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Thrive on a challenge and passionate about making a difference? Our full-time Social Work degree could be for you. Study in Cambridge and Chelmsford and develop your skills through a variety of placements. Our course is validated by the Health and Care Professions Council so, when you graduate, you’ll be able to register as a social worker. Unlock the door to a rewarding career where you empower adults and children to be at their best.
Social work is about empowering people and supporting them towards being independent. Social workers help people to function, participate and develop in society.
Our course provides the knowledge, values and skills you will need to qualify as a social worker. But social work isn’t just about what you learn: it’s also about who you are. You will need qualities such as patience, honesty, sensitivity, tolerance, persistence and sound judgement.
As a student, you will train to assess people’s circumstances and needs. Working alongside other professionals, you will plan, provide, review and evaluate services. You will become skilled in problem-solving, and understand how to set up supportive activities with individuals, families, groups and communities. Learning to assess the risks facing vulnerable children or adults, and how to set up and measure protection plans for them will be key. You will also gain a thorough understanding of your legal powers and duties.
Our course is full-time, and features presentations and role play as well as more traditional lectures and seminars. We work closely with our SUCI (Service User and Carers Involvement) group. This gives you a chance to discuss with people who have experience and opinions about social care and use their feedback to improve your practice.
All of our students do two practice placements – 70 days in Year 2, and 100 days in Year 3. One of these placement will involve statutory tasks, including legal interventions. Both placements are an invaluable opportunity to learn in the workplace and you will cover a range of topics such as engagement, assessment, interpersonal skills, interventions, safeguarding and the appropriate use of authority.
If you study in Chelmsford, your placements will be anywhere in Essex, including Thurrock and Southend authorities. If you are a Cambridge student, your placements could be anywhere in Cambridgeshire and possibly in Peterborough. We have limited access to statutory placements outside these areas. You cannot choose your placement but rather it is assigned by the university. We will make sure that you get a range of settings to best support your training. It’s likely that you’ll have to travel as part of your placement, so you’ll need your own transport to visit service users in the community, where public transport may not be available.
Our course is approved by the HCPC, which makes it a professional qualification in social work. When you graduate, you’ll be able to apply to register with the HCPC as a social worker.
As a social worker, you’ll be at the forefront of helping the people most in need. You could work with a range of people, who are facing a range of issues, in a public, private or charitable organisation. You could even work independently. Increasingly, social workers work closely in teams with professionals from other disciplines. Your placements will have given you experience of working both with adults and children, by the end of the course you will have a better idea of the area you are most interested in.
Our course will prepare you for working in a variety of settings, many of which can be as rewarding as they are challenging. You’ll learn to work safely and within the law, and develop a wide range of transferable skills, including case management and communication skills. Examples of settings our graduates work in include the YMCA, learning disability charities, family centres and county or city councils. Different services our graduates are involved in are adult safeguarding, youth offender, adult in needs, children protection, fostering and adoption. Read our graduates’ employability case studies for more details.
Modules & Assessment
Year one, core modules
Assessed Readiness for Direct Practice
Ethics, Values and the Legal Context of Social Work
Knowledge, Evidence and Practice
Communication Skills and Key Theories Applied to Social Work Practice
Social Work in Society
Year two, core modules
Social Work with Adults
Social Work with Children and Families
Powers, Duties and Accountability in Social Work
Practice 1: Communications Skills and Partnership Working
Year three, core modules
Wellbeing Across the Life Course
Transition into Professional Practice
Practice 2: Analytical Thinking and Decision-Making
100 – Day Placement
Undergraduate Major Project
Please note that you will need to complete all of the above core modules. This course does not have any optional modules. Modules are subject to change and availability.
Assessments are your opportunity to show the skills and knowledge that you are gaining in your journey to become a social worker. We use a variety of assessment methods which include assignments, presentations, learning journals, portfolios, patchwork texts (short pieces of writing, or ‘patches’, built up week-by-week), poster design and placements.
Where you’ll study
The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.
We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.
We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.