BSc (Hons)

BSc (Hons) Social Work


Do you want to gain the professional skills to make a difference to people’s lives and society? Through expert teaching and quality placements, our specially-designed Social Work degree will help you achieve this.

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Course overview

Social Work at Winchester aims to ensure you understand the impact of the wider social context in which people live. It seeks to challenge inequality and to intervene, support and empower people to make positive decisions.

The focus of the programme is on working with people of all ages who may be vulnerable and at risk. Fundamental to good social work is your ability to develop critically reflective practice where you are able to deal with complex dilemmas in a confident and competent manner.

The programme works closely with service users, carers and a wide range of professionals to ensure you gain a deep level of understanding of issues across the social care arena. You gain professional knowledge of human behaviour and social processes in a legal context. You critically explore different forms of oppression and inequality in society and develop key skills to challenge disadvantage and marginalisation.

In Year 1, you start to explore key social work concepts and theory, and develop basic professional skills in preparation for your first practice placement at Year 2. By the end of the first year you demonstrate 'readiness for direct practice' evidenced through your progress.

As part of the first year, students are required to undertake a number of days shadowing in a social care environment in order to prepare them for their forthcoming practice placements in years 2 and 3.

Year 2 includes a practice experience of 70 days. You are placed in a social care agency which has been screened by members of staff and you are supervised by a qualified social work practice educator. On completion of this practice learning, your performance is assessed.

Year 3 is more complex and prepares you for practice. The final 100-day practice experience is supported by teaching in the University. You continue to work under the supervision of a qualified social work practice assessor but are expected to demonstrate increasing skill in your practice, greater ability to integrate theory and practice, assumption of more responsibility and more initiative in the role of student social worker.

Few careers offer as much opportunity to support people as social work. Graduates go on to careers in social work or related professional roles in the social care, voluntary and independent sector, health and education sectors.

What you need to know

Course start date



Winchester campus

Course length

  • 3 years full-time



Typical offer

96- 112 points


From £9,250 pa

Course features

  • Choose a career where you can make a real impact on the lives of vulnerable people
  • Gain vital real-world skills on practical work placements in each of the three years and learn from staff, service users, carers and practitioners who ensure teaching material is interesting, challenging and up-to-date
  • Join a course that is approved by Social Work England 
  • Top 15 for Social Work in The Guardian's Best Universities UK 2022

Course details

Our aim is to shape 'confident learners' by enabling you to develop the skills needed to excel in your studies here and as well as onto further studies or the employment market.

You are taught primarily through a combination of lectures and seminars, allowing opportunities to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.

In addition to the formally scheduled contact time such as lectures and seminars etc., you are encouraged to access academic support from staff within the course team and the wide range of services available to you within the University.

Independent learning

Over the duration of your course, you will be expected to develop independent and critical learning, progressively building confidence and expertise through independent and collaborative research, problem-solving and analysis with the support of staff. You take responsibility for your own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity.

While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional modules you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course.

Year 1 (Level 4): 

Teaching, learning and assessment: 168 hours. Independent learning: 1032 hours. Placement: 0 hours

Year 2 (Level 5): 

Teaching, learning and assessment: 96 hours. Independent learning: 588 hours. Placement: 516 hours

Year 3 (Level 6): 

Teaching, learning and assessment: 96 hours. Independent learning: 528 hours. Placement: 576 hours

Please note these are indicative hours for the course.

Theory modules are presented in the form of lectures, tutorials, small group discussions, experiential exercises and presentations. The practice modules of the programme involve a minimum of 170 days of placement learning. Placement learning takes place in each of the three years of training and comprises a period of preparation for practice in Year 1 and two placements - one each in Years 2 and 3. Service users and carers are involved at all levels of the programme, and initially students will meet them at the selection process. All students undertake supervised field practice learning in a range of settings. In the second year of study there is a less complex placement with emphasis on relationship building, communication skills and understanding context and in the final year, a more complex placement is offered. A student placement experience reflects two different service user groups one with adults and one with children, in recognition of the generic nature of social work training. Both classroom and practice learning modules emphasise the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and the involvement of service users and carers.


Taught elements of the course take place on campus in Winchester.


Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

Year 1 (Level 4):

90% coursework

0% written exams

10% practical exams

Year 2 (Level 5):

100% coursework

0% written exams

0% practical exams

Year 3 (Level 6):

73% coursework

0% written exams

27% practical exam

Please note these are indicative percentages and modes for the programme.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.


Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing. The University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed. For further information please refer to


Introduction to Law Ethics and Social Policy

This module introduces students to relevant legal frameworks and helps them to understand that law is limited when applied in isolation of ethical practice. Ethical frameworks are presented and students will have the opportunity to develop their understanding of professional decision making and its relationship to law and ethics. Ethical dilemmas common to social work will be examined, together with professional standards. Students will be introduced to a range of legislation relating to human rights and equality as well as children, youth justice and adults.  Students will also be introduced to social policy and consider how global, national and local policy impacts on social work practice.


Sociological perspectives and Social Justice

This module gives students the opportunity to gain a thorough grounding and appreciation of a number of key concepts from a sociological perspective that are used to understand and explain the relationships between individuals and their social contexts. These concepts will be utilised in supporting the student to develop their understanding of social justice as a key social work value. It will provide a theoretical understanding to support students in practice with a range of service users and to reflect on the impact of their own values in coproducing with service users and seeking social justice.

Use Of Self, Communication And Working With Others

The use of self in social work practice is the combining of knowledge, values and skills gained in social work education with aspects of one’s personal self, including personality traits, belief systems, life experiences, and cultural heritage. Through the use of self as a therapeutic tool, you will be able to effectively establish rapport, build positive working relationships and thus improve outcomes of interventions. 

In the first half of this module students will be supported to raise awareness about their own personality, worldview, relationship skills and life experiences that can be drawn upon to bring about positive change in others. 

The second half of the module will focus on ‘learning about groups by being in a group’. Theoretical knowledge about groups: processes and dynamics will be applied in practice as students learn how to work collaboratively and effectively with others as a member of a Team. 

Developing communication skills is integral to this module. It will include a ‘Communication Workshop’ in which students will work directly with individuals with ‘lived experiences’.

Research for Social Work

This module is an introduction to research, research methodologies and their relevance to social work practice. Students will give consideration to understanding research, research methodologies, and how these contribute to the formation of knowledge. Contemporary Social Work practice draws on a multi‐disciplinary body of knowledge and with a requirement to see practitioners engage in evidence based practice. It is therefore critical that students are able to appraise research methods and consider the appropriate application and use of knowledge or evidence to practice.


Readiness for Practice

This module is an introduction to the Social Work profession and the professional capabilities needed to begin practice. It covers the Professional Capabilities Framework ensuring that students are able to meet the standard of Readiness to Practice prior to commencing their first placement. There is an emphasis on values and ethics, along with critical reflection and analysis. 

Students will be encouraged to consider how they will build resilience and confidence when in an unpredictable and demanding professional context. The module also considers issues of diversity and inequality alongside anti-oppressive practice.

The module culminates in a self-audit of the Readiness to Practice capabilities along with a presentation reflecting on the student’s achievements and development needs.

Foundations for Professional Practice

This module introduces students to the social work context. Students will develop an initial understanding of organisations and inter-agency working along with the nature of contemporary partnership working, within and across disciplines and agencies. Content covered during the module places emphasis on understanding the different needs and experiences of service users and carers, and with professional and non-professional colleagues in the agency setting.  Students will be encouraged to explore contemporary societal issues from a range of perspectives and their impact on social work and vice versa.  Personal and professional values will be explored.


First Practice Placement (70 days)

This module aims to support students to develop their capability and professional confidence in essential social work skills, including core communication skills, engaging and forming relationships, application of theoretical concepts, working with professional colleagues and critical reflection. Students will have the opportunity to put into practice core teaching from level 4 and further develop key and fundamental aspects of social work.

The Legal and Professional Knowledge Base of Social Work

This module will give students knowledge underpinning legal and safe practice.

Contemporary practice requires social workers to operate within a legal framework which comprises of powers and duties contained in primary and secondary legislation, statutory guidance and case law.

Within this, complex decisions need to be made in order to protect vulnerable people as well as promoting their rights, being mindful of operating within an ethical and moral framework. 

In this module students will develop the skills needed to keep up to date with legal knowledge and particular emphasis will be placed on the importance of research and evidence based practice. A focus of this module will be thinking and practicing critically, by considering a range of complex case studies which will help students to be accountable in their practice.

Students, in developing ‘research mindedness’ will begin to understand what makes good social work research, have an introduction to methodologies and methods and the principles of systematic enquiry and putting research to use; applications and implications.

This module will prepare and support students in their practice placements.

