Social Work - BSc (Hons) *

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years)
September 2019

Do you have an interest in working with vulnerable children, families and adults and want to make a difference to society? If so, then this Social Work course might be suitable for you.

As one of the largest providers of social workers in the UK, our Social Work BSc (Hons) degree is approved by the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) and is well known for producing excellent practitioners capable of operating in local authority, voluntary or private settings.

What's covered in the course?

Our specially-designed degree is endorsed by the College of Social Work to give you the skills and knowledge needed to make a difference to people's lives as a professional and registered social worker.

You will learn about the social work profession and the needs of the people social workers support. We link theory and practice through a combination of academic learning and on the job placement opportunities.

You will gain a first-hand insight into a wide range of issues that you will face in social work practice, such as:

  • The care needs of vulnerable practice
  • Homelessness
  • Domestic violence
  • Substance misuse
  • Mental health problems
  • The abuse of vulnerable people

Through expert teaching and quality placements, you will develop a sophisticated understanding of different service user groups and the skills needed to safeguard the well-being of vulnerable people.

This social work degree course is among the most innovative of its kind, placing you where you will benefit the most - among the people and communities you will go on to support.

See what our students say...

“Some of my colleagues envy the teaching we received at Birmingham City University when they hear what we covered.”
Taiwona Kanjanda

“I like how the student body panel is diverse and multicultural and how they always want to involve the students in everything.”
'Fikayo Erinoso

Why Choose Us?

  • This course is endorsed by the College of Social Work – after meeting their high standards as social work education providers
  • Approved by The Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC), to ensure that we are practising the highest standards of education and delivering the very best learning opportunities
  • High employability rate - 98 per cent of our graduates are in employment or training six months after finishing the course (DLHE 16/17)
  • We celebrate diversity and culture – our students come from all cultures and backgrounds and we are proud to have one of the most diverse student groups in the UK, with more than 50 per cent coming from ethnic minority groups
  • Birmingham is the UK’s second largest city, providing you with invaluable learning experiences and a vibrant culture to enjoy both personally and professionally
  • Exciting and challenging work placements, we support you through placements in order to develop your work experience and practical skills 
  • We will develop you to be a skilled, resilient and empowering leader, making sure you'll be fit for social work in the 21st century when you graduate
  • Study in our £41 million City South Campus, with access to state-of-the-art facilities and learning environments
  • Experienced and dedicated staff team will support you throughout the course, and you will have access to a personal tutor. If you've been away from education for a while, we also have a range of excellent resources to help you with study skills such as essay writing and research
  • The course covers all aspects of social work, enabling you to aim for careers in specialist social work agencies as well as roles in education and health. Our graduates have found jobs in children's and adult services, as well as third sector and private roles

To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2018 or 2019, we're giving at least £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials. Even better, it doesn’t have to be repaid. Terms and conditions apply.

Find out more
This course is not open to International students

Practise your skills in SPACE 

Filled with state-of-the-art equipment, our SPACE (Skills Practice and Care Enhancement) area is the perfect place for you to practise a wide range of skills at your own pace.

Watch our video to see how access to SPACE has helped our students to succeed.

Explore SPACE

Subject to approval

This course is in the final stages of approval to ensure it meets the very highest standards of quality, creativity and applied learning.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of 112 UCAS tariff points.

Essential Requirements
Level 2 qualifications

GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language and Mathematics (formerly Grade C).

Equivalent qualifications such as Key Skills Level 2, Adult Numeracy Level 2, Adult Literacy Level 2, Functional Skills English and Maths Level 2 or CSE Grade 1 will be accepted.

Irish Leaving Certificate 

Minimum of five passes - including Mathematics and English - at Grade B3 or above.

Scottish qualifications 

A minimum of five passes including Mathematics and English at Intermediate Standard 2 or above.

Plus one of the following Level 3 qualifications which you may be working towards:

GCE A/A2 level
112 UCAS tariff points from minimum of three A/A2 level passes. General Studies not accepted. Health and Social Sciences preferred.

