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BSW | Undergraduate

Social Work

Entry year
Entry requirements
3 years (Full Time)
UCAS code
  • Overview

    The BSW degree is a professional qualification in Social Work accredited by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council and recognised throughout the UK, the Republic of Ireland and elsewhere. The programme is a combination of academic study and assessed practice learning opportunities. Practice Learning Opportunities are allocated in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Degree in Social Work Partnership.

    Social Work Degree highlights

    Social Work at Queen’s is ranked 5th in the UK according to the Times and Sunday Times, Good University Guide 2019 and is ranked joint 2nd in the UK for career prospects (The Guardian University Guide 2019).

    Global Opportunities

    • There are opportunities whilst on the Social Work degree to participate in summer visits to other countries to explore social work education and practice in an international context.

    Professional Accreditations

    • The Degree in Social Work is professionally accredited by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC)

      Social work students in Northern Ireland are required to register with the NISCC. You will be asked to sign a declaration that you will comply with the NISCC Standards of Conduct for Social work students available at the following link

      As part of the registration process you will be asked to provide information so that NISCC can assess your suitability to train as a social worker. This is known as, ‘fitness to practice’. The purpose of fitness to practise is not to punish potential registrants but to protect the public. Each case is considered separately and on its own merit further information can be accessed at the following link.

      Please note the NISCC may refuse to register a student based on declarations if they are deemed incompatible with registration (e.g. serious criminal convictions, specific health declarations, Care Orders or safeguarding issues). In some instances, students will be referred to the Registration Committee or NISCC’s Consultant Psychiatrist.

    Industry Links

    • For information on the Assessed Year in Employment see

      For employment opportunities in the statutory sector in Northern Ireland see

      For registration as a Social Worker in the Republic of Ireland see

    Internationally Renowned Experts

    • Permanent academic staff employed by Queen’s to deliver teaching are actively conducting and disseminating research in peer-reviewed journals or at national and international conferences or seminars. In most instances, they are international leaders within their specialist field.

    Student Experience

    • Social work students currently receive an incentive scheme. This is a bursary valued at 4000 GBP per year with an additional fund of 500 GBP to assist students with the cost of studying. This scheme remains under review. Please see full details, following the link below:
    • The Degree Plus Award recognises and accredits Queen’s students for the personal initiative and drive they demonstrate in developing skills and experiences outside of their academic programme. Students who successfully complete Degree Plus will have the accreditation recorded on their QSIS record and will receive a Degree Plus certificate at their graduation ceremony.

    Brexit Advice

    Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

  • Course content

    Course Structure

    IntroductionModules often draw on recent developments within policy, research and theory. The teaching is research-informed and uses international comparisons. Service user involvement permeates all the modules, through direct involvement, research findings or online or audio/visual resources.
    Stage 1Semester One
    Introduction to Social Work
    Law for Social Workers
    Preparation for Practice Learning

    Semester Two
    Themes and Issues in Social Policy
    Psychology for Social Work
    Sociology for Social Work
    Stage 2Semster One
    Practice Learning Level 2
    Evidence Informed Case Study Level 2

    Semster Two
    Social Work in Context
    Research, Policy and Practice
    Social Issues Across the Life Course
    Stage 3Semster One
    Social Work with Children and Families
    Social Work in Adult Services
    Social Work in Criminal Justice and the Courts

    Semster Two
    Practice Learning Level 3
    Evidence Informed Project Level

    People teaching you

    Dr Amanda Slevin
    Module Convenor, Lecturer in Social Policy


    Dr Audrey Roulston
    Academic Selector (Admissions), Module Convenor and Lecturer in Social Work


    Dr Berni Kelly
    Module Convenor, Senior Lecturer in Social Work


    Dr Davy Hayes
    Module Convenor, Senior Lecturer in Social Work


    Dr Gerry Marshall
    Module Convenor, Lecturer in Social Work


    Dr Karen Winter
    Module Convenor, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Director of Education (UG)


    Dr Lisa Bunting
    Programme Director for BSW (Under Graduate Route), Lecturer in Social Work

    Dr Lisa Bunting is a Lecturer in Social Work.

    Dr Lorna Montgomery
    Director of Practice Learning, Module Convenor and Lecturer in Social Work


    Dr Mandi MacDonald
    Module Convenor, Examinations Officer, Lecturer in Social Work


    Dr Maria Pentaraki
    Module Convenor, Lecturer in Social Work


    Dr Paul Best
    Module Convenor, Lecturer in Social Work


    Mr Alan Maddock
    Module Convenor, Lecturer in Social Work


    Mr Paul McCafferty
    Module Convenor, Lecturer in Social Work


    Professor John Pinkerton
    Module Convenor, Professor of Social Work


    Contact Teaching Times

    Large Group Teaching10 (hours maximum)
    Mornings. Lectures are generally provided 1000-1200 hours (levels 1 and 2), and 0930-1300 hours (level 3). Three days per week.
    Personal Study24 (hours maximum)
    Personal studying and reading in your own time each week, including some guided study using handouts, online activities, etc.
    Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial3 (hours maximum)
    Afternoons. Academic tutorials are generally facilitated from 1300 hours (level 2) or 1400 hours (level 3). These may last from one to three hours, depending on the module.

    Learning and Teaching

    At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential.

    On the Bachelor of Social Work degree we do this by providing a range of learning opportunities and experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society, and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.

    Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:

    • E-Learning technologies
      Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree programme through the use of, for example, interactive support materials, podcasts and web-based learning activities.
    • Lectures
      These introduce foundation information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. As the module progresses this information becomes more complex. Lectures, which are normally delivered in large groups to all year-group peers, also provide opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification on key issues as well as gain feedback and advice on assessments.
    • Personal Tutor
      Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor throughout their social work degree course who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development and pastoral care, and is the key link to the University during their practice learning opportunities.
    • Self-directed study
      This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.


    Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

    • The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.


    As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, practice teachers and on-site supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work.

    • Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including written and verbal in relation to your academic assignments and work undertaken during your practice learning opportunity. Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work. You may also access specialist support services such as Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.


    The School is located within a recently renovated building, with state of the art teaching and learning facilities, together with dedicated student space including a large student common room. The teaching facilities enable an interactive learning environment.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    A level requirements
    ABB + GCSE Mathematics grade C or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.
    Irish leaving certificate requirements
    H3H3H3H3H3H3 + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade O4 in Mathematics is required.
    BTEC Level 3 Extended/National Extended Diploma
    Successful completion of the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF) (180 credits at Level 3) with 120 credits at Distinction and 60 credits at Merit + GCSE Mathematics grade C or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.


    Successful completion of the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (RQF) (1080 Guided Learning Hours (GLHs) at Level 3) with 660 GLHs at Distinction (including a minimum of 240 GLHs in externally assessed units) and 420 GLHs at Merit + GCSE Mathematics grade C or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.
    Access/Foundation Course
    Successful completion of Access Course with an average of 70%.

    All Access course candidates must have a minimum of a grade C in GCSE Mathematics or the equivalent in the Access Course.
    Foundation Degree
    Successful completion of the Foundation Degree (2 Years) with an average of 60%. Applicants must have a minimum of a grade C in GCSE Mathematics or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.
    Minimum standard 2.2, applicants must have a minimum of a grade C in GCSE Mathematics or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.
    Applicants being considered for an offer will be interviewed.
    1. Because of the professional nature of the course, a satisfactory Access NI check and registration with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council are required.

    2. It will be beneficial for applicants to have some paid or voluntary experience of a social care nature, or of helping or mentoring others.

    3. Applicants being considered for an offer will be interviewed to assess their suitability for Social Work training. The interview is organised on a regional basis enabling candidates to
    have a single interview for all Northern Ireland Social Work programmes.

    Selection Criteria

    In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.

    International Students

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

    English Language Requirements

    An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at:

    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.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.

    • 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.

    International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes

    INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.

