Postgraduate study

Social Work, Master of MSW

Awards: MSW

Study modes: Full-time

Accreditation

Placements/internships

Programme website: Social Work, Master of

The Master of Social Work (MSW)/Diploma in Social Work at the University of Edinburgh is a postgraduate qualification for anyone wishing to practise as a qualified social worker. Students come from all over the world to this programme, and go on to practise in diverse settings in social work practice, in training, in research, in government and in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

You’ll gain a fundamental understanding of the theory and practice that underpins all work in the field, splitting your time between theoretical learning on campus and practical work in various learning environments

Recognition of qualification

The MSW qualification is recognised by the Scottish Social Services Council and the corresponding regulators of social work in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, and those who successfully complete the programme are eligible for registration as a social worker.

The programme is approved by the *Scottish Social Services Council, complies with the Scottish Requirements for Social Work Training and enables you to meet the Standards in Social Work Education and the Key Capabilities in Child Care and Protection.

It is also recognised as a professional qualification in social work across the world, including the United States and Canada, following accreditation with the in-country regulatory authorities.

Accreditation

Successful completion of our MSW programme qualifies you to practise as a social worker.

You will study over two years, with periods of practice learning in both years.

You will complete six courses in your first year and three in your second year, including your dissertation.

You may need to complete a top-up mathematics course while on programme in order to satisfy Scottish Social Services Council registration requirements. This will be required unless:

  • you have achieved at least SQA National 5 Mathematics at grade C, GCSE Mathematics at grade C or 4, or equivalent; or
  • your undergraduate degree included sufficient numerical content, such as a statistics course

First year courses

  • Social Work in Communities
  • Social Work with Individuals and Families
  • Working with Self and Others 1: Skills, Theories & Methods
  • Doing Social Work Research
  • Understanding Care and Control in Social Work
  • Professional Social Work Practice 1

Second year courses

  • Working with Risk, Trust and Complexity in Social Work
  • Professional Social Work Practice 2
  • MSW Dissertation

You have periods of practice learning in both first year (full time for 80 days) and second year (full time for 100 days).

Placements are an integral part of the programme, during which you will be attached to a social work practice setting and will be under the supervision of a practice educator.

You will also have periods to return to the University and your personal tutor will provide regular support, including visiting you while on placement.

Many of our MSW graduates go on to work across a range of diverse settings in social work practice, training, research, government and in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

You will also develop a range of highly transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, is preferred. Applicants holding or predicted less than a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) with additional qualifications and/or substantial relevant experience may also be considered.

You must be able to demonstrate knowledge and experience of social work and a sound motivation to train as a social worker through a period of paid or voluntary work in a social care/social work settings or any settings that allowed you to work with people in need. You will normally have at least six months of work experience at the time of applying.

We may also consider your application if you have other voluntary or work experience and can demonstrate an ability to transfer your learning and experience, and to manage complex relationships in personal or work contexts. You must be able to demonstrate this in your personal statement.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups

All successful applicants will be required to join Disclosure Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme before starting the programme. In addition, all applicants who don't live in the UK, or who have spent more than a year abroad, will need to provide equivalent verification from the relevant national authority.

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 Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 62 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Undergraduate Admissions Office
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU

As this degree is very popular, we strongly recommend that students apply by 26th January 2022* as we cannot guarantee to consider applications received after this date.

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.

(*Revised 3 December 2021 to update application deadline information.)

Further information

  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Undergraduate Admissions Office
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU