MA Social Work

Full Time
Degree of Master of Arts


Contact with birth relatives after adoption is an important decision which should be made on a case by case basis.

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Find out how you can gain paid or voluntary work experience in a social work or social care environment.

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Life as a student in the School of Social Work

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The Centre for Research on Children and Families (CRCF) is at the forefront of research on vulnerable children, parenting and family change.

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Accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council, this degree offers an academic and professional qualification that will enable you to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council to register as a professional Social Worker.

Students of this degree will understand the theoretical foundations of social work, rooted in psychology and sociology. They will explore social policy and legal context, including statutory provisions regarding child care, mental health and adult care. There is also a consistent focus on working with individuals, families, groups, fellow social workers and other professionals.

Placement-based learning is central to this degree, with placements carried out with at least two different service user groups, with personal tutors actively encouraging your progress and a practice educator who will guide and assess your practice.


We aim to ensure that our students understand the theoretical foundations of social work, rooted in psychology and sociology; that they understand the social policy and legal context, especially the statutory provisions regarding child care, mental health and adult care; and that they are skilled in working with individuals, families, groups, fellow social workers and other professionals.

By the end of this programme you will have acquired the knowledge and skills to start work as a confident and competent 'beginning social worker'.

Practice Placements

Placement learning is central to social work education. Students on the MA Social Work will spend approximately 170 days in practice-based learning, with placements undertaken with at least two different service user groups.  We stress the role of personal tutors who will take an active interest in your development.  Whilst on placement, you will work closely with a qualified 'practice educator', who will guide and assess your practice.  University tutors maintain close links with students, and there are regular 'call back' days, when students return to the University to work on the links between theory and practice.

Centre for Research on the Child and Family

Students undertaking the MA Social Work degree also benefit from close collaboration with research conducted by the Centre for Research on Children and Families - one of the University's Research Centres working at the forefront of policy debates in social policy. The Centre's research spans the full range of issues facing contemporary policy makers and practitioners working with and for children and their families. Watch Gillian Schofield, Head of School, present at UEA Court 2015.

We continue to produce rigorous, high-quality and timely research evidence, informing the complex policy and practice decisions which have to be made on a daily basis.  Our ultimate ambition is that this evidence is used to improve the well-being of children and families in their diverse communities and service user environments.

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 90 credits:

Name Code Credits

Legal and Social Policy Context of Social Work

This year-long module introduces you to basic legal knowledge and policy concepts, enabling you to make sense of social work practice in its wider policy and legal context, and to use law confidently in your practice. There are two teaching elements within it, one focusing on the law and the other on social policy, but the themes cut across them both - for example, themes about human rights, individual freedom and choice, public welfare, social workers' powers and duties, the grounds for state intervention in family life. The ideas and information covered will also provide you with frameworks to help you make sense of the legal, policy and organisational context of your Level 1 and Level 2 practice placements.



Professional Theory and Practice I

This module will provide you with a year long introduction to the theory and practice of social work as a foundation for the rest of the programme, and especially the first placement. You'll learn to develop skills and knowledge in preparation for social work practice. You'll learn about building professional relationships and the significance of yourself in this process. You'll also learn about effective communication, understanding the context and perspective of service user experience together with a range of theoretical bases for making professional sense and judgements in social work practice.




Develop specific and in-depth skills for practice on this module, which includes a minimum 70 day period of assessed practice and, after placement, gives you an opportunity to integrate learning from practice with the further study of social work theory and methods. In preparation for the placement, you will follow teaching sequences in social work with children and families, social work with adults and understanding mental illness and disability. After the placement, links between practice and theory are strengthened through further teaching, including a focus on social work values and higher level skills for practice. The placement is assessed on a pass/fail basis and students are you will be required to pass the placement in order to proceed to year 2 of the course. You will also submit a case study as a piece of course work arising from this placement. Each element of the unit is separately assessed and must be passed in order to complete the module.



Students must study the following modules for 90 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module is only available to students on the MA in Social Work course. The dissertation is based on a literature review around a topic relevant to social work that is chosen by you. The production of a dissertation enables you to expand your knowledge and understanding of a topic relevant to social work practice and theory and to develop your understanding of research methods and methodologies. Teaching consists of an introductory session for the whole year group, dissertation seminars over four weeks in small groups, during which students present their developing ideas and one-to-one supervision from an allocated dissertation supervisor. The length of the dissertation is 9,000 words.




On this module you'll build on the professional skills, knowledge, values and practice you developed in the first year of the MA Social Work course. You'll undertake your second level placement as part of this module and will cultivate your observation and analytical skills by organising and taking part in a series of observations of a young child at nursery. You'll also learn about some discreet areas of knowledge linked to social work practice and advance your skills in making sense of your work both as a practitioner and as part of the organisation in which you are placed.




Within this module you may choose to focus on the study of social work with children and families or social work with adults (older people, people with disabilities or mental illness). You must attend teaching on at least two service-user groups but you will have the opportunity to attend more if you wish. Assessment is by means of coursework, where you will be given a choice of titles, focusing on practice with different user groups within social work.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

  • Secure Base

    Research from the School of Social Work is having international impact and improving the lives of children in Europe, China and Thailand.

    Read it Secure Base
  • Alumni Case Study

    Emily Tiplady-Ead studied BA Social Work at UEA and has since won the national award 'Childrens Social Worker of the Year 2016'.

    Read it Alumni Case Study

    Your University questions, answered.

