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PgDip | Postgraduate Taught

Applied Social Studies Child Care

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 years (Part Time)
Places available
  • Overview

    The modules that make up the Child Care programme are designed to meet the continuing professional development needs of social work staff working across the Child Care sector.

    The programme presents opportunities to study a range of areas relevant to practice with children, young people and families, with three modules focusing broadly on
    • Advanced Knowledge, Theory and Methods
    • Promoting and Safeguarding the Welfare of Children and Families
    • Enhancing Outcomes for Children in State Care

    Teaching is informed by current research and evidence, and students are encouraged to apply the learning to their particular professional contexts. Working with practitioners from a range of settings affords a creative and challenging opportunity for learning and the sharing of ideas and approaches for best practice with children, young people and families.

    Students can access modules individually and accumulate academic credit points towards an award, affording the flexibility to work within your own time schedules.

    While modules can be taken on a ‘stand alone’ basis, the full PG Diploma programme aims to maintain educational coherence whilst offering learning opportunities across a wide range of topics and issues.

    Please note that this course is not eligible for a Tier 4 visa.

    Applied Social Studies Child Care highlights

    The PG Diploma meets all nine of the professional requirements in the ‘specialist’ category.

    Professional Accreditations

    • The programme has been accredited by the Northern Ireland Post-Qualifying Education and Training Partnership and offers a professional award and requirements at the specialist level.

    Industry Links

    • For social workers, the programme reflects the Department of Health policy in relation to social work and social care training and development (The Personal Social Services Development and Training Strategy, 2006-16), including links with the Northern Ireland Post-Qualifying Education and Training Partnership’s professional requirements and awards.

    Career Development

    • Professional Development The programme offers relevant CPD opportunities for social workers as well as recognised qualifications accredited by the University which will augment their professional development and enhance the development of further opportunities in their chosen field of practice.

    Student Experience

    • The programme leader and lecturers have developed and nurtured their subject proficiency via their own practice, teaching and research in relation to their specialist area and they impart this trilateral expertise to the students via teaching on the PG Diploma programme.
    “The pathways offered through the Applied Social Studies programme provide graduates from social work, health care and allied professions with a variety of opportunities to develop their specific areas of learning and skills in practice. Increasingly, our graduates operate within teams which consist of workers from a range of professional backgrounds and there is a need to hone skills and knowledge which are relevant to the multi-disciplinary environment."

    Dr Anne Campbell, Programme Director

    Brexit Advice

    Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

  • Course content

    Course Structure

    The MSc in Child Care is a modular Master’s programme where students can opt to follow a defined route by taking all of the modules attached to a specific pathway, or choose a mix of modules, subject to entry requirements, across four pathways. Students enrol on a part-time basis; they must also be currently engaged for at least 12 hours per week in a capacity in which core social work values underpin their practice with service users or carers.

    The Postgraduate Diploma is awarded to students who successfully complete the three taught modules (which amount to 120 CATS points).

    Course DetailsCore Modules (40 CATS points each)

    There are three core modules which can also be taken as standalone modules:

    SWK8055 Advanced Knowledge, Theory and Methods
    SWK8056 Promoting and Safeguarding the Welfare of Children and their Families
    SWK8057 Enhancing Outcomes for Children in State Care

    People teaching you

    Dr Mandi MacDonald
    Lecturer in Social Work and Module Convenor (SWK8057)


    Professor Danielle Turney
    Professor of Social Work


    Career Prospects

    Continuing professional registration in social work is predicated on continuing professional development, which this programme and its pathways offer. The Dept. of Health has directed that social workers demonstrate their competence covered in the curricula of this programme and its pathways.

    The three modules can be taken as standalone modules (each earning 40 academic credits) but can be combined to achieve either a Postgraduate Certificate in Child Care – which requires successful completion of two of the modules; or a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Studies Child Care – which requires successful completion of all three modules. Candidates can then go on to complete the Applied Social Studies Child Care by completing a further Dissertation module which earns an additional 60 academic credits.

    The three modules on the PGDip have all been accredited as meeting requirements for the NI Specialist Award in Social Work under the PiP framework as follows:
    SWK8055 – requirements 1, 5 and 8
    SWK8056 – requirements 2, 4 and 7
    SWK8057 – requirements 3, 6 and 9

    A candidate who completes all three modules, therefore, will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Studies Child Care and the NI Specialist Award in Social Work.

    A candidate who completes two modules will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Child Care but will also have achieved six of the requirements for the NI Specialist Award.

    A candidate who completes all three modules and then goes on to do the Dissertation module will achieve an MSc in Applied Social Studies Child Care – they will also have met all of the requirements for the Specialist Award and, in addition, three of the requirements for the Leadership and Strategic Award (requirements 4, 7 and 9) which the Dissertation module delivers.

    Learning and Teaching

    Learning opportunities available with this course are outlined below:




    Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

    A variety of assessment methods for the Diploma will be used including written assignments, incorporating reflective analysis of how the student applied relevant theory to their practice in different cases, an assignment critically reflecting on how the student has enhanced the practice of colleagues drawing on the knowledge in the relevant module; and in SWK8056 and SWK8057, through direct observations of the student’s practice.


    The Graduate School

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Equivalent qualifications include the Pre-2007 Post-Qualifying Award in Social Work. Where this is not met, applicants must demonstrate that their experience and qualifications enable them to undertake study at postgraduate level through the uptake of references and through completing a written assignment.

    Please note that this programme is only open to applicants who are working as Social Care Professionals within NI/UK.

    Applicants must also possess a social work qualification recognised by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, be registered with the Council and should normally have two years post-qualification experience practising with service users or carers in a social work setting (including the Assessed Year in Employment where appropriate). All applicants must be currently engaged for at least 12 hours per week in a capacity in which core social work values underpin their practice with service users or carers.

    It is important that Social Work applicants include their NISCC Social Care Registration Number in the Additional Information section of the application form.

    Closing date for applications: Friday 31st July 2020 at 4pm.

    Late applications may be considered.

    International Students

    For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

    English Language Requirements

    Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) £4,093
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £4,600
    Other (non-UK) EU £4,093
    International £11,267

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2020-21 and relate to one year of study only. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    Applied Social Studies Child Care costs

    There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus