Social Work

Course Overview
This long-running MA in Social Work (MSW) equips its graduates with the knowledge, skills and training required to gain employment as registered social workers. Through a proven blend of in-class and practice-based learning, participants gain in-depth understanding of social problems and their causes, as well as policy solutions. Students build the skills necessary to work with individuals, groups and communities, with an emphasis on the promotion of human rights and social justice. The programme benefits from two decades of partnerships with practice teachers and statutory and voluntary organizations, which employ social workers across services for individuals, families and communities.

This course will equip you with the skills and knowledge to be registered as a social worker by the CORU registration body.
We offer joint teaching and learning opportunities with other disciplines within the School (e.g. Social Policy & Community Development) and are connected to the Child and Family Research Centre and a range of research clusters, which are partnered with the Life Course Institute. This means that staff throughout the School play a key role in relation to teaching and supervising research dissertations by students. The Programme also benefits from inter-disciplinary training with colleagues in other schools (e.g., School of Health Sciences), professionals in practice and service users and carers.

The maximum annual intake of Social Work students is 25. A dedicated teaching room, with extensive computer facilities, is available to students. The programme adheres to the definition of social work provided by the International Federation of Social Workers and expects Social Work students to adhere to both professional and university codes of conduct (see and for codes of ethics and practice).

The Deadline for applications for the Masters in Social Work at University of Galway is Jan 27th 2024. See here for details. Social Work (MA) - University of Galway
Please contact for further information and support.
See also link regarding recently advertised Bursary opportunities from Tusla: MSWTusla - Child and Family Agency

Course Outline
Programme aims and objectives
The aim of the MSW Programme is to aid in the development and formation of students wishing to gain accreditation as professional social workers. This is achieved by:
1. Preparing students to undertake an ethnically based practice integrating both theory and research, policy, skills and reflection.

2. Putting in place the foundations of generic learning applicable to all fields and methods of practice.

3. Sustaining the focus on human rights and social justice within social work practice. Students will learn professional autonomy and accountability; develop interpersonal and professional relationships; practice effective communication; build towards personal and professional development; assess and be able to deliver a quality service; develop knowledge, understanding and skills in a creative environment. Underpinning all of these domains is the basic principle of respecting and advocating for the rights of the service user.

Through the course, student participants are encouraged to:
- develop an appropriate skills base within practice placement settings
- lay an emphasis on the need for social workers to make use of social theory and research evidence
- facilitate the development of critical and reflective thinking and practice

Students are expected to show evidence of a commitment to promoting social justice and human rights throughout their studies and practice.

Subjects taught

Programme Content (Subject to Change)
Year 1
• Social Work Practice
• Theory and Social Work I
• Methods of Social Work
• Support and Protection across the Lifecourse
• Social Policy
• Mental Health and Applied Law
• Placement I
• Research Methods

Year 2
• Social Work, Law and Human Rights
• Contemporary Social Issues
• Social Work, Supervision, Management & Administration in a Culturally Diverse Setting
• Theory and Social Work II
• Criminal Justice System, Probation & Social Work
• Research Dissertation
• Placement II
Curriculum Information
Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Entry requirements

Level 8 undergraduate degree with a minimum Second Class Honours, Grade 2 (2.2) or BSc Social Science or other relevant qualifications deemed equivalent by the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies. Prior relevant work experience is compulsory (minimum 6 months/960 hours)

Prior work experience is compulsory and candidates must have obtained six months (approx. 960 hours) of voluntary or paid work experience relevant to the social work profession in order to be eligible to apply. Relevant supervised placement learning will normally count for up to a maximum of 240 hours (6 weeks). It is the candidate’s responsibility to demonstrate clearly in their application how they have met the required six months/960 hours experience and the relevant experience form in the application must be completed and submitted as part of the application. Candidates are expected to share all of their relevant experience in this form. This includes any relevant involvement with any other courses that involved relevant placements citing the details of the agencies where placements were completed. Two letters of reference, one academic and one-work related, and a well written and convincing personal statement (600 words) must also be submitted. Advertising for applications for the MA in Social Work (MSW) usually takes place in early January. Short-listed applicants will be called for interview.

Additional Requirements
Garda Vetting/Police Clearance is necessary and required for students participating in this programme.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
RPL is not formally available for the MSW programme due to the accredited nature of the course and the requirements that must be met. These learning requirements are met through an integrated programme throughout two years which all students must complete. This is in line with university RPL policy. Please note that, while we do not have a formal RPL system, prior learning is recognised in other ways. For example, the admissions processes recognises prior learning from practice experience and in the teaching processes encourages students to bring their own learning to the programme and build on this throughout.

Application dates

How to apply
We encourage all applicants to apply as early as possible.

Review/Closing Dates (for Taught Programmes)
For most programmes, University of Galway does not set specific closing dates for receipt of applications. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and course quotas will be reviewed continuously throughout the application cycle with the exception of applications for some programmes which are reviewed after the specified closing date. Candidates who do not have their final degree marks available may be made a conditional (provisional) offer.

Online Application
Applications to most postgraduate programmes at University of Galway are made online via (see "Application Weblink").


2 years full-time.

Enrolment dates

Next start date: September 2024.

Closing Date: 27th January 2024.

Post Course Info

Career Opportunities
Social workers are much in demand and deal with a range of issues that affect people, including poverty, violence, abuse, mental health, addiction and disability. A range of voluntary, public and private sector organisations require social work services, such as the Health Services Executive, Tusla (Child and Family Agency), the Department of Justice’s probation services and local authorities. The voluntary/non-governmental sector includes specialist services to children and adults such as Ability West, Enable Ireland, Brothers of Charity Services, Galway Drugs Service, Jigsaw and COPE.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider