2nd in Scotland in The Times Good University Guide and The Complete University Guide 2013.
This degree course incorporates the professional qualification you need to practise social work alongside a strong grounding in relevant social science subjects. We will help you qualify as a social worker who is knowledgeable, skilled, analytical and ethical in your approach to working with individuals, families, groups and communities.
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.
BBBB - one sitting.
ABBB - two sittings.
General entrance requirements apply
Personal, voluntary or paid experience of Social Work or related activity is essential.
Mathematics Standard Grade (2), Intermediate 2, GCSE (C) or equivalent required.
Mathematics Standard Grade (3) considered on an individual basis.
Modes of study
Full-time (three modules per semester).
Find out more
As part of the registration process with the Scottish Social Services Council, all applicants are subject to a Criminal Records check. This check will show all spent and unspent criminal convictions including (but not limited to) cautions, reprimands, final warnings, driving and parking offences,bind over orders, fixed penalty notices, penalty notices for disorders, ASBOS and VOOs.
Previous criminal convictions may not exclude you, but all convictions must be declared during the University application process and some occurrences may result in an unsuccessful application.
There is a two-stage, paper-based selection process. The first stage is the application form, which is screened for social work related knowledge and experience, as well as qualifications, so the personal statement is particularly important. At the second stage, applicants whose original application form covers the required areas, in terms of qualifications, experience and understanding of social work, are invited to submit an additional piece of written work. They are given two social work scenarios and asked general questions about the challenges and attractions of being a social worker. Applicants’ responses are assessed by a panel of university tutors and social work practitioners.
Semesters 1 - 3
You will follow an introductory course in Sociology and Social Policy. In addition, you will take two modules that introduce you to social work knowledge and skills, one of which incorporates experience in a community setting. Three other modules of your choice will also be taken.
Semesters 4 - 8
Undergraduate students benefit from sharing their professional education in semesters 4-8 alongside postgraduate students who are studying social work at MSc level. Through an integrated academic and professional curriculum, you will undertake:
- Six university-based modules that focus on the application of knowledge, theory and research to practice and the development of specific skills required for Social Work. These include teaching on: law and policy for social work with children, families, people with disabilities and people who offend; human development; ethical practice; assessment and intervention models, and working with risk.
- Two professional practice learning opportunities in Semester 5 (70 days) and in the summer period between Semesters 6 and 7 (100 days). These take place in a variety of settings where students will undertake direct work with people who use services. During practice learning placements students receive supervision from qualified social workers and other professionals and have their practice assessed. Placements take place within a 60 mile radius of the University. This does not include Glasgow and the West of Scotland where opportunities are rare. Placement agencies within these areas give priority to the three Glasgow-based programmes.
- Social Differentiation (SPC911)
- Social Problems (SPC912)
- Active Learning in the Community (PDM9AW)
- Plus 2 modules of own choice
- Understanding Social Policy (SPC913
- Introduction to Social Work (SWK9IS)
- Theory and Practice of Social Work (SWK9TP)
- Social Work Law & Policy (SWK9LP)
- Human Development and Family Contexts (SWK9DE)
- Practice Learning 1 (SWK9P1)
- Theory and Practice : Health, Illness & Disability(SWK9HD)
- Theory and Practice : Crime, Welfare and Justice(SWK9CJ)
- Theory and Practice : Children, Families and Society(SWK9CF)
- Practice Learning 2 (SWK9P2)- begins late May and runs over summer
- Dissertation (SWK9DD)
Teaching and assessment
The first three semesters provide the foundation for the full-time professional course from Semester 4 onwards. The Sociology and Social Policy modules establish a social science knowledge base for later practice. The two required modules that introduce students to Social Work offer the opportunity to develop skills that will be of particular value when on practice learning. Service users, carers, social work practitioners and managers contribute to students’ learning.
Teaching from Semester 4 onwards has relatively few formal lectures. Instead, there is a high level of student participation; students are encouraged to engage with theory and research through the use of case studies and role plays, discussions and project group work. Students have a personal tutor who offers advice during University-based semesters and visits you on placement, strengthening the links between theory and practice.
Your learning is greatly assisted by the contribution (to teaching and practice learning) of staff from local voluntary and statutory agencies. You will also benefit from contributions by service users and carers and from the range of research and teaching interests within the School of Applied Social Science, in which Social Work is located. Particular strengths include community care, criminal justice, children and families, skills teaching, values and comparative approaches.
A wide range of assessment methods is used: essays, analytical accounts of practice, DVD recorded assessment of practice skills, class presentations, oral examination and assessment of the two practice learning opportunities.
Crawford. K. and Walker, J. (2010) Social Work and Human Development, third edition, Exeter: Learning Matters
Davis,R. and Gordon,J. (eds) (2010) Social Work and the Law in Scotland, second edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ferguson, I. and Woodward, R. (2009) Radical Social Work in Practice: Making a Difference.
