Postgraduate study

Social Work, Master of

Awards: MSW

Study modes: Full-time

Placements/internships

Programme website: Social Work, Master of

Our Master of Social Work (MSW) programme is a professional postgraduate qualification for those looking to practise as qualified social workers.

The MSW qualification is recognised by the Scottish Social Services Council and The Health and Care Professions Council, and those who successfully complete the programme are eligible for registration as a social worker.

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.

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.

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, at the end of which you will present your dissertation.

First year courses:

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

Second year courses:

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

You have periods of practice learning in both first year and second year.

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

For full details please see the MSW Accreditation information on School of Social and Political Science web site.

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.

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.

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

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)

  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)

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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Trinity ISE must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.*

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

Find out more about our language requirements:

Find out more about tuition fees and studying costs:

  • Undergraduate Admissions Office
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU

Further information

  • Undergraduate Admissions Office
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU