Skip to Content

Social Work (BSW HONS) L500


Social Work

Entry year
Academic Year 2024/25
Entry requirements
3 years (Full Time)
UCAS code
Applications for 2023 entry are still open for some programmes. View courses

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree is a professional qualification in Social Work accredited by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (thereafter 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 regionally allocated in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Degree in Social Work Partnership and key stakeholders.

Social Work Degree highlights

Queen's University is ranked 1st in the UK for Social Work by the The Complete University Guide 2023 and 2nd in the UK by The Guardian University Guide 2023 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Global Opportunities

  • Whilst on the BSW degree there will be opportunities to engage with social work students from other countries to explore social work education and practice from an international perspective. The Degree in Social Work will enable graduates to work in countries outside of the UK throughout their career.

Professional Accreditations

  • The Degree in Social Work is professionally accredited by the Social Care Council.

    Social work students in Northern Ireland are required to register with the Social Care Council.

    As part of the registration process, you will be asked to declare information so that the Social Care Council can assess your suitability or ‘Fitness to Practise’. The purpose is to protect the public. Each case will be considered separately and on its own merit. Further information can be accessed at:

    The Social Care Council may refuse to register a student if declarations 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 Social Care Council’s Consultant Psychiatrist or one of the committees. Information can be accessed at:

Industry Links

  • The Social Care Council developed a suite of online resources in consultation with the NI Degree in Social Work Partnership, service users and Social Work agencies to assist potential applicants to find out more about Social Work. Links outline what the role entails, where you can study Social Work and what service user’s value.

    For information visit the link below.
  • For information on the Assessed Year in Employment:

    For employment opportunities in the statutory sector in Northern Ireland:

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

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. In the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 the Social Work Degree at QUB is ranked in the top 10 for research in the UK for Social Work.

Student Experience

  • Social work students normally resident in Northern Ireland are eligible to apply for the Student incentive scheme. This is available from the Department of Health and valued at 4000 GBP per year with an additional fund of 500 GBP.
  • The Degree Plus / Future Skills 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 / Future Skills will have the accreditation recorded on their QSIS record and will receive a certificate at their graduation ceremony.

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
This module aims to provide students with an introduction to the core knowledge, skills and values for social work practice; to explore the context of social work practice in Northern Ireland and internationally; to understand the relevance of sociology, psychology and other theoretical perspectives to social work; and to introduce students to a number of models and methods of social work intervention.

Law for Social Workers
The aim of the module is to enable you to acquire an understanding of current legislation underpinning key areas of social work practice in Northern Ireland.

Preparation for Practice Learning
This module aims to: prepare students for initial engagement with service users and carers and prepare for contact, using a range of tuning-in frameworks; develop basic communication and interviewing skills for each stage of the work process; to develop basic skills required to work within an organisation; and to analyse, evaluate and reflect upon their own application of knowledge, skills and values in practice and to identify their strengths and learning needs.

Semester Two
Themes and Issues in Social Policy

Psychology for Social Work
The aims of this module are to provide an introduction to the main theoretical approaches in psychology; and an overview of how or understanding of human development and behaviour links with social work practice and intervention.

Sociology for Social Work
This module aims to introduce students to the nature of sociology and sociological imagination, and to acquire an appreciation for the importance of sociology for social work.
Stage 2Semester One
Practice Learning Level 2
This module aims to provide guidance and support for the first practice learning opportunity (PLO). It will equip students with frameworks to reflect on their own values, ethics and practice, and to develop reflective and critical writing skills.

Evidence Informed Case Study Level 2
This module will enable you to identify different frameworks underpinning social work practice, illustrate the application of values, ethics and anti-oppressive practice frameworks, and acquire the skills to critically evaluate knowledge, skills and values.

Semester Two
Social Work in Context
This module aims to provide students with a critical overview of a range of social work approaches to working with individuals, groups and communities, with a particular focus on anti-oppressive dimensions to professional practice. Students will be enabled to develop critical understanding of values and ethics at a personal and interpersonal level, and will be introduced to broader cultural and structural dilemmas arising in social work from an anti-oppressive perspective.

Research, Policy and Practice
The aims of this module are to equip students with the skills and knowledge to find and utilise research and other literature to inform their social work practice.

Social Issues Across the Life Course
This module aims to provide students with a knowledge of sociological and psychological perspectives on the life course, improve self-awareness and reflection on their own life course, critically analyse social issues relevant to social work (with children and adults) and recognise the implications of multiple adverse childhood experiences in adult life.
Stage 3Semester One
Social Work with Children and Families
The aim of this module is to prepare students for social work practice with children and families by offering you an overview of the three main areas of child welfare social work: family support; child protection; and looked after children. The module will encourage students to explore the ethical dimensions of practice, review the research base, and become familiar with the policy and legal contexts for this field of practice.

Social Work in Adult Services
The aims of this module will be to encourage students to think critically about ethical dilemmas, cultural competence, interagency working, managing risk, adult safeguarding and the social work process across a range of service user groups/programmes of care (i.e. mental health, learning disability, dementia, older people, physical health and disability, sensory impairment, and palliative care).

Social Work in Criminal Justice and the Courts
This module aims to encourage students to develop knowledge and understanding of the justice system and the contemporary issues/challenges facing the courts; explore the types of cases that come to court; introduce the social work role in the context of court work; develop the necessary skills required to present written and oral evidence in court; and develop skills of critical analysis and reflection.

Semester Two
Practice Learning Level 3
This module enables students to enhance their understanding of the social work role during their final practice learning opportunity. Students will be encouraged to consider the importance of values and ethics in practice; to explore ethical decision-making; to critically reflect on anti-oppressive practice, and to discuss risk assessment prior to engaging in the Assessed Year in Employment.

