The BSW degree is a professional qualification in Social Work accredited throughout the UK and recognised in the Republic of Ireland and elsewhere. The programme is a mixture of academic study and assessed practice learning opportunities . Practice learning opportunities involve full-time work in a social work agency (85 days at Level 2 and 100 days at Level 3) supported and assessed by a Practice Teacher. A wide range of social work agency partners are an integral part of the development and delivery of the programme.
Social Work (Relevant Graduate Entry) Degree highlights
Social Work at Queen's is ranked 9th in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2018.
- There are opportunities whilst on the Social Work degree to participate in summer visits to other countries to explore social work education and practise in an international context, including Germany and the United States.
- Students have the opportunity to participate in international student exchange visits and gain experience of social work practice in Europe and North America. In 2015/16, for example, students participated in organised exchanges to Muenster, Germany and Portland, USA.
- The Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC) accredits the BSW degree, followed by the Assessed Year in Employment (in Northern Ireland only). All students must register with NISCC and this registration must be maintained for the duration of the programme. NISCC is solely empowered to admit and retain students on its register
- Following an Assessed Year in Employment (AYE), graduates will be professionally-qualified social workers.
- For information on the Assessed Year in Employment see http://www.niscc.info/assessed-year-in-employment-ayeFor employment opportunities in the statutory sector in Northern Ireland see https://www.hscrecruit.com/For registration as a Social Worker in the Republic of Ireland see http://www.coru.ie/en/about_us/social_workers_registration_board
- Social Work at Queen's is consistently in the top 10 out of the 74 universities in the UK which provide social work courses.
- There is a non-means-tested financial support package for all Northern Ireland-domiciled students studying in Northern Ireland; for further details and to check your eligibility, please visit the DHSSPS website: (www.dhsspsni.gov.uk). Please note that all Health and Social Services bursaries are currently under review and may be subject to change.
Studying for a social work degree at Queen's will assist you in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions. Graduates from this degree are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline, including social work.
Employment after the Course
The majority of BSW graduates gain graduate level employment in a social work agency and complete the Assessed Year in Employment (AYE) to complete their full registration with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC).
For information on the Assessed Year in Employment see http://www.niscc.info/assessed-year-in-employment-aye
For employment opportunities in the statutory sector in Northern Ireland see https://www.hscrecruit.com/
For registration as a Social Worker in the Republic of Ireland see http://www.coru.ie/en/about_us/social_workers_registration_board
Close links with employers
At the heart of the delivery of the degree in social work in Northern Ireland is the sense of partnership between academic institutions, practice learning providers, organisations employing social workers, the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC), students, and service users and carers. At Queen's University this is given expression through a standing committee, the Collaborative Partnership at Queen's (CPAQ).
The role of CPAQ is to:
- Assist in supporting regional partnership arrangements for the delivery of qualifying social work education
- Monitor the profile of applicants to the degree in social work at Queen's University
- Provide advice on the content of the undergraduate social work curriculum
- Monitor the provision and quality of practice learning opportunities for students
- Support the involvement as required of service users and carers, and professional staff in the delivery of the social work programmes
- Keep the University appraised of developments in social care in Northern Ireland and elsewhere that may have implications for the content of the curriculum
- Review the outcomes of the social work programmes quality assurance mechanisms to ensure compliance with NISCC standards and requirements
- Keep NISCC informed of all significant matters related to the social work programmes at undergraduate level
We have excellent links with a large number of employers across the statutory, voluntary and community sectors including, for example, Health and Social Care Trusts, the Probation Board Northern Ireland and voluntary organisations such as NSPCC, Barnardos, Bryson House, Women's Aid and Positive Futures all of whom provide practice learning opportunities to our students.
Our past students have also gained employment with a wide range of organisations such as:
Health and Social Care Trusts
Probation Board for Northern Ireland
Graduate Careers and Achievements
Although the majority of our graduates are interested in pursuing careers in social work, some do develop careers in a wide range of other sectors.
Social workers are employed throughout the statutory and voluntary social services. There are many career development opportunities leading to specialist posts and to the highest levels of management within statutory and voluntary social services agencies.
You should also take a look at www.prospects.ac.uk and www.niscc.info for further information concerning the types of jobs that attract social work graduates.
Further study is also an option open to social work graduates. Students can choose from a wide range of Master's programmes as well as a comprehensive list of research topics.
The typical starting salary of graduates six months after graduation is between £21,000 and £22,000 with 90% of graduates finding employment (source: Unistats).
Additional Awards Gained
The BSW is the recognised professional qualification in Social Work.
Prizes and Awards
The highest achieving students in Social Work are awarded the annual Brian Rankin Prize with the highest achieving student receiving the Brian Rankin medal.
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.