The MSc in Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law provides the required training for social workers to undertake the role of Approved Social Worker under the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 and the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016.
This is a statutory role and applications must have the support of a Health and Social Care Trust. The PG Diploma provides the qualification for practising as an Approved Social Worker (ASW) and then the Dissertation Module must be successfully completed for the MSc.
Contributors to the taught element of the ASW Programme are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and professions including service users and carers; ASWs and other social work staff, psychiatrists, psychologists and nursing staff; representatives from the courts, Review Tribunal; Regulation Quality Improvement Authority; legal advisers and researchers.
Please note that this course is not eligible for a Tier 4 visa.
Closing date for applications: Friday 29 July 2022 at 4pm. Late applications may be considered.
Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law highlights
The PG Diploma/MSc is the training for social workers to undertake the specialist role of an Approved Social Worker under the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 and the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016.
- This programme has been accredited by the Northern Ireland Post-Qualifying Education and Training Partnership and meets the requirements at the specialist and leadership levels.
- On this programme there will be restricted access to relevant data by employers, the NISCC, Dept. of Health, HSC Boards and any successor bodies.
- For social workers, the programme reflects the Department of Health policy in relation to social work and social care training and development, including links with the Northern Ireland Professional in Practice Partnership’s professional requirements and awards in the specialist and leadership categories.
- Professional Development For multi-disciplinary applicants the programmes offer relevant CPD opportunities 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.
- The Programme Director has 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 MSc.
"This course qualifies you to act as an Approved Social Worker (ASW) under mental health and mental capacity law in Northern Ireland. The course involves consideration of the relevant law, codes of practice and complex ethical issues."
Professor Gavin Davidson, Programme Director
The MSc in Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law is awarded to students who successfully complete taught modules (PG Diploma,120 CATS points) and a 15,000 – 20,000 word dissertation (60 CATS points).
Course Details Core Modules (40 CATS points each):
Context and Concepts in Mental Health
This module will facilitate Approved Social Workers in training to apply to their practice knowledge and critical understanding of the context and concepts of the field of mental health in order to make informed decisions regarding the care and treatment of people with a mental disorder.
To ensure that candidates have a critical understanding of the context within which mental health work is undertaken, including the perspectives of service users and carers.
To enable candidates in fulfilling their statutory role and responsibilities to promote equal opportunities and challenge and confront racism, sectarianism and other forms of discrimination which may disadvantage mental health service users, relatives or carers.
To enhance candidates’ understanding of different models relating to a range of mental disorders.
To encourage candidates to be aware of a range of treatments and interventions based on medical and alternative models in a family social, cultural and ethnic context.
To enable self and others to identify and explore issues, improve and develop and share best practice.
To enable candidates to work effectively within a multidisciplinary service, ensuring best outcomes for service users and their carers.
Law Ethics and Applied Law in Mental Health
This module will facilitate Approved Social Workers in training to acquire the knowledge and critical understanding of the legal and policy framework for practising ethically as an Approved Social Worker in Northern Ireland. The module will also facilitate a critical understanding of codes of practice, standards and policies guiding mental health practice and the ability to use these creatively to safeguard and promote the welfare of service users, their carers and others.
To ensure that candidates have a critical understanding of the legal framework governing mental health practice and the ability to use this creatively to safeguard and promote the welfare of service users and carers.
To ensure that candidates have a critical understanding of codes of practice, standards and policies guiding mental health practice and the ability to use these creatively to safeguard and promote the welfare of service users, and support their carers, within the legal framework.
To explore ethical practice within a legal framework.
To reinforce candidates’ confidence in their decision making within multiprofessional practice.
Social Work Practice Development in Mental Health
This module will facilitate Approved Social Workers in training to acquire the knowledge and critical understanding of the legal and policy framework for practising ethically as an ASW in Northern Ireland. The module will also facilitate a critical understanding of codes of practice, standards and policies guiding mental health practice and the ability to use these creatively to safeguard and promote the welfare of service users, their carers and others.
To enable candidates to demonstrate that they have acquired the knowledge and skills necessary to practise as an ASW.
To ensure that candidates can reflect on and critically analyse their practice.
To support candidates in evaluating their own practice against agency, National and Northern Ireland standards and research.
To enable self and others to identify and explore issues, improve and develop and share best practice.
To reinforce the confidence of candidates in promoting their own professional learning.
Dissertation (60 CATS points)
This module provides the opportunity for candidates to draw on their work experience and knowledge gained from previous pathways. These dimensions will be brought together with new learning through a dissertation based on: managing projects; empirical research undertaking, an evaluation of a particular area of practice; carrying out an audit or case study; or completing a systematic review of research/literature.
People teaching you
Professor Gavin Davidson is a qualified social worker whose research interests are in the area of mental health, specifically: the effectiveness of mental health services; the recovery approach; inequalities; trauma; coercion; mental health/mental capacity legislation; and the associations between adverse childhood experiences and mental health.
In addition to the 37 taught days (normally taught in blocks of 1-5 days), practice days will also be available to enable candidates to gather the necessary evidence of competence.
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.
Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.
Learning and Teaching
Learning opportunities associated with this course are a combination of lectures, small group work, skills workshops and practice:
In addition to the 37 taught days, practice days will also be available to enable candidates to gather the necessary evidence of competence. Candidates should be able to address many of the core practice and competence requirements in their own work setting. However, where this is not possible, it is envisaged that no more than 35 practice days will be spent outside of that setting. In addition, 4 private study days are allocated to each Module (12 days in total) and 5 days, for meetings with the practice assessor.
You will have an individual training profile and learning agreement around which your full programme, including practice, supervision and private study will be developed.
Canvas is the university’s VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). You will have a Canvas site for each module which will work a little like a website where you can click on information to download or view it. For each module, the Canvas site will include resources such as: recorded audio/ visual lectures; readings (some of which are downloadable); video links; useful web links; discussion forums; activities. This is also where you will submit your coursework and receive feedback.
Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
Assessment methods include a written assignment, a presentation, a written exam, observations of practice, a practice portfolio and a dissertation (for the final 60 credits).
The School is situated across a suite of three buildings in Belfast's Queen's Quarter. We provide student and staff common rooms, computer suites and designated study spaces.
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The Graduate School
Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Where this is not met, applicants must demonstrate that their experience and qualifications enable them to study at postgraduate level by showing either that they have the Pre-2007 Post-Qualifying Social Work Award or by producing a reflective assignment on their practice in this area (2,000 words).
Applicants must be nominated by their Health and Social Care Trust/employer who will undertake to provide support and appropriate learning opportunities. It will be the responsibility of employers to ensure that applicants have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate social work competence in their work with people who have a mental disorder and/or lack capacity, and their carers.
Closing date for applications: Friday 29th July 2022 at 4pm.
Late applications may be considered.
Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal prior to the deadline stated on course finder. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.
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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: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
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
Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £6,650 Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £6,650 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £7,470 EU Other 3 £18,200 International £18,200
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.
2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2022-23, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Additional course costs
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.
Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law 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.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships.
How to Apply
When to Apply
The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.
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.
Fees and Funding