Social Work


Endorsed by The College of Social Work
This programme has been endorsed by TCSW as having met the social work professional quality criteria

Course overview

The MA is a professional social work qualification which will equip you with the necessary knowledge, values and transferable skills to enable you to seek employment as a newly qualified social worker (NQSW) in any sector of adult or children and families social work.

The MA Social Work is a full-time, two-year course leading to a Masters degree qualification and eligibility to register as a social worker with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You will normally be required to hold at least a second class undergraduate degree, preferably in a subject relevant to the social work curriculum and to have at least six months relevant work experience.

Practice placements run alongside academic teaching throughout the year. When the course first commences you will be required to attend the university at least four days a week in order to complete the Assessed Readiness for Practice Module which you need to pass in order to begin your first practice placement. Thereafter, a typical weekly pattern is one day in the university (attending lectures, seminars and workshops) and, normally, four days in placement. Even though many of our students have childcare or work commitments, it is important to make time available for sufficient independent study in order to complete your learning and to be successful on the course.

The course comprises 180 credits at level 7 (postgraduate level)

Module guide

Year 1 core modules
  • Assessed Readiness for Direct Practice

    An intensive practical skills based module which takes place for 3 days per week for the first 6 weeks of the course. Students will need to attend these day and pass the practical assessment in order to progress to the first placement.

  • Social Work Knowledge, Values and Skills (30 credits)

    This module provides an introduction to the underpinning theory for the knowledge, values and skills that a Social Work student will require during their practice. It will run alongside the new module, Assessed Readiness for Direct Practice (ARDP).. As ARDP will provide opportunities for practising required skills, this module will enable students to learn, evaluate and critique the theories that underpin professional social work practice. It will be an opportunity for students to understand how social work as a profession fits into the wider political and social context, aspects of statutory, voluntary and private contributions to the social care field, the perspective of service users and carers and the wide range of theories and skills that are utilised in professional social work.

  • Well-being across the Life Course in a Diverse Society (30 credits)

    Understanding what influences people's 'well-being' is a key element in working safely and effectively in social work. This module provides an opportunity for students to examine the various factors that influence well-being. In doing so, the module promotes a holistic approach to well-being to enable students to understand the broader socio-economic context in which social work takes place and to develop critical perspectives on interventions which take the various sociological and psychological factors that affect service users' well-being into account. This necessarily includes exploring critically the perspectives of service users and carers.

  • Communicating Skills and Partnership Working in Professional Social Work (30 credits)

    Social workers need to be able to communicate thoughtfully and effectively within the context of professional and inter-professional relationships. This module therefore looks at the principles of good communication, barriers to communication and how to overcome them, as well as various useful communication tools. Linking closely to other modules in the course, this module will also help develop to critical and reflective thinking about how to put these and other skills, knowledge and values into practice. The module therefore includes sessions on: communication, reflection, anti-discriminatory practice, assessing risk and working in partnership with service users and other professionals/agencies.

  • Placement

    In addition to attending special 'skills day' after which you will be assessed as 'ready for direct practice', you will also undertake 70 days of practice placement during year 1.

Year 2 core modules
  • Analytical Thinking and Decision-Making in Professional Social Work (30 credits)

    This module provides a critical examination of key aspects of professional decision-making in social work. As part of this, it invites study of both the principles underpinning and the skills required for effective assessment and intervention in diverse areas of social work, including risk and risk management. Building on the knowledge and skills gained in Year 1, this module further encourages students to reflect critically and analytically on how to practice in ways that are anti-discriminatory and inclusive of service-user perspectives.

  • Powers, Duties and Accountability in Professional Social Work (30 credits)

    The aim of this module is to examine the legal and professional context that underpins the provision of social welfare services and is intended to enable you to examine and evaluate the sources of your power and structures of accountability as a local authority social worker. In addition, the module will give priority and emphasis to duties relating to the safeguarding of children and other vulnerable groups. The module will explore the quality assurance mechanisms which apply to professional social work practice, as well as the responsibilities and role boundaries inherent within multi-disciplinary and multi-agency models of working

  • Dissertation (30 credits)

    The dissertation requires you to select and apply appropriate research methods to produce a substantial piece of academic work with which to conclude the course. As well as research methods, the Masters dissertation expects you to demonstrate the transferable skills of time management, organisation and communication.