GCE AS/A1 level
Two subjects accepted with two GCE A/A2 levels. Must achieve a minimum of 112 UCAS tariff points. General Studies not accepted.

GCE/AVCE Double Award in Health and Social Care
GCE/AVCE Double Award at grade CC with remaining UCAS tariff points from a maximum of one GCE A/A2 level. General Studies not accepted.

BTEC National Certificate in Children's Care, Learning and Devt (Theory) (2007 onwards)
Accepted on its own and combined with other qualifications.

BTEC National Diploma (18 units - not including Early Years) 
Minimum Grade DMM required (112 UCAS tariff points).

BTEC National Diploma in Children's Care, Learning and Devt (Theory) (2007 onwards)
Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications.

International Baccalaureate Diploma
Minimum Grade 28

CACHE Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care
Minimum Grade B required (112 UCAS tariff points).

Access to HE Diploma in a Health, Social Care or Social Science related subject.
Full award (60 credits) of which a minimum of 45 must be at Level 3 including 24 at Merit or Distinction in a Science or Health related subject and 15 at Level 2, must include Mathematics and English Language GCSE equivalent if not already achieved.

If an applicant is studying an Access qualification or has already achieved an acceptable Level 3+ qualification, but is missing an acceptable Level 2 qualification, then they will be asked to complete Functional Skills Level 2 Maths and/or English Language (as applicable) by the 31st July alongside the GCSE they are studying.

The Open University K101 - An Introduction to Health and Social Care
Completion of full year (transcripts will be required).

Irish Leaving Certificate
Maximum of 5 Highers at Grade C3 or above to achieve 112 UCAS tariff points.

Scottish Qualifications
Maximum of 5 Advanced Highers at Grade C or above to achieve 112 UCAS tariff points.

BTEC/Scottish Higher National Certificate (HNC)
Required in a Health and Social Sciences subject.

BTEC/Scottish National Higher Diploma (HND)
Preferably in a Health and Social Sciences subject.

International Baccalaureate Diploma
A minimum of 28 points. 

14 –19 Progression Diploma in Society, Health and Development
Minimum Grade B to achieve 112 UCAS tariff points.

14-19 Advanced Diploma in Society, Health and Development
Full award to achieve 112 UCAS tariff points.

Successful applicants must meet the International English Language Test (IELTS) at Level 7, and confirm prior to interview decision/offer that they have the ability to use basic IT facilities.

Portfolio route

A Portfolio route has been devised for those applicants who have significant relevant experience of working with vulnerable people but do not meet the formal entry requirements. To follow this route you are still expected to possess GCSE Mathematics and English or equivalent.


  • You will need to have three or more years' relevant experience in a role which involves experience of undertaking work with vulnerable people, and which can be transferable into social work practice. This involves work such as assessment, care/support planning, co-ordination of services with other professionals, and reviewing.
  • You are required to have GCSE Mathematics and English or equivalent.

The portfolio is made up of the following:

  • A reflective account reviewing your own role, skills and areas for development in relation to your practice - 1,000 words
  • An analysis of a case that you have worked on - 1,000 words
  • A reflection on your performance during the direct observation and the feedback given by the social worker - 500 words
  • A report by a social worker on the direct observation of your current practice
  • Two references/testimonials - one from your line manager and one from a qualified social worker (again, preferably a senior social worker or above).

To apply via the portfolio route, you will need to put the items above together in a folder (portfolio) and send it to the admissions tutor with an application form. The portfolio is then looked at by academic staff at the university, who will evaluate the work and make a judgement about the applicant's suitability for the Social Work programme. Successful applicants will be invited to attend an admissions day where they will undertake a written test, group exercise and individual interview.

