BA in Social Work Studies (Honours)

The Open University

Program Description

BA in Social Work Studies (Honours)

The Open University

BA in Social Work Studies (Honours)

If you’re already a qualified and registered social worker with a Diploma in Social Work (DipSW), this course enables you to top up to an honours degree in just two years part-time study. It will build on your existing skills and knowledge to prepare you for further challenges in your social work practice. You’ll develop your reflective and evidence-based practice, and the skills needed to critically evaluate social work and social care services.

This top-up degree gives you credit for your existing social work qualification (credit transfer). Most students with a DipSW qualification will receive the maximum amount of transferred credit (240 credits), enabling them to start the programme at Stage 3. However, if you receive less than the maximum amount, you may need to complete additional modules at Stage 2.

Key features of the course

  • Designed for qualified social workers who do not yet have a degree
  • Continue in your employment while you study, earning while you learn
  • Get credit for your existing qualifications
  • This course is not a qualifying award, and you do not need to be sponsored by your employer.

Educational aims

The educational aims of this qualification are to increase widening participation in higher education for qualified social workers who have an existing diploma in higher education or equivalent but wish to ‘top-up’ to honours degree level. By completing 120 credits of higher education at OU level 3 these workers and students will develop and demonstrate their critical reflection and analytical abilities through academic writing and potential application in their work and practice environments.

This degree is designed to enable you to develop a sound and critical understanding of policy, theory and practice in health and social care. It will provide you with an opportunity to engage with the challenges facing professionals, service users and policy makers in the UK today. Studying for this degree will enable you to develop:

  • your knowledge and understanding of the historical and contemporary contexts in which health and social care takes place
  • a sound and critical understanding of key theoretical concepts and debates that underpin health and social care provision, including the legal, ethical and value base of care
  • your awareness of the diversity of needs and practices of different client groups
  • the knowledge, skills and understanding to enable you to work across boundaries, promoting professional and service-user relationships and inter-professional collaboration
  • the skills required for assessing current practice, for influencing and empowering others and bringing about change
  • the skills to use ICT routinely to support your learning and achieve the aims of the degree and engage in evidence-based practice.


We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost. Fees for study commencing in academic year 2014/2015 are:

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification upfront.
  • If like most OU students studying part time, you study an average of 60 credits a year – you’ll study for six years to complete a degree. Our typical fee for 60 credits is £2,632.
  • Our current fee is £5,264 – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification currently starts from £15,792 based on our current fees.

NB: Prices are subject to change.

How long does it take?

  • Part time – 2-4 years
  • Full time – 1-2 years
  • Time limit – this qualification is only available until 31 December 2017 and you must complete you studies by this date

Career relevance

You may already be employed in a social work or social care setting as a qualified social worker (with, for example, a Diploma in Social Work) but without a degree. Or you may have recently taken a career break, and provided you’ve retained your registration, this degree could help you re-establish your credentials and show your willingness to engage with studies relevant to modern social work practice.

Entry requirements

To study this top-up degree, you must have successfully completed a professional qualification in social work at a UK Higher Education Institution (HEI) that has led to registration as a social worker.

Read more about this programme on the Open University website here

This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University

Last updated September 28, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2018
1 - 4 years
Part time
Full time
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United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Start date: Aug. 2018
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school
Aug. 2018
United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school