  • Placement

    You will also undertake a 100-day practice placement during year 2.


A variety of assessment methods are used during this course, including assignments, case studies, presentations, portfolios and patchwork texts. The practice learning experience is assessed by portfolio of evidence gained from your practice which demonstrates that you can work in accordance with professional requirements.

Preparation for Practice and Practice Placements

In order to prepare you for the 70 day practice placement in the first year, you will first need to complete the Assessed Readiness for Direct Practice (ARDP) module. This module specifically requires attendance at Anglia Ruskin for three days a week for the first seven weeks of the course. This is in addition to the day at Anglia Ruskin devoted to the other modules you will be studying. Only if you this pass this module will you be able to start the first year placement. In the second year you will need to undertake a 100 day practice placement. Undertaking the second year placement is dependent on successfully passing the first year placement.

Advanced Skills Days

In addition to the completion of the ARDP module and the first and second year practice placements, professional body requirements require social work students to complete an additional 10 Advanced Skills Days which are timetabled throughout the course.

Special features

The course has been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and endorsed by The College of Social Work. Therefore, the curriculum not only meets the Department of Health (2002) requirements for social work training, it is also fully compliant with the current requirements laid down by the professional bodies that oversee and regulate professional social work education in England.

Teaching and Learning
The course is designed to integrate theory and practice. Therefore, in lectures, seminars and workshops at the University you will learn about the underpinning knowledge, values and skills required to work effectively as a professional social worker and will need to produce written assignments to pass the academic side of the course. However, you will also be expected to evidence this learning in your practice placement against the nine domains of the Professional Capabilities Framework as laid down by The College of Social Work.

Students on qualifying social work courses might be eligible for bursaries paid via the NHS Business Services Authority. For the latest information about bursaries, please see the relevant pages on the NHS BSA website.


Anglia Ruskin takes employability very seriously. Over and above a dedicated Faculty employability adviser who will help with, amongst other things, CV preparation, job applications and mock interviews, the University has strong ties with local employers who provide a range of relevant practice placements. It is quite common for graduates to find employment in organisations where they undertook their placement.

Associated careers

Apart from the various branches of professional social work, careers associated with this course include various roles within children's services, organisations that provide advocacy and support for vulnerable groups including learning disability and victims of domestic violence and homelessness services, youth offending teams, probation services and residential social care.

Main requirements:
  • A First Degree, with Honours, at a minimum final classification of Lower Second (2:2) or equivalent.
  • Grade C or above in English and Maths
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 7.0 ( Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University
  • A minimum of six months experience of working within social work or social care at the point of application. This experience must be within the UK within the last two years.
How do I apply?

You apply through UCAS for this course, we do not accept direct applications.

When is the deadline for applications?

The official UCAS deadline is in January, although we will accept applications after this date as long as we still have vacancies.

What happens after I submit my UCAS application?

This will be sent to us electronically and assessed against our published admissions criteria. If you are short-listed, you will be invited to come to an interview day comprising a written task, group exercise and individual interview. The interview panel would normally consist of a mix of academic staff, representatives from social work organisations and service users. We will normally notify you of the result within ten days.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Entry requirements listed are for September 2015/January 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

All prospective students need to undergo a DBS check. In order to progress onto the course you will either have no convictions disclosed or have satisfactorily attended a DBS Panel composed of academics and representatives from the Local Authority to explain any convictions that are disclosed.

International and EU applicants

We welcome applications from International and EU students. Please select one of the links below for English language and country-specific entry requirement information.
If you do not meet the above requirements, then there is an alternative. Consider entry to the course via an integrated foundation year at Cambridge Ruskin International College, an associate college of Anglia Ruskin, which is located on our Cambridge campus.

How to apply



2 years

Teaching times*

You will attend Anglia Ruskin for one day per week as well as undertaking a 70-day practice placement in Year 1 and a 100-day practice placement in Year 2. These practice placements will be in contrasting settings, one of which will involve statutory intervention.

Available starts


Fees & funding

Open Day

25 April, Chelmsford and Cambridge
Postgraduate Open Day


Health, Social Care & Education


Family and Community Studies

Contact us

UK and EU applicants:International applicants:


* Teaching days are subject to change each academic year. Timings are also dependent on any optional modules you chose and are for guidance, so we advise all applicants to wait until they are in receipt of their timetable before making arrangements around course times.

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