    Read it #ASKUEA

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Any Subject
  • Degree Classification 2.1 or equivalent
  • Alternative Qualifications Please contact

Entry Requirement

GCSE Requirements: GCSE English Language grade 4 and GCSE Mathematics grade 4 or GCSE English Language Grade C and GCSE Mathematics Grade C.

Following initial screening an 800-1000 word essay will be requested and has to be submitted, prior to consideration for an interview. Details will be provided.   We also require suitability and health forms to be completed.   Full instruction for the essay will be sent to applicants at the time of request. 


Students for whom English is a Foreign language

Applications from students whose first language is not English are welcome. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including writing, speaking, listening and reading):

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 6.5 in each component)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

We also accept a number of other English language tests. Please click here to see our full list.

INTO University of East Anglia

If you do not meet the English requirements for direct entry, our partner, INTO University of East Anglia, offers a range of pre-sessional English courses to help you develop the high level of English skills necessary for successful postgraduate study.


The first part of the admissions day consists of an observed group activity. The activity will be observed by members of the interview panel and may involve a university lecturer, social work practitioner or manager and a carer of user of social services and gives you an opportunity to participate and communicate in a group. The group will consist of 2 – 6 social work applicants and your group members may vary in age and experience.  However, the focus of the activity is on how you participate and communicate during the task and not your specific knowledge or experience and there is no ‘right’ answer for this activity. 

Later in the day the interview will last around 40 minutes and the interview panel is made up of a University lecturer, a Social Work practitioner or manager and carer or user of Social Services where possible. The interview will enable the panel to look at your personal background and circumstances, essay and group activity participation and your understanding of Social Work, your current studies and your suitability for the programme.

Gap Year

We do not accept applications for a Gap Year for this programme, any offer made will be for the current admissions cycle.

Special Entry Requirements


All applicants are required to have gained at least 6 months paid or voluntary work experience of helping people and working with others in a Social Work/Social Care environment Work Experience Leaflet.

If shortlisted and invited to interview, applicants will be required to provide an additional reference. This should be a professional reference providing details of your ability in a caring/helping capacity, to complement your academic reference provided on the UCAS application.


Applicants are asked to declare that they will seek appropriate advice and treatment in the management of any health conditions that they have.

Disclosure and Barring Service

The course you are applying for is ‘exempt’ from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and therefore, you are required to declare any convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings that are not ‘protected’ (i.e. filtered out) as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended in 2013) on your UCAS application.

The amendments to the Exceptions Order provide that certain ‘spent’ convictions and cautions are 'protected' and are not subject to disclosure, and cannot be taken into account.  Guidance and criteria on the filtering of these cautions and convictions can be found on the Disclosure and Barring Service Website. Further information can also be found on the Nacro website

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check
All applicants who have been offered a place to study the MA course will be required to obtain a new DBS Enhanced Disclosure.

Our admissions policy is in line with standards and guidance from the HCPC.  


The School’s annual intake is in September of each year.

Bursary Information

The NHS Bursary Scheme for Social Work is now open for applications, applications can be made to DHSC from March 2018 onwards.  Following completion of interviews, UEA would review all applicants who are holding an offer with us an nominate applicants for an NHS Bursary.  All applicants are notified via email of any nomination of a bursary.  All nominations are dependent on the applicant's eligibility as determined by the NHS Bursary Authority.

Course Open To

UK and EU students.  Please also note that the Social Work programmes at UEA are primarily designed for students who live in England and intend to practice as social workers in England after they qualify.  We give priority to such applicants in our selection process.  Additionally, it an advantage in the selection process if an applicant's experience of helping people and/or employment is in England.

Fees and Funding

Fees for 2018 entry are:

•    UK/EU Students: £5,200* (full-time)

* for each year of the course

Living Expenses
Approximately £7,500 living expenses will be needed to adequately support yourself.

Scholarships and Funding
Students undertaking Social Work programmes may also be eligible to receive a Department of Health Postgraduate Bursary administered by the NHS Business Services Authority. The Postgraduate Bursary is available to students ordinarily resident in England studying on an approved full-time postgraduate course. The Bursary consists of a non-income-assessed basic grant that varies in value, a contribution towards expenses related to practice learning opportunities (placements) and a contribution towards tuition fees. It also includes an income-assessed maintenance grant that varies in value and income-assessed allowances of various values to assist with certain costs of living, as recipients of the postgraduate bursary ordinarily will not be entitled to LA funding. NB: Financial awards are dependent on individual circumstances.

The Graduate Trainee Scheme is run in conjunction with Suffolk County Council. It is aimed at graduates who have the potential for a career in social work, but lack sufficient relevant experience to enrol straight onto the MA Programme. The dates will change for the current year, if the scheme is running.  It will also be advertised in the local press. 

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS

Applications will need to be made via the Universities Colleges and Admissions Services (UCAS), using the UCAS Apply option.  Please note for operational reasons, the MA Social Work course requires applicants to apply via the UCAS Undergraduate Apply route.

UCAS Apply is a secure online application system that allows you to apply for full-time Undergraduate courses at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom.  It is made up of different sections that you need to complete. Your application does not have to be completed all at once.  The system allows you to leave a section partially completed so you can return to it later and add to or edit any information you have entered. Once your application is complete, it must be sent to UCAS so that they can process it and send it to your chosen universities and colleges.

The UCAS code name and number for the University of East Anglia is EANGL E14.

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

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    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515