Course information


4-6 years part-time

Course overview

This programme can support you in developing your professionalism by enhancing your skills, expanding your knowledge and reflecting on values.

Do you see yourself moving into a more experienced, advanced or strategic social work role? If so, this programme can support you in developing your professionalism by enhancing your skills, expanding your knowledge and reflecting on values. They offer a whole range of modules designed to further your capabilities in all domains of the PCF, but they focus especially on practice education and professional leadership. In addition, many of the modules are designed to further your knowledge and skills outlined in the Knowledge and Skills Statement for Practice Supervisors of Social Workers in Child and Family Social Work.

Normally, practitioners take individual modules of this programme and apply through the Continuous Professional Development Framework. Please contact the programme convenor for more information. If you want to achieve the MA or exit with a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma, and you are supported by your employer to do so, then you should apply to this programme.

The MA in Professional Leadership for Social Work is ideal for qualified social workers. All modules, except the dissertation, can be taken as standalone MA-level CPD modules.

Why study with us?

  • We recognise that much of learning takes place in the workplace. All modules fully integrate practice with relevant theory/research and values.
  • We believe in strength in diversity and our teaching, lecturers, participants and experts by experience reflect this.
  • Participants can gain academic credit for developing their capability through work-based activities in either direct social work practice, practice education or management roles.
  • Access to university facilities, library and resources on and off campus.

All modules on the post-qualifying MA programme align with career development, from initial consolidation and early professional development to supporting social work students on placement (Practice Educator), to becoming a Practice Supervisor or Practice Development Educator. In essence, the modules support the enhancement of practice relevant to participants’ roles with a focus on professional leadership as defined by the PCF and are aligned with the different Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS) for both Child and Family and Adult Social Work. Download our diagram outlining the different leadership pathways (PDF) for more information.


Find out about the staff currently teaching in the Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Adi Staempfli

What you'll study

Core modules

All students take the following modules:

Module title Credits
  Research Methods in Professional Leadership for Social Work 15 credits
  Research and Practice in Professional Leadership for Social Work 45 credits

Option modules

You make up the remaining credits from a range of modules, listed below. See links to the module outlines for details:

Module title Credits
  Consolidation of Practice and Early Professional Development 30 credits
  Enabling the Learning of Others 15 credits
  Assessing and Teaching the Adult Professional Learner 15 credits
  Designing Learning Opportunities for Teams and Groups 15 credits
  Facilitating Learning in Teams and Groups 15 credits
  Professional Supervision and Practice Assessment 15 credits
  Reflective Practice Within and Across Organisations 15 credits
  The Care Act and Social Work: Practice, Policy and Law 30 credits
  Interpersonal Skills for Direct Work with Adult Service Users and their Families 30 credits
  Work-based Learning Modules 1-4 15 credits (modules 1 and 2) or 30 credits (modules 3 and 4)

All modules except the dissertation can be taken as standalone Continuing Professional Development (CPD) modules. Find out more about taking our CPD modules.


Assessed by coursework, assignment, reports, case study, dissertation and portfolio. 

Download the programme specification for the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

Before you apply to undertake any of the post-qualifying social work modules at Goldsmiths, you need to complete an application form and get agreement from your employer. Talk to your line manager and your Practice Learning or Workforce Development Coordinator. Download the application form (Word document).

If you are in full-time employment, we recommend that you sign up to no more than 30 credits per year on the Continuing Professional Development programme (PG Credits - 270002A). If you complete the modules successfully you will get a Transcript of Record.

If you want to obtain the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Leadership for Social Work and you do not want to take any further modules or if you have already obtained 120 credits at MA level and you wish to gain the MA award you can apply to this programme.

You may be able to transfer MA-level credits from other programmes (Recognition of Prior Certificated Learning) or gain credit for experiential learning via the submission of a portfolio (Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning). This is limited to 30 credits towards the PG Certificate, 60 credits towards the PG Diploma and 120 credits towards the Masters award. Talk to the programme convener to discuss your options early on.

Criteria for admission

The procedures for recruitment and selection adhere to the College’s general admissions policies including equality and diversity strategies and objectives. 