    These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Careers

    Career Prospects

    Studying for a social work degree at Queen’s will assist you in developing the core skills, knowledge and values valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions. Queen’s is currently ranked joint 2nd in the UK for career prospects for Social Work according the Guardian University Guide (2019).

    Employment after the Course
    Graduates are well regarded by many employers (local, national and international) and according to data provided by the NISCC, 80% of social work graduates are registered for their Assessed Year in Employment, to complete their full registration with the NISCC within 6-9 months of graduation.

    For information on the Assessed Year in Employment see

    For employment opportunities in the statutory sector in Northern Ireland see

    For registration as a Social Worker in the Republic of Ireland see

    Professional Opportunities
    Social workers are employed throughout the statutory and voluntary social services. There are many career development opportunities leading to specialist posts and to the highest levels of management within statutory and voluntary social services agencies.

    You should also take a look at and for further information concerning the types of jobs that attract social work graduates.

    Further study is also an option open to social work graduates. Students can choose from a wide range of Master's and PhD programmes, as well as a comprehensive list of postgraduate courses.

    The typical starting salary of Social Work graduates is £23,000 (based on the Agenda For Change Pay scale for Band 5 social work posts), increasing to £28,000 (when social workers can progress to Band 6 posts) upon completion of their Assessed Year In Employment.

    Additional Awards Gained

    Students are responsible for funding travel costs for the following components of the BSW degree: (1) site /service user visits to social work agencies for the Introduction to Social Work module in year 1; (2). Travelling to and from practice learning opportunities in years 2 & 3. The majority of available practice learning opportunities require car drivers which will require students to have business class insurance for all work related visits. These expenses are offset by a £500 contribution from the Department of Health Incentive Scheme (which is under review and subject to change). In most situations, work related travel expenses may be reclaimed from the Designated Practice Learning provider. However this is at the discretion of the organisation you are placed with.

    A registration fee of £20 is payable annually to NISCC for student Social Workers.

    This course is subject to Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (2003) legislation. Due to the nature of social work, all students will require an Enhanced Access Northern Ireland Criminal Records check prior to each practice learning opportunity. This costs approximately £33, which is currently paid for by Designated Practice Learning providers. However, this is currently under review and subject to change.

    Prizes and Awards

    The highest achieving students in Social Work are awarded the annual Brian Rankin Prize with the highest achieving student receiving the Brian Rankin medal.

    Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills

    In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) £4,395
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £9,250
    Other (non-UK) EU * £4,395
    International £16,900

    Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.

    * The tuition fees that EU students starting courses at UK universities following the agreed transition period are required to pay will depend on what is agreed as part of the UK's exit negotiations. Please refer to

    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. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.  

    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 final year 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.

    Social Work costs

    Students are responsible for funding travel costs to and from placements in years 2 & 3 and in undertaking modules SWK1005/2017 (Introduction to Social Sciences for Social Work) in year 1. These are offset by a £500 contribution from the Department of Health Incentive Scheme (which is under review and subject to change).

    Work placement travel expenses may be reclaimed from the Practice Learning provider (dependant on the organisation you are on placement with).

    A registration fee of £20 is payable annually to NISCC for student Social Workers.

    How do I fund my study?

    There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.

    Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at


    Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



  • Apply

    How and when to Apply

    1. How to Apply
    Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at:

    2. When to Apply
    UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2020 from 1 September 2019.

    Advisory closing date: 15 January 2020 (18:00).

    Applications received after this date will not be considered.

    Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.

    The Institution code for Queen’s is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.

    Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at:

    3. Terms and Conditions
    After an offer is made this will be notified to applicants through UCAS. Confirmation will be emailed by the Admissions and Access Service and this communication will also include Terms and Conditions which applicants should read carefully in advance of replying to their offer(s) on UCAS Track.

    4. International (Non- EU) Students
    Applying through agents and partners
    The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.

    Download a prospectus








Clearing Vacancies

Call our Clearing Hotline to discuss your options. Lines open at 08.00am on Thursday 13 August.
Tel: +44 (0)28 9244 3498

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