Social Work Methods And Interventions

This module will introduce students to a range of relevant tools, models, methods and theories in order to develop skills in supporting positive change and promoting equality in working directly with individuals, families, groups and communities, in preparation for and to run alongside the 70 day placement. Students will be expected to critically analyse the usefulness of applying the theories and methods to social work practice with individuals, families, groups or communities, particularly in regard to empowerment and Anti discriminatory practice

Psychological Perspectives of the Life Course

Social workers engage with a diverse range of people across the life course, therefore a thorough understanding of human growth and development from a psychological perspective is a central element of social work practice. A person’s life course is not always a straightforward, linear progression, and the impact of social, political, cultural, economic and environmental factors must be recognised, so that inequalities identified in practice can be challenged. This module will explore physical, cognitive, moral and personality development, the transitions and changes that occur throughout the life course and examine the factors that influence attachment, resilience and the development of an individuals and family’s emotional resources. The module will emphasise the development of human personality, behaviour and the positive outcomes that are being achieved by practitioners working in a variety of different settings using different techniques and interventions. It will also provide students with the opportunity to challenge and critique normative views of development across the life course, emphasising the value and experience of diversity. In doing so, students will be encouraged to explore the impact of gender, sexual orientation, disability, culture, race and ethnicity through the life course and identify how in practice ideas of normative development can be used to inform social work practice and when these concepts should be challenged.


Final Practice Placement (100 days)

This module gives students opportunity to advance their skills and knowledge in a social work in a social work setting and enhance their capability in preparation for their assessed and supported year in employment. It will cover the core tasks of social work, risk assessment, assessment of needs, care planning, working with other professionals and developing and sustaining relationships with individuals, families and groups. The student will need to demonstrate their skills in working autonomously, critical and analytical reflective thinking when confronted with problems and dilemmas, and working using best evidence, e.g., identifying what is best evidence and how it informs better outcomes for individuals’ families and groups.

Risk, Assessment and Safeguarding Work

This module will address the challenges of assessing risk with regards to need and protecting service users from abuse and neglect. In doing so, it will support students to understand the complexities of assessment; going beyond simply identifying need, but to critically analyse information presented in order to effectively safeguard those we work with and manage risks. Assessment and risk represent deceptively simple concepts, however good assessment is the cornerstone of social work practice and therefore will be explored in-depth. Assessments can have a significant impact on the lives of all service users, therefore assessment frameworks and the ways in which ways assessments are conducted and how information is used and analysed will be explored with students. Effective assessment is a transparent area of practice where the social worker is clearly accountable for their actions. Stringent recording and communication are essential cornerstones of good practice. Student’s will continue to learn about the importance of research and by encouraging research literacy they will develop skills required to be critically informed and their work be supported through evidence-based practice, practitioner input and case studies.

Independent Study on Contemporary Practice

Social work practice relies fundamentally on the application of the best knowledge and understanding of all aspects of interventions and in the interests of the people who use the service. It requires research minded practitioners who are aware of available research and have the skills to assess, interpret and apply its insights effectively.

Building on teaching from level 4, this module allows students to work independently on a topic of their choice, linked to their practice placement. Students will enhance their skills in critically examining research methods and develop their learning to promote research mindedness. Students will develop their knowledge of the role of evidence based research in current social work practice and how to apply ethical principles in evaluating research.

This is an independent study module.

Social Work Practice in Contemporary Society

Building on from the learning and teaching in level 5 and from the 70 day placement, this module will provide students with the opportunity to develop their skill & knowledge in working directly with individuals, families, and communities, safely and effectively.

Using the platform of established areas of practice, such as mental health, direct work with children and addictions, students will look at both direct practice in more depth and be introduced to relevant tools, methods and theories underpinning practice in these fields, including systemic and solution focused ideas as ways to intervene and affect change.  Students will be encouraged to think critically about interventions, linked to research findings and also the contemporary context in which social work takes place, with a focus on sociological and political structures.

Entry requirements

96- 112 points

Our offers are typically made using UCAS tariff points to allow you to include a range of level 3 qualifications and as a guide, the requirements for this course are equivalent to:

A-Levels: CCC-BBC from 3 A Levels or equivalent grade combinations (e.g. CCC is comparable to BCD in terms of tariff points)
BTEC/CTEC: MMM-DMM from BTEC or Cambridge Technical (CTEC) qualifications
International Baccalaureate: To include a minimum of 2 Higher Level certificates at grade H4
T Level: Pass (C or above on the core) in a T Level

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by emailing our International Recruitment Team at

Additionally, we accept tariff points achieved for many other qualifications, such as the Access to Higher Education Diploma, Scottish Highers, UAL Diploma/Extended Diploma and WJEC Applied Certificate/Diploma, to name a few. We also accept tariff points from smaller level 3 qualifications, up to a maximum of 32, from qualifications like the Extended Project (EP/EPQ), music or dance qualifications. To find out more about UCAS tariff points, including what your qualifications are worth, please visit UCAS.

In addition to level 3 study, the following GCSE’s are required:

GCSE in English Language at grade 4 or C, or higher. Functional Skills at level 2 is accepted as an alternative, however Key Skills qualifications are not. If you hold another qualification, please get in touch and we will advise further

If you will be over the age of 21 years of age at the beginning of your undergraduate study, you will be considered as a mature student. This means our offer may be different and any work or life experiences you have will be considered together with any qualifications you hold. UCAS have further information about studying as a mature student on their website which may be of interest.

