Drawing on current research across the social sciences, government guidance, and legislative frameworks, this degree focuses on the issues that are key in facilitating your professional and academic development as a social worker.
Why study MA Social Work at Goldsmiths?
- This Masters programme is ideal if you are a graduate, with relevant experience, interested in pursuing a professional career in social work
- The MA Social Work qualification is accredited, enabling you to register and work as a professional social worker
- Over 95% of MA social work graduates at Goldsmiths go on to full-time graduate-level work. Our social work programmes are highly regarded by potential employers within London and further afield, and our graduates have an excellent record of securing employment; they've gone on to work in local authority children's services departments, adult services departments, and independent sector and voluntary sector agencies such as the NSPCC, Family Action and Mind
- We're ranked second in London in the University Subject Tables 2017 league table for social work
- We are involved in a unique Teaching Partnership with three local authorities. This means that you will be taught in the classroom by practising social workers. Depending on your profile, interest and experience, you are also likely to obtain two social work placements in local authority settings. In 2016/17 96% students completed both their first and second placements in a local authority team ( 65% were provided by South East London Teaching Partnership employers).
- We'll equip you with the knowledge, values and skills you'll need to practise as a reflective and ethical social worker, equipped for the challenges of contemporary social work practice
- You'll be encouraged to make links between anti-oppressive practice, the social work values, the legal framework, theories, methods and skills of intervention and social work practice throughout the course
- You will meet service users and hear about their experiences while studying at Goldsmiths
- The MA is an academic and professional qualification. It provides a gateway to more specialist therapeutic qualifications and research degree programmes
Social work education at Goldsmiths has a long and distinguished record – we house one of the most respected social work units in the UK, and you'll be taught by established social work academics and associate lecturers who have considerable research and/or practice experience in their fields.
You'll cover areas of human growth and development; community; needs and services; law and organisational contexts of social work; and research methods. Specific learning will include mental health and disability, and social work processes of assessment, planning, intervention and review.
The Masters includes practice placements in two settings and with different service user groups, so you'll be able to gain invaluable real-world experience. We'll encourage you to think deeply about human rights and social justice, and to embed these values in your practice. You'll develop your skills for reflective and evidence-based practice and will be able to further your research mindedness.
Excellence in practice and teaching
Goldsmiths has a long tradition of social work education, and our programmes are internationally regarded as excellent in both practice learning and critical studies. They also have a strong focus on anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice.
We have a lively programme of research taking place in areas as diverse as:
- the links between child abuse and domestic violence
- multi-family group work with teenage parents
- service user perspectives and transnational adoption
- mental health social workers' use of mental health laws and coercion
- equality and diversity in social work education
- the effects of political conflict on social work practice and education
- reflective professional social work practice
- evaluative approaches to service provision
Our research informs and underpins our teaching and students are invited to share our interests as well as develop their own through undertaking a small-scale research project and developing their research mindedness in a final year extended essay.
South East London Teaching Partnership
The Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies at Goldsmiths has recently entered into a formal Teaching Partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, the London Borough of Southwark and the London Borough of Lewisham for the delivery of social work education at Goldsmiths.
We were one of only four early adopter sites across the country to receive government funding to develop and test new and innovative approaches to social work qualifying education, early career training and continuing professional development programmes. As a result, a significant number of social work practitioners, from all levels within these three local authorities, are involved in the MA Social Work programme, delivering or co-delivering lectures, workshops and seminars. This means that there is a very close relationship with practice to ensure that by the end of the programme students are equipped to deliver authoritative, compassionate, social work practice that makes a positive difference to people’s lives.
You will be encouraged to make links between anti-oppressive practice, social work values, the legal framework, theories, methods and skills of intervention and social work practice throughout the course.
The programme has an intake of around 20-30 students each year. Goldsmiths is committed in its policy and practice to equal treatment of applicants and students irrespective of their race, culture, religion, gender, disability, health, age or sexual orientation. We particularly welcome applications from members of minority groups.
The teaching includes lectures and workshops with the entire student group and small study groups, reflective practice discussion groups and seminars of between 10 and 14 students. A significant proportion of the course takes the form of small study groups and seminars.
The MA is a full-time course. It is not possible to study the course part-time. It is not possible for students to transfer from a social work course at another university onto the second year of the Goldsmiths MA in Social Work course.
Goldsmiths scholarship for 2018-19 applicants
There are thirty scholarships available for students who confirm their acceptance of an offer for a place on the MA Social Work programme for 2018-19 entry. See the Fees, Funding and Scholarships section for more information.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Tom Henri
What you'll study
Successful applicants on the MA in Social Work commit to studying on a full-time taught course over two years. On successful completion you will receive a MA in Social Work which is the professional entry qualification to be a social worker and it enables you to apply for registration as a social worker with the Health and Care Professions Council.
The curriculum aims to provide you with the value, knowledge and skill base for practice and is organised around study units, workshops, lectures/seminar modules, projects and private study. The teaching and learning opportunities centre on the key areas of the social sciences and their application to Social Work practice, as well developing your intellectual capacity, and the skills necessary to get you ready for practice. There is an expectation that you attend at least 85% of all aspects of the programme.
The structured learning includes specific learning in:
- human growth and development, mental health and disability
- social work theories and methods; assessment, planning, intervention and review
- communication skills with children, adults and those with particular communication needs
- law, and partnership working across professional disciplines and agencies
- social science research methods, including ethical issues
Practice is central to the programme, and there will be practice placements in two settings and with different service user groups (eg child care and mental health). The learning on the programme builds over the two years and prepares you to apply your knowledge to practice situations. We work closely with a range of practice organisations in the Greater London Area. The placements are allocated by our placement tutor and matched with individual profiles. In some instances you may have to travel long distances to your placement organisation. You will need to cover the cost of travel to your placement. You will be expected to work the core hours.
At Goldsmiths we recognise:
- the unique contribution that all students bring as individuals to the programme in terms of their personal qualities and life experiences
- that professional training builds on the uniqueness of each individual by facilitating the student’s exploration of the values, knowledge base and skills of Social Work practice
- that it is the student’s responsibility not only to develop a technical acquaintance with the framework of Social Work practice but also to demonstrate competence through its application in practice
- that Social Workers are at the interface of society’s attempts to promote welfare
Social workers have a dual responsibility to act within the state’s welfare framework and also to recognise the pervasive influence of oppression and discrimination at an individual and a structural level in most of the situations in which they work. We will prepare you for this professional responsibility.
In year 1 you are introduced to social work as a professional activity and an academic discipline. You consider key concepts such as the nature of need, community, social work services, and the significance of the service user perspective.
You are also provided with an introduction to: life-span development, assessment in social work and a range of social work intervention approaches. Your assessed practice consists of 70 days spent as a social worker; this gives you the chance to develop your communication and social work practice skills with service users, and to work in partnership across professional disciplines and agencies.
|Human Growth and Development||30 credits|
|Community Needs and Services||30 credits|
|Social Work Methods and Skills||30 credits|
|Social Work Practice Learning Year 1||30 credits|
Year 2 provides you with an overview of the legal and organisational context of social work, and extends your knowledge and skills in one of the two main specialist areas of social work practice: working with children and families, or working with adults in need. You will work in small groups to explore methods of intervention, research and theories which are relevant to a particular area of social work, while another assessed practice element enables you to meet the professional requirements for social work training via 100 days of practice under the guidance of a practice assessor.
You are expected to demonstrate competence across a range of standards and this is formally assessed. The learning on the MA Social Work programme builds over the two years and prepares you to apply that knowledge to practice situations.
|Law and the Organisational Context of Social Work||30 credits|
|Research Methods||30 credits|
|Social Work Practice Learning 2||90 credits|
You are required to spend 170 days in practice settings.
In Year 1 there is a practice placement lasting 70 days and in Year 2 the practice placement lasts 100 days. These placements are arranged through the allocation system devised by the College. The practice placements will be supported by 30 days for the development of practice skills.
You have an identified Practice Educator for each of the two practice placements. Most of our placements are located in South East London, so if you live elsewhere you will need to travel.
We have partnership agreements with the following organisations for placements in social work:
- London Borough of Brent – Childrens Services
- London Borough of Brent – Adults Services
- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – Adults Services
- London Borough of Lambeth – Childrens Services
- London Borough of Southwark – Childrens Services
- London Borough of Southwark – Adults Services
- London Borough of Lewisham – Childrens Services
- London Borough of Lewisham – Adults Services
- London Borough of Croydon – Adults Services
- Royal Borough of Greenwich – Childrens Services
- Royal Borough of Greenwich – Adults Services
- London Borough of Bromley – Childrens Services
- London Borough of Bromley – Adults Services
- NSPCC (London Region)
We also work with about 20-30 voluntary/private social care agencies each year. Here are some that we've worked with recently:
- Equinox Care Mental Health Services
- Body and Soul HIV Service
- Jamma Umoja Family Assessment Services
- Advocacy in Greenwich Learning Disability Service
- Lewisham Refugee Network
- Turning Point Mental Health Services
- Carers Lewisham
Assessment by a range of methods including assignment, essay, critical reflection, presentation, dissertation, placement portfolio, role play, seen exam, report and case study.
