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Why choose the School of Society, Community and Health

Our Public Health courses rank 1st in their subject table for graduation prospects – outcomes (CUG, 2024)

The majority of our students graduate with an additional professional qualification that will gain them entry to an allied health or social services profession

Gain an accredited qualification in a sector where qualified professionals are in high demand

About the course

This Master’s pathway is specifically for qualified social workers and offers a flexible streamlined approach to developing your knowledge and practice: you enrol in stand-alone units and work your way towards the full Master’s as and when you feel ready.

The pathway is made up of units that aim to build upon your existing professional knowledge and expertise in areas such as practice education; leadership and management; and the development of specialisms. Below is a suggested guide to where learning might sit within different career pathways but your access to units is not limited to these suggestions.

Suggested for practice educator training*

  • Practice educator training: stage 1 30 credits
  • Practice educator training: stage 2 30 credits

*You must meet the entry level requirements set out in the PEPs 2022

Suggested for post-ASYE to experienced social worker as well as those looking to develop specialisms outside of management pathways

  • Safeguarding young people: contextual safeguarding and other approaches to extra-familial harm 15 credits
  • A trauma-informed approach to relationship-based practice 15 credits
  • Complex assessments decision making analysis and risks 15 credits
  • Sexual abuse and exploitation 30 credits
  • Adult exploitation and safeguarding 30 credits

Suggested for experienced social workers to strategic social worker level

  • Mentoring and coaching in health and social care 30 credits
  • Leadership and management in health and social care 30 credits
  • Reflective supervision for health and social care 30 credits

Additional units needed for a Master’s in Advanced Social Work Practice

  • Applied research 30 credits
  • Dissertation 60 credits

You need to achieve 180 credit points to gain a full Master’s degree.

This course is mapped against the Professional Capabilities Framework for social workers (BASW 2018).

Why choose this course?

  • It equips you to undertake supervisory and leadership roles to support team members working with diverse populations on issues related to risk and safeguarding
  • Develop your skills in critically evaluating research and pedagogical theories and use these skills to promote effective teaching learning and assessment strategies within your work environment
  • Expand your understanding of evidence-based perspectives to support your personal and organisational practice
  • Be able to formulate evidence-based strategies for social workers working at an advanced level
  • Enhance your critical awareness and deep understanding of contemporary issues in social work practice
  • Deepen your understanding of legislation policy theoretical perspectives concepts and interventions in social care and social work
  • When it comes to decision making build your skills in originality leadership and self-reflection so you are confident applying new explanations to complex situations

What will you study?

Mentoring And Coaching In Social Work

This unit is designed to answer the question how can we use coaching and mentoring skills to develop learners to achieve their full potential? Drawing on current research and literature, this unit aims to answer this question by active experimentation in applying coaching and mentoring models to their work with a learner and reflect upon its effectiveness.

Students will be supported to achieve this aim by:

  • Enabling learners to develop a comprehensive understanding of the concepts of coaching and mentoring to enhance their professional skills to assess, support and develop the learning of others;
  • Developing the communication, enquiry and reflective expertise of experienced Social Workers so that, in turn, they may develop these skills in others resulting in improvements in personal and organisational practice.
  • Developing knowledge and skills in coaching and mentoring within an organisational context for continuing professional development of the workforce and to improve the outcome for service users.

Leading And Managing In Social Work

The Munro report called for a re-focusing from a bureaucratic approach to leadership and management practice in social work to the development of applicable, effective, professional skills. This unit asks the question ‘how can social work services be effectively led and managed, and what skills knowledge and attributes are required of an effective leader and manager in social work’. Drawing on current knowledge this unit seeks to answer this question by providing students with an understanding of the constantly changing context within which social work functions and how the emotionally intelligent leader can adapt their skills to a wide range of practice scenarios.

The unit aims to support students to:

  • Demonstrate highly developed understanding of current best practice, knowledge, and research about what is effective in the leadership and management of social work services.
  • Integrate theories, research, values and skills into their leadership and management practice.
  • Be critically aware of their own leadership and management skills and engage in personal development planning focussed on self-improvement for quality outcomes.

Practice Educator Training: Stage 1

This unit is designed to answer the question how to produce excellent work-based learning for social work students.  Drawing on current research and literature, this unit aims to answer this question by exploring best practice in developing and sustaining effective learning opportunities. Students will be supported to achieve this aim by:

  • Designing a practice learning curriculum that supports learners to meet their professional capabilities, whilst undertaking an holistic approach to assessment (Professional Capabilities Framework, BASW,2018);
  • Integrating relevant theories, research, and apply values and skills into their practice education;
  • Examining theories of adult learning and apply this knowledge in practice; 
  • Critically reflecting upon their practice within social work education.

