Social Work BA

Year of entry

2025 course information

Open Days 2024

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Social work student talking outside

Do you want to make a positive difference to the lives of others?

We need students who want to make a difference to society, help people find solutions to their problems and live more successfully. Our BA Social Work Programme team are committed to supporting you to become a reflective social work practitioner.

We work collaboratively and in partnership with practitioners and people who use services to ensure that social work students are provided with the skills and readiness needed for a rewarding, successful and long-term career in social work; and that our social workers are developed and challenged in their career. Our teaching partnership supports a range of placements in both the Adults and Children and Families sectors: these placements are an integral part of your education so you can become the best social worker you can be.

On the programme you will be able to learn through innovative methods such as engaging in a simulated experience of being in court and making home visits in our purpose-built campus facilities. We have a specialist module that prepares you for the realities of working within the digital social work world including an awareness of the benefits and the associated ethical dilemmas. You’ll also recognise the importance of applying diversity and anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive principles in practice.

Being a Leeds graduate gives you an excellent springboard to build a rewarding career, caring, helping and improving the lives of others.

NHS funding is available for social work students. Find out more here.

Course highlights 

  • We work closely with service users when recruiting students and to inform our approach to teaching. Our Social Work Team combines service user insight with that of active practitioners, innovative academics and experienced professionals to create a rich and fulfilling degree experience.  

  • Studying at Leeds means you’ll experience scenario planning in our in-house community flat to prepare for our stimulating and rewarding range of placements.   

  • Your placements will be with the Leeds and Wakefield Social Work Teaching Partnership or the private, voluntary, and independent sector. We are proud to be a founder member of this Teaching Partnership.

  • Opportunity to spend a year abroad and expand your cultural perspectives via the Horizon programme at the University of Leeds. 

  • The University’s vibrant research environment ensures that what you learn (and what you later practice) is both research and evidence-based, with access available to the very latest thinking and innovations. 

This degree is accredited by Social Work England and students who successfully complete the programme will be able to apply for registration with Social Work England.

Course details

Throughout your degree, we’ll help you develop the qualities that define a University of Leeds social worker – and to become a perceptive, astute problem solver and advocate for service users and their families and carers.

Placements are an integral part of your education. You’ll be required to undertake 170 days of direct placement, supported by practice educators. You’ll undertake three ‘Professional Practice’ modules (one in each year). Find out more about the different placements for each year of your degree in the work placements section.

Studying at Leeds means you’ll experience innovative teaching using active learning and authentic assessments to prepare for our stimulating and rewarding range of placements. These can include assessment and child protection, working with people with complex needs, and adult care management.

Year 1

You’ll learn about the legal basis of social work, sociology and social policy. You’ll examine the impact of disability and mental health on all people who use services including adults, and children and families. You’ll develop professional competence in areas such as decision making, ethics and values, and working with diversity all preparing you for your placements in Years 2 and 3. You will also have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of optional modules to give you the opportunity to broaden your academic experience and enhance your employability.

Year 2

In your second year you’ll undertake a range of different modules which are focused on social work with children and families and adults, further strengthening your understanding of social work theory and practice. You’ll undertake a placement within either the voluntary or statutory sector to help you develop the key skills and understanding required in social work and the ability to apply theory to practice.

Year 3

In your third year you’ll further develop your knowledge of both child and family and adult social work to prepare you to undertake a final year statutory social work placement, and ready you for an assessed year in employment (ASYE). In this year you will complete the Social Work and Technology module which helps you explore digital technologies in social work, including both the benefits and ethical dilemmas. In addition, you’ll complete a final year project that enables you to focus on a topic that interests you from your learning on placement.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Social Work BA in the course catalogue

Year 202324 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Professional Practice 1 30
Sociology and Social Policy 20
Social Work Theory and Practice Across the Life Course 30
Social Work Law 20
Professional Practice 2 40
Research for Social Work Practice 20
Social Work with Adults (including Mental Health) 20
Social Work with Children and Families 20
Decision Making in Social Work 20
Professional Practice 3 40
Dissertation 40
Working with Adults, Children & Families in Practice 30
Social Work and Technology 10

Year 1 compulsory modules

Professional Practice 1 – This module will help you understand the role of the social worker, while learning how to gather and analyse information and solve problems. You’ll gain the confidence to work in a team properly, better grasp the link between academic learning and social practice, and learn how professional values and ethics work are applied in the real world. You’ll also make plans for your personal development in the future.

