BA Social Work

Full Time
Degree of Bachelor of Arts

A-Level typical
BBB (2020/1 entry) See All Requirements
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(Complete University Guide 2019 and Guardian University Guide 2019)

Key facts

Accredited by Social Work England


(Unistats, 2018)


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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Train to become a first rate social work practitioner at UEA.

Social work is about working with people, usually to help them achieve their goals, sometimes to protect them or others.

You could work with children, young people, parents, people with mental health problems, people with physical disabilities or learning disabilities, older people, and with relatives and friends who care for them. At UEA, we see social work as a practical and ethical profession that helps people and makes a difference to their lives.

Our social work training is among the most highly regarded in the country. You’ll graduate ready to start your social work career. In time, you could become a leader in the field as an innovator, practice leader, senior manager, policy maker, researcher or lecturer.


Social work is ideally suited to intelligent, compassionate, hard-working and caring students.

At UEA we have an international reputation for the excellence of our social work teaching and research. We are fully accredited by Social Work England, and your Social Work degree will support you to develop the academic knowledge and professional skills you’ll need to register as a qualified social worker.

We are part of a government-funded Social Work Teaching Partnership with Suffolk and Norfolk County Councils and the University of Suffolk, ensuring that you’ll benefit from close links between teaching, research and practice now and in your future career.

Our graduates are highly regarded by local employers and many of our students begin their careers with UEA partners thanks to links established while on student placements. 

When applying for this course, remember that your interpersonal skills are as important as your educational background. Your application should reflect your potential in both areas. That means we want to hear about your experience of working with people. You might have done voluntary or paid work in a school, residential home or in home care. Or you may have done other work with children, families or vulnerable adults who need extra care or support. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, including people who’ve just left school or college, and mature students.

Due to the nature of the course, you will need to complete an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service screening. You will also need to provide two references: one regarding your academic achievements, and the second telling us about your experience in work or helping people. You must also inform us about any major health concerns that could affect your studies. 

Course Structure

Your social work degree will combine lectures, seminars, group discussions, tutorials and workshops, simulated practice, and role-plays, which are videoed to help you learn from them. Our teaching foregrounds current practice and the experiences of those involved. You will benefit from professionals, services users and carers being at the heart of our teaching.

We combine teaching that emphasises reflective and relationship-based practice with excellent placement opportunities in a wide range of settings provided by our local partner agencies.

Our course will teach you about the theoretical foundations of social work, which are rooted in psychology and sociology. You will explore social policy and the laws surrounding working with children and families, people with mental health issues, and vulnerable adults. And you’ll focus on what it means to work with individuals, families, groups, fellow social workers and other professionals.

Placements and practice-based learning are central to social work education at UEA. Your first exposure to social work practice will be through shadowing and observation. Then across your second and third years, you will spend 170 days on placement, with an additional 30 skills-related days. These are undertaken in partnership with social work employers and organisations and will offer you experiences in at least two contrasting settings. Your learning on placement is supported by a qualified ‘practice educator’, who will guide and assess your practice.  During your placement, you will gain experiences that you will draw on in the classroom, and have regular ‘call back’ days, where you return to the University develop the links between theory and practice.

Teaching and Learning

Expert research based teaching

Many of our lecturers are actively involved in research and nearly all are experienced practitioners. Current practitioners, service users and carers are involved in teaching activities across the course. This means our teaching is based on leading research, while providing you with a direct insight into the latest social work issues and evidence-based practice.

Academic advising

At UEA, we pride ourselves on the support we provide our students. As part of this, you will have an academic adviser, who will take an active interest in your professional development when at University and while on placement. 

Placement learning

Placement learning is central to social work education. You’re training at UEA will feature a significant amount of practice-based learning: 170 days on placement and 30 days of practice skills development. While on placement, you will work closely with a qualified practice educator, who will guide and assess your practice.

Independent study

As a degree student, you’ll also study independently, with the support and guidance of your module organisers. This helps you prepare for a career where you will never stop learning.

In your final year you’ll complete an individual dissertation, which will involve a significant amount of library-based research. Once again, you’ll be supported and guided in this process, to help you achieve the best possible final mark.


We are totally committed to the continued development of our teaching quality. We provide you with access to a number of quality-control channels, including student feedback, debriefing meetings, and the Staff-Student Liaison Committee, to help us monitor, evaluate and develop our current practice.


You’ll experience a range of assessment methods throughout the course, including essays, an exam, class tests, recorded role-plays and portfolio reviews.

In each module you’ll undertake a formative assessment, on which you’ll receive feedback. This will help prepare for your summative assessment which contributes to your overall mark. This helps you achieve the best possible result.