On successful completion qualified social workers will achieve Stage 1 Practice Educator status meeting the requirements of the Practice Educator Professional Standards [PEPS] (BASW, 2022).

Adult Exploitation And Safeguarding

This unit will draw on contemporary research to increase students understanding of, and ability to effectively engage with, the issue of adult exploitation. It will identify current academic debates within the field and explore the implications for policy and practice within the UK. Students will also be encouraged to critically engage with the complexities of the broader area of adult safeguarding and to reflect on practice issues with the aim of delivering both personal and organisational best practice

Sexual Abuse And Exploitation

This unit’s objective is to provide the student with a comprehensive introduction to understanding sexual abuse and exploitation. By incorporating findings from current research, practice reviews, practice examples and the collaborative experience of the social work team and
Marie Collins Foundation.

This unit will aim to:

Define sexual abuse and exploitation within current legislation and practice guidelines, reviewing ideology that has led to systemic failings.

Examine how sexual abuse occurs, the types of sexual harms and the impact the abuse has on an individual.

Encourage student to consider risk and relevant factors that need to be factored into any assessments including having an
appreciation of a sexual offenders modus operandi. This will
include a focus on understanding and responding to technology assisted sexual abuse.

Have an opportunity to reflect on their views regarding this form of abuse identifying any unconscious or confirmation bias.

Developing an understanding of the disclosure process and the
factors that may influence a child or vulnerable adult from telling others about the abuse.

A Trauma Informed Approach To Relationship Based Social Work

Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being. (SAMHSA)

This unit asks the question: how can social workers develop a
relationship-based approach to practice, which understands and takes into account the repercussions of trauma experienced in childhood which may persist through adolescence and into adulthood.

Complex Assessments, Decision Making, Analysis And Risk

This unit is designed to answer the question - how can we achieve best practice in assessments of risk and in ethical decision making in social work. By drawing on current research, expertise of the social work team and contribution of experienced practitioners, this unit examines how effective planning and assessments can be achieved, how risk can be
effectively assessed and managed and how decision making can be supported through both intuitive and analytical skills. It stresses the importance of avoiding faulty or biased thinking, considers issues of diversity and ensures work is analysed reflectively resulting in best outcomes for service users.

Safeguarding Young People: Contextual Safeguarding And Other Approaches To Extra-Familial Harm

It is now recognised in national safeguarding guidance that approaches to safeguarding young people need to understand and respond to extra-familial harms in the peer group, school and community.  These harms include different forms of exploitation, including sexual and criminal exploitation. New approaches, including contextual safeguarding, social approaches to safeguarding and transitional safeguarding, have also emerged and are increasingly established nationally.  Identification of these issues in research, policy and practice has been accompanied by recognition of the need to equip professionals from the range of services working with young people, together with colleagues in the community.  

This unit aims to address the need for critical evaluation of these new approaches, and to provide students with an advanced, critical understanding of the relevant evidence base.  Given this, the unit will identify current academic debates within the field of child protection and adolescent development, and explore the current and potential future implications for policy and practice in safeguarding. Students will be encouraged to critically engage with debates around: the conceptualisation and assessment of risk and safety; contextual and individual intervention; the role of social work in responding to harm beyond families, and the importance of relational practice and participative approaches.


Reflective Supervision For Health And Social Care Professionals

The importance of reflective supervision for health and social care professionals is widely accepted but what are the key elements of effective supervision in practice? As health and social care organisations join up to improve the lives of people using services, practice supervisors are increasingly supervising across disciplinary boundaries. What helps and hinders inter-professional supervision within multidisciplinary teams?


This unit is designed to advance your knowledge and skills in reflective supervision. One of the primary functions of reflective supervision is to shape practice to provide the best possible support to people using services. Whether supervising people from your own disciplinary background or across professional boundaries, there are core features of effective supervision. Drawing on evidence from research and practice, as well as the lived experience of people using services, this unit aims to support practice supervisors promote a positive culture of supervision.


The unit aims to foster your understanding of your role as a supervisor, reflect on your ethics and values, support development of critical analysis and decision-making skills for supervisees and promote effective use of power and authority as a practice supervisor. It has been designed to meet the criteria of the eight post-qualifying standards for practice supervisors in adult social care which are applicable to practice supervisors from all professional backgrounds.

