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Different course options

Study mode

Full time


21 months

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Social Work

Course type


Course Summary

Social work is a human rights profession; be part of it.

This course, unique to the UK, provides an opportunity for you to qualify as a social worker while at the same time engaging with debates around the importance of human rights and social justice in the context of social work practice.

Building on the success of our existing Social Work programmes and the global reputation of the University's outstanding human rights research, we’ve designed a new postgraduate approach to social work education. Our Social Work students will not only acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to practice as social workers, but they will also can learn about the importance of human rights in an inter-professional manner, alongside students and tutors from the University's Law Clinic. Moreover, through our work with the United Nations, governments, human rights organisations, and corporations all over the world, we bring a global outlook to our teaching.

We’ve blended theory and practice throughout to nurture you from a trainee social worker to a confident professional practitioner. You will explore the fundamental principles of human rights and equality and examine how these doctrines will underpin your practice. You will also cover topics including:

Service users’ autonomy

  • Social justice and values
  • Equality and diversity
  • Safeguarding and protection
  • Evidence-based relational practice

Your future

We are first university in the UK to sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). This creates internship and research opportunities for our postgraduate students and is based on our long-established expertise in international humanitarian law.

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.


The module aims to provide the students with opportunities to critically examine the role and function of social work and consider how these have developed in response to evolving conceptions of human rights. This broader understanding will inform a more focussed exploration of a range of intervention strategies used in the promotion of independence and the safeguarding of vulnerability as a way to think through tensions and contradictions between social control and empowerment inherent in the social work vocation.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)


Entry requirements

You should have: a 2:1 or above (or international equivalent) in any discipline. Applications from students with a 2:2 or equivalent will also be considered where applicants also have significant vocationally relevant experience, hold GCSE Maths and English grade C/4 or above, or equivalent at the time of application, have some paid or voluntary work experience in health or social care in a relevant social care or childcare/education setting, successful performance at interview and successfully pass a English language assessment. You must also have one satisfactory reference (either academic or professional).

University information

The University of Essex is a hub of innovation and stereotype-breaking success. It offers students a fantastic academic experience, and a fresh way of thinking about some of the key challenges faced by society today. The university delivers an impressive selection of postgraduate courses at a number of levels, including master’s programmes, doctoral degrees, research positions and short courses for continued professional development. The...more

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