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Social Work

This is a professional social work qualification, combining academic and practice-based learning. It will enable you to apply for registration as a qualified social worker with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The subject matter is interdisciplinary, derived from psychology, sociology, social policy, law and social work studies. You may claim the diploma as a discrete qualification, or as an embedded award within the Master of Arts in Social Work.

Key features of the course
• Approved as a social work qualifying award in England by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and in Scotland by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC)

• Includes a residential weekend, face-face workshops and two substantive work-based practice placements under the supervision of a practice educator

• Equips you to engage in critical and reflective professional practice, according to the Standards for social work education and Codes of Practice and Conduct for the nation in which you train.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
• Knowledge and understanding
• Cognitive skills
• Practical and professional skills
• Key skills

On completion
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work, entitling you to use the letters PG Dip Soc Wk (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

Recognition in your country
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Geographical availability
The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work is available for study in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. It is approved as a social work qualifying award in England by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and, subject to conditions, in Scotland by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). We have not applied for approval from the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC), however reciprocal arrangements are currently in place such that any social work qualifying award approved by one UK regulator, will be recognised by the other three.

This qualification is not currently available for students working in Wales.

Entry requirements

England
Applicants will be required to have an honours degree with a minimum 2:2 classification in any discipline together with a proven record of experience of engaging directly with Service Users in a professional setting. Candidates' experience will be considered individually on application but we would normally expect a minimum of one year's experience – either paid or voluntary – in a setting such as a local authority or a health or social care provider in the private, voluntary or independent sector.

Applicants who do not meet the work experience requirement but hold a 2:1 classification in a cognate discipline will also be considered. Relevant subjects include:

•Health and Social Care
•Nursing
•Occupational Therapy
•Psychology
•Sociology/Social Studies
•Law/Legal studies
•Teaching/Education

In addition, you must satisfy the following entry criteria:

•Complete an OU application form which will include a personal statement, references and employer's endorsement

•Complete a declaration of suitability for social work

•Have GCSE grade A*–C in English and mathematics or certified equivalent

•Demonstrate IT competence through self-declaration

•Achieve an International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) score of 7 if English is not your first language

•Undertake a written test

•Take part in an interview

•Have an enhanced DBS with lists check (i.e. checks against all registers including both children and vulnerable adults) dated within one year prior to starting the programme

•Complete a health check. If, in exceptional circumstances, there are serious doubts about your fitness to practice on health grounds, the University's doctor may ask you to undergo a medical examination. This examination will be at your own expense.

You must be supported by your employer, who must undertake to provide the required practice learning opportunities. Applications for this qualification can only be made via the supporting agency.

Scotland
Applicants must have a minimum of a 2:2 classification in a relevant health/societal/psychology or other cognate discipline such as:

•Health and Social Care
•Nursing
•Occupational Therapy
•Psychology
•Sociology/Social Studies
•Law/Legal studies
•Teaching/Education

Applicants will preferably also have a proven record of experience of engaging directly with Service Users in a professional setting. Candidates' experience will be considered individually on application but we would normally expect a minimum of one years' experience – either paid or voluntary – in a setting such as a local authority or a health or social care provider in the private, voluntary or independent sector.

In addition, you must:

•Complete an OU application form, which will include a personal statement and relevant references

•Demonstrate your ability to understand and communicate in written and spoken English

•Demonstrate that you have appropriate personal and intellectual qualities to train as a social worker

•Be part of a selection process

•Register as a student social worker with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) which includes a check under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

•Provide evidence of Standard Grade Two in English and mathematics or a recognised equivalent

You must be supported by your employer, who must undertake to provide the required practice learning opportunities. Applications for this qualification can only be made via the supporting agency.

Further information and how to apply is available from the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care website.

Duration

Minimum – 17 months.

This qualification comprises two modules, K832 and K833. We advise that the minimum time required to complete this qualification is 17 months, and most students will be able to achieve the qualification within this timescale by successfully completing the modules in sequence.

Average study time per week is likely to be 12–15 hours, but will be considerably higher during periods of practice-based learning when you will typically be required to attend the placement setting four days per week for up to 23 weeks at a time.

Number of credits

120 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
On successful completion of the diploma, you will become eligible to apply for registration as a qualified social worker in England. This is a broad qualification spanning children and families, adults and mental health social work and prepares you to work in a range of settings including local authorities, healthcare providers and the private, voluntary and independent sector.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442
Email: ireland@open.ac.uk

Subjects taught

Modules

To gain this qualification you require:

120 credits from the following compulsory modules which must be studied in the order listed below:

Compulsory modules Credits
Developing social work practice (K832) 60
Advancing social work practice (K833) 60

You should note that the University's unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!