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. If you are a professional from another discipline please go to the MA in Practice Education, which is aimed at other staff working in social welfare roles. Both programmes will enable you to extend and develop your existing competence and prepare for leadership and research in practice education. All modules, except the dissertation, can be taken as standalone MA-level CPD modules.

Contact the department

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

What you'll study

Your first two modules will see you providing work-based learning and assessment for a recognised professional award, for example for social work students. You’ll develop the skills and knowledge in supporting and assessing learners. The modules will support you in meeting the requirements of the Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS). This allows you to become a practice educator for social work students on their first (PEPS stage 1) and last placement (PEPS stage 2). In your third and fourth modules, you’ll develop your practice education skills through designing, implementing and evaluating a practice learning intervention. If you successfully complete these four modules on one of the MA programmes you can leave at this stage with a Postgraduate Certificate in Practice Education.

In modules five to seven you’ll focus on developing the learning organisation. You’ll extend your skills and knowledge in developing professional leadership with individuals, teams and groups within and across organisations. The modules will focus on coaching, mentoring, supervision and reflective practice. If you are going to work with NQSW as an ASYE mentor and assessor, module five is designed for you. Professional leadership also involves developing the learning organisation through working not only with individuals but also with groups, whole organisations and in interagency practice. The last two modules specifically address these leadership skills and enhance your capabilities in working with teams and groups and in supporting workforce development through reflective practice and learning within and across organisations. If you successfully complete these modules on one of the MA programmes you can leave the programme at this stage with a Postgraduate Diploma.


You’ll complete a dissertation on a topic related to practice education. You’ll develop your strategic leadership in the field through your research, which will normally take the form of an action research project. You may also choose a more conventional dissertation, through which you’ll play a leading role in how the recommendations arising from your literature review could be implemented. Throughout your dissertation, you’ll learn research methodologies, and receive individual supervision and mentoring to help you design your research or literature review.

We also offer CPD modules on interpersonal skills for direct work with adult service users and on the Care Act, including adult safeguarding, which can be taken instead of two of the modules three to six or seven.

The modules have an academic and professional component. They support you in learning from your work, your reading and your interaction with others and by developing practice, skills and values, always aiming to enhance the experience of students, service users and carers you are working with.


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

Requirements for all applicants and modules*

*Please note that these requirements are different for the "Care Act" and "Interpersonal Skills" modules: criteria 4, 6 and 8 do not apply, but personal statement requires demonstration of i), ii) iii) and iv) in relation to professional practice in Adult Social Care.


Evidence to be submitted

1. Hold a degree level professional qualification in social work or one of the caring professions;

A copy of your registration with the HCPC or other professional body (if appropriate). Upload this as a word or PDF document.

2. Be registered or be in the process of registering with the HCPC as a social worker, or if you are not qualified as a social worker, be registered or in the process of registering with the appropriate professional body if applicable;

3. Have developed and consolidated your practice in a specific area of social care practice; (requirement: two years’ relevant work experience before taking full responsibility for assessing a social work placement, qualified for two years for module SW76007A and three years’ relevant work experience, qualified for two years by the end of the programme. for SW76008A)

Employment History in online application form

4. Have obtained initial competence in teaching and assessing the practice of professional students and mentoring and supporting students or colleagues; You demonstrate this in your personal statement, which should be approximately 500 words long. Please address in all of the following:
(i) Outline the skills, knowledge and values that you bring from your professional practice
(ii) Describe your existing experience in practice education
(iii) Discuss what knowledge and skills you hope to gain from attending the programme
(iv) If you are an unqualified practitioner, you should provide further evidence (1,500 words) in section (i) to show how you consider your experience makes you eligible for the programme.

Personal statement in online application from

5. Be able to demonstrate that they can meet the academic requirements of a post-graduate programme;

Qualifications in online application; Personal statement in online application and Line manager's reference to be uploaded as a word or PDF document.

6. 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 practice education at the required level

PART B (Line manager’s reference): employers confirmation that applicant will be able to work with a student or meet the other work related requirements of module.

Upload this as a word or PDF document.

7. In exceptional circumstances very able and experienced practitioners not holding a recognised qualification and who are over the age of 25 may be admitted to the programme. In these circumstances you will need to demonstrate that you can meet the criteria 3-6 above. Further advice about admission requirements is available from the programme convenor.

Personal statement in online application. Refer to the convener.

8. Consideration will be given to requests for Advanced Standing from suitably qualified or experienced applicants. If candidates already hold the Practice Teaching Award or another equivalent qualification they can claim advanced standing for modules one and two. If candidates have passed the module ‘Enabling the learning of others’ in the Graduate Diploma in Specialist Social Work/Specialist Welfare Practice they can claim advanced standing for module one.

Certificates of any modules you intend to claim advanced standing for e.g. the Practice Teaching Award. Upload this as a word or PDF document and contact the convener.

9. Funding confirmation

PART C (Agency commitment form). Upload this as a word or PDF document.


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 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 entry requirement with information on your personal statement and on the documents that you need to upload as part of your application.

           Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

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.


Professor Claudia Bernard

Prof Bernard is interested in gender-based violence and how narratives of racism and gender oppression affect the way trauma ensuing from familial maltreatment is experienced, understood and named. She also leads a research group that is exploring diversity and progression of social work students in England.


Carol Campbell


I joined the Social Work Office in 2005. Prior to joining Goldsmiths I worked for Great Ormond Street Hospital and at Guys’ and St Thomas’s Hospital as Assistant Technical Officer in their Pharmacy Department. I have experience as Day Service Officer with Adults with Learning Difficulties and in Elderly Day Centres. I was a support worker for a service user and worked for a Youth Project as Secretary of the Management Committee, where I trained to teach phonetic reading to children and adults. I have worked for Zandra Rhodes UK limited in the fashion Industry and as a Qualified Youth worker.


Carl Chandra

Associate Tutor and Freelance Consultant in Health and Social Care

Having worked for 15 years in social work across children and adult services, I have been fortunate to have acquired a variety of practice experiences including working as a social worker through to senior management. I also provide freelance consultancy input with specialisms in safeguarding adults with learning disabilities or mental health disorders and leadership in practice. My interests include writing and I am currently involved in research around working effectively with mental health disorders and best practices around multi-disciplinary working.


Lee Clark

Lecturer in Practice Learning (Social Work)

I had ten years practice experience before joining the staff team in 2004. I worked in several London Boroughs, specialising in child protection, complex family assessments and court work. I have contributed to good practice guides and procedures manuals. I also hold qualifications for working therapeutically with children. I have long standing involvement in Practice Learning. I hold the Practice Teaching Award and have worked with several university programmes in the role of Practice Teacher / Assessor. At present, my research interests are concerning domestic violence and comparative social work in Europe.


Joan Fletcher

Senior lecturer in social work

Joan Fletcher's work is concerned with relationship-based social work and therapeutic epiphanies; diversity and progression in social work training and multi-generational, multi-family group work with teenage mothers.


Adi Staempfli

Lecturer in Social Work and MA Practice Education convener

I joined the social work team at Goldsmiths in March 2012 from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Northwestern Switzerland, where I worked as a senior lecturer responsible for practice learning and theory-practice integration.

I have qualified as a social worker in 1991 and hold a Mental Health and Practice Teaching Award. In 2006 I have graduated from Middlesex University with a MSc. I am currently working towards a PhD in a project on reflective social work practice. I have worked for 15 years as a social worker and senior practitioner with vulnerable clients in multidisciplinary and statutory substance misuse and mental health settings in London and Switzerland.

My teaching and research interests include practice learning and education, adult learning, reflective practice, communities of practice. I have co-authored a book on reflection in key situations in social work (


A number of other associate tutors contribute to the programme.

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


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

Learning & teaching

Frequently Asked Questions

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 and professional standards for: 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.

Further information on the Practice Educator Professional Standards can be obtained from the British Association of Social Work (BASW) website.

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 therefore 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 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, by phone or via email.

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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