BA Social Work

Full Time
Degree of Bachelor of Arts

UCAS Course Code
A-Level typical
BBB (2018/9 entry) See All Requirements
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Life as a student in the School of Social Work

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“The course helped to prepare me by giving me a good theoretical and practical grounding in social work, which included studying relevant disciplines such as psychology and sociology which helps to inform practice.” - Lucy Brims, Social Worker, Norfolk Community Services (Adult Care)

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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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If you are looking for a career which is intellectually, ethically and highly-rewarding then Social Work is the ideal profession for you. Social workers are required to balance care, change and control in their work with people who use social care services, and with the relatives and friends who provide care to service users.

UEA’s BA (Hons) Social Work degree programme, accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council, will introduce you to the range of social work theory, policy and practice and on completing your degree you will be eligible to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council to register as a Social Worker.


Accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council, the BA Social Work degree programme will encompass social work theory, policy and practice. Social workers support the most vulnerable members of our society, and help them overcome difficulties and achieve their full potential. Our programme is designed to be both academically rigorous and supportive to ensure you are prepared to face the challenges your future career will bring. 

By studying with us you will gain a thorough understanding of the theoretical foundations of social work, alongside its roots in psychology, sociology and other disciplines. You will learn about the social policy and legal context for social work, especially in areas relating to children and families, mental health, disability and older people. Over the course of your degree, you will complete 200 days in practice-based learning, working with at least two different vulnerable groups to ensure you are confident and qualified.

On completing your degree, you will be eligible to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council to register as a social worker. 

Course Structure

The academic year consists of two semesters (each 12 weeks long), but university and placement attendance for those within the School of Social Work will continue outside of these dates. 

Year 1

The first year will provide a thorough introduction to the knowledge, skills, history, contexts and values of social work, social sciences and childhood development. You will also complete a child observation and a short shadowing placement. 

Year 2

You will receive teaching on social work relating to children and adults, mental illness and disability through your compulsory modules. You will also complete a substantial 70 day practice placement, allowing you to apply your knowledge and values to real-life situations. 

Year 3 

In your final year you will undertake your second practice placement of 100 days, at the end of which you will be expected to demonstrate the ability to work with minimal supervision. Modules in this year will focus on strengthening the links between theory, research and practice, and refining skills for effective intervention in people’s lives. You will also complete a dissertation on a topic you find particularly engaging. 

A full list of current modules we offer can be found on the 'Course Profile' page. 

We Make a Difference

We are committed to making a positive difference to people’s lives. All of your lecturers will be experienced social workers, and many will be actively researching ways to improve the lives and care of vulnerable groups. 

In the most recent government survey of university research, the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), UEA School of Social Work was placed 4th in the country for overall research, with 90 per cent of the work submitted classed as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. It is this cutting-edge research which directs our teaching, ensuring you are learning the most up-to-date practices and engaging with current academic debates.  

One example is the work of Professor Beth Neil who  is completing research into the need for a bespoke contact plan between each adopted child and their birth relatives. This is just one example of the life-changing work completed at UEA which will positively impact people’s lives, and shape adoption procedures in the future. Read more about ‘Adoptions’. 

An Excellent Student Experience

By choosing UEA, you become part of a close knit, highly supportive community. We are proud of our reputation as a university providing excellent student experience In the National Student Survey 2016, UEA ranked joint third for overall satisfaction out of all English mainstream universities. We believe this is a testament to our vibrant campus life, offering you a huge range of activities, societies and sporting opportunities.  

When you join the School of Social Work, you will also be assigned an academic adviser  who will take an active interest in your progress, support you on placement, provide a range of advice, and you may speak to them about any issue which is affecting your study.

Where Next?

You will graduate with a professional qualification and the expertise to pursue a wide range of exciting, rewarding and challenging careers within the social work profession. You will have completed over 200 days of practice-based learning, and will be fully equipped to work in a wide range of statuary and voluntary agencies. 

•    Local authority teams, for example with children and families, fostering and adoption, community mental health, disability or older people
•    The voluntary sector, with organisations such as NSPCC, Age UK, MIND
•    Schools, health trusts and hospitals
•    Private sector agencies, for example, providing fostering services or therapeutic residential care for children or adults

Our most recent statistics show that 100 per cent of our graduates are in employment or further student six months after graduation, which we believe is a testament to the thorough preparation which this course provides. 

This programme has been endorsed by TCSW as having met the social work professional quality criteria.

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


Receive an introduction to developmental theory and research and have the opportunity to develop observational skills, as well as apply theories, through a young child observation in the spring semester. You will cover a range of issues that are relevant for social work, including the contributions of nature and nurture; the development of secure and insecure attachment relationships; how children's thinking develops in the early years; how children develop language; how children develop a sense of self; and how developmental theory can help to explain typical and atypical development. Throughout, development is placed in a broad social context and you will be encouraged to think critically about the relative merits of different approaches to developmental psychology and their value in social work settings. The child observation exercise and project enable you to think about the person-environment fit as children interact with adults and other children in their different day care settings.




THIS MODULE IS RESERVED FOR BA SOCIAL WORK STUDENTS ONLY. The module introduces you to key concepts in social sciences that underpin much of social work practice. As such this module forms an important stepping-stone to the practice-based modules that follow in years 2 and 3. You will be encouraged to comprehend, evaluate and compare the major perspectives in psychology, sociology and social theory that underpin the psychosocial domain, and begin to use these perspectives as tools for understanding the kinds of psychosocial problems that social workers typically deal with. The module requires you to explore and reflect on key societal contexts which influence individuals' daily lives, eg demographic changes and socio-economic structures, including age, gender, cultural diversity and different ethnicities. You will be encouraged to develop a critical approach to theory and to question each approaches impact upon how we understand: The Self; Nature/nurture; Determinism/freewill; Consciousness; Objectivity/subjectivity; Power; Care/Control: Other People; The Physical World. A central theme will be the interaction of 'self' and social context through the life programme. The learning from the teaching and wider reading will be applied to social work situations.




This module prepares students to apply their academic learning to practice learning opportunities on placement and gain an understanding of the HCPC requirements for social workers and the former College of Social Work Professional Capabilities Framework.




Social work takes place in a constantly changing social and political context and many of its theories and concepts are contested. This module will introduce you to aspects of the historical, political and social contexts within which social workers practise. It will help form the foundation for the social work modules that follow in years 2 and 3 of your course.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


This year-long module introduces you to basic legal knowledge and policy concepts, to enable 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 in the module 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. Please note this module is reserved for BA social work students.




THIS MODULE IS AVAILABLE FOR BA SOCIAL WORK STUDENTS. This module contains a number of different elements which are designed to help you understand and engage with service users and will work with professional social workers. The formative and summative work will help you identify where you need to develop, both academically and in practice in order to meet the requirements of the social work degree. You will be introduced to psychological models for understanding human growth and behaviour across the lifespan and will learn how to use these models to understand case situations. You'll think about and review a range of factors, including biological, social and psychological that can impact human development at a range of levels within the individual and their environment. Issues of diversity, difference and disadvantage are key themes and the aims are to stimulate critical reflection on the nature and experience of difference, especially in terms of people's differing personal and social circumstances and the ways in which professional social workers may respond to these differences. You'll be encouraged to think about how issues of personal and political power arise in social work practice and reflect on the implications of these in order to incorporate and develop these ideas in your practice. There will be teaching and learning using reading and research to support you in your professional and academic development, including preparation for the demands of the dissertation in the final year.




