Social Work Studies
The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Studies (NFQ Level 9) is a two-year full-time course that combines academic study with fieldwork placements. This programme is approved by CORU. The course leads to an academic qualification and you will be eligible to register as a social worker with regulatory bodies in Ireland (CORU) and internationally.
Prospective applicants should also check the School of Applied Social Studies page for further information.
Applicants should check the entry requirements below to ascertain if they should apply for the Masters in Social Work OR the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Studies option.
Applicants should ONLY apply for ONE of these options as it is the same selection procedure for both options (Final Year Studetns) or current Higher Diploma in Social Policy students should apply for the Master's level (MSW) programme.
Students on the PGDSWS take modules in social work theory, skills, social policy and courses specific to social work settings such as child and family welfare and mental health.
Year 1 (60 credits)
Social Work, Counselling and Development Issues
SS6101 Social Work Approaches 1: Theory and Practice (10 credits)
SS6102 Human Growth and Development (5 credits)
SS6108 Child and Family Welfare I (5 credits)
Social Work Practice and Fieldwork Placement I
SS6112 Practice Skills and Fieldwork Placement 1 (20 credits)
Social Science, Law and Social Work Settings
LW6005 Social Work and the Law (Child Law) (5 credits)
SS6105 Social Policy and Social Exclusion (5 credits)
SS6106 Applied Social Research (5 credits)
SS6107 Social Work Settings 1 (5 credits)
On completion of the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Studies course, you will be able to:
apply knowledge of social systems and human behaviour to promote social change, problem-solving in human relationships and the empowerment of people to enhance their well-being;
apply knowledge of social policy to critically examine and respond to the impact of social and political contexts on service users and social work - promote principles of social justice, human rights, and anti-oppressive practice as intrinsic elements of social work practice;
demonstrate core social work practice proficiencies in the areas of:
professional autonomy and accountability, interpersonal and professional relationships, effective communication, personal and professional development, provision of quality services, knowledge, understanding and skills;
demonstrate knowledge of theory, legislation, policy, official inquiry reports, and international conventions, and apply it to assessment and intervention planning in social work practice to illustrate a reflective approach to learning that is self-directed, strengths-based, and reflective.
For further curriculum details see the Postgraduate College Calendar.
The PG Diploma in Social Work Studies is a full-time professional course that involves five full days in college or five full days in practice. Practice placements are an integral part of the course. You are required to complete two 14-week fieldwork placements, for at least one of which you will be required to move outside Cork. The course is split roughly 50/50 between college academic work and practice placements. Students on the Diploma in Social Work Studies go on placement to a wide variety of practice contexts all over Ireland and in Year 2 have the option to do an international social work placement.
Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our Book of Modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.
You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.
Admission to the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Studies (CKC06) is confined to a limited number of students holding a BSocSc (Hons) Degree with an overall result of at least a Third Class Honours or its equivalent, such as (but not limited to) the BA in Early Years and Childhood Studies, BA Hons in Applied Social Studies in Social Care, or graduates with a conversion course, i.e. the Higher Diploma in Social Policy (or its equivalent)
Students who achieve a mark of at least 50% in each module in the First Year of the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Studies may be permitted to transfer to the Second Year of the MSW programme.
There is a selection process based on the following combined elements: academic performance and research capacity; certified social work- related experience and initiative; knowledge of social work and motivation, commitment and suitability
IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicants should NOT apply for BOTH the Masters and Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work options as it is the one selection procedure for both options. The Postgraduate Diploma option is aimed at graduates who have already completed their BSocSc level 8 degree (or equivalent) and achieved at least an overall 3H result.
Both Applicants who have graduated with at least a Second Class Honours Grade I in their BSoSc level 8 (or equivalent) or Second Class Honours Grade I in the Higher Diploma in Social Policy (Level 8) (or equivalent) and Current FINAL year students pending their final results in Summer 2023 should apply for the Masters Of Social Work option ONLY.
Final year candidates who are successful at interview will be allocated places on the MSW, conditional on achieving a minimum Second Class Honours Grade I in their final degree/Higher Diploma exams. Should they obtain at least a Third Class Honours in their final exams, they will be allocated a place on the PgDipSocWkStudies. (See http://www.ucc.ie/en/cke64 for the MSW details).
