Social work is recognised internationally as “a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people” (International Federation of Social Workers 2014).
Social workers aim to promote positive change for individuals, groups and communities, drawing on principles of social justice, respect for diversities, and human rights.
Social work programmes at Queen’s are taught by academics who are themselves qualified and registered social workers. All staff are actively involved in research across a range of social issues and are very engaged with practice development, to promote best outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
What is Social Work?
BSW graduate Aoife explains why she studied to be a Social Worker and talks about her career since graduating.
Social work is a profession that engages with people and groups in society facing challenges, trying to help and enable them to seek solutions to the difficulties they face. It involves working with complex social problems and understanding needs, rights and risks. Taking a strengths-based perspective, it aims to support, empower, and promote the rights of marginalised and/or vulnerable individuals and groups.
BSW (Undergraduate Route and Relevant Graduate Route):
The qualifying level BSW degree equips students with the knowledge, values and skills required for effective social work practice across the life course. We have developed effective partnerships with service user and carer organisations across Northern Ireland who assist us in these important aspects of teaching and learning
If you are interested in finding out more about social work, visit The Northern Ireland Social Care Council has created an online resource on social work and applying to the degree.
Cognitive Behavioural Practice | PG Certificate
Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy | PG Diploma
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Trauma) | MSc
Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law | PG Diploma
Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law | MSc
Social Work for Children, Young People and Families | PG Certificate
Social Work for Children, Young People and Families | PG Diploma
Social Work for Children, Young People and Families | MSc
Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders | PG Certificate
Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders | PG Diploma
Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders | MSc
Systemic Practice and Family Therapy | MSc
Systemic Practice and Family Therapy | PG Certificate
Systemic Practice and Family Therapy | PG Diploma
Systemic Psychotherapy (MSc)
We also welcome applications from suitably qualified applicants for PhD study.
We are committed to research that enhances understanding of the needs of vulnerable individuals and groups within our society, supports the development of effective responses at individual, family and/or community levels, and promotes empowerment, rights, and social justice. Members of the Social Work Subject group are involved in research addressing the following areas:
Social Work academics also contribute to wider interdisciplinary research groupings at Queen’s, including the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, the Drug and Alcohol Network, the Disability Research Network and the Centre for Children’s Rights.
|Name||Area of Expertise||Telephone|
|Dr Paul Best||
The use of immersive and digital technologies, such as VR and 360 video for therapeutic practice as well as professional social work training; The application of cognitive behavioural therapy for conditions such as PTSD/cPTSD, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and Depression; New approaches to coproduction and participatory analysis.
||+44 (0)28 9097 3256|
|Dr Lisa Bunting||Child welfare and maltreatment with specific interests in the impact of childhood adversity across the life-course; The experiences of child victims/witnesses within the criminal justice system; UK child protection and criminal justice firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 1482|
|Dr Anne Campbell||Mental health and substance use including adult opioid use, young people and polydrug use, alcohol and related disorders; Complex co morbidities; Drug use and homelessness; New benzodiazepines and use of technology to address opioid email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 5990|
|Dr Stephen Coulter||
Trauma informed care; Systemic Psychotherapy; Impact of Trauma in Childhood experiences.
|firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 3236|
|Professor Gavin Davidson||Mental health; Mental health social work and the effectiveness of mental health services; The social determinants of mental health; Human rights and mental health/mental capacity email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 3151|
|Professor Joe Duffy||Service user involvement in social work education and policy development; Social work and political conflict; Social inclusion and social firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 5909|
|Dr Michael Duffy||Mental health linked to trauma and conflict; The development of evidence based psychological interventions, in particular cognitive therapy for conflict related PTSD.||email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 3298|
|Professor Davy Hayes||Service user experiences of the child protection and criminal justice systems; Involvement of family members in child protection and child welfare processes and methods; Practice and experiences of professionals who operate the child protection system; Social work assessment and decision making in child firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 5971|
|Professor Kathryn Higgins||Substance use and addictive behaviour; Programme evaluation/implementation email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 5286|
|Professor Berni Kelly||Disability; child and youth identities; children in care and leaving care; participatory firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 1486|
|Dr Mandi MacDonald||
Children and young people in alternative care and adopted from care; Supporting the families of children in need; Collaboration with practitioners and families to translate research into innovative practice solutions; Interpretative qualitative research methods.
|email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 3179|
|Dr Alan Maddock||
Mental health (adult and young people); Mindfulness in mental health and in social work education; Homelessness; Access to mental health support in Southeast Asia (specifically Cambodia).
|firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 1176|
|Mr Gerry Marshall||
Children and young people who are looked after especially with respect to residential child care; Identity formation of young people growing up in children's homes and leaving care facilities; The interface between children's rights and delivery of child care services.
|email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 3220|
|Dr Lorna Montgomery||
Adult safeguarding including elder abuse, the criminal investigative processes, legislation and policy development; The development of culturally competent interventions; Therapeutic interventions for bereavement; Mental health and mental capacity; Parenting capacity assessments; Social work education and practice experience.
|firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 1480|
|Dr Suzanne Mooney||
The experience of illness during adolescence and young adulthood and supportive healthcare practice; The relational impact of adverse life experiences and effective therapeutic intervention; Narrative research and participatory research methods.