Normally applicants should:

  1. Hold a degree level professional qualification in social work;
  2. Be registered or be in the process of registering with the professional regulator as a social worker;
  3. Have passed the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) or can demonstrate post qualifying professional development to an equivalent level or above;
  4. Be able to demonstrate that they can meet the academic requirements of a post-graduate programme;
  5. Be working or intending to take up employment (usually in a paid, but exceptionally in a voluntary capacity) in a setting that will enable you to demonstrate competence in professional leadership for social work at the required level. 

Selection process

In the majority of cases, applicants will be selected and sponsored by your employing agency. However, we welcome applications even if you are not being sponsored by your employing agency, provided that you are in a position to demonstrate capability in professional leadership at the required level in your professional and academic work.

Admission will be via an online application process that asks for:

  • Details of professional and academic qualifications and experience;
  • A personal statement of 500 words in which applicants,
    • outline the skills, knowledge and values that you bring from your professional practice,
    • describe existing experience in professional leadership and
    • discuss what knowledge and skills you hope to gain from attending the programme;
  • Supply a reference from a line manager or equivalent recommending you for the programme and confirming that you will be able to demonstrate capability in professional leadership at the level that is required to complete the programme;
  • Supply a funding confirmation form with a commitment from your agency or yourself undertaking to pay the necessary fees.

The post-qualifying programme convener will advise applicants and students, assess and make decisions on all applications. A standard assessment schedule will be used to ensure transparent and consistent decision-making. In some situations, you may be asked to provide further information.

Interviews will not normally be held, but in some exceptions, you may be asked to attend an interview.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Please see the 'Entry requirements' tab for information on the criteria for admission and selection process.

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging un using your username/email and password.  

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Find out more about applying.

Learning & teaching

A key feature of this programme is the consistent integration of practice and academic perspectives and this is reflected in both teaching and learning and assessment strategies. This enables students to demonstrate how they are meeting the appropriate Department for Education knowledge and skills statements for approved child and family practitioners and/or for practice leaders and practice supervisors and/or the Department of Health knowledge and skills statements for social workers in Adult Services.

What are the requirements for meeting the PEPS 1 and 2?

To meet the requirements of Practice Educator Professional Standards at stage 1 you will need to: meet the academic standards (pass) for module 1 (Enabling the Learning of Others) and meet the professional standards in your work with your student. For this you will need to have worked with a social work student (first placement), which is assessed by the university's tutor and to be observed by a PQ Assessor in your practice with the student.

To meet the requirements of Practice Educator Professional Standards at stage 2 you will need to: meet the academic standards (pass) for module 2 (Assessing and Teaching the Adult Professional Learner) and meet the professional standards in your work with your student or another learner. For this you will need to have worked with a social work student (final placement) or another learner, which is assessed by the university's tutor and to be observed by a PQ Assessor in your practice with the student. Please note that employers are responsible to keep track of whether their employees meet the PEPS.

To only meet the academic university requirements for modules 1 & 2, you must have worked with a student or another learner and have been observed at least one by a PQ Practice Assessor.

Can I take on a final year student on placement if I only meet the PEPS1?

A social worker who has met the requirements for PEPS 1 but does not meet the requirements of PEPS 2 (or is not in training to meet the requirements of PEPS 2) cannot work with a final year student.

If you are not in training to meet the requirements for PEPS 2 you can only work with a final year student, if you are supervised by a practice educator who meets the PEPS 2 requirements. This supervising practice educator acts as a long arm support by coaching you, by reading and signing off the reports on the assessment of the student.

What support can I expect?

Once you have started with the module you will receive a handbook for the CPD modules. This handbook lists all the relevant dates (see the chapter on curriculum). In the handbook, you can also find all the relevant information on your module(s), including module outlines, learning outcomes, assessment requirements, reading lists, additional support available to practice educators with a learning disability, etc. In addition, we offer an induction workshop, where you will be supported with your enrolment, receive information on the virtual learning environment (VLE) and be given an induction to the library. In relation to your assessment, we are running portfolio preparation workshops for some modules and are also offering sessions on how to upload your portfolio. You are entitled to 1 hour individual tutorial time per 60 credits, or 30 minutes if you are doing 30 credits. Tutorials can either be face to face, phone or via email. 