Sociology and Social Policy – Here, you’ll gain a broader understanding of social work’s context. You’ll learn about the development of the British Welfare State, the social policy system in England and Wales, and how each of these connect to social work. You’ll also learn about social work’s broader social and political role, models of anti-discriminatory practice and why certain groups of people experience disadvantage and social exclusion.

Social Work Theory and Practice Across the Life Course – This module connects social work practice with ideas around human growth, behaviour and development. It explores how different communities are impacted by structural and environmental issues, as well as how drugs and alcohol affect the lives of children and adults. It’ll equip you to discuss things like culture, race, gender and class in relation to our development, and understand how current laws connect to alcohol and drug use.

Social Work Law – We draw a connection between social work practices and the English and Welsh legal systems, helping you understand the legal framework surrounding social work practice. You’ll learn about the impact of Human Rights Legislation on our lives, as well as issues of authority and accountability within social work itself. You’ll understand how discrimination can be challenged with legislation, and the codes of practice and regulations social workers must follow.

Year 2 compulsory modules

Professional Practice 2 – At this stage, students embark on a practice placement lasting 70 days, learning how best to actively contribute to a social care agency. You’ll apply the theories you’ve learned to address conflict resolution, motivational interviewing and other areas. You’ll also reflect upon your activities, developing the ability to analyse and reflect on various practice issues.

Research for Social Work Practice – Here, you’ll develop your research skills – a key component of modern social work. You’ll explore how social work and research are connected, the ethics of research in social work, how to carry out quantitative and qualitative research, and the strengths and weaknesses of each of these approaches. You’ll learn how to appraise research publications, boosting your skills in statistical and textual analysis.

Social Work with Adults (including Mental Health) – In this module, you’ll take a closer look at Adult Social Care, getting to grips with the system and its structure. You’ll develop your understanding of ill health, how to manage long-term conditions, and broader health inequalities. The module will also show you how social work empowers and assess the people who access social care services.

Social Work Law with Children and Families – This module will help you to work confidently and safely with children and families. It explores how the way we work with these groups has evolved, as well as the changing nature of childhood and family life. You’ll learn how to best appreciate the perspectives of children, understand how social workers carry out assessments, and evaluate how challenging situations have an impact on you as an individual.

Decision Making in Social Work – Social workers have many different decisions to make on a daily basis, and this module helps you understand the skills needed to make them. You’ll evaluate how and where we make decisions, various models of decision making, and what each one has to offer. You’ll even understand how your judgement can be affected, and how to prevent mistakes from being made during your work.

Year 3 compulsory modules

Professional Practice 3 – A 100-day practice placement will give you more practical experience of social care, helping you demonstrate your professional competence. You’ll develop professional assessment skills, learn how to better reflect on practice issues, and improve your contributions to the work of a social work agency. You’ll also further consider how you’ll develop professionally going forward.

Dissertation – This module will teach you how to find and communicate evidence, before putting it to practical use in social work. You’ll work more independently than usual, developing a research question, locating research evidence, critically analysing it and understanding the complexity of the task. You’ll also highlight possible areas of research in the future.

Working with Adults, Children, Families in Practice – At this point, you’ll be learning about the guidance that inform today’s safeguarding procedures. You’ll understand the ethical dilemmas that arise when you work with adults, children and families, the issues of working with children in care, and how to use evidence-based perspectives throughout your work. You’ll also consider the impact of complex organisations and situations on your wellbeing, and understand the importance of supervision and support.

