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The UWS BA Social Work has been designed in collaboration with employers and service users to provide you with the knowledge and practical experience to qualify as a practicing social worker. 

Within a globally defined profession, social workers help people help themselves and play a crucial role in improving lives. 

Throughout the course, we offer a progressive, flexible and student-centred learning environment. This allows you to develop personally and professionally to achieve an honours degree, a nationally recognised professional qualification and the opportunity to pursue an extremely rewarding and increasingly important career in modern society. 

Key features of our programme are: 

  • An individualised and research-driven approach to learning that allows you to study and develop your own area of interest across the 4 years of the programme; 
  • A sound, inter-disciplinary social science foundation; 
  • An appreciation of the centrality of practice reliant on strong relationships with both service users and carers and social work employers; 
  • Practice learning experiences in years 1, 2, 3 and 4, in which you can apply both classroom-based learning and your own enquiry-based learning; 
  • Multi-campus delivery; 
  • Opportunities for international experiences; 
  • A strong, personalised tutorial support system.

Entry Requirements

What qualifications do you need? 

We welcome Scottish, UK and international students and consider all applicants on an individual basis.
Don’t worry if your qualifications are not listed here, we take a range of factors into account when assessing your application and are happy to consider other alternative combinations of qualifications and experience.
If you are applying with an EU or non-EU qualification, please check our Undergraduate Entry Requirements page which gives more information about country-specific entry requirements.

Year 1

  • Scottish Highers: BBBB plus English and Maths at Standard Grade / National 5 level or 108 UCAS Tariff points
  • A levels: CCC including English and Maths or 96 UCAS Tariff points
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: H3 H3 H3 H4 including English plus Maths at Ordinary Level 
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 24 points (4, 4 at HL)
  • Scottish Wider Access Programme: Access to Humanities AAB with Higher English or Comm4 and Literature 1
  • SQA HNC / BTEC Level 4 HNC: Social Sciences or Social Care or Social Studies or Early Education & Childcare or Working with Communities or Counselling or Social Services or Additional Support Needs: Managing & Supporting the Services

Year 2

  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 28 points (4, 4 at HL)
  • SQA HNC / BTEC Level 4 HNC: Social Care plus English and Maths at Standard Grade / National 5 level or Social Studies plus English and Maths at Standard Grade / National 5 level or Care & Admin Practice with life experience plus English and Maths at Standard Grade / National 5 level 

Non-native English Speakers

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page. 

The English language level for this programme is: Overall IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing and Speaking; minimum 5.5 in Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent). 

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, we offer a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this degree. 

  • English for University Study - 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 UWS and who need to improve their English

Course details

Designed in collaboration with employers and service users, this programme meets the requirements of the Scottish Government and has been approved by the Scottish Social Services Council. Lecturers are registered social workers with wide-ranging expertise and students are addressed by guest lecturers and service users. 

Student Katie Armstrong was Awarded Student Social Worker of the Year by the Scottish Association of Social Work in March 2016.

Year 1

Modules include politics, sociology, psychology and social policy. Social work modules explore the nature of social work, and discrimination and disadvantage. You also undertake 10 days in-practice learning.

Year 2

Modules include lifespan development, social work law, and communication skills. You will also complete 20 days in-practice learning.

Year 3

Modules include dealing with reflective social work practice, social work with children and families, and health, illness and disability. You will complete 85 days of assessed practice learning.

Year 4

Modules include critical and radical social work theory, and practice and working in organisations. You also complete a social work dissertation and 85 days assessed practice learning.

Course Structure

Find out more about the structure, learning outcomes, compulsory and optional modules in this course.

Course Structure (17/18)

Career prospects

Graduates enjoy excellent reputations with employers, working in local authority social services, the voluntary or independent sectors, and in health or education. Careers also include children and families, community care or criminal justice.

Placement/Work-based learning

Practice learning is integral to the programme, and you can apply your academic learning via 200 days practice learning in traditional and innovative settings. Placements are varied, including prisons, children’s units, hospices, addiction teams, women’s support and women’s aid. Students have also undertaken observational placements in organisations such as Alzheimer’s Scotland and Crossroads Youth and Community Association.

