Social Work Studies

University College Cork

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 Students) or current Higher Diploma in Social Policy students should apply for the Master's level (MSW) programme.

Subjects taught

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)

Entry requirements

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)

Candidates who pass each module and achieve an aggregate of at least 50% across all modules and have passed the Fieldwork Placement I, may be permitted to transfer into the Second Year of the Master of Social Work Degree.

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 the Summer exams 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 PgDip Social Work Studies. (See 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 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

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.

Application dates

Closing Date 6 February 2024

Assessment Info

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.

Enrolment dates

Start Date 9 September 2024

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.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    PG Dip

  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider