Social Work Masters Degree

A social work masters degree is different to many other master’s degrees in that it is both practical and research driven. You’ll get the chance to look at things such as the policies that affect the practice of social work, as well as the theoretical foundation of the work done, in addition to learning about social work itself. This combination of practice and theory is designed to lead you into a career as a social worker, understanding both the work itself and the reasoning behind it, hopefully with a specialism in one particular area.

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Generally, a social work masters degree will consist of a two year course done full time, as it includes a placement as well as a dissertation. At the end of this, you’ll be awarded an MA in Social Work, a degree that will prove you qualified to go into social work as a career.

What does a masters in social work involve?

A social work masters degree will cover a broad area of topics. Common modules are often based around introducing students to research methods and the underlying theories behind the practice. You’ll get to see how these theories change in time, and also look at links to other areas of study (such as psychology, or sociology). As well as this, you will look at the laws involved in social work and current issues in the field. Studying social work will give you a new perspective on how injustice and discrimination affects people. Social work master's degree

Once you have some of the theory down, you will then be able to choose areas to specialise in. There are a vast number of options – whether it be youth work, substance misuse, mental health, disability, domestic violence or any one of a whole host of options. This will affect your placement, and your dissertation. Whilst, as with most optional things, it can’t be guaranteed you will get a placement in your area of interest, the course is designed so that there are options available to look at the areas you most want to work in. In doing placements and a dissertation, you will be fulfilling the national requirements for social work, meaning you will be able to go into a career as a social worker.

Social Work Masters Funding

Social work master’s funding works slightly differently to many master’s degree funding. Though you will be required to fund it partially yourself (and, as with any degree, this can be helped by applying to various funding sources ), you may also be eligible for a bursary to assist with living fees. These bursaries, offered by the NHS , don’t depend on income or have to be paid back. The amount you get will depend on where you study, whether it’s part or full time and the cost of your tuition. It is also possible to apply for additional funding, which is income assessed. Like undergraduate student loans, you will get the bursary in instalments throughout the year.

In order to qualify as eligible for one of these bursaries you must be studying a course that has been approved by either the General Social Care Council (GSCC), the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), the Care Council for Wales or the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC), and not already hold a social work qualification. You almost must not be receiving any money from an employer.

The deadline for these bursaries is often earlier in the year – around February – so if you’re planning on applying make sure you do so on time. Of course, applying to these won’t exclude you from many other sources of funding , so do apply to a few places.

Qualifications needed to do a social work masters degree

So, what do you need to do a social work masters degree? Either an undergraduate degree in social work, or a linked area such as legal studies, the social sciences or nursing. If you don’t have a degree in one or these subjects (or even if you do) work experience is also necessary. This must be in a relevant area, although it can be voluntary. Work in the community, youth work, counselling or any kind of support work would be valuable here, so if you intend to apply for a social work master’s degree try to do as much of this as you can.

A social work degree is not just an academic degree, but a practical course intended to lead into a professional role. You will often have to deal with issues that you may personally find difficult or upsetting – such as domestic violence – so it is not a course that should be undertaken lightly, or just because you think it might be good. It’s a degree that you will have to be fully committed to, and be prepared for what sort of work a social worker does. This isn’t necessarily a negative point about it at all, but do bear in mind that it is certainly a degree that requires a lot of thought and preparation.

For more on which subjects you can study at postgraduate level, please see here .

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