Social Work (MA)

University of Kent the United Kingdom

For more information about Social Work at University of Kent, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award

How long you will study
2 Years

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How you will study
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Course starts

International course fees
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About Social Work at University of Kent

You have access to placements across a range of settings, allowing you to develop your practice and research skills and apply knowledge to practice. Our graduates become confident, competent practitioners. Home/EU students may be eligible to apply for a Department of Health bursary for both years of study. This programme is regulated by Social Work England (SWE). The School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR) Social Work at Kent is part of the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, operating across Canterbury and Medway campuses. The School supports a large and thriving postgraduate community. We have close links with employers such as Kent County Council, Medway Council and Avante Care, who not only provide student practice learning opportunities but are also engaged in joint research projects with us. Our learning community also includes service users and carers who work with us to ensure that this programme and our research work represents a wide range of perspectives, including those of people who receive services. The Social Work MA is based at the University's Medway campus and benefits from the excellent new facilities on site. Students also benefit from the insights and experience of a wide range of practitioners from different settings, through their teaching and evaluation of practice learning portfolios. Funding The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for the administration of social work bursaries. Please refer to the NHSBSA website for the latest available information including the eligibility criteria. We do not receive confirmation of the number of MA bursaries we will receive until the summer prior to the programme starting. There are generally fewer bursaries than students registered. We are obliged to provide the NHS Business Services Authority with a ranked list of students. Students are ranked according to their scores during the selection process for the written test and the interview. We inform students where they are ranked as soon as we know the number of bursaries we will receive. Social Work MA students who receive a bursary in stage 1 of their programme, will also receive it in stage 2. Students who do not receive a bursary, but meet the eligibility criteria, are currently able to apply to the NHSBSA for a Travel Allowance to help with placement-related travel costs. Students who do not receive a bursary may also apply for the Postgraduate Loan from Student Finance England. In addition, Kent offers generous financial support schemes to support eligible postgraduate students during their studies. Find out more on our fees and funding page.

In addition to assessed work, linked to both taught modules and practice learning, you also complete a dissertation in a specific area of research in your second year.

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • Critical understanding of social work services, service users and carers SB5.4; the service delivery and organisational context SB5.6; and the nature of social work practice SB5.5
  • Critical knowledge of theories and models for social work intervention with individuals, families, groups and communities, and the methods derived from them PCF5.8; SB5.2; SWE PS 3, 6.
  • The nature, definition, development and application of relevant values and philosophical ethical principles SB5.3; PS 3, 6
  • In depth appreciation of the principles of rights, justice and economic well-being and their significance for social work practice PCF4
  • The relevance of psychological, environmental, sociological, economic and physiological perspectives for understanding the impact of a range of factors on personal and social development and functioning SB5.2; SWE PS 3; PCF5.4 including spiritual and cultural factors PCF5
  • Human growth and development across the lifespan including mental health, disability and needs arising from age-related ill health and disadvantage PCF5.3; PCF5.3; SWE PS 3
  • In depth appreciation of the legal and policy framework for social work practice with individuals, families, groups and communities SB5.6; SWE PS 3 including critical understanding of the scope for professional judgement PCF5.2
  • The impact of injustice, social inequalities, policies and other issues which affect the demand for social work services SWE PS 3
  • Concepts of participation, advocacy, empowerment, partnership working, including working with service users and carers, and information sharing across professional disciplines and agencies SWE PS 2
  • The relevance of sociological perspectives to understanding societal and structural influences on human behaviour SWE PS 3

Intellectual Skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • A developed capacity for the critical evaluation of knowledge and evidence from a range of sources SB5.13, 7.3
  • An ability to use research and inquiry techniques with reflective awareness, to collect, critically analyse and interpret relevant information SB5.12, 7.3
  • Ability to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement SWE PS 5, 6; exercise autonomy and initiative in individual decision-making SB7.4
  • Critical awareness of the impact of culture, equality and diversity on practice SWE PS 1
  • Advanced ability to reflect on and review practice SWE PS 3; incorporating appraisal of previous learning into future learning and practice SB7.3
  • Critical understanding of the key concepts of the knowledge base relevant to their profession SWE PS 3
  • Acknowledgement and understanding of the potential and limitations of social work as a practice-based discipline to effect individual and social change SB7.3

