Mental Health & Mental Capacity Law

The MSc in Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law provides the required training for social workers to undertake the role of Approved Social Worker under the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 and the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016.

This is a statutory role and applications must have the support of a Health and Social Care Trust. The PG Diploma provides the qualification for practising as an Approved Social Worker (ASW) and then the Dissertation Module must be successfully completed for the MSc.

Contributors to the taught element of the ASW Programme are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and professions including service users and carers; ASWs and other social work staff, psychiatrists, psychologists and nursing staff; representatives from the courts, Review Tribunal; Regulation Quality Improvement Authority; legal advisers and researchers.

Please note that this course is not eligible for a Student route visa.

Subjects taught

Year 1
Core Modules
• Context and Concepts in Mental Health (40 credits)
• Social Work Practice Development in Mental Health (40 credits)
• Law, Ethics and Applied Law in Mental Health (40 credits)
• Specialist Practice Dissertation (60 credits)

Course Structure
The MSc in Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law is awarded to students who successfully complete taught modules (PG Diploma,120 CATS points) and a 15,000 – 20,000 word dissertation (60 CATS points).

Entry requirements

Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Where this is not met, applicants must demonstrate that their experience and qualifications enable them to study at postgraduate level by showing either that they have the Pre-2007 Post-Qualifying Social Work Award or by producing a reflective assignment on their practice in this area (2,000 words).

Application dates

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 31st July 2024 at 4pm
Late applications may be considered.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal prior to the deadline stated on course finder. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

How to Apply
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Assessment Info

Assessment Strategies
•Module specific Academic Assignment
•Module specific group and individual presentation
•Incremental Project Development and delivery over the duration of the Programme
•Final project presentation to UCD expert panel (candidates must pass this assessment to be eligible for a academic award)


3 years (Part Time).

Teaching Times
In addition to the 37 taught days (normally taught in blocks of 1-5 days), practice days will also be available to enable candidates to gather the necessary evidence of competence.


The fees for your programme can be found at the links below. Search using your major code (the four-digit code beginning with 'X' which can be found in the key information box on this page).
•EU fees information
•Non-EU fees information

Please note that UCD fees are subject to change annually. The fees shown include the student centre levy which must be paid by all students.

If you are being funded to do your programme, please make sure your organisation gets in contact with Please note that all applicants are required to pay the €50 application fee. Your application cannot be processed fully unless the application fee has been paid.

More information about fees is available on the UCD website at the link below:
•General information about UCD Fees

If you have any queries about your fees, please contact

Enrolment dates

Entry Year: 2024/25

Post Course Info

Career Prospects
Continuing professional registration in social work is predicated on continuing professional development, which this programme and its pathways offer. The Dept. of Health has directed that social workers demonstrate their competence covered in the curricula of this programme and its pathways.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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    Course provider