Successful completion of the Diploma incorporates the licence to practise as a social worker. The MSc is awarded on satisfactory completion of a dissertation undertaken at the end of the Diploma course. Both degrees are recognised throughout the UK.
Successful completion of this course will mean students are then eligible to be registered, by the Scottish Social Services Council, as a qualified social worker. Each UK country has its own registration body and this degree is accepted by all of them.
Applied Social Science provides you with an integrated academic and professional course which develops the intellectual and practice skills necessary for professional practice as a social worker.
Recent dissertation titles are: End of life assistance from a social work perspective; The use of communication tools when working with people with dementia: a practitioner perspective; Foster carers' experiences of support; Does employment have an impact upon the social inclusion of people with learning disabilites?
A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.
Practical experience in a social care setting is essential. Registration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is a requirement for commencing and remaining on the programme (further information on how to apply will be provided to successful applicants who accept a place on the course). Enrolled students must also be a member of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (6.0 in all bands).
Information on possible sources of funding Currently, bursaries are available from the SSSC for Postgraduate Social Work students; applicants who are offered and accept a place will be given information about applying for a bursary. Please note that the University is not responsible for allocating these. Further information about this funding can be found here www.sssc.uk.com.
Modes of study
Full-time: over two years by day-time study only
Course start date
Applications for entry close at the end of June each year through UCAS, however, application may be made directly to the University's Postgraduate Admissions office up until 1st August.
Applications for this course are via:
The Universities and Colleges Admissions System (UCAS)
Rosehill, New Barn Lane
Cheltenham GL52 3LZ
Tel +44(0) 8701 122211
UCAS advise applicants to apply online:
UCAS Code: L508
Structure and content
The taught course consists of nine modules which include two periods of assessed practice. All students have a personal tutor during the course.
You will study three modules during Semester 1 on:
- Theory and Practice of Social Work: Introduction to core knowledge, skills and values for social work practice; professional identity, communicating, listening, interviewing, assessing, planning, intervening, reviewing and evaluating, reflective practice, anti-discriminatory practice
- Social Work Law and Policy: Introduction to legal systems and processes, law regarding children, adults and families, community care and criminal justice
- Human Development and Family Contexts: Development across the life cycle. Dominant themes and challenges associated with developmental stages; complexity of family life
During Semester 2 you will undertake a placement in full-time supervised practice (70 days) in a statutory or independent agency.
You will study four modules during Semester 3 on:
- Theory & Practice – Health, Illness and Disability: the impact of illness and disability on the social and emotional functioning of individuals, families and specific service user groups, for example, people with mental health problems, people with drug/alcohol problems. Social and medical models of illness, disability and learning difficulties. The meaning of risk – risk taking and risk minimisation approaches. The influence of social and structural factors. Social work skills and methods in promoting the health of people who use social work services
- Theory & Practice – Crime, Welfare and Justice: What is crime and who defines crime? Responses to offending behaviour. Theoretical explanations of offending behaviour ‘causes’ of crime. Assessing and ‘managing’ the risk of crime, its extent and nature. Exploration of different areas of practice. Effective social work practice and what it means.
- Theory & Practice – Children, Families and Society: social work assessment and intervention in relation to children and families. Exploration of different areas of practice. Creative responses to the assessment and management of risk
The second supervised practice placement runs through the summer period and during semester four (95 days). You then take one module: Research Methods. The award of Postgraduate Diploma is made at this point, following satisfactory completion of all assessed work.
Students proceeding to the MSc complete Year 3.
The dissertation period, during which empirical research is undertaken and written up, is three months (full-time) or six months (part-time).
Delivery and assessment
The course is delivered through lectures incorporating small group discussion, student-led project work, micro-skills teaching workshops.
All assessment is on a continuous basis. You are assessed by conventional essays, placement-associated written work and DVDs of role-played practice, accompanied by a written critique, Oral examination, group presentations. Practice placements are assessed on the reports from both you and your supervising practice teacher.
Practice Placements are in a wide range of statutory and voluntary agencies across a sixty-mile radius and provide the opportunity for classroom-based teaching to be applied in practice. Every student has a practice teacher to supervise and assess their practice.
The course is run in partnership with statutory and non-statutory agencies in Stirling, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Fife, Perth and Kinross, Edinburgh City, Midlothian, West Lothian, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders.
