Undergraduate study

Course overview

Our BA (Hons) Social Work has been endorsed and regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council and provides you with the skills and knowledge to meet the challenges and developments in today’s social care environment. An honours degree in social work can lead to a long career as a professional social worker with adults or children.

We have an excellent record in our graduates getting professional employment and our graduates are highly regarded by local employers. All students participate in the same core curriculum so that you are equipped to undertake any job role suitable for a newly qualified social worker.

Throughout the course, as part of the placement experience, you will be required to participate in a shift pattern rota or work weekends.

Professional accreditation

Endorsed by The College of Social Work Achievement of BA (Hons) Social Work gives you eligibility to apply for registration as a social worker with the Health and Care Professions Council. The course includes two assessed placements in social work settings. The placements will be in different settings with different service user groups and at least one placement will normally be in a statutory setting or in a placement where statutory work can be experienced.

Please note 100% attendance is expected during this programme.

Supporting information for applicants

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Course details

In the first year you are introduced to the core skills and values of social work and what it means to be a professional social worker. You are also introduced to the legal and policy context of social work, which governs its roles and responsibilities. You learn about human development and how people react to difficult life events and life changes, and how social workers can assist and protect vulnerable adults and children.

In the second year you learn in more detail about the nature of social problems faced by different groups in society and how as a social worker you can intervene to support and empower service users and their carers and families. Specialist modules in working with adults and working with children ensure that you are ready for your first professional placement*, whatever the setting. After the first placement you study two modules; one which examines the community context of practice and a research module which prepares you for your final year dissertation.

In the final year you complete two more modules prior to undertaking your second placement in a different setting. These modules look at the importance of values and ethics in the decisions making process and understanding the organisational context of contemporary practice. In addition there is also a dissertation to complete along with a final year presentation in which you evaluate your professional development as a student social worker.

*Applicants please note placement providers may require students on placement to be car drivers with access to their own car. If you have any questions around this please discuss this with the admissions tutor before applying.

The course is taught at our Middlesbrough campus in the vibrant heart of the city. You undertake placements in a range of adult and children placements in both the statutory and voluntary sectors across the North East.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Human Transitions and Lifespan Development

You gain an understanding of human development across the life course which helps you to understand, empathise with and work successfully with service users. This module takes account of the fact that human development is a lifelong process and that it is not always linear or predictable. You also consider the influence of biological, psychological, social and cultural influences on human development and the impact of socioeconomic and political factors on people’s life chances. You examine international and cross-cultural perspectives on human development and the importance of diversity is emphasised. Assessment includes a group presentation and a written assignment.

Law and Social Policy for Social Workers

We introduce you to the legal and social policy context in which social workers practice. You gain an understanding of how the legal and social work system interact. You also gain an overview of the development of the welfare state and the theoretical models which influences its development. You explore what it means for social work to be a legally mandated profession, through an introduction to the different sources of law. Assessments consist of a case study in which you apply differing legal frameworks to practice and an essay which applies ideological perspectives to practice scenarios. There is also an opportunity for you to present a case within a court room setting.

Principles and Practice of Social Work

You gain an effective working knowledge of concepts relating to professional conduct, practice, professional identity and professionalism while developing relationships with others, working in teams, developing literacy and IT skill opportunities. You also learn about the importance of developing appropriate communication skills based upon good practice of working in partnership with service users, and partners from practice. In addition, you begin to compile a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your learning and development. This portfolio will demonstrate essential evidence for readiness for direct practice in social work in line with the PCF. You are assessed through the demonstration of key communication skills that are assessed as either Pass/Fail and certificates of attendance. Evidence of learning and assessed tasks is presented in a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates the range of the PCF. At the end of the first year, you should have a completed portfolio that demonstrates your readiness for direct practice, together with your PDR.


You gain a contemporary overview of the field of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults together with an understanding of the principal theories on the causation and effects of abuse, alongside a theoretical appreciation of contemporary understanding of perpetrators of abuse. Content includes a critical exploration of the legal, policy and procedural frameworks that underpin safeguarding and the importance of assessment. You have the opportunity to critically review the concept of resilience and of the practice of risk assessment, risk management and the use of protective interventions in safeguarding practice. Assessment is by an unseen examination incorporating case scenarios which evaluate key issues in relation to safeguarding children, and vulnerable adults.


Year 2 core modules

Applied Research for Social Workers

You develop skills necessary to become a research minded and evidence-based practitioner. You gain an effective working knowledge of how to conduct appropriate research relevant to your practice experience. You develop a sound theoretical knowledge of research methods underpinning qualitative and quantitative research studies. We encourage you to evaluate research evidence and the application to practice. The emphasis is also on the application of these skills to professional development. You carry out an evaluation of pieces of published research and complete a research proposal which may form the basis for your final year dissertation.

Living and Working in Groups, Communities and Societies

You are introduced to the key theories and perspectives about how people relate to each other in the social environment and gain a clear understanding of how these insights can be directly applied to social work practice. These issues are also explored from a cross cultural view point. You combine an understanding of these competing perspectives with opportunities to reflect on the current nature of society and social work practice. There are two assessments in which you are asked to identify and analyse the responses to different social problems and issues.

