Professional Social Work Practice (PgDip)

About the course

This practical, work-based course will give you the chance to achieve a nationally recognised professional qualification in Social Work together with a postgraduate academic award.

You will acquire the systematic and independent ability to critically evaluate both current theoretical understanding and practice, and develop skills to apply knowledge-informed and evidence based practice in your workplace.

You will also have the opportunity to undertake a piece of supervised original research.

Intermediate qualifications available:

  • Postgraduate certificate – 60 credits at Masters level

  • Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Professional Social Work Practice - (PgDip) - University Square Campus, Luton

  • Apply Via - DIRECT ENTRY
  • Course level - Postgraduate
  • UCAS Code -
  • Campus Location - University Square Campus, Luton
  • Start dates - Jan
  • Duration - 1 Years
  • Attendance - Full time
  • Download Course Specifications

Why choose this course?

  • Study and evaluate the power structures in society which create inequalities, and acquire an awareness of the tools and techniques which can be used to counter them
  • Explore your own and others’ practice and current research in the discipline
  • Develop a deep and systematic understanding of the applied social sciences, including sociology, social policy, law and ethics, and the way these disciplines inform social work knowledge and practice
  • Gain a critical awareness of current issues in the practice of social work, and learn the approaches required to address them
  • Benefit from opportunities to develop the skills of initiative, resourcefulness, critical reflection and emotional literacy that you will need in order to develop creative and sympathetic solutions to human problems.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Social Work Practice (Step Up to Social Work) course is an innovative work-based course, commissioned by two regional employer partnerships to provide high quality work-based education and training for aspiring social workers.

Funded by the Department for Education, students on this course will receive a bursary and will be fully supported by a Local Authority Children’s Services Department.

Unit Information – What Will I Learn?

  • Developing Professional Social Work Practice
  • Ethical Perspectives on Law and Society
  • Advanced Skills for Critical and Reflective Social Work Practice
  • Research Informed Child Care Practice

How will I be assessed?

Your academic learning will be assessed using a range of methods including reflective assignments, case studies, group and individual presentations, research tasks and examinations.

Assessments are designed to integrate theory and practice throughout the course and the variety of assessment methods develops academic and professional skills in writing concisely and drawing on your knowledge with confidence, for different purposes and audiences.

Your practice learning will be supported by practice educators and assessed at each stage through observation of direct work, critical and reflective learning logs and reports contained in a portfolio of practice evidence.

Assessments throughout the course are designed to provide a range of opportunities for you to develop increasing confidence and autonomy and ultimately demonstrate your knowledge and skills in all areas necessary for competent practice as a newly qualified social worker.

Entry requirements

This course is not open to direct application - apply via the Department for Education

In order to be eligible for this course you must have a first degree (First Class or Upper Second Class honours) in any discipline, in addition, you must meet the Department for Education criteria of having experience of working with children, young people and families and demonstrate emotional resilience.

You must also have achieved at least Key Skills level 2 in English and Mathematics (normally equivalent to grade C in the GCSE examination in English and Mathematics).

The initial recruitment process will be managed nationally by the Department for Education and applicants will then be shortlisted and interviewed locally by regional employers and their partner HEIs, in this case the University of Bedfordshire. You will be required to demonstrate substantial relevant experience and an aptitude to work with children and families in need, i.e. the appropriate personal qualities, values and skills to be a social worker (i.e. the Professional Capabilities Framework at entry level).

The local selection process will include a written task, group exercise, role play and personal interview in accordance with the College of Social Work guidance on recruitment. You will be required to declare any previous offences (including reprimands and formal warnings) and any previous disciplinary matters, and if selected, you will be required to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to ensure your suitability for working with vulnerable groups. In addition you will need to complete a health declaration and give permission for contact with your GP, where necessary, to confirm your suitability for Social Work training and professional registration.

If you have relevant prior experience and /or certificated learning you may be able to claim RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) in accordance with the University's published criteria and up to a maximum of 60 academic credits at M level.

How will this course enhance my career prospects?

Graduates achieving the Postgraduate Diploma will be eligible to apply to enter the HCPC Professional Register as qualified social workers and to work in a wide range of statutory, private, voluntary and independent organisations providing services to vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals, children, families, groups and communities.