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • Ability to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice SWE PS 3; using knowledge and understanding in an integrated way in specific practice contexts and to engage in effective relationships with service users and carers SB7.3 including effective communication and direct work with service users and carers
  • Ability to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice SWE PS 5, 6; applying creatively a repertoire of core skills SB7.4
  • Ability to acquire and integrate skills in problem-solving including: managing problem solving activities; gathering information; analysis and synthesis; decision making, assessment including assessment of risk, planning, intervention, review and evaluation SB5.10-14
  • Ability to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession SWE PS 1, 6; integrate clear understanding of ethical issues and codes of values in practice SB7.4
  • Ability to maintain fitness to practise SWE PS 6
  • Ability to practise in an anti-discriminatory and non-oppressive manner SWE PS 1
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and maintain records appropriately SWE PS 2
  • Ability to assure the quality of their practice SWE PS 5, 6; demonstrate habits of critical reflection on their performance and take responsibility for modifying action in light of this SB7.4

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • Ability to communicate effectively to an advanced/post graduate level SB5.15; SWE PS 2
  • Ability to apply I.T. and numerical skills SB5.18
  • Advanced problem solving skills, including managing problem-solving activities, gathering information, analysis and synthesis, intervention and evaluation SB5.10-14
  • Ability to work effectively and appropriately with others, including challenging others where necessary SB5.16; SWE PS 6
  • Skills in personal and professional development including managing uncertainty, change and stress; critical and effective use of research SB5.17

This programme aims to:

Provide high-quality social work education, including admissions procedures and an assessment strategy and design, that meet:

  • The Qualifying Education and Training Standards guidance set out by Social Work England (SWE SET 2021)
  • The Professional Standards required for registration as a qualified social worker with Social Work England (SWE PS 2019)
  • The outcome statements for qualifying education in relation to the Professional Capabilities Framework (British Association of Social Work)
  • The Knowledge and Skills Statement for approved child and family practitioners (Department for Education 2014)
  • Expectations about standards for the award of the Masters degree in social work as set out in the Subject Benchmark Statement for Social Work (QAA2019)

Deliver research-led social work education to a diverse student population which will equip students with the knowledge and skills, confidence and critical understanding necessary to practise social work in complex and demanding environments.

Provide social work education which emphasises the importance of social work as a moral activity involving “the study, application of, and critical reflection upon, ethical principles and dilemmas” SB4.6; ensure that students understand the implications of the Professional Standards SWE PS 4.1, 4.8.

Enable students to “learn to become to become accountable, reflective, critical and evaluative” SB4.7, and support and develop autonomous and reflective thinking SWE SET 4.5, 4.13

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMAHow you will study find outHow long you will study2 years
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course


Entry requirements

Contact University of Kent to find course entry requirements.

What students think about University of Kent

    Inspirational teaching - Patrique Tanque from Brazil is studying for a BSc in Forensic Chemistry.

    “Choosing Kent was an easy decision. The forensic programmes are ranked among the best in the UK and have a high graduate employment rate.

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    Academic excellence - Stephanie Bourgeois from France is studying for a BSc in Biochemistry.

    “I like the approach to teaching here; academics are happy to answer questions and to interact with students. I find the lectures very motivational, they pique your curiosity and for me the exciting bit is going to the library and pursuing the things you are interested in.

    “The lecturers at Kent are excellent. You get to know them well and, as you move through the course, they are able to guide you towards projects, ideas or career paths that they think you will like.”

    Specialist research - Sally Gao from China is studying for a PhD in Electronic Engineering.

    “I have been very lucky with my supervisor, Professor Yong Yan, who is a world-class expert and the first IEEE Fellow in the UK in instrumentation and measurement.

    “Professor Yong Yan has helped me to become a better researcher. I am inspired by his novel ideas and constructive suggestions. Under his supervision, my confidence has grown through such milestones as my first set of experiments, writing my first research paper and attending my first conference.”

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