Our students have been successful in a range of areas, from postgraduate research to employment in local authority children’s services departments, adult services departments, independent sector and voluntary sector agencies such as NSPCC, Family Action, MIND.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

What our students say


"This course has been extremely good for me personally and professionally. I have developed my understanding of how I can promote learning."

How did you become involved with the course?

“I qualified as a social worker in 1990 and have always worked in the mental health field in voluntary sector organisations. After about 13 years in social work I decided to take on a student and did a practice teaching course at Goldsmiths. Since then I have always had students and it was this experience which inspired me to carry on with the programme. After the first course I had a taste of practice education skills, but knew there was much more that I could learn.

Also, in the voluntary sector as a social worker you can sometimes feel a bit isolated. So I realised that the course at Goldsmiths was a good way of keeping in touch with social work. So I continued with the course right up to the MA in Professional Leadership for Social Work (qualified Social Workers). I even managed to get a distinction! It was hard work but very rewarding on both a personal and professional level.

I had to juggle a full-time job and it was really helpful that I was able to dip in and out of the course and spread it over several years. I never enrolled in more than two modules a year and had some time completely out. It was helpful that I got some funding for parts of the course.”

How did you find the course?

“Goldsmiths' teaching and learning approach was really good. There was a helpful balance between students learning from each other, seminars, lectures, input from practitioners and service users. Our feedback was heard and as students we felt valued.

It was nice that the other students came from diverse backgrounds and from different social work organisations, fields and roles. This diversity made for a much wider discussions and was enabled through an emphasis on sharing knowledge and experiences.

The teaching and information presented was up to date and quite a few of the lecturers could present personal research that they had done. In the last couple of years, I was using the virtual learning environment (VLE) much more and a lot of the books that were recommended were uploaded as E Books and there was good access to journals.

Tutorials were very helpful and I could always ask questions and get a response even outside formal tutorials."

What are your career plans now?

“As well as practising as a social worker I am now an independent Practice Educator. The course gave me the confidence to do that, which I would not have had before doing the course. I have also been asked to carry out the role of Practice Assessor to support and assess other trainee practice educators.

Now I am aiming to do more work in practice education and I am looking at possibilities of becoming involved in teaching on BA in Social Work courses as a tutor. The whole course has opened up a lot of options within the broader context of social work education and learning and development in organisations.”


"The course was interesting, challenging, demanding and thought-provoking. It stretched me, expanded my thinking and made me realise my capabilities not just professionally but personally."

"After a turbulent youth I decided to study social work and graduated 12 years ago. I specialised in youth justice and managed a restorative justice project at a busy inner London youth offending team for 10 years.

I realised early on that I had a flair for group work and became interested in educating a new generation of social workers. I completed the Practice Teacher Award in 2005 and since then have supervised about 10 students one to one. I chose Goldsmiths as it has a good academic reputation; as a young person I never dreamed I would be a student at Goldsmiths. I really valued the support and encouragement I received from the tutors.

The course was interesting, challenging, demanding and thought-provoking. It stretched me, expanded my thinking and made me realise my capabilities not just professionally but personally. The highlight of my time at Goldsmiths has to be getting my results on my research. On a busy stressful day I received an email letting me know I had aced my research. All the sleepless nights, blood, sweat and tears were worth it. I was walking around with the biggest grin and nothing could cloud the deep sense of achievement I felt.

Goldsmiths is organised, consistent, reliable and treated us like professionals. This was so beneficial, especially as we were juggling full time social work posts, families, the course and all of the other things life throws at us. Goldsmiths is such a great community to be part of. I know from my own experience as a manager that employers are aware of the calibre of students graduating from Goldsmiths.

As a result of the course, I've recently been appointed as Practice Development Manager at Southwark Council. I now work with newly qualified social workers and students on practice placement. I have the opportunity to apply the findings from the research I conducted on the emotional impact of social work and vicarious trauma. I have also been invited to teach on a module of the Practice Education course at Goldsmiths for those who are supervising newly qualified social workers."

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