Trevithick, P. (2005) Social Work Skills: A Practice Handbook, second edition, Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Wilson, K., Ruch, G., Lymbery, M. and Cooper, A. (2012) 2nd Edition, Social Work: An introduction to contemporary practice, second edition, Harlow: Pearson Education.
The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.
This course concentrates teaching into three full days each week. This allows for more interactive workshops alongside traditional lectures and seminars. The other two days are for private study and there will often be guided reading or tasks to complete on your own or as part of a group.
There are no combined degrees available. However there is an alternative degree route within the wider social sciences department for those do not attain the social work qualification or choose not to pursue it.
Staff are all qualified social workers with a strong commitment to the profession in terms of teaching and research.This is demonstrated by membership of a range of international and national social work organisations within the staff group. Additionally we have partnerships with local agencies in terms of exchange of knowledge between academia and practice. As a result we have strong representation of practitioners and other agency staff on our assessment boards and in teaching. Not all social work degrees require empirical research within the Honours dissertation but this course believes it is vital that social work students have experience of undertaking research in order to fully appreciate its relevance to practice.
It is not possible to study abroad during this course.
2nd in Scotland for Social Work (The Times Good University Guide, 2010, and in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise).
At the annual programme committee, employers from local authorities and voluntary organisations recognise that Stirling students coming to them on practice placements and as newly qualified social workers were well prepared for the demands of the agencies. For example:
‘Practice teachers (who supervise students on placements) 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. The member of staff who attended the presentations of research (conducted by student for their MSc/BA (Hons)) was really impressed by the work the students had undertaken and found the range of subjects interesting. We hope this is going to be a regular feature of the academic year at Stirling.’ Shelagh Low,Practice Development Officer for Fife Council.
Similarly Stuart Eno, Senior Learning & Development Officer, Perth and Kinross Council writes:
’People have welcomed opportunities offered by the University, such as the community social work, personalisation and the Japanese seminars. Non-practice learning staff have also enjoyed contributing to the course through taking part in the oral exam, and admission panels.With regard to the students themselves, there has been positive feedback about the calibre of the students, and their commitment to the placements – often entailing considerable travel to and from their homebase. There have been some very good examples of creative approaches, contributing to developments within the team(s) and service(s). An interest and awareness of policy and political dimensions has also been noted. Several students have been seen as people we would want to apply should vacancies arise, and we do have recent graduates now in post with Perth and Kinross Council’
All lecturers on this course engage in research and writing relevant to social work and wider social issues. The importance of research to the future development of the profession is underlined by the requirement that students undertake a piece of empirical research as part of their Honours dissertation. There are partnerships with local agencies in terms of exchange of knowledge between academia and practice. As a result we have strong representation of practitioners and other agency staff on our assessment boards and in teaching.
As a mature student with a lengthy background in working with people I made the decision to return to full-time education. I was drawn to Stirling due to the high reputation it holds in this field.I am due to graduate in 2012 and I have found my time at Stirling challenging and demanding but also stimulating and rewarding. It has been thought-provoking and engendered growth in me both as a person and in my understanding of social work today. I feel the course is a robust preparation for practice, fostered by many excellent lecturers who openly encourage a questioning mind. The social work placements I have been fortunate enough to experience, have been invaluable opportunities, that have allowed me the privilege of stepping into real lives, address real issues and try to make a difference. I am glad I have had the experience of undertaking my training at Stirling; it lives up to its reputation.
Stevie Morrison Social Work student, Year 4.
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 am also excited to be able to develop my knowledge in areas of interest via the dissertation module. Furthermore I am able to do this in the most beautiful of surroundings and take advantage of all the benefits that the campus has to offer.’
Charlene Gay Social Work student, Year 4.
I worked as a full-time social worker and then became a Senior Practitioner in 2005. I was heavily involved in continuous professional development and local practice including development of group work programmes. I have remained involved in ongoing research and development of practice with sexual offending , domestic abuse and young people in transition. In June 2009 I obtained the post of Acting Team Manager in Criminal Justice, before moving to the post of Acting Youth Justice Manager in Children and Families in November 2009. In February 2010 I obtained my current post of Youth Justice Manager. I remain actively involved in various ongoing strategic developments both at a government and local level in terms of Preventing Offending by Young People, alternatives to secure care and custody, and the ongoing development of practice-based issues. I remain actively involved with the University of Stirling both as an External Marker and Practice Assessor and this has clearly allowed me to continue to enhance my own personal and professional development in social work.
Kevin Carter Social Work BA (Hons), graduated 2000. Currently working for West Lothian Council in a career in criminal justice.
Our staff have wide research interests, for instance, in childcare, adult protection and criminal justice social work. Professor Brigid Daniel's work on resilience and neglect is internationally recognised. Our staff are consistenty nominated by students within the University for their excellence in teaching.