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Key information

Qualification type

Postgraduate Diploma

Subject areas

Social Work

Course type


Course Summary

This intensive programme is for graduates from any discipline wishing to train and qualify as social workers.

Through a combination of academic and professional modules, you will focus on both the social science knowledge base of social work, and on developing your practice-relevant knowledge, skills and values through 200 days of practical learning.

Taught by qualified social workers with a range of practice specialisms and research interests, this course offers exciting opportunities to learn alongside students from related professional disciplines including occupational therapy, teaching, nursing and medicine, mirroring the interprofessional nature of social work practice.

Users of social work services, carers and experienced practitioners are also actively involved in the course and the delivery of teaching sessions.

The postgraduate diploma (PGDip) can be taken as an alternative and shorter route to obtaining a postgraduate social work qualification with students learning alongside MSc students in all except the dissertation module. It is also available as an early exit award to those registered on the MSc who opt not to take the dissertation module but meet all other requirements of the PGDip.

Course structure

The course consists of university-based teaching and 200 days of practice learning. In the first term, you’ll be introduced to foundational social work knowledge. This reflects the programme's focus on concepts from critical theory, systemic thinking and relationship-based practice – key components that facilitate development, enabling you to work effectively with service users and carers, whether it be through providing support, advocacy or protection.

The 200 practice learning days are comprised of:

30 developing skills for practice days delivered within the university
a 70-day placement in year 1
a 100-day placement in year 2.

The final placement predominantly takes place within a local authority setting or an organisation that fulfils statutory functions.

During each placement, learning is supported by periods of study at the university and small group tutorials, as well as directed and independent study.

Throughout the course, there are also opportunities to work as part of a larger, interprofessional, group. In the past, this has included working with students from other vocational courses, such as medicine, occupational therapy and education.


Social work is a rewarding career for those committed to improving the life opportunities and wellbeing of others, whilst promoting rights and social justice.

Registered social workers generally have little trouble finding employment. There are many relevant vacancies advertised locally and nationally, and there continues to be a demand for social workers both in established posts and with agencies who provide temporary staff to statutory organisations.

Social workers can specialise in many different areas, including working with children, youth offending, family centres, older people, disabled people, mental health services, homeless people, asylum seekers and refugees, and substance misuse.

Different course options

Study mode

Full time


21 months

Start date



Contemporary Social Work Practice
Practice Learning 1
Legal and Policy Contexts of Decision-Making in Social Work
Decision-making in Assessment, Risk and Protection
Lifespan Development: Social and Psychological Contexts
Practice Learning 2

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

Students need to have an honours degree in any subject, normally with a minimum of upper second class honours. A satisfactory academic reference and/or transcript, indicating ability to study at level 7. Applications from candidates who do not fulfill the admissions criteria of a second class honours degree may be considered exceptionally in the shortlisting process in light of the content of their application as a whole. Should this occur, they must provide a transcript of their marks/grades on their first degree and submit written work as requested by the admissions tutor. Students need to have GCSE (minimum grade C or grade 4) in Maths and English language, or recognised and certified equivalences. We are unable to accept Functional Skills maths or English.

University information

Located on England’s beautiful south coast, the University of Brighton is a busy multi-campus university with a diverse body of over 3,800 postgraduate students. The university offer over 200 postgraduate courses, many accredited by professional bodies, and most providing flexible study options so that students can balance their studies with other commitments. The University was awarded silver in the Teaching Excellence Framework 2017. The...more

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