They will also be eligible to progress to the Masters stage where they would be supervised to undertake a piece of original research of relevance to their practice area, alongside their full-time employment.

Post-qualifying (PQ) level study is also available to qualified social workers in a range of settings, allowing graduates to engage in continuous professional development and demonstrate their fitness for continuing registration.

Students who complete the Master of Professional Social Work Practice will also be well-placed to progress on to one of the School of Applied Social Studies Professional Doctorate (DProf) awards in due course to enhance their own knowledge and career development as well as being able to make a distinctive contribution to their profession.

As a course team, we are very pleased to be involved with two employer partnerships in the delivery of this innovative work-based learning course. We work closely with our employer partners to ensure that students are well-supported both in the classroom and in practice during this fast-paced practice led course.
Quote from a lecturer

Go Global

Whether you want to learn a new language, build networks, simply have the travel bug, or want to develop new skills and life experiences, our Go Global programme offers the opportunity to broaden your horizons, enhance your CV, and gain a truly international experience, all at the same time as studying towards your undergraduate degree. The Go Global programme is open to students from the UK and EU.

Travel to exciting destinations, including:

  • China
  • Vietnam
  • India
  • New York
  • Malaysia and Singapore

At the University of Bedfordshire we ensure that your experience here is cultural, as well as academic. That’s why a whole host of opportunities are opened up to you, providing you with that all important experience to make you stand out from the crowd when it comes to getting graduates jobs.

Go Europe

Our International students meanwhile, can make the most of trips to a series of exciting European destinations. From France and Belgium, to Holland and Germany, there are plenty of places to visit, network and broaden your knowledge of the global market place, by seeing and experiencing it for yourself, first-hand.

At the University of Bedfordshire we ensure that your experience here is cultural, as well as academic. That’s why a whole host of opportunities are opened up to you, providing you with that all important experience to make you stand out from the crowd when it comes to getting graduates jobs.

Fees and funding

  • Fees are £4,534

    The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees by no more than inflation.

  • Fees are £8,000

    The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees by no more than inflation.


See UK/EU Postgraduate students for full information on fees and funding.


A prompt payment discount is available if you pay the full fee before or at registration. There are also special scholarships available.

See Fees and Funding for International Students for full information.


Our flagship £34m Campus Centre is funky and functional. It brings together all our student services, social and learning spaces, and a 240-seat lecture theatre under one roof.

The Campus Centre building is connected to the rest of the University and the first floor acts as a one-stop shop for all students services.

Designed for work as well as play, the Campus Centre incorporates relaxed learning zones with Wi-Fi access.

It also features the Students' Union support services and executive offices alongside places to eat

Accommodation at Luton

Our contemporary en-suite accommodation features 852 fully-furnished flats, just part of our accommodation offering of more than 1,500 study rooms.

This exciting new facility includes:

  • state-of-the-art IT and AV equipment
  • informal and quiet learning spaces
  • two Harvard-style lecture theatres
  • a student lounge and cafe

Luton campus is home to the following departments:

  • Business
  • Media, Art and Design
  • Science
  • Computing
  • Law
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences

Whatever degree you choose the facilities will be first class:

  • New facilities in the Computing and Media departments
  • Business facilities including pioneering Business Pods and a Law Moot Court
  • Dedicated laboratories for psychology, sport and exercise science, biomedical science and forensics
  • Multi-camera HDTV and radio studios
  • Art and design studios

Town centre location

The Luton campus is right in the centre of town next to a large shopping mall and within easy walking distance of the student halls, train and bus stations.

Directions to Luton campus

Luton is the largest town in Bedfordshire and is approximately 50km north of London.

It has excellent transport links to the rest of the UK and Europe, and central London is only a 30-minute train journey away.

Luton is has excellent transport links to other cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Milton Keynes. London Luton Airport is located just 2.5km from the Luton campus.

How to Apply

  • UK students applying for most postgraduate degrees at the University of Bedfordshire should apply direct using our admissions form

  • EU students applying for most postgraduate degrees at the University of Bedfordshire should apply direct using our admissions form or apply online

  • International students applying for a full-time postgraduate degree at the University of Bedfordshire should apply direct using our admissions form or via our representatives in your home country.

    You can also apply online

    Find out more about how to apply

Bedfordshire University

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