Social Work and Technology – This module examines how assistive technology can help improve our quality of life, with a particular focus on choice, independence and wellbeing. It also looks at the practical, ethical and legal issues surrounding its use. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of what technology is available, the issues that might arise, and how to keep up to date with the use of assistive technology in this context.

Learning and teaching

Active learning plays an important part in how we teach and assess you on the social work course. This include asking and answering questions during a lecture, collaborative projects with your fellow students, reflections on work placements, written assessments, role play and simulations.

Our teaching is highly participative, using blended learning with a combination of tutor-led input and support, learning through group work and discussion both on campus and online.

We work in partnership with health and social care organisations, to make sure that we provide education which fully meets the changing needs of the sector. We will help you to develop the appropriate professional knowledge and skills for social work practice.

You’ll be supported by current practitioners from the social work teaching partnership, who’ll be able to share their experience and current approaches to engaging with a range of service users. Our service users and carers support the social work programme throughout, sharing their lived experiences of social work practice.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


You will experience authentic assessments designed to utilise your knowledge, learning and experience and apply them in ways that are relevant to social work practice today.

This may include essays, group presentations, posters, practical skills, examinations and multiple-choice questions. Throughout the first and second year, you will undertake a range of simulations to prepare you for placements. These will include:

  • engaging a service user
  • door knocking
  • a children and families and an adult care management simulation

A significant part of your learning will be in practice, which is assessed by means of a portfolio of evidence against the Professional Capabilities Framework, including direct observation of your practice and feedback from professionals and people who use services.

You’ll need to demonstrate the knowledge and application of standard concepts, information and techniques, as well as your emerging abilities, skills and competencies. You’ll also need to produce work that is typically both evaluative and creative and show you can conduct independent, in-depth enquiry within the discipline.

Throughout your course, both in university and in practice, you will be supported by skilled academics and practitioners and have access to a range of study skills and support services.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB. General Studies and Critical Thinking not accepted.

GCSE: 5 GCSEs at a Grade 4 / C, including English (English Language or English Literature) and Mathematics

Other course specific tests:

  • In your application, you will need to show evidence of study in the last five years.
  • You are also required to provide an academic reference, which includes a statement which attests to your character and good standing, and suitability to enter the profession for which you have applied.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. All successful applicants will also need to pass disclosure and barring screening. The University has a policy statement on students with criminal records. For the vast majority of students who are resident in the UK the record will be checked via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The DBS check can only include background checks on your time in the UK. A criminal record check from other countries in addition to the UK DBS check may be required. Abroad this may be referred to as a "Certificate of Good Conduct" (CoGC), but the name varies.
  • What prospective students / candidates should demonstrate at the point of entry to Social Work programmes are examples of the 'competence standards' from the BASW Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF). During our interview process we explore these capabilities with candidates through their communication, group participation, knowing yourself, and awareness of the wider society context as well as the Social Work role itself. It is important that you look through these to assure yourself and us that you can demonstrate your awareness of this professional and at times difficult role which you are interested in applying for. For example, candidates have to complete a group task in which they discuss a short video shown during the interview process, where you will be required to speak within a small online group and contribute towards the discussion, which will be assessed (along with the written task and individual interview). Here are the 'point of entry' PCFs which apply to the level you are currently at. There are other higher levels which you are welcome to look through to see how your abilities will be expected to develop - but these are the important PCFs for before you apply.

  • Occupational health assessment. Any offer of a place to study Nursing (Mental Health) BSc is conditional upon a satisfactory confidential occupational health assessment, which will include a health questionnaire, and if necessary further telephone consultation and/or an appointment with an occupational health clinician. Screening for serious communicable disease, (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and a review of immunisation status and needs, which includes COVID-19, will also be arranged before beginning your studies.

You can find out more about our application and interview process on our Applicant Journey page.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Access to HE Diploma in either Humanities and Social Sciences, Social Sciences, or Social Work

60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, with 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit.