In addition:

  • Applicants must have evidence of study within the last five years and/or current relevant practice experience in a social care setting.
  • Applicants are required to complete a written exercise on attendance at the selection day.
  • Applicants will be required to participate in a group work exercise.
  • Applicants are required to complete a face-to-face engagement, normally in the format of an interview.
  • A second reference for Access/BTEC students from the original referee is to be provided to the institution by 30 April of the enrolment year.

Places are subject to a satisfactory Occupational Heath Check, and a Disclosure and Barring Service report .

Applicants should be aware that qualifications, personal statement, references, interview, group and written exercise all form part of the selection criteria for this course.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students


UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Admissions Process

The admissions process is in three stages, using a range of activities to evaluate your potential to undertake social work education and practice.

Stage one

Your application and personal statements are screened for eligibility against the entry requirements and shortlisted. If you're successfully shortlisted you'll be invited to an admissions day at the university. During the day you will be evaluated in a number of areas.

Stage two

You demonstrate your written and analytical skills, and your ability to interact and perform in a group task. You have to pass both these elements to progress to an individual interview later the same day.

Stage three

During an individual interview, you are expected to demonstrate your individual application of skills, knowledge and values required in the social work profession. The process is mapped against The College of Social Work's Professional Capabilities Framework at entry level, and you will have to meet these criteria.  

You are required to pass each stage of the process to progress to the next. Only those applicants who are successful in each stage will be offered a place on the course.  

Preparing an application

When preparing to write your application and personal statement you need to make sure you tell us about a number of things so that we can make sure you have a good chance of being shortlisted. It is essential to say:

  • Why are you applying for social work - what is your interest?
  • Why you think you are suitable for social work.

Indicate that you have some awareness of what social work is, and what social workers do. What are some of the challenges and dilemmas that social workers face? Think about issues such as equality, diversity and empathy and their relevance to social work.

Show that you understand what is required to study social work.

What skills and experience do you have (either paid or voluntary) that would be transferable in social work practice? It is increasingly important to have experience of working with vulnerable groups of people.

What values do you have that are appropriate in social work? How do these relate to working with vulnerable people in an anti-discriminatory way?

Do you have any hobbies or interests that demonstrate skills relevant to social work?

If you have an idea of what you would like to achieve after completing the course, explained how you want to use the knowledge and experience gained.

If you are including a non-academic reference, make sure that the person providing this knows you very well, and is able to comment upon your skills, qualities and potential to be a social worker.

Preparing for an admissions day

Here is some advice for those who have been successfully shortlisted and invited to an admissions day:

You will receive an invitation from the university including the date, arrival time, where to go and where to report to. There will be contact details of who to contact if you have difficulties. You will also be sent more detailed information about the course and about the admissions day.

Arrive on time – latecomers might not be able to proceed and may have to re-book.

Make sure you arrive at the Birmingham City University Campus on Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, as some applicants who are not familiar with Birmingham have turned up at the wrong campus or the wrong university in the past.

Inform the University well in advance if you have any specific needs during the day. Reasonable adjustments can only be made with advance notice and evidence of an educational needs assessment. Applicants with specific needs should provide us with at least two weeks' advance notice from the date of invitation. If you do not inform us we may have to reschedule, if that is viable.

When engaging with the written task, focus on analysing what is going on in the case scenario you will be given. Keep description down to a limit and focus on your assessment of the situation.

Be prepared to contribute to a small group discussion. Those who say little or convey limited knowledge and understanding of social work may not demonstrate sufficient capabilities required to proceed to an interview. Be sensitive to other participants in the discussion.

If you proceed to an individual interview consider the following:

Be clear about why you want to be a social worker.

Do some research into what social work is, and what it sets out to achieve. Prepare examples of how social workers can support vulnerable people.

Consider what skills you have that can be useful in social work. How could you develop these skills?

Give some thought to what knowledge you would need to be a social worker. Prepare examples of any theories, legislation or policy social workers might use.