If English is not your first language, a formal English language test will most likely be required and you will need to achieve the following:

  • IELTS Academic at 7.0 overall with no element less than 6.5 (for year 1 entry)
  • We also accept other English language qualifications, such as IELTS Indicator, Pearson PTE Academic, Cambridge C1 Advanced and TOEFL iBT

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by contacting our International Recruitment Team via our International Apply Pages. 

Applicants from overseas require a undergraduate degree that is equivalent to UK Honours level and equivalent English Language and Maths level 2 qualifications that are comparable with UK GCSEs.

We advise applicants to check their qualifications are equivalent using the ENIC comparability service, or to email through evidence of their certificates and transcripts prior to applying so we can assess whether these are suitable for entry.
If a student visa is required for study - an Academic IELTs or suitable UKVI equivalent will be requested.

2024 Course Tuition Fees

  UK / Channel Islands /
Isle of Man / Republic of Ireland 


Year 1 £9,250 £16,700
Year 2 £9,250 £16,700
Year 3 £9,250 £16,700
Total £27,750 £50,100
Optional Sandwich Year* £1,850 £3,340
Total with Sandwich Year £29,600 £53,440

Additional tuition fee information

If you are a UK student starting your degree in September 2024, the first year will cost you £9,250**. Based on this fee level, the indicative fees for a three-year degree would be £27,750 for UK students.

Remember, you don’t have to pay any of this upfront if you are able to get a tuition fee loan from the UK Government to cover the full cost of your fees each year.

UK Part-Time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £77.08 and a 15 credit module is £1,156. Part-time students can take up to a maximum 90 credits per year, so the maximum fee in a given year will be the government permitted maximum fee of £6,935.

International part-time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £139.14 and a 15 credit module is £2,087.

* Please note that not all courses offer an optional sandwich year.

**The University of Winchester will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year.

Additional costs

As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the mandatory and optional costs for this course:



Students are required to pay for Camtasia, for use on campus. Indicative cost is £20.

Disclosure and Barring Service

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check will be required if you undertake a placement, volunteering, research or other course related activity where you will have contact with children or vulnerable adults. The requirement for a DBS check will be confirmed by staff as part of the process to approve your placement, research or other activity. The indicative cost is £40.

Students are not required, but are recommended, to register for the DBS update service during the length of the programme. Indicative cost is £13 per year.

Business Insurance

Students will be required to have appropriate motor insurance if they are driving their own vehicle during any placement. The type of motor insurance cover will depend on the type of journey that they undertake. Driving to and from the placement is commuting and driving as part of the business activity during the placement day is driving for business use.

Printing and Binding

The University is pleased to offer our students a printing allowance of £5 each academic year. This will print around 125 A4 (black and white) pages. If students wish to print more, printer credit can be topped up by the student. The University and Student Union are champions of sustainability and we ask all our students to consider the environmental impact before printing.


Core Texts

Core texts are available from the University Library; however some students prefer to purchase their own copies. Some core texts can be bought second hand or as an ebook, which can often reduce this cost. Indicative cost is £100 per academic full time year.


The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) currently provides a limited number of bursaries for social work students to help with study and living costs.

There are not enough bursaries for all social work students and the number of students that the University can nominate changes each year.

Currently students will be prioritised based on their household income; with lowest household incomes receiving priority. This decision was arrived at following a review of the nomination process. It is reviewed at least every four years.

The household income figure used for the purpose of the bursary nominations is based on the Student Finance Assessment completed during the 2021/22 academic year. Students and their Sponsors (Parents/Partners) are required to consent to this information being shared with the University early on in the 2021/22 academic year (before April 2022) to be considered for the bursary. If you have any queries regarding this, please contact

If secondary criteria is needed to identify who will be nominated (in cases in which two or more students fill the last nomination place, having identical household incomes) the first year summative percentage score for BSc Social Work Students will be used.


Graduates go on to careers in social work or related professional roles in the social care, voluntary and independent sector, health and education sectors. This programme is approved by Social Work England which means you’ll be eligible to apply for registration as a social worker on successful completion of the course.

The University of Winchester ranks in the top 10 in the UK for graduates in employment or further study according to the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2021, HESA.

Pre-approved for a Masters

If you study a Bachelor Honours degrees with us, you will be pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible, you will need to apply by the end of March in the final year of your degree and meet the entry requirements of your chosen Masters degree.

"Social Work is an incredible course. You learn life skills that I don't know that you would learn anywhere else. I wouldn't be the person I am today without having studied here." Sophie, BSc (Hons) Social Work

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