Social workers support and protect some of society’s most deprived and vulnerable people. It’s immensely challenging and rewarding work, requiring a high level of motivation and commitment. The OU offers a work-based distance learning route to the degree. Successful graduates are eligible to apply for registration as qualified social workers with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), working in either children’s or adult services. To take this course, you need to be working in a social care agency in Scotland, whether or not you’re sponsored by your employer. You'll also need to be released from your substantive post to undertake two 100-day placements. In exceptional circumstances, placements within your work setting can be considered but will require the approval of the Social Work Team in Scotland.
Key features of the course
- Study through work-based and distance learning – this includes undertaking two 100-day work placements
- Develop the knowledge and practical skills that underpin effective practice
- Learn to deal professionally with complex, difficult and sensitive issues
- Improve your career progression opportunities within social work
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) Social Work (Scotland) uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- face-to-face tutorials/day schools/workshops and/or online tutorials
- working in a group with other students
- using and producing diagrams and screenshots
- undertaking practical work
- finding external/third party material online
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays and short answer questions
- using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
- engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your degree.
In addition to the above, there are entry requirements for this qualification which include medical criteria; the regulatory body for the BA (Honours) in Social Work Scotland (the SSSC) has guidance on health and disability relating to fitness for professional practice.
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increase as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
This qualification has four stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll begin Stage 1 with two introductory modules – one with a focus on health and social care and one with a focus on the social sciences.
- Next, in Stage 2, you’ll study a module on childcare and protection followed by a practice-based module.
- Stage 3 consists of a module on the law and social work followed by a practice-based module where you’ll undertake a 100-day placement.
- Finally, in Stage 4, you’ll study either a module with a focus on investigating health and social care or mental health, and complete your degree with another 100-day social work practice placement.
Prepare for OU study with an Access module
We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module.