This module is about further development of the practice skills needed by a professional social worker, as laid out in the Professional Capabilities Framework and the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) standards of Proficiency and Standards of Conduct performance and Ethics. It includes the Level 1 Placement and Skills Development days, as well as teaching at the University.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


This year-long module includes the Level 2 placement and university-based teaching. The module will enable you to develop skills in applying theory law and practice and to complete the practice requirements set out in the HCPC Standards of Proficiency and the Standards of Conduct Performance and Ethics. Level 2 Placement and Case Study - During the final level placement, you will work under the supervision of a practice educator/assessor, who is a qualified social worker, to develop your key practice skills set out in the Professional Capabilities Framework and the Standards of Proficiency for Social Work in England. Your placement may be undertaken in a range of settings - fieldwork, residential, day services or community settings. Please note this module is reserved for BA Social Work students only.




The dissertation is an extended piece of writing which will enable you to explore in-depth an issue of concern to social workers. You will have a free choice of topic, subject to the approval of the Module Leader and Co-Tutor. The dissertation is a review of the literature, not an empirical piece of work; however, you are encouraged to illustrate your material with case examples and practitioner/service user views. The dissertation is relevant to HCPC standards of Proficiency and the PCF.




The final teaching block is 4 weeks and contains teaching on particular service user groups. It is an opportunity for you to advance your specialist knowledge and skills in particular fields that interest you. Accordingly, you are able to choose which courses to attend. The options in this module include: Social Work with Children and Families, Social Work with Older People, Social Work and Mental Health and Social Work with Adults and Children with Disability.




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

  • Adoptions

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

    Read it Adoptions
  • Work Experience

    All applicants are required to gain valuable work experience before they apply… but how much work experience is enough?

    Read it Work Experience
  • 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
  • UEA Award

    Develop your skills, build a strong CV and focus your extra-curricular activities while studying with our employer-valued UEA award.

    Read it UEA Award

Entry Requirements

  • A Level BBB
  • International Baccalaureate 31 If no GCSE equivalent is held, offer will include Mathematics and English requirements.
  • Scottish Advanced Highers CCC
  • Irish Leaving Certificate 2 subjects at H2, 4 subjects at H3
  • Access Course Pass the Access to HE Diploma with Merit in 45 credits at Level 3
  • BTEC DDM Health and Social Care Preferred. BTEC Public Services is not accepted.
  • European Baccalaureate 70%

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.  No equivalences are accepted.

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

We welcome applications from students from all academic backgrounds. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including speaking, listening, reading and writing) at the following level:

  • IELTS: 7.0 overall (minimum 6.5 in any component)

We will also accept a number of other English language qualifications. Please click here for further information.

INTO University of East Anglia 

If you do not yet meet the English language requirements for this course, INTO UEA offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate 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.  Further information about work experience can be found in our 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 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

PROTECTION OF CHILDREN: Disclosure of criminal background for those with access to children
All applicants who have been offered a place to study the BA course will be required to obtain a new DBS Enhanced Disclosure.

Advice and information will be provided after registration. General information about this process can be obtained from the UK Governments Disclosure and Barring Service Website.

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


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

Alternative Qualifications

Candidates with alternative qualifications are encouraged to apply, or contact the Admissions Office for further information.  Please note we do not accept alternatives to full GCSE's in Mathematics and English.


Bursary Information

The Bursary Scheme for Social Work is currently under review by the Government.  We cannot therefore, guarantee that Bursaries will be available for students starting the BA from September 2018. We will update this information as the situation becomes clear.  

Previously, bursaries have been available for BA students (2nd and 3rd year students only). For BA students the decision on who to nominate for an NHS bursary takes place at the end of the first year and considers academic performance and attendance.  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 applicants only

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

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support

Tuition Fees

Information on tuition fees can be found here:

UK students

EU Students

Overseas Students

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to ensuring that costs do not act as a barrier to those aspiring to come to a world leading university and have developed a funding package to reward those with excellent qualifications and assist those from lower income backgrounds. 

The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS

Applications need to be made via the Universities Colleges and Admissions Services (UCAS), using the UCAS Apply option. 

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

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances with the Admissions Office prior to applying please contact us:

Undergraduate Admissions Office (Social Work)
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

Please click here to register your details via our Online Enquiry Form.

    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.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515