Evidence Informed Project Level 3
This module will enable students to critically explore an aspect of social work practice from a theoretical and research perspective by completing a literature review on a topic emerging from the final practice learning opportunity.

People teaching you

Dr Danielle Mackle
Director of Practice Learning, Module Convenor and Lecturer in Social Work


Dr Gerry Marshall
Module Convenor, Lecturer in Social Work


Dr Lorna Montgomery
Module Convenor and Senior Lecturer in Social Work


Dr Mandi MacDonald
Academic Selector, Module Convenor, Senior Lecturer in Social Work


Dr Maria Pentaraki
Module Convenor, Lecturer in Social Work


Dr Paul Best
BSW Programme Director, Module Convenor, Reader in Social Work


Dr Paul McCafferty
BSW RGR Programme Director, Module Convenor, Lecturer in Social Work


Professor Audrey Roulston
Module Convenor, Senior Lecturer in Social Work


Professor Berni Kelly
Prof. in Disability Studies & Social Wk, Module Convenor


Professor Davy Hayes
Module Convenor, Professor of Child Protection and Safeguarding


Professor Joe Duffy
Professor in Social Work


Professor Karen Winter
Module Convenor, Professor of Children's Social Care


Professor Lisa Bunting
Module Convenor, Professor of Social Work


Contact Teaching Times

Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial5 (hours maximum)
Afternoons. Academic tutorials generally begin at 13:00 hours depending on the lecture times on three days per week. These tutorials may last from one to three hours, depending on the module.
Large Group Teaching9 (hours maximum)
Mornings. Lectures are generally provided 10:00-13:00 hours, depending on the module, on 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

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 is shown in the BSW 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 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.




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

  • Year 2

    Core Modules

  • Year 3

    Core Modules

Entrance requirements

A level requirements
ABB + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4 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 Extended Diploma (180 credits at Level 3) with overall grades D*DD + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4 or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.


Successful completion of the BTEC National Extended Diploma (1080 GLH at Level 3) with overall grades D*DD + GCSE Mathematics grade C/4 or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.
Access/Foundation Course
Successful completion of Access Course 70% (Level 3 modules).

All Access course candidates must have a minimum of a grade C/4 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/4 in GCSE Mathematics or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.
Minimum standard 2.2.

Applicants with a Third class Honours degree or Ordinary degree will not be considered.

Applicants must have a minimum of a grade C/4 in GCSE Mathematics or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.
Open University Credit
A minimum of 120 OU Credits - 60 Credits at Level 1 Pass and 60 Credits at Level 2 with a Grade 2 Pass.

All Open University applicants must have a minimum of a grade C/4 in GCSE Mathematics or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.
All applicants must have GCSE English Language grade C/4 or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

All applicants must have GCSE Mathematics minimum Grade C/4 or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

Please Note: Essential Skills, Level 2 in Application of Number is not acceptable in lieu of GCSE Mathematics minimum Grade C/4.
Eligible applicants will be required to participate in a virtual interview.
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. Whilst not a requirement, it would be beneficial for applicants to have experience of helping or mentoring others (paid or voluntary).

3. Applicants being considered for an offer will be invited to participate in a virtual interview 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

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

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.

  • 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)



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.

Employment after the Course
Queen’s graduates are well regarded by many Social Work employers (statutory and voluntary). According to data provided by the Social Care Council, 80% of Social Work graduates are registered for their Assessed Year in Employment (AYE) within 6 months of graduation.

Newly qualified Social Workers receive extra support to develop their skills, knowledge and competence through the ‘Assessed Year in Employment’. For information on the Assessed Year in Employment visit

When you graduate, there will be a variety of job choices working across the life-span (with children, adolescents, adults and older people); as part of specialist teams (mental health, addictions, family support) residential and day care settings, hospitals, schools, prisons and community development projects.

According to the Guardian’s Best UK Universities Guide 2022, 91% of our Social Work graduates, within 15 months, find graduate level jobs or are engaged in further professional or higher education studies.

Your starting salary as a Social Worker can be £22,000-£30,000, depending on the sector you work in.

As a qualified Social Worker, your career will offer excellent opportunities for promotion, and access to high quality post-qualifying courses at Master’s and doctoral level for continuous personal and professional development.

For employment opportunities in the statutory sector in Northern Ireland see

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’s Student Incentive Scheme. In most situations, work related travel expenses may be reclaimed from the Designated Practice Learning provider. However, this is dependent on the organisation you complete your Practice Learning Opportunity with.

Students can apply for the Department of Health’s Student Incentive Scheme payment of £4,000 for each year of study if they are normally domicile in Northern Ireland and study Social Work.

A registration fee of £20 is payable annually to the Northern Ireland Social Care Council 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 starting the course, and before the final Practice Learning Opportunity. This costs approximately £33. All students must complete a pre-entry Occupational Health screening, which prompts early referral to QUB Disability Services or other support services as required.

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/Future Ready 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/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 TBC
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 TBC
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £20,800
International £20,800

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.

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 relate to a single year of study and will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Note that the tuition fees quoted above are for the 2023-24 academic year and are for indicative purposes only as the fees for 2024-25 have not yet been finalised. These fees will be subject to an inflationary increase. All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study and will be subject to an annual inflationary increase for each year of the course, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

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.

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



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 2024 from early September 2023.

Advisory closing date: 31 January 2024 (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 Undergraduate Prospectus








Register your interest
Course Vacancy Status

Below is the current vacancy status for this course. For further information please contact us.

Student Type
Places available?
NI and RoI Students
GB Students
International and EU (not RoI) Students