Applied Research Skills In Social Work

How can research stimulate a culture of professional curiosity whilst making critical use of cutting edge knowledge and applying it actively to social work practice? This unit is designed to develop advanced knowledge of research methodology that fosters critical analytical skills whilst enhancing research-mindedness and engaging in ethically robust scholarship relevant to the professional context. Whatever specialism, whether this be Practice Education, Children and Families or Leadership and Management the unit aims at preparing you for conducting your own research in your area of interest.
This unit recognises that research has an influential role to play in advancing knowledge in social work and that having a solid understanding of current debates has the potential to contribute to the development of your expertise in the field of your choice. By your meaningful engagement with current research and by applying it to practice you will be better able to justify your decisions and interventions and to work from a sound evidence based position.

Practice Educator Training: Stage 2

This unit is designed to answer the question how to deliver excellent Practice Education in collaboration with a community of practice. Drawing upon current research and literature this unit aims to answer this question by exploring the Practice Educator role and collaborative approaches to teaching and assessment in qualifying and post-qualifying Social Work contexts. Students will be supported to achieve this aim by:

  • Critical reflection on the role of the Stage 2 Practice Educator and contextual application of the knowledge, skills and learner feedback obtained in Stage 1 with a second learner.
  • Developing the knowledge and skills necessary for reflective, evidence-informed Practice Education and collaboration with the wider community of practice. 
  • Exploration of theories, research, Practice Educator values and inclusive approaches to teaching and assessment with a clear focus on the requirement for continuous professional development as a Stage 2 Practice Educator (BASW, 2022)

On successful completion qualified social workers will achieve Stage 2 practice educator status meeting the requirements of the Practice Educator Professional Standards [PEPS] (BASW 2022).

Dissertation For Social Workers

The aims of this unit are:

To create a learning environment in which you will be able to develop critical understanding of the processes of social scientific investigation including developing confidence in the critical application of advanced research skills and analysis of complex and/or contradictory data.

To offer you the opportunity to develop the ability to undertake a systematic piece of individual practice-based research into a or relevant topic by conducting either primary or secondary (literature based) research, or a combination of the two.

To identify and articulate the links between research issues and professional or organisational practice including developing critical responses to research findings and generating empirically informed solutions to improve practice.

Given the complex nature of social work practice and the vulnerability of many service users, primary research will normally be limited to studies which draw solely on professionals, rather than service users. Before beginning any research, you must obtain ethical approval via the Institute of Applied Social Research (IASR) ethics committee.

How will you be assessed?

Each unit is designed to help you to develop your social work related skills in ways which are directly relevant to your interests or workplace. The overarching course assessment strategy is designed to assist you in identifying reflecting on and meeting your own learning needs. Furthermore where appropriate the unit assessments provide the flexibility for you to choose to investigate a contemporary issue.

Through the use of a variety of assessment methods students will be able to showcase their knowledge and skills in different ways catering to individual learning styles and promoting autonomous learning.

A range of assessment methods will be used throughout the course including e-portfolios observations reflective assessments case studies presentations vivas and poster presentations. This variety ensures that students are tested in all the areas necessary for competent practice as an experienced social work practitioner as well as in the academic disciplines underpinning this practice.

Each of these assessments will enable you to demonstrate the ability to critically understand and evaluate complex issues relevant to the social work profession and communicate these effectively to a range of audiences. This strategy informs the assessment methods for each individual unit within the course and is based on Masters level descriptors and course learning outcomes.

By using different assessment methods students will be able to develop a wide range of key skills including critical thinking analysis and evaluation. This will be helpful preparation for the research and dissertation units as well as building towards the final stage of study which encourages more self-directed study and autonomous learning.

The initial formative assessment early in the course delivery will provide students with constructive and developmental feedback on their academic skills. Reflection on evidence drawn from practice in the workplace underpins many of the assessment activities providing students with a clear understanding of their areas for development.

Portfolios and presentation skills will also be developed and encouraged along with wide reading across all the units to develop skills in analysing and evaluating data from relevant studies. For those students studying Practice Education Training their practice competence will also be assessed by a professionally qualified and experienced Stage 2 Practice Educator mentor who has been approved by the University for this purpose.

Overall assessment plays a crucial role in promoting autonomous learning and developing the key skills necessary for competent practice as an experienced social work practitioner. The use of a variety of assessment methods ensures that students can showcase their understanding and skills in different ways catering to individual learning styles and promoting academic and practice competence.


The units on this course are designed to help you develop your career or change direction within social work. You can use the specialist expertise you gain to take on a leading role in practice development within your workplace. You can also seek leadership or management opportunities in social work or social care as the course proceeds or upon graduation.

You may also like to continue your development by progressing to a Professional Doctorate programme.

Entry Requirements

2.2 honours degree or equivalent in a related subject area

Fees for this course

UK 2024/25

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £10,000 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees and living costs. Visit

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email

International 2024/25

The full-time standard fee for a taught Master's degree for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £15,600

If you have any questions around fees and funding, please email

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