experience. Candidates should relate their experiences to their motivation to study Social Work and their awareness of the scope of Social Work practice.

Applicants with other professional qualifications and experience may be considered on an individual basis. 

Interview Requirements

There will be a selection interview involving both a group and an individual interview. Competition for places varies from year-to-year and achievement of the typical minimum entry requirements does not always guarantee shortlisting for interview or a place on the course.

Admission to the Programme is dependent upon a satisfactory Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG) Check. This will be sent to you prior to interview and will be conducted on the interview day. The cost of the PVG check will be paid by the University.

Additional Information

All students are required to register as a Social Work student with the Scottish Social Services Council on joining the programme. 

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test.  The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 7.0 with no individual component score of less than 6.5.  For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MSc Nursing (Pre-registration) (Adult, Mental Health, Child, Learning Disabilities)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students From 2021/22 2022/23
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £6,525 £6,720
Overseas and EU £15,490 £15,945

Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next.
For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees

Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


High Court of Justiciary sign
The course enables you to provide leadership as a qualified social worker, ready to work in the local authority or third sector, within the areas of Children and Families, Criminal Justice and Adult Social Work.