Consider what values are needed to work with vulnerable people and to work in an anti-discriminatory way. Do some homework on the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), who are the regulatory body for social work and social work education. What do they say about values and standards? Also check out the role of The College of Social Work and the British Association of Social Workers’ (BASW) code of ethics.

Think about the academic skills you have developed in previous study, and how you will meet the demands of studying at degree level. Consider examples of how you would do this.

Personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Worried about personal statements?

Worried about personal statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Course structure

Our social work degree course links theory directly with practice, enabling you to engage effectively and sensitively with vulnerable groups. You'll graduate as a professional capable of ensuring the users of social work services have the maximum possible independence while still safeguarding them from harm and risk. We'll help you develop and maintain the confidence of service users, protecting their rights, effectively promoting their interests and ensuring equality.

Our degree is designed to prepare you in the best way possible for direct practice, partnering with employers to ensure you get experience in a variety of settings. You'll have the chance to work alongside a range of vulnerable groups and individuals with differing needs on placement. This may involve working in a day-care setting, for groups who require a few hours of attention daily, or in the community, carrying out assessments, developing care plans, identifying and responding to risk, managing complex caseloads and prioritising work, as well as delivering appropriate services.

In year one you'll start your training with five modules that will introduce you to what social workers do. This includes anti-discriminatory issues, the law and issues related to human growth and development, as well as other vital areas of social welfare.

In the second year, you'll continue to build your knowledge base about the demands placed on modern social workers with a further four modules as well as your first major placement (70 days). The year concludes with an introduction to research methods.

In the final year of the social work degree, you'll develop more of your evidence-based skills and hone your knowledge of law and policy. The course features a longer, 100 day placement. You'll finish the course by working on critical reflection, giving you a robust platform from which you can begin to practice as a social worker.

Course breakdown

Year One

Please note
Module titles are indicative and may change pending HCPC Approval.

Introduction to Social Work Practice
20 credits
Equality, Diversity and Anti-Discriminatory Practice
20 credits
Human Growth and the Lifecourse
20 credits
Foundation Law and Social Policy
20 credits
Core Skills for Practice
40 credits

Year Two

Law, Policy and Safeguarding 1
30 credits
Methods of Social Work Intervention
30 credits
Practice Placement
45 credits
Research Design and Methods
15 credits

Year Three

Evidence Informed Practice
30 credits
Law, Policy and Safeguarding 2
15 credits
Practice Placement
60 credits
Critical Reflective Practice
15 credits

Teaching breakdown

34 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
53 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
13 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

9 Written exams DarkOrange
84 Coursework FireBrick
7 Practical exams #fece5a

Student stories

Recent graduate and Social Worker Taiwona Kajanda recommends the BSc (Hons) Social Work programme at Birmingham City University and highlights the benefits of this degree course.


These independent reviews show what our students really think:

"The lecturers are excellent, really approachable and knowledgeable. They really focus on current issues and practices and facilitate discussion and debate which helps to locate the academic subject within a realistic framework"

Read all Which? Uni reviews

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further study

Our Social Work degree gives you a strong foundation for a career as a social worker and also provides a gateway for progression into further study. Employers encourage graduates to continue their professional development, by undertaking, for example, post- qualifying training in child care, adult services and mental health. We offer a comprehensive portfolio of continuing professional development (CPD), post-registration courses.

Student stories Shanta Mangat

The course is 50/50 classroom and placements. There are high expectations of students – but there is a lot of support from tutors, peer group and academic staff available to get us all through. As a mature student you face the same workload and challenges as any other student, though having a background in care and the skills developed in the working world have helped with little things like prioritising and time management. In the first year my placement involved working with adults with dementia in a day centre. This year I have been working with young women in a hostel for the homeless.

Employment opportunities

After graduating from the social work degree, you are eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), enabling you to practise as a professional social worker.

With half of the course taking place in practice settings, this course is highly regarded by employers. The experience you will gain as a social work student at Birmingham City University, the largest provider of qualified health and social services staff in the region, gives you excellent employment prospects.


Placements take place across a range of agencies including local authorities, voluntary and independent organisations, in a variety of settings such as residential, day care, schools, housing, hospitals and Social Work teams.

A significant period of time on the programme is spent on placement, observing and engaging with the realities of social work with at least two different client groups, and the final year placement will always involve working and learning in statutory social work interventions.

The course aims to offer separate placements with children and families and an adult group. You will undertake a minimum 170 days of placements over the three years of the course, working in different settings with service users and professional colleagues. Group learning is an important part of ensuring you engage with a diverse range of undergraduate peers and staff.

Our broad partner network means we are able to offer placement opportunities in the public and independent sectors, drawing on strong links with Birmingham City Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, as well as charities including Barnardo’s.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate Jobs

The course covers all aspects of social work, which will allow you to work with any vulnerable client group immediately, with regard for the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE).

A crucial testament to the quality of our training is that at least half of our students have confirmed jobs before they complete their course and 90 per cent go on to work or further study within six months of finishing the social work degree.

Many of our graduates progress to management or senior practitioner roles in local authority children’s or adult services within a few years of having completed their training. Others go on to secure senior posts in voluntary sector organisations, in practice education or further research.

Our social work degree graduates are skilled in the importance of evidence-based practice. Our typical graduate is resilient and empowered to be able to work with some of the most vulnerable people in society – crucial characteristics demanded by the regulator and the professional bodies defining best practice.

96%...of students are in graduate level employment or full time study six months after graduating2016/17 DLHE Response


We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that medical staff may come across.

These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice. Much of our teaching is carried out within our state-of-the-art, £30m Seacole Building, which houses cutting-edge learning facilities.

Take a virtual tour of our skills suites at Seacole

In a sector where new techniques are constantly being discovered, we work hard to ensure that students learn using the most up-to-date equipment available. These include the only mock operating theatre in an English university and a cutting-edge radiography virtual clinical training facility, virtual ward and virtual case creator.

Home Environment Room

The Home Environment room is the perfect setting for teaching communications skills and allows us to simulate a community setting for our students. It is particularly useful for paramedics, mental health and learning disability nurses and also midwives.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The state-of-the art facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, full colour printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Staff Introduction

Our staff have extensive experience of social work practice, which brings insight, depth, expertise and realism to your learning, and ensures the teaching reflects the current climate in social work practice.

The social work team are a diverse group of professionals with many research interests and backgrounds in all aspects of practice. Our Head of Department is involved in the regulation of social work programmes across the region, further underlining our close professional links with the sector.

Albert Moylan

Senior Lecturer in Social Work

Born in the Republic of Ireland, Albert obtained a degree in Commerce and initially started out on a career in business. He discovered that his interest in people, social problems, inequality, deprivation and disadvantage far outweighed his interest in commerce.

After moving to the UK in 1986 and settling in Birmingham, Albert qualified as a social worker and practised generically within Birmingham City Council with all adult client groups. He qualified as a Social Work Practice Teacher in 2005, and started to work closely with a number of local universities. After a period as a practice learning coordinator and off-site practice educator with Birmingham City Council Learning and Development, he was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Social Work with Birmingham City University in 2007. In addition to teaching, Albert took on the role of Subject Quality Coordinator, and was Programme Director for the BSc (Hons) Social work Degree from 2014 to 2016.

Albert is a member of the Teaching Teams for the BSc (Hons) Social Work Degree, Social Work Practice Educator Training Programme, Approved Mental Health Professional Programme, Faculty MSc in Safeguarding, and the MSc in Social Work Programme. He has a special interest in identity, equality and social justice, the value of internationalization and having a global outlook, and enhancing the quality of social work education and social work practice.

He is currently Module leader for Equality, Diversity and Anti-discriminatory Practice in the BSc (Hons) Undergraduate Social Work Degree and is Deputy Programme Leader for the Social Work Practice Educator Training Programme and the MSc in Social Work.