Postgraduate study

Advanced Social Work Studies (Mental Health Officer Award) PgCert

Awards: PgCert

Study modes: Part-time

Funding opportunities

This programme is the postgraduate qualification for qualified social workers wishing to practise as mental health officers (MHOs). It has been designed by, and is delivered in partnership with, 12 local authorities in the East of Scotland.

This programme focuses upon the role of the MHO in relation to relevant Scottish legislation. In addition to the taught elements, students undertake two periods of assessed MHO practice.

Under Section 32(2) of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 local authorities have a statutory duty to appoint and provide training for MHOs to undertake mandatory MHO responsibilities, enshrined in legislation: mainly the 2003 Act, but also the Adults with Incapacity Act 2000 and the Criminal Proceedings Act 1995.

This programme’s primary aim is to provide the required MHO qualification in partnership with the East of Scotland MHO Award Partnership.

The programme comprises 12 taught days and eight days of online learning over two semesters.

You will also undertake two periods of assessed MHO practice (thirty two days each), which are organised and supported by your employing local authority.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PgCertAdvanced Professional Studies (Mental Health Officer Award)1 YearPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

The programme aims to provide:

  • the knowledge, skills and competence required to undertake the role of the MHO
  • the opportunity for the development of academic study and specialist learning within mental health social work

This qualification is for qualified social workers wishing to practise as mental health officers (MHOs).

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, or a recognised qualification in social work and at least two years' relevant experience in social work practice.

If you are a qualified social worker but you do not hold a degree-level qualification, you may ask for special consideration when applying.

You must be employed, supported, and seconded by one of the 12 employing local authorities within the East of Scotland MHO Partnership catchment area.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PgCertAdvanced Professional Studies (Mental Health Officer Award)1 YearPart-timeTuition fees

Each successful applicant will be sponsored by their employing local authority who will pay all programme fees and relevant expenses.

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

References are not usually required for applications to this programme.

Interested applicants should make initial enquiry to their own employing local authority, who, in turn, will undertake its own selection procedure and make nomination to the MHO Award admissions group. Applicants nominated to the programme by their employing local authority will meet the requirements of the SSSC Standards Framework for the MHO Award.

Once the local authority's nomination has been verified, the applicant will be advised to apply through the University's online application system.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD