Institution / Queens University Belfast

Applied Social Studies - Systemic Practice & Family Therapy

These programmes are designed to meet the continuing professional development needs of those staff working in the care professions (social work, psychology, education, nursing, teaching, medicine, etc). They present opportunities to study a range of areas including direct practice in child care, management and leadership within organisations, family therapy and adult mental health at postgraduate level. In addition, they aim to maintain educational coherence whilst covering diversity and choice. Students can access a range of modules that accumulate into an award, affording the flexibility to work within their own time schedules.

Why Queen's?
These programmes have been accredited by the Northern Ireland Post-Qualifying Education and Training Partnership and the Association of Family Therapy (for the Family Therapy pathways) and offer a range of professional awards and requirements at the specific, specialist and leadership levels. On these pathways there will be restricted access to relevant data by employers, the NISCC, DHSSPS, HSC Boards and any successor bodies.

Entry requirements

MSc Applied Social Studies:
Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Equivalent qualifications include the Pre-2007 Post-Qualifying Award in Social Work. Where this is not met, applicants must show that their experience and qualifications enable them to study at postgraduate level through the uptake of references or through completing a reflective assignment on their practice.

Please note that this programme is only open to applicants who are working as Social Care Professionals within NI/UK. Social Work applicants must have a recognised social work qualification and be registered with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council. It is important that Social Work applicants include their NISCC Social Care Registration Number in the Additional Information section of the application form. Please note that pathways within the programme have additional entrance requirements in relation to qualifications or experience that need to be met by applicants, see the relevant pathway for details.

Additional Entrance Requirements: This is a multidisciplinary pathway with applications welcome from a range of relevant professions as designated by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT). Normally one year's post qualification experience is required and all Social Work applicants must have successfully completed the Assessed Year in Employment. Applicants who do not hold one of the designated relevant professional qualifications, but who would find a Foundation level course useful to their work may be accepted in accordance with the AFT acknowledged 'widening participation' philosophy. All applicants, including those intending to self-fund, must: for SPFT year 1 (AFT Foundation level) have 'an opportunity to apply systemic ideas to a current work setting or placement'; for SPFT year 2 (AFT Intermediate Level) have successfully completed course accredited by AFT at 'Foundation Level' or equivalent, and have a work context in which to apply the course learning that will satisfy the AFT requirement for 60 hours of systemic practice in the 12 months leading to the end of the programme.

International Qualifications
For information on international qualification equivalents please select Your Country from the list on our International Students website.

International students (for whom English is not their first language) must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their studies. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes. Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. (*Taken within the last 2 years.) For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: If you need to improve your English language skills before your study, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses.


Part-time (PgDip 2 years, PgCert 1 year).

Learning and Teaching
A variety of assessment methods for the Certificate will be used including written assignments, a reflective analysis on how the student applies relevant theory to their practice in two different cases and an assignment critically reflecting on how the student has enhanced the practice of colleagues drawing on the knowledge in this module. The dissertation is undertaken for a full academic year in the final year.

Careers or further progression

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

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Further enquiries

School Postgraduate Office
School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work
Tel: 9097 5117

Subjects taught

This pathway offers multidisciplinary training, which, for social workers, meets all six requirements in the 'Specific' category (first year PgCert option/family therapy Foundation Level) and six of the nine requirements in the 'specialist' category (second year PgDip option/Family Therapy Intermediate Level). This pathway is accredited at Foundation Level (Year 1) and Intermediate Level (Year 2) by the Association for Family Therapy (UK).

•Foundation Level (AFT UK)

•Introduction to Systemic Theory, Research and Practice
•Personal and Professional Development in Systemic Practice
•Systemic Practice Skills and Their Application to the Work Setting

•Intermediate Level (AFT UK)

•Systemic Practice Skills and Their Application to the Work Setting
•Theory, Practice and Research in Family and Systemic Practice

Assessment method

Assessment & Feedback
Assessment methods include written assignments, observations of practice, projects, and a dissertation (for the final 60 credits).

Application date

Postgraduate Taught
Closing dates do apply for some of our courses, and details of these are available on our Course Finder. We advise you to apply as early as possible, particularly for those courses where there is a high demand for places. Early application is also important for international applicants to allow sufficient time to obtain a student entry visa.

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

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year: 2018

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