GCSEs: GCSE English and Maths at Grade 4 / C


Extended Diploma: DDD

Diploma: DD, plus one A Level at a Grade B

GCSEs: GCSE English and Maths at Grade 4 / C

International Baccalaureate

Applicants must obtain 34 points overall (16 points at higher level), including 3 subjects at higher level at a minimum of a grade 5.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

Applicants must obtain 3 H2 and 3 H3 grades in the Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level).

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers.

B in an Advanced Higher and AAABB in Highers.

AABBBB in Highers.


T Level in Health and Health Science - Distinction. Grade B in the core component.

Other Qualifications


Grade A in Health and Social Care Level 3 Extended Diploma

GCSEs: GCSE English and Maths at Grade 4 / C

OCR Cambridge Technicals (CTEC)

Extended Diploma: DDD

Diploma: DD, plus one A Level at a Grade B

GCSEs: GCSE English and Maths at Grade 4 / C

Foundation Courses

We welcome applications from the University of Leeds Interdisciplinary Science Foundation, Interdisciplinary Studies with Preparation for Higher Education and the BA Social Science Foundation year Programmes. Candidates from these programmes must successfully complete the year with an overall score of at least 65%.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is a contextual admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and contextual admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer

A level: BBC

GCSE: At least 5 GCSEs at grade 5 (C) or above/ 4 or 5 (if taken after 2016) including Maths and English Language or English Literature.

Access to Leeds: Pass

Accreditation of Prior Learning

The University has an APEL process that the social work programme follows in the event of claims for prior learning with regards to specific modules.The social work programme will not APEL practice. However it will be possible to APEL the 'shadowing practice' element of 'Suitability to Practise'.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 2024/25.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only, as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional Costs

All applicants need to ensure cognisance of the financial implications before applying to the School of Healthcare and that there may be a requirement to provide a financial guarantee of funding for three years. The status of a student as being a home or overseas student is based upon residential status and not nationality. Where a prospective student is an overseas citizen living within the UK they should contact the Admissions Team at the School of Healthcare, regardless of their residential status, to verify their fees status.

The course length is 3 years. Students will have to pay for Occupational Health clearance and immunisations (cost will vary dependent on individual needs of student and course requirements as well as any additional Occupational Health appointments and treatment needed during the programme. Other additional costs associated with the programme, which require consideration include visas and travel to and from placement. Applicants for all Undergraduate programmes at the School of Healthcare require a Criminal Record check, which will be undertaken as part of the visa application.

Additional cost information

All students will have to pay for their travel costs to and from placement and may also have to pay for their own travel costs whilst on placement, although some agencies reimburse these. Students will be required to pay for printing of assessment work and photocopying of articles.

DBS update service (currently £13 per year) – while this is not compulsory, as a student Social Worker, you’ll need a new DBS check every year. Subscribing to the Update Service will save you the inconvenience of completing this each year, plus you can also use your clearance for any part-time or voluntary work you choose to do in health or social care alongside your studies. If you do subscribe and remain on the service for the duration of your studies, you will be reimbursed by the School of Healthcare for your subscription in your final year.

Additionally international students will have to pay for placement and skills days during their programme. Year 1 current estimate - 20 skills days = £250. Year 2 current estimate - 70 placement days = £1400. Year 3 current estimate - 100 placement days = £2000.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Social work bursaries

Find out about the funding available for social work students and how to apply by visiting the NHS Social Work Bursaries website.

Information for overseas students

All applicants need to ensure cognisance of the financial implications before applying to the School of Healthcare and that there may be a requirement to provide a financial guarantee of funding for three years. The status of a student as being a home or overseas student is based upon residential status and not nationality. Where a prospective student is an overseas citizen living within the UK they should contact the Admissions Team at the School of Healthcare, regardless of their residential status, to verify their fees status.