All summative assessments must be passed before a student can progress to the next year of study.

After the course

You will graduate with a professional qualification and a body of knowledge and skills that open up a wide range of exciting, rewarding and challenging employment opportunities. Many of our graduates work in local authority children’s or adults’ services departments and NHS Mental Health Trusts.

As a social worker, you could work with a wide range of service users and carers. You might focus on child protection, work with young people in care and care leavers, children and adults with disabilities, foster carers or adopters, people with dementia, those with drug and alcohol addictions, and people with mental health problems. You will also work with a wide range of other professionals – teachers, health visitors, police, doctors, psychiatrists and community nurses.

You must be registered to work as a social worker in England. Our degree is accredited by Social Work England and offers a dual qualification, academic and professional, so you will be able to apply to register with them (or their successor) as a social worker as soon as you graduate.

Our employability rates reflect the success of our students’ success.

Career destinations

  • Charity and Voluntary sector e.g. NSPCC, Age UK
  • NHS mental health trusts
  • Advocacy services
  • Hospitals
  • Local Authorities
  • Fostering and adoption agencies

Course related costs

Scholarships and Funding

NHS bursaries are currently available for our Social Work BA, but the provision of NHS bursaries is currently subject to review by the Department of Health. For further information visit:

Decisions about bursary allocations will be made in the summer before your first year commences, and all candidates who are holding offers will be informed shortly afterwards. It is anticipated that the School of Social Work will not receive the full number of bursaries for the number of places due to the Department of Health’s review.


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

Course Modules 2020/1

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 you for applying for your academic learning to practice learning opportunities on placement. You will 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 their 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 also provide you with frameworks to help make sense of the legal, policy and organisational context of their Level 1 and Level 2 practice placements.




THIS MODULE IS RESERVED FOR BA SOCIAL WORK STUDENTS ONLY. This module contains a number of different elements which are designed to help students understand and engage with service users they will work with as professional social workers. The formative and summative work will help students identify where they need to develop, both academically and in practice in order to meet the requirements of the social work degree. Students 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. The module will encourage students to 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 in this module and the module aims 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. Students will be encouraged to think about how issues of personal and political power arise in social work practice and to reflect on the implications of these in order to be able to incorporate and develop these ideas in their practice. The module incorporates teaching and learning on using reading and research for students in order to support them in their professional and academic development within all the areas of this module and beyond, including the preparation for the demands of the dissertation in their 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 on the days back. The module enables students 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 students' work under the supervision of a practice educator/assessor, who is a qualified social worker, to develop key practice skills set out in the Professional Capabilities Framework and the Standards of Proficiency for Social Work in England. The placement may be undertaken in a range of settings - fieldwork, residential, day services or community settings.




The dissertation is an extended piece of writing which enables students to explore in depth an issue of concern to social workers. There is 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, students are encouraged to illustrate their 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

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

    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

Entry Requirements

  • A Level BBB
  • International Baccalaureate 31 points
  • Scottish Highers AABBB
  • 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 in a related subject (e.g. Health & Social Care). Excludes BTEC Public Services, BTEC Uniformed Services and BTEC Business Administration.
  • European Baccalaureate 70%

Entry Requirement

Shortlisted applicants will be asked to provide an essay, instructions will be provided.

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 overall (minimum 6.5 in all components)

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

Social Work is not available for International students.


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 welcome applications from students who have already taken or intend to take a gap year. We believe that a year between school and university can be of substantial benefit. You are advised to indicate your reason for wishing to defer entry on your UCAS application.

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 are of satisfactory physical and mental health.

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

Successful applicants will be subject to a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Our admissions policy is in line with the standards of Social Work England and the programme is endorsed by The College of Social Work (TCSW) having met the social work professional quality criteria.


The annual intake is in September each year.

Alternative Qualifications

UEA recognises that some students take a mixture of International Baccalaureate IB or International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme IBCP study rather than the full diploma, taking Higher levels in addition to A levels and/or BTEC qualifications. At UEA we do consider a combination of qualifications for entry, provided a minimum of three qualifications are taken at a higher Level. In addition some degree programmes require specific subjects at a higher level.


GCSE Offer

You are required to have Mathematics and English Language at a minimum of Grade C or Grade 4 or above at GCSE.

Course Open To

UK students only.


Fees and Funding

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support

Tuition Fees

Information on tuition fees can be found here:

UK students

EU 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

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 Institution code for the University of East Anglia is E14.


Please complete our Online Enquiry Form to request a prospectus and to be kept up to date with news and events at the University. 

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.

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