|email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 3641|
|Dr Maria Pentaraki||
Gender-based and intimate partner violence; The neoliberal transformation of the welfare state, austerity measures and the response of the social work profession; International social work; Critical social theory.
|firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 5312|
|Mr Paul Quinnemail@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 5913|
|Dr Audrey Roulston||
Death, dying and bereavement; End-of-life care decision-making and palliative care; Failing students; Social work supervision; Well-being.
|firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 5966|
|Dr Amanda Taylor-Beswick||
Digital social work education; Digital social work practice; Digitalisation of the social world; Creative teaching and learning methodologies; D/deaf children and communication needs.
|email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 5980|
|Professor Danielle Turney||
Social work with children, young people and families; Child welfare and protection, with particular reference to child neglect; Relationship-based practice in social work; Social work assessment, decision-making and use of professional judgement; Theorising social work practice(s); Supporting parents with learning difficulties.
|firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 5907|
|Professor Karen Winter||
Children in care and their rights, needs and wellbeing; communication and relationships with children in care; support services for families and children known to social services; innovative qualitative methods.
|email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 3917|
|Dr Carolyn Blair||Reviewing the education and training capacity and relevant outputs to inform the design of the Regional Trauma Network in NI. The central aim of this review is to improve knowledge and understanding of psychological therapy services and other supportive trauma-related services available for individuals and firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 5939|
Quantitative and qualitative Systematic reviews on homelessness interventions.
|email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 6332|
|Dr Montserrat Fargas||
Care Pathways and Outcomes Study.
|firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 3195|
|Dr Trisha Forbes||
Suicide prevention and postvention; mental health including mental health in the workplace (iAmAWARE project).
|email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 2906|
Qualitative evidence synthesis, creative and participatory methods, thinking skills, curriculum development and widening access.
|firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 1682|
|Dr Jennifer Hanratty||
Emotion regulation, mental health and wellbeing in children and young people.
|email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 2593|
|Dr Kathryn Gillespie||Children and young people; relationship and sexuality education; school-based research; gender-transformative firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dr Grace Kelly||Social security, welfare reform, deprivation, social exclusion and the measurement of email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 3483|
|Dr Claire McCartan||Child welfare, poverty and deprivation, and the mental health and wellbeing of children and firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 5296|
|Dr Martina McKnight||Children and young people, conflict, gender and research email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 5970|
Domestic abuse involving children; Policing; Emotional Intelligence. Currently working on an independent impact evaluation of NSPCC 'Speak Out Stay Safe' programme which aims to equip children with the knowledge and understanding to keep them safe from abuse and neglect.
|firstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097|
|Dr Sharon Millen||
Qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques and analyses with vulnerable hard-to-reach populations presenting with socially complex circumstances. Early childhood development.
|email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097 3169|
|Dr Leeanne O'Harafirstname.lastname@example.org||+44 (0)28 9097 3392|
|Dr Michelle Templeton||Children and young people's rights and participation: ‘Relationships and Future Fatherhood’ programme with young incarcerated men; disabled children’s experience of their digital rights; a consultation with children in the five UN regions to develop a set of indicators for monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.||email@example.com||+44 (0)28 9097|
KEY RESEARCH PROJECTS
The Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 was partially implemented in December 2019 and full implementation is planned. In order to inform this process, this study will recruit 200 in-patients in the Royal Victoria Hospital, to assess their ability to make decisions about their treatment. The findings will provide evidence for service development and workforce planning.
This project will scope the potential of digital technology for developing innovative, safe and engaging modes of birth family contact for children adopted from care. It will explore the adaptability of digital media communication to the needs of adopted children who have experienced trauma. The is an international collaboration between Queens University and the Research Centre for Children and Families at University of Sydney, Australia. It will draw on the experiential wisdom of adopters, adoptees and birth relatives in Northern Ireland and New South Wales, two regions with particularly high rates of post-adoption contact and will engage inter-disciplinary stakeholders in developing an action research agenda.
The Just US collaborative research project aimed to identify and reduce barriers to accessing justice and support for victims of sexual violence and abuse who have a learning disability. The project was led by Positive Futures in collaboration with Compass Advocacy Network, Informing Choices NI (formerly FPA), Nexus NI, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) and QUB.
The project followed a co-production model whereby four advocates with a learning disability co-led and delivered the project. Consultations were held with people with a learning disability to evaluate their awareness of criminal justice processes and support services and with police and public prosecution service professionals on their experience of working with people with a learning disability. Outputs from the project include: a screening tool to support first response officers and call handlers to identify if a victim (or suspect) has a learning disability; a Just US card for people with a learning disability to share their communication preferences with criminal justice professionals; and an accessible guide and short animated video summary on the criminal justice system for people with learning disabilities.
A pilot counselling programme for victims of sexual violence and abuse who have a learning disability was simultaneously delivered by Nexus with and evaluated by QUB. The findings of this evaluation were largely positive highlighting the benefits of inclusive counselling programmes for people with learning disabilities and the barriers to accessing therapeutic support. For more information about this project visit justusni.org
We have strong links with the Health & Social Care Trusts, voluntary sector organisations, Education Authority, Youth Justice, Probation and criminal justice and work closely with the Northern Ireland social work regulator, the Social Care Council.