Placement 1 – 70-day block

Working with Adults

You gain insight into and understanding of the concepts of social exclusion and inclusion, discrimination, personalisation and choice, recovery and disability rights and individual/personal budgets. These concepts are discussed within the context of current policy responses; you critically analyse the degree to which these responses correspond to the needs of service user groups and explore the ideological foundation of these service responses. For your assessment you are presented with a case study which requires you to explain how you would work in partnership with a service user and their relatives/carers to provide them with a package of support. You also have to design and produce a resource such as an information leaflet to inform service users and carers about what resources are available for the service user group.

Working with Children, Young People and Families

You gain knowledge and insight into the problems and issues which are faced by children, young people and their families and build on the knowledge gained in the first year safeguarding module. Content also includes service user and carer input which leads to a critical examination of service users and carers experience relating to social worker involvement in their lives. You critically examine current service provision and consider how services can be more child-centred. The growing awareness of the need for early intervention and preventative approaches are considered against a backdrop of limited resources. Assessment is a report for a government minister in relation to the wellbeing and outcomes for children and young people. You are also expected to apply your knowledge and understanding to a specific service user group.


Year 3 core modules

100 day block placement


In your final year, you complete a dissertation based upon a critical exploration of a topic selected by yourself, and in consultation with your dissertation tutor. The topic will be relevant to social work practice or the knowledge base for social work and will be based upon an extended literature review. Dissertation workshop sessions will be held prior to your final year placement. The assessment will be a 10,000-word written assignment.

Practice Placement 2 – 100-day block

Social Work Theory, Values and Ethics

You consolidate your understanding of social work theory, values and ethics that enable you to develop your critical understanding of how these issues impact on contemporary social work practice. In particular, you focus on how different views about the nature of society influence different views about the nature and purpose of welfare and adopt a social construction approach to understanding these questions. Ethical theories are also considered and reviewed as a means of aiding ethical decision making. Assessment is in two parts, consisting of an individual assignment of 3,500 words and a group presentation.

Working in Organisations

You critically consider the organisational context in which contemporary social work agencies operate in. You explore the importance and challenges of multi-agency and multi-disciplinary working alongside exploring the legislative and policy context of practice, and how it effects change. Working in partnership with different professionals and service users and carers is a core theme within the module, particularly in relation to issues of power and inequality. There are two assessments in this module which are based around an organisational analysis and a reflective case study.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

Social work involves a lot of experiential learning, interaction and skills learning in addition to the lectures and seminars common to most university programmes. The BA (Hons) Social Work uses role plays and exercises with other students and service users to teach skills in social work assessment and skills for a range of situations including courtroom skills.

How you are assessed

The BA (Hons) Social Work uses a number of assessment approaches including essays, exams, a dissertation, reports and assessment of skills in interacting with service users and carers.

Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Due to limited placements, this course is unable to consider international applicants.

Applicants should:

  • have a minimum of 112-128 tariff points or equivalent from two or three A Levels or equivalent (social science subject preferred).
  • have GSCE grade 4 (grade C) or above, or equivalent, in English language and Maths or certified equivalents.
  • EU applicants must meet communicating and comprehension skills to International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at level 7 and will be required to show certified evidence of this.

If you are invited to an interview and the date is not suitable we may not be able to offer you an alternative date due to the high volume of applications received for this course but it is important that you contact the admissions office immediately.
If you are successful in both shortlisting and interview you will receive an offer which is subject to the following:

  1. evidence of achievement of the required academic qualifications.
  2. evidence of successful level 2 academic study within the last three years
  3. a successful work based risk assessment which will reflect the HEOPS recommendations - please read these here. For more information on all of the HEOPS standards click here
  4. a satisfactory DBS disclosure - please note that any warnings, cautions, allegations or convictions received in the last five years may have implications for your continued offer on the course
  5. satisfactory references.

Please note until the above have been successfully completed the offer of a place on the course remains conditional.

International applicants
  • International applicants must have IELTS 7.0 with a minimal score of 6.5 in all sections before an unconditional offer is made
  • If you are successful at shortlisting you will be invited to attend an interview (which may be in person OR Skype) in one of our international offices in either India, Malaysia or China, or through a secure web link (which will be arranged by the University).
  • If you cannot attend an interview as stated, you will be unable to proceed with your application.

For international enquiries please email internationalenquiries@tees.ac.uk

Bursary information
Eligible students are able to apply to Student Finance England for the tuition fee loan, maintenance grant, maintenance loan and additional allowances where applicable. Further information can be found here. This course also attracts the Social Work Bursary, however, current allocation of bursaries for this course is for Years 2 and 3 only. There are limited bursaries available and allocation of these will not be made until after the summer academic boards at the end of Year 1. You should therefore plan to budget based on any funding you receive from Student Finance England as receipt of the bursary is not guaranteed.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

An honours degree in social work can lead to a long career as a professional social worker with adults or children. There are many job opportunities in local authority social work departments as well as voluntary sector organisations and increasingly new types of employers such as social enterprises and the private sector. The degree also provides you with transferable skills including report writing and interpersonal skills which can be applied across a range of graduate employment opportunities.



Entry to 2018/19 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for non UK/EU applicants
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What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years
  • UCAS code: L501 BA/SW
  • Typical offer: 112-128 tariff points and interview

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



  • Not available part-time

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