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.
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.
Social Work Relevant Degree Entry highlights
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Further Study Opportunities
We offer a wide range of postgraduate programmes, such as Child Care, Mental Health, Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Systemic Psychotherapy, as well as a comprehensive list of research topics, as shown on the SSESW website.
Modules 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 assess risk prior to embarking on their 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
Contact Teaching Hours
Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial
5 (hours maximum)
Afternoons. Academic tutorials are generally begin at 1300 hours depending on the lecture times on three days per week. These tutorials last from one to three hours, depending on the module.
24 (hours maximum)
Personal studying and reading in your own time each week, including some guided study using handouts, online activities, etc.
Large Group Teaching
9 (hours maximum)
Mornings. Lectures are generally provided 1000-1300 hours, depending on the module, on three days per week.
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:
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.
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.
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, to offer pastoral care and is the key link to the University during their practice learning opportunities.
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 common room. The teaching facilities enable an interactive learning environment.
“The degree equips students with the knowledge, values and skills required for effective social work practice. We have developed important partnerships with service user and carer organisations across Northern Ireland who assist us in these important aspects of teaching. At a very early stage in the course, students visit these groups in their own community settings as part of their teaching on the real meaning of social work values. We are very proud of these important teaching partnerships developed at Queen’s”.
Professor Joe Duffy
Students with a relevant Honours degree (minimum standard 2.2) will be considered for admission to a shortened two-year course leading to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree.
A relevant degree is deemed to be an Honours degree where at least one-third of the course passed at Honours level comprises one or more of the following: Sociology, Psychology, Social Policy/Social Administration; and degrees in Law, Teaching, Nursing, Community Work, Youth Work, Early Childhood Studies, Criminology, Health and Social Care, Occupational Therapy, Human Communication/Counselling, Social Anthropology, Housing Studies or other cognate subjects.
Graduates in any other subjects (minimum standard 2.2) who have successfully completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) will also be considered.
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.
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.
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 video 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.
How we choose our 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: http://go.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.
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.
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 visit http://www.niscc.info/aye
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 https://jobs.hscni.net/
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.
|Northern Ireland (NI) 1
|Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2
|England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1
|EU Other 3
1EU 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.
The tuition fees quoted above are for the 2024/25 academic year and are a guide only. In addition, all tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase in each year of the course. Fees quoted relate to a single year of study 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
Students are responsible for funding travel costs to and from placements in years 1 & 2 and in undertaking module 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.
Students are responsible for funding travel costs to and from Practice Learning Opportunities and in undertaking modules SWK1005/2017 (Introduction to Social Work) in year 1. These are offset by a £500 contribution from the Department of Health’s Student Incentive Scheme. Work related travel expenses may be reclaimed from the Designated Practice Learning provider (dependent on the organisation you complete your Practice Learning Opportunity with). Students can apply for the Department of Health Student Incentive Scheme payment of £4,000 for each year of study, if they are normally domicile in Northern Ireland and study Social Work. Social work bursary information packs - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 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.
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.
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 www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/Study/international-students/international-scholarships.
How 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 2025 from early September 2024.
Advisory closing date: 29 January 2025 (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
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR 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.
Fees and Funding