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Social Work MSc

We are now taking applications through UCAS Clearing (course code L508) and direct to the College using Royal Holloway Direct. Call 01784 414944 for further assistance.


The MSc Social Work is an accelerated programme for applicants who already have a first degree and want to embark on a career in social work.  This two year course will fully prepare you for a professional career in the statutory or voluntary social work field.

This course runs in close partnership with social work and social care agencies and local authorities based in inner and outer London boroughs as well as neighbouring counties where you will benefit from two practice learning placements – experiencing the world of social work first hand, learning from direct practice with qualified practitioners, service users, carers and other professionals.  Practice based learning is integrated with college-based teaching and learning throughout the programme.

The combination of a taught and practice curriculum breaks down barriers between practice, policy and research, meaning you will emerge from the course as a critically reflective practitioner who can work for the most vulnerable in society within an anti-oppressive framework.

The Department of Social Work has a longstanding tradition of providing excellent social work education and training and has produced a wide range of research that has been highly influential in the development of social work practice.

On completion of the MSc, you will have advanced knowledge of:

  • sociology, psychology, social policy and law and their application to social work practice
  • the contribution and application of social research to social work theories and practice
  • the range of statutory, voluntary and private welfare organisations within social work agencies and in health, housing and educational environments
  • the range of theories and methods needed for effective social work practice
  • the social and individual origins of a typical range of needs presented to social work agencies
  • values and ethics relevant to social work practice based on social justice
  • the significance of inequalities and difference in working with organisations and social service users
  • the significance of cultural diversity and anti-discriminatory practice in working with organisations, service users and carers.

Core modules

Practice Learning 1 (this module has no credits, but is an essential requirement for social work qualification)

Human Behaviour in the Social Environment

Social Policy for Social Workers

Theories and Knowledge for Social Work Practice

Law for Social Workers

Practice Learning 2 (this module has no credits, but is an essential requirement for social work qualification)

Critical Social Work

Research Methods and Dissertation

Understanding and Working in Organisations

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations, presentations and a dissertation.

30 days on social work skills are integrated across the two-year programme.

Students are also required to successfully complete one 70-day and one 100-day practice-learning placement and attend all the mandatory skills sessions.

Entry criteria:

UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent and Grade C in GCSE English and Mathematics or equivalent (Level 2 Functional Skills Maths and English are regarded as an acceptable equivalent).

6 months full time or 12 months part-time relevant experience is required.

Applicants with 2:2 (Honours) degree classification and extensive relevant experience will be considered.

To complete your application you will need to submit:

  • A copy of your degree certificate if you have completed your degree
  • A copy of your Mathematics and English results at Key Skills level 2 or GCSE level
  • A copy of your CV to include the duration and responsibilities of any voluntary work, part-time work and full-time work you have completed

English language requirements:

IELTS 7.0 overall with no subscore below 5.5


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

 Additional information:

  • You are required by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) to have Mathematics and English at Key Skills level 2, equivalent to grade C at GCSE level.
  • You will be expected to provide two references: one academic and one from a current employer.
  • All shortlisted applicants will be required to undertake the following selection process:
    • complete a written test
    • attend a group interview
    • attend an individual interview
    • write a reflective essay - to be completed in the applicant's own time. (Applicants invited for interview will be emailed the essay title and will have three weeks to complete the essay from the date of the email).

Applicants are assessed against Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work - Entry Level

  • You will also need to undergo a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure and provide a satisfactory health and personal circumstances declaration.
  • Overseas applicants will complete a written test and an interview (on Skype) conducted with the Admissions Tutor.

We will prepare you for a career in a range of social work settings. Once you are qualified as a social worker, you will be able to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professionals Council.  You will also have the option of continuing your academic development through a range of taught post-qualifying programmes and research opportunities within the department. The MSc course also equips you with the subject knowledge and a solid foundation for continued PhD studies.

MSc Social Work graduates from Royal Holloway are actively sought after and recruited by our partner agencies and a wide range of social work employers in diverse and challenging settings.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £7,000

Overseas students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £14,500

Other essential costs**: Travel to and from placements (you can look into an NHS bursary contribution for this)

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email student-fees@royalholloway.ac.uk for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

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