Social work is a regulated profession. From 1 August 2012, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) took on the regulation of social workers and the regulation of the performance of social work courses. This means that social work students will need to adhere to the standards set out in the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Guidance on conduct and ethics for students (HCPC 2009), and work towards meeting the HCPC Standards of Proficiency - Social workers in England (HCPC 2012). These are the standards social work students are expected to demonstrate at the end of their last placement/ qualifying level.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
To be accepted onto the programme you must:
- Have (or expect to be awarded) a first or an upper second-class honours degree or lower second class honours plus a postgraduate degree (such as an MA or MSc) or PGCE or appropriate professional qualification equivalent to a first degree
- Have a Grade C or above in GCSE English and Mathematics or certified equivalent (eg Level 2 Key or Functional Skills Literacy or Numeracy)
- Have a minimum of 12 months' full-time (or part-time equivalent) relevant voluntary or paid work experience (normally within the last two years), of which a minimum of 6 months' full-time experience must have been gained by the time of application and a further 6 months' full-time experience by the start of the degree. Please make sure you read our work experience guide for more information about the experience that we accept.
- Have the understanding and personal, intellectual, and professional qualities to become a social worker and can demonstrate this through relevant social work experience.
- It is a requirement of entry onto the course that students possess an enhanced check by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Therefore, any offer of a place will be conditional on a satisfactory DBS enhanced disclosure, which students are required to pay for
You should also be able to demonstrate that you can communicate clearly and accurately in spoken and written English.
Where required, our Admissions Office will direct you to acceptable equivalency tests for those who do not meet the required grades or levels.
Please note that, due to the volume of applications we receive, applicants who do not meet the entry requirements will not be considered.
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.
£2,000 Goldsmiths MA Social Work scholarship
A £1,000 scholarship will be offered to the first thirty students who confirm their acceptance of an offer for a place on the MA Social Work programme for 2018/19 entry, by Wednesday 1 August 2018 and successfully complete the first term of the programme. Those who successfully complete the first year of the programme will be offered a further scholarship of £1,000 to be paid in January 2020.
For more information please contact Jennifer Mayo-Deman, Social Work Admissions Co-ordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tom Henri, Social Work Admissions Tutor/Lecturer in Social Work at email@example.com.
NHS Social Work postgraduate bursary
The Department of Social Therapeutic and Community Studies expect to be provided with a number of postgraduate bursaries for MA Social Work students starting their studies in 2017/18.
Students will be nominated by Goldsmiths using the criteria listed below. However, it is important to understand that prospective students will have to meet NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) eligibility criteria to be awarded a bursary.
Goldsmiths nomination criteria
Students will be nominated if they pass all stages of the selection process, indicating they have met entry level of the PCF (Professional Capabilities Framework) outcomes.
We will then rank applicants who have accepted Goldsmiths as their firm choice based on their overall selection score. The bursary nomination list is generally drawn up in March. Therefore, we strongly advise you to apply to the programme through UCAS before 15 January 2017.
For those applicants who apply after the 15 January 2017 UCAS deadline, they must accept an offer to study on the MA Social Work Programme at Goldsmiths by the date the NHSBSA nomination list is completed (usually in early June) in order to be considered for a bursary nomination. Those applying after June will be placed on a ‘waiting list’ for bursary nomination.
Notification of nomination for a NHSBA Social Work postgraduate bursary will be sent out to applicants shortly after universities are informed of their annual allocation. Please note that nomination does not guarantee a bursary.
Goldsmiths bursary nomination list will be sent to NHSBSA, before the course commences with payments being made to eligible students once their enrolment and attendance has been confirmed.
In addition, some of our stakeholder agencies advertise bursaries for students who are going into the second year of an MA and intend to work with children and their families upon qualifying. The exact terms of bursaries differ between local authorities. They usually offer funding for one year and a statutory placement in that local authority.
In return, the student must take up employment with that local authority when he or she qualifies and stay with the local authority for a specified length of time (usually one or two years). Recently bursaries have been offered by, for example, London Borough of Southwark in the South East London area.
They are open to competition and usually require a written application by the student, a reference from the student's tutor, and an interview. When these bursary opportunities become available we circulate details to our students.
All students are eligible for a fixed contribution towards practice learning opportunity related expenses.
We strongly recommend that you investigate funding prior to applying to ensure that you do not miss any deadlines for funding applications.
Aziz Foundation Scholarship
This programme is eligible for an Aziz Foundation scholarship. Find out more about how to apply.
How to apply
This course has places available through Clearing.
If you're interested in this course, and already have your exam results, you can apply by filling out our application form.
Still waiting for your exam results? Register your interest with us and we’ll let you know when you’re able to apply.
Find out more about applying.
You'll develop the ability to practise social work in a wide variety of settings with different service user groups.
The programme will enable you to register and practise as a qualified social worker.