BA (Hons) Social Work

Join our leading social work university; we're ranked Top 5 in Scotland for Social Work (Guardian University Guide 2022) and we’ll prepare you with the skills you need for a successful career.

Key facts

  • Award BA (Hons)
  • Start date September 2022
  • Duration 48 months
  • Mode of study Full-time
  • UCAS Code L500

Accreditations

The Scottish Social Services Council

The Scottish Social Services Council accreditation

Overview

Find out more about Changes at Stirling, including how you'll be taught, start dates and how we're making campus safer.

Health and social care workers are the largest proportion of key worker occupations (Office for National Statistics) and the services provided by these workers are vital to society. Our stimulating and challenging Social Work degree could be for you if you would like to have a rewarding career that makes a positive contribution to society. Our degree combines practical experience with theory, and gives you the professional qualification you need to practise social work and help change people’s lives.

You’ll be taught by qualified social workers, and members of national and international social work organisations. Our course content draws on the latest knowledge and experience of people working in social work today. Social workers are often involved in complex and difficult situations, as well as meaningful work. We equip you with the skills you need to successfully deal with the variety of social problems you could encounter in social work.   

For entry onto this highly regarded course, you’ll need to demonstrate some involvement with social work, the care system or a related field prior to starting the degree. This can take the form of volunteering or unpaid work.

Top reasons to study with us

Professional accreditation

When you successfully complete your Social Work degree, you can register as a qualified social worker with the Scottish Social Services Council. England, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own registration body and they all accept this degree.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for your country/region

Year 1 entry – Four-year honours

SQA Highers
AABB - by the end of S5
AAAB - by the end of S6

GCE A-levels
BBB

IB Diploma
30 points

BTEC (Level 3)
DDM

Essential subjects
Numeracy and Literacy requirements evidenced at a minimum by Maths and English Standard Grade 3, National 5(c), Intermediate 2(c), GCSE (c/4) or equivalent qualification at this level.

Those without the formal qualifications for numeracy may be able to undertake additional study in the first year to meet SSSC requirements.

Widening access students
Widening access students may be eligible for an adjusted offer of entry. To find out if this applies to you go to our widening access pages.

Care-experienced applicants will be guaranteed an offer of a place if they meet the minimum entry requirements.

Updated: 28/09/2021

Year 2 entry – Three-year honours

Other Scottish qualifications

Scottish HNC/HND
Year one minimum entry - Bs in graded units.

Access courses
University of Stirling access course - for mature students only. You must pass the course with 50% or above.

SWAP access course - for mature students only. Please check the SWAP progression routes document for details.

Email our Admissions Team for advice about other access courses.

Foundation Apprenticeships
Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

Essential subjects
Numeracy and Literacy requirements evidenced at a minimum by Maths and English Standard Grade 3, National 5(c), Intermediate 2(c), GCSE (c/4) or equivalent qualification at this level.

Those without the formal qualifications for numeracy may be able to undertake additional study in the first year to meet SSSC requirements.

Other qualifications

English, Welsh and Northern Irish HNC/HND
Merits and Distinctions

English, Welsh and Northern Irish access courses
Access to Higher Education - 60 credits, minimum 45 at QCF Level 3, pass at 60% or above.

Essential subjects
Numeracy and Literacy requirements evidenced at a minimum by Maths and English Standard Grade 3, National 5(c), Intermediate 2(c), GCSE (c/4) or equivalent qualification at this level.

Those without the formal qualifications for numeracy may be able to undertake additional study in the first year to meet SSSC requirements.

Advanced entry

Advanced entry is not available for this course.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply

If you’ve taken exams over two sittings, repeated an exam, or been upgraded, the entrance requirements may be higher.

Voluntary, paid or personal experience of social work or related activity is essential for entry onto our Social Work degree.

Application procedure

There is a two-stage, paper-based selection process for our Social Work degree.

First stage: your UCAS application form.
This is screened for social work-related knowledge and experience, as well as qualifications, so your personal statement is particularly important. 

Second stage: additional written work.
If your application form covers the required areas, in terms of qualifications, experience and understanding of social work, you’ll be invited to submit an additional piece of written work. You’ll be given two social work scenarios and asked general questions about the challenges and attractions of being a social worker.

You must register with the Scottish Social Services Council by the start of the second semester in Year 1. As part of the registration process with the Scottish Social Services Council, all applicants are subject to a Criminal Records check. You must be registered on the social work student section throughout your course and this is your responsibility to fulfil.  