IMPORTANT NOTE: For those that do not have the requisite BSocSc (level 8) or its equivalent, the Higher Diploma in Social Policy is a conversion course giving a foundation in the field of social policy for graduates who do not hold a social science degree. See http://www.ucc.ie/en/cka02 for more details.
Please note that as part of this programme students will require Garda Vetting as they will take part in a placement or UCC-related activity where they will be working in an unsupervised capacity with children and/or vulnerable adults. For more information on this process please read the UCC Student Garda Vetting Policy
FITNESS TO PRACTISE
This programme is subject to the University's Fitness to Practise Policy - full details may be found here.
All applicants should also consult about the Selection Process on our School of Applied Social Studies FAQ page.
English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Please visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.
For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland
Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.
For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.
In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
The closing date for non-EU applications is 6 February 2023
How Do I Apply
1. Check Dates: Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.
For Irish and EU applicants we operate a rounds system and you can check the rounds closing dates here.
Note that not all our programmes are subject to the rounds system so check the opening and closing dates for your specific programme in the fact file boxes above.
2. Gather Documents: Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:
Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.
3. Apply Online: Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.
Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.
Additional Requirements (All Applicants)
The closing date for submitting an online application for the Master of Social Work is 6 February 2023. Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:
Social Work Experience - Paid/Voluntary and Student Placements
To be eligible for this programme you need to have completed at least 420 hours of social work or social work related experience. Your experience will be used as one criteria to rank candidates for interview should there be a large number of applicants. However, we may interview candidates who have 250 hours by the application closing date if you state in the application additional/supplementary questions how you will make up the balance of the hours by the interview date (March).
You must outline briefly:
Social work practice-related experience (paid or voluntary) and relevant student placements, if applicable.
Please list newest to oldest and specify in the duties and responsibilities box for each position and whether it is voluntary, paid, part-time, full-time etc.
You must also include your duties and responsibilities and the number of hours completed for each agency.
Other additional questions:
Social Work Practice Related Experience (Paid/Voluntary) Total Hours
Student Placement Total Hours (if applicable)
Summary of all social work-related experience hours combined.
Proposed work experience you will complete before interview to make required 420 hours (if applicable).
In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning and professional training relevant to this programme.
Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.
Please provide the details of one academic referee and one professional referee (this can be from a voluntary role). Both referees will be contacted at the shortlisting stage by the review panel.
All additional supporting documentation for application to the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Studies needs to be submitted by 20 February 2023. If not, the application will be considered incomplete and not processed further.
There is a selection process based on the following combined elements: academic performance and research capacity; certified social work-related experience and initiative; knowledge of social work and motivation, commitment and suitability.
Your experience will be used as one criteria to rank candidates for interview should there be a large number of applicants. However, we may interview candidates who have 250 hours by the application closing date if you state in the application additional/supplementary questions about how you will make up the balance of the hours by the interview date (March). Group and individual interviews take place in March and candidates are advised of the outcome in April.
Deferrals are not permitted on this programme.
You will undertake a wide variety of academic and practice assessments. You are assessed through group projects, enquiry-based learning assignments, reflective portfolios and learning journals, essays, research presentations, and a minor dissertation.
60 ECTS credits
2 years full-time.
Start Date: 11 September 2023.
Post Course Info
Skills and Careers Information
On graduation, you will have been prepared for professional registration and be in a position to demonstrate the core social work practice proficiencies (CORU) in the areas of: professional autonomy and accountability, interpersonal and professional relationships, effective communication, personal and professional development, provision of quality services, knowledge, understanding and skills. You will be able to exhibit a good knowledge of theory, legislation, policy, official inquiry reports and international conventions, and apply it to assessment and intervention planning in social work practice. Consequentially, you will be well prepared to respond reflectively and reflexively to a variety of social work situations in a diversity of social work settings, including multi-disciplinary contexts. Fields of social work that have attracted and employed our graduates to date include medical, mental health, child protection, probation, physical and intellectual disability, community social work, and primary care.