Professional recognition

Designed in collaboration with employers and service users, this programme meets the requirements of the Scottish Government and has been approved by the Scottish Social Services Council. 

Lecturers are registered social workers with wide-ranging expertise and students are addressed by guest lecturers and service users. 

Your Honours degree acts as your professional qualification.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVGs)

Applicants will be required to join the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG Scheme), managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland. For more information please refer to

Undergraduate Tuition Fees 2017/2018

Scottish campuses non-lab-based 2017/18

Scottish & EU

£1,820 per year of study

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£9,250 per year of study

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£9,250 per year of study

International (Non-EU)

£12,300 per year of study

More on current & future tuition fees

Additional Costs & Sources of Funding

The cost of attending university is an investment in your future career.
In addition to tuition fees and living expenses, some courses involve extra costs like study materials, field trips, equipment and uniforms.
Fortunately, there is a great deal of financial support available to help students meet the cost of their study. This ranges from:

  • statutory government loans to pay for tuition fees
  • scholarships for Scottish, EU and International (non-EU) students
  • bursaries to help towards living expenses


The sections below provide details of additional costs that your course may involve along with any financial support that may be available.
You can also find additional information in our Undergraduate Money, Fees & Funding section.

Additional Costs

Students on certain degrees will incur some additional costs not covered by their tuition fees. These could be for things like specialist equipment, study materials, work placements, graduation, membership of relevant organisations or costs related to carrying out fieldwork.

For students on course with an element of fieldwork, there may also be extra costs for travel and accommodation.

Please contact the course leader for details of the additional costs associated with this course.

Tuition Fees & Living Cost Support

Tuition Fees & Additional Costs

Tuition fees are calculated based on where you are from and what you are studying. Some courses also involve additional costs, such as mandatory field trips, equipment or studying abroad.

Find out how much it will cost you to study at UWS as an undergraduate student.

Funding for Scottish Students

Scottish students studying at undergraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students

English, Welsh and Northern Irish students studying at undergraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for EU Students

EU students studying at undergraduate level of UWS may be eligible for SAAS funding, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find our more.

Funding for International Students

There are several scholarship and incentive schemes available to international students studying at undergraduate level at UWS, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find out more.

Other Financial Support

Discretionary & Childcare Funds

UWS administer a range of discretionary and childcare funds. These are designed to support students who are experiencing financial difficulty or struggling to meet the costs of childcare.

Find out more.

Benefits & Tax Credits

Becoming a student can have an impact on your entitlement to certain benefits. It may mean you are no longer eligible to claim a benefit you have been receiving, or your new income from student funding may affect the amount you are able to receive.

Find out more.

Additional Financial Support

If there isn’t a statutory source of funding for you or your course, or you are in need of additional financial support, you may wish to consider more alternative sources of funding such as trust funds and scholarships.

Find out more.

Money & Debt Advice

Choosing to become a student can have a big impact on your budget and you may need to reassess your spending to account for a reduced income. We’ve put together some guidance to help you manage your money and make the right financial choices for you and your family.

Find out more.


All UK and EU applicants for undergraduate study, not applying through an agent or partner, must apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

UCAS codes for UWS

  • Institution name: UWS
  • Institution code: U40


If you are applying from a non-EU/EEA country for entry to one of our Bachelor’s degree courses in September, and have not applied already via UCAS, or have not applied to another UK university, then you may apply via our dedicated online application system.

For more information on when and how to apply to study at UWS please refer to our Undergraduate Application Guide.

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.


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Course Leader

Shelley Fergusson

Media, Culture & Society


Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

UWS Undergraduate students studying at Ayr Campus

Life at UWS

Going to university is about much more than getting a qualification, it’s also the chance to enjoy an exciting social life, gain some independence and make the most of the new opportunities available.


We will always try to make sure that we publish accurate course information but we do not accept responsibility for any mistakes or omissions. We will also try to make sure that we deliver our courses in line with our published information. However, we may not always be able to do so and you can find further information about this in our enrolment terms and conditions.