Previous criminal convictions may not exclude you. However, certain convictions must be declared during the University application process and some previous convictions may result in your application being unsuccessful. Please see the Disclosure Scotland Website for guidance on which spent convictions must be declared.

Our Social Work course is not available as a combined degree.

Other routes of entry

If you’re an international student and don’t meet the academic and English-language requirements for entry onto this degree, there are other options to prepare you. You could take our International Foundation programme. Delivered by INTO University of Stirling on our Stirling campus, you can benefit from excellent teaching and supportive English language training. Find out more about the International Foundation in Media, Humanities and Social Sciences programme.

English language requirements

Due to disruption in English Language testing caused by COVID-19, we are accepting alternative English Language tests (including online English Language Tests).

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Indicator 7.0 with 6.0 in each skill
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 185 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 185 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 67 overall with a minimum of 60 in each sub-skill
  • IBT TOEFL 94 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
  • IBT TOEFL Special Home Edition Test 94 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
  • Trinity ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills
  • Aptis (4 skills) CEFR C1 overall and B2 in all sub-skills
  • Duolingo 115 overall with minimum of 95 in each sub-skill
  • LanguageCert International ESOL C1 Expert - Pass with minimum 33 in each sub-ski

If you are from India, Bangladesh, Ghana or Nigeria please also check your country/region specific page for any additional, or changes to, English language requirements.

For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses

Course details

Semesters 1-3
You’ll follow introductory courses in Sociology and Social Policy to give you an understanding of the wider context for social work.

In addition, you’ll take four modules that introduce you to social work knowledge, skills, law and policy, and one which incorporates community-based practice. You’ll also take two other modules of your choice.

Semesters 4-8
You’ll benefit from working alongside postgraduate students who are studying social work at MSc level. Through a combination of well-supported work placements and class-room learning, you’ll cover:

  • How to apply theory to social work practice, with two assessed practice placements in Semesters 5 and 6. You’ll work directly with people who use social services, as well as being supported and supervised by qualified social workers and other professionals.
  • Specific social work skills in relation to different members of society, including: children; families; adults and people who offend.
  • In your fourth year you’ll write an Honours dissertation and carry out a piece of empirical research. We believe it’s vital to have experience in carrying out research to understand its relevance in practice.

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2021). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course details

Teaching

You will be taught by qualified Social Workers with a strong commitment to the profession, in terms of sharing knowledge and research. We also use online resources and learning methods to benefit your study experience. From Semester 4 onwards, we encourage you to engage with theory and research through case studies, role plays, discussions and project group work.

Involving Social Services Users and Carers 

Our University of Stirling Social Work Service Users and Carers’ Group, ‘UNITY’, was established in 2005 in recognition of the important contribution that people who use social services have for social work education. UNITY members are involved in many aspects of the Social Work degree, including direct teaching and the selection processes. They also provide you as a student, the opportunity to practice your interviewing skills.

Find out more about Unity.

Assessment

We use a number of assessment methods, including analytical accounts of practice, video-recorded assessment of practice skills, class presentations, an oral examination, placements and essays.

When you reach your final Honours year, you’re required to write a dissertation based on a piece of empirical research. We believe that you should have experience of carrying out research in order to fully appreciate its relevance to practice.

Work placement opportunities

You’ll have two professional practice learning opportunities in Semester 5 (75 days) and a second module spanning across the summer period and into Semester 7 (95 days). You’ll work directly with people who use social services, under the supervision of qualified social workers and other professionals, and be assessed by a qualified Practice Teacher.

You could also join the Social Work Society through the Student Union. This offers a support base for you to discuss issues regarding social work and professional development, as well as the opportunity to get involved in related activities.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

Academic year: 2021/22 2022/23
Scottish students £1,820* £1,820 *
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £9,250
European Union students £15,100 £15,900
Overseas students (non-EU) £15,100 £15,900

Scottish students

* This fee is set by the Scottish Government and is subject to change.

You will be charged the annual tuition fee each year when you enrol.

Although you’re liable for annual tuition fees, students domiciled in Scotland can apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government on their behalf. If you’re unsure of your fee status, you can check your eligibility.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you’ll be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

This tuition fee may be subject to change depending on guidance provided by the UK Government.