The course length is 3 years. Costs associated with the programme, which require consideration include visas and travel to and from placement. Applicants for all Undergraduate programmes at the School of Healthcare require a Criminal Record check, which will be undertaken as part of the visa application.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

For a guide on how to apply for a place and what to expect, please read our Applicant journey page.

It is helpful to have a basic understanding of the social care context within which a lot of our teaching and student learning is based. If you are interested in applying to join our course - from within the UK or from abroad, you may find these two links useful:

The School of Healthcare does not normally participate in the UCAS Extra scheme for entry onto the Social Work degree course. You must tell us in your UCAS application if you want to defer entry and if you have any prior criminal convictions.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.


We shortlist applicants against agreed criteria, using the information you submit on your UCAS form only. You must meet the academic entry requirement for the programme. Your academic background and personal statement help us to assess your interest in the academic subject and are an important part of the process. The reference you provide on the UCAS form must also support your application, this should be an academic reference, which also includes a statement which attests to (your) character and good standing.


If your UCAS application meets our shortlisting criteria, you will be invited to undertake a virtual interview. This may take place via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Blackboard Collaborate. You will also be asked to complete a piece of written work.

Shortlisted applicants are normally invited for interview between November and April.

This is an opportunity for you to find out more about the course and meet our staff.

The interview follows a structured format, whilst the questions asked may vary to some degree they are all similarly devised to allow each candidate the same opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of, understanding of, and aptitude for social work. The interview panel will then score the applicant against agreed criteria.

International admissions process

All applicants for Social Work programmes must meet entry requirements, are required to be interviewed and may be required to undertake a short entry test. Interviews are conducted remotely (usually via Zoom or Microsoft Teams) and will be arranged with the applicant for a specific date and time. For social work, where an entry test is required, this will be a written exercise. Tests for social work may be taken remotely, but under advisement.

Following applicant shortlisting by the School of Healthcare Admissions Team, applicants will be invited to undertake an interview (+/- entry test) subject to relevant entry criteria attainment as identified below.

Information pertaining to the International English Language Testing System qualification “IELTS” is available above.

Admissions policy

School of Healthcare Undergraduate School Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Healthcare

Contact us

School of Healthcare Admissions Team


Career opportunities

Our course is aligned to the Social Work England’s Professional Standards; on successful completion it will enable you to register with Social Work England, and you’ll be able to work in a variety of social work settings.

Career opportunities in social work are excellent. Social workers help people to live more successfully within their local communities by helping them to find solutions to their problems. As a social worker you can work in a range of different settings in the private, voluntary, or statutory sectors. Most of our students at the end of the course are employed within Local Authority Social Services Teams in children or adult services to complete their Assessed and Supported First Year in Employment (ASYE).

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Horizon study abroad year: think outside the box

There’s also the option to undertake a year out of the programme (Year 3) and study in another country as part of the Horizon programme. The Horizon study abroad year is a unique University of Leeds programme that allows you to develop key employability skills, such as linguistic and intercultural competencies at selected partner institutions in Morocco, Israel, South Korea, Japan and China. The year abroad does not count towards any of the SWE requirements for registration.

Visit Horizon year abroad to find out more.

Work placements

Placements are an integral part of your training. You’ll be required to undertake 170 days of direct placement, supported by practice educators.

You’ll undertake three ‘Professional Practice’ modules (one in each year):

  • Professional Practice 1: This normally involves skills development through a 2-day shadowing experience and 20 days within a local voluntary or independent sector agency.
  • Professional Practice 2: This is an assessed 70-day placement within the Leeds and Wakefield Teaching Partnership or the private, voluntary, and independent sector.
  • Professional Practice 3: This is a 100-day statutory placement within the Leeds and Wakefield Teaching Partnership.

Student profile: Iona Dunthorne

I have been given a lot of support from my tutor; it is helpful to have a friendly face to talk to if I have any personal or work related issues. I know they will do their best to support me.
Find out more about Iona Dunthorne's time at Leeds