Suggested reading list:
- Banks, S (2012) Ethics and Values in Social Work, fourth edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
- Crawford K and Walker J (2010) Social Work and Human Development, third edition, Exeter: Learning Matters
- Davis R and Gordon J (eds) (2011) Social Work and the Law in Scotland, second edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
- Lishman J (ed) (2007) Handbook for Practice Learning in Social Work and Social Care: Knowledge and Theory, second edition, London: Jessica Kingsley
- Milner J and O'Byrne P (2009) Assessment in Social Work third edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
- Trevithick P (2005) Social Work Skills: A Practice Handbook, second edition, Maidenhead: Open University Press
- Wilson K, Ruch G, Lymbery M and Cooper A (2011) Social Work: An introduction to contemporary practice, second edition, Harlow: Person Education
- Theory & Practice of Social Work
- Social Work Law and Policy
- Human Development and Family Contexts
- Practice Learning 1
- Theory & Practice : Health, Illness and Disability
- Theory & Practice : Crime, Welfare and Justice
- Theory & Practice : Children, Families and Society
- Practice Placement 2
- Research Methods
Ms Judy Kerr
In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE):
- we were ranked 2nd in Scotland for Social Work
- 95 percent of the research in Applied Social Science at Stirling was ‘Internationally Excellent’ with the top 10 percent of that judged to be ‘World-leading’
Our staff members are qualified social workers and members of various national and international social work organisations. Additionally, our partnerships with local agencies promote knowledge and exchange between academia and practice.
Practice teachers comment favourably on the preparedness of the students and also on the quality of the work they undertake. The support the university gives is also valued.
There has been positive feedback about the calibre of the students and their commitment to placements. There has been an interest and awareness of policy and political dimensions. Several students have been seen as people we would want to apply should vacancies arise, and we do have recent graduates now in post.
I worked as a full time social worker and then became a Senior Practitioner in 2005. In 2009 I obtained the post of Acting Team Manager in Criminal Justice and then moved to the post of Acting Youth Justice Manager in Children and Families. In 2010 I obtained the post of Youth Justice Manager. I am actively involved in various ongoing strategic developments both at government and local level in terms of Preventing Offending by young people. I remain actively involved with the University of Stirling as an external marker and practice assessor.
As a mature student with a lengthy background in working with people I made the decision to return to full time education. As I wanted to enter the social work programme, I was drawn to Stirling due to the high reputation it holds in this field. I feel the course is a robust preparation for practice, fostered by many excellent lecturers who openly encourage a questioning mind. I am glad I have had the experience of undertaking my training at Stirling; it lives up to its reputation.
The social work course is demanding but positively challenging. I have had the opportunity to hear from leaders in their field and to examine society in a way which is productive to social work practice. I was able to develop my knowledge in areas of interest via the dissertation module. Furthermore, I was able to do this in the most beautiful of surroundings and take advantage of all the benefits that the campus has to offer.
- Professor Brigid Daniel - Head of Subject Group/Deputy Head of School
Research Interests: Child development, children's resilience, adult and child protection
- Dr Ruth Emond - Senior Lecturer
Research Interests: Vulnerable children and their everyday experiences. UK and International research with children in care and their use of food and peer groups. Involved in research on social inclusion and young people in rural communities.
- Ms Sara Hitchin - Teaching Fellow
Research Interests: Issues relating to practice learning and continuous professional development. Involvement of people who have used services in both social work education and practice.
- Ms Judy Kerr - Senior Teaching Fellow
Research Interests: Social work education and developing inter-professional approaches to teaching, learning and assessment.
- Ms Kathryn Mackay - Lecturer
Research interests: Scottish legal framework for adults at risk of harm and practice ensuing from this. Adult support protection and mental health law.
- Mr David Morran - Lecturer
Research interests: Exploring the life histories of men who have formerly been violent and abusive and in the development of services offering support/counselling in the area of young men and adult men's emotional well-being.
- Dr Paul Rigby - Lecturer
Research interests: Adolescent child protection; neglect; child trafficking; social work with migrant children; child sexual exploitation; listening to children in the child protection system; child protection - youth justice interface and working with young people at the youth/criminal justice transition.
- Ms Fiona Sherwood-Johnson - Lecturer
Research Interests: Adult support and protection policy and practice. Research that involves service users and carers.
- Ms Rona Woodward - Lecturer
Research Interests: Social policy as it affects children and families, children and young people looked after by the state, critical and radical perspectives on social work policy, management and practice.
Additionally, a range of staff associates act as personal tutors to students during the course.