You will be charged the annual fee each year when you enrol. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

You can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of your tuition fees, from your relevant funding body. Students from the Republic of Ireland who are living in the Common Travel Area of the UK, Islands or Ireland and are starting a course of study in Scotland in session 2021/22 will be entitled to apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for funding. See more information on the SAAS website.

We also offer additional funding – such as our Honours Year Scholarship – for students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. See our funding opportunities below for more information.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

European Union students

For EU students starting studies in academic year 2022/23, we will award an automatic scholarship of up to £30k over the duration of your course. This is subject to eligibility criteria.

Students from the Republic of Ireland should see the fee and funding information under England, Wales, NI and Republic of Ireland.

You will be charged the annual fee each year when you enrol. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Overseas students (non-EU)

You will be charged the annual fee each year when you enrol. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

If you need to take additional modules or resit modules, you will be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

To register with the Scottish Social Services Council as a Social Work student, you’ll need to pay an application fee of £15, plus an annual fee of £15 thereafter.

The two practice placements may include extra travelling costs. All or part of these may be claimed back due to additional direct funding to the programme from the Scottish Government.

Funding opportunities

See what funding opportunities and loans are available to help you with tuition and living costs.

Students domiciled in Scotland

The University of Stirling offers undergraduate funding opportunities for students domiciled in Scotland. To find out if you’re eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

EU students

For EU students starting studies in academic year 2021/22, we will award an automatic scholarship of up to £30k over the duration of your course. This is subject to eligibility criteria.

Students domiciled in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

The Undergraduate Choice Scholarship provides a £1,000 cash award to all students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland who meet the conditions of their offer and select the University of Stirling as their Firm or Insurance choice on UCAS.

The University also offers the Undergraduate Merit Scholarship, which is awarded to selected students and provides a £1,000 cash award per year for years 1-3 of study. To be considered for the Merit Scholarship, students require a minimum of AAB at A-level or equivalent.

In addition, students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland who enter in year 1 and progress successfully through years 2 and 3 will receive our Honours Year Scholarship, which covers the cost of undergraduate tuition fees in the Honours year of study.

You don’t need to apply for the awards listed above - we'll automatically identify your eligibility as part of the admissions process.

To explore other scholarships and learn more about funding opportunities, use our scholarship finder.

Students domiciled overseas

The University of Stirling offers generous undergraduate funding opportunities for overseas students. To find out if you're eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling.

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay.

After you graduate

What can you do with a social work degree?

Our BA (Hons) Social Work degree will equip you for social work jobs throughout the UK and in a variety of settings, including local authorities, prisons, hospitals and non-governmental organisations. The nature of the work is extremely varied and you can move between different work settings throughout your career.

There are more than 1.5 million people working in the social care sector in the UK in 38,000 different settings and the adult social care sector alone contributes an estimated £43 billion to the economy (prospects.ac.uk). 

  • Our Social Work graduates earn an average salary of £32,000 six months after they complete the course (UNISTATS)

Employability skills

We focus on developing your practical social work and research skills. Your employability is one of our highest priorities, and we want to give you an advantage when you enter the job market. Our Social Work degree includes two work experience placements. We also provide you with many opportunities to gain insight into the sector: from our qualified teaching staff, to social service users and carers, and staff from local voluntary organisations and agencies, we make sure you get the best support to start your social work career.

Companies we work with

Through our partnerships with local authorities and voluntary organisations, we regularly receive excellent feedback on our students – both on practice placements and as newly qualified social workers. We prepare our Social Work degree students for the demands of agencies and real social work practice.

It has been my experience, and that of my practice teaching colleagues, that social work students coming from Stirling are of exceptional calibre and bring with them a high level of knowledge and skills which they appear to easily transfer to practice. This of course has been enabled by the quality of teaching that they receive from both tutors and practitioners who’re involved in various aspects of the course prior to students undertaking a practice learning opportunity.

Vivian Fitzsimmons, Practice Teacher/Coordinator, Falkirk Council

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.

Shelagh Low, Workforce Development Officer for Fife Council.

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What our students said

Katja Nicholson
Katja Nicholson
Scotland
BA (Hons) Social Work
It was extremely beneficial that all lecturers were qualified social workers and brought a vast amount of knowledge and experience of different areas of social work to teaching.
Read Katja's story
Charleen Gay
BA (Hons) Social Work
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.
Read Charleen's story
Kevin Carter
BA (Hons) Social Work
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.
Read Kevin's story