Skip to main content

Social Work

Social Work

Apply now

The closing date for applications to start this course in September 2022 has now passed. Find out more

Key information

Duration: 2 years full time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Central London

UK fees*: £8,300

International/EU fees**: £17,600

The course

Social Work (MSc)

To apply for this course, please use the UCAS Undergraduate Portal with course code L508.*

*(please note, the tuition fees and entry requirements for 2022 may differ from the information shown on this page)

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, delivered at our Royal Holloway London Graduate School, will fully prepare you for a professional career in social work.

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. Students 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.

Our department 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. 

More information on the MSc Social Work degree and how to apply can be found in the flyer here

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

  • Social work theories, psychology, social policy, law and organisational theories and their application to social work practice
  • Skills and methods applicable in a wide range of social work environments, working with people across the lifespan
  • Critical reflection and its application to critical social work practice 
  • The contribution and application of social research to social work theories and practice
  • 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

Royal Holloway MSc Social Work students benefit from the added value of Child Observation and Critical Reflection seminars.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience, and this is particularly the case as we continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.

Core Modules

  • Human Development in the Social Environment
  • Social Policy for Social Workers
  • Theories and Knowledge for Social Work Practice
  • Law for Social Workers
  • Practice Learning 1
  • Practice Learning 2
  • Critical Social Work Interventions
  • Research Methods and Dissertation
  • Understanding and Working in Organisations
  • This module will describe the key principles of academic integrity, focusing on university assignments. Plagiarism, collusion and commissioning will be described as activities that undermine academic integrity, and the possible consequences of engaging in such activities will be described. Activities, with feedback, will provide you with opportunities to reflect and develop your understanding of academic integrity principles.


Optional Modules

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

30 days on social work skills are integrated across the two-year programme at which attendance is mandatory.

Students are required to successfully complete one 70-day and one 100-day practice-learning placement. Practice learning is assessed by experienced practice educators and the production of a portfolio on completion of placement. 


UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1); or overseas equivalent and Grade C or grade 4 GCSE English and Mathematics or equivalent (Level 2 Functional Skills Maths and English are regarded as an acceptable equivalent).

A minimum of 6 months full time or 12 months part-time relevant experience working with vulnerable adults or children is required at the point of application. Preference will be given to applicants with a wide range of relevant experience and a 2:1 or above degree classification and overseas applicants must have an equivalent level of experience.

Applicants with 2:2 (Honours) degree classification and extensive relevant experience will be considered. Where a ‘high 2:2’ is considered, we would normally define this as reflecting a profile of 57% or above.

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 or overseas equivalent
  • 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.
  • A statement which concisely states why you are pursuing a career in social work and how your previous education, work and life experiences contribute to this. Reflecting on your experience and motivation for social work, you should indicate how you are preparing for professional social work training.

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 a reference 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
  • 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.
    • International & EU requirements

      English language requirements

      All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start. Find out what scores we require.

      Country-specific requirements

      For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here.

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 (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £8,300

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £17,600

Other essential costs***: You will need to travel to and from placements and may wish to apply for an NHS bursary to help cover transport costs.

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

* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.

All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the course via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information, please see our terms and conditions. Please note that for research courses, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.

** The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2022, we will award a fee reduction scholarship equivalent to 60% of the difference between the UK and international fee for your course. This will apply for the duration of your course. Find out more

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2022/23 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included. 

The fee information above is for indicative purposes only. 

100% of our research impact

rated 4* or 3* world leading or internationally excellent

Source: Research Excellence Framework, 2021

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones.

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start.

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help.

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools.

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway.

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future.

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today.

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable.

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today.