Social Work BA (Hons)

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 4 years
  • School: School of Education, Social Work & Community Education

Social Workers come to public attention when they play leading roles in contentious and often sensationalised criminal cases, working closely with the legal and medical professions and police forces. Their less visible day-to-day work is, however, fundamental to the operation of successful, just and participative societies.

Our programme offers a range of academic learning and practice placements to prepare you to enter your career with knowledge and confidence.

Why study Social Work at Dundee?

At the University of Dundee we approach social work from a social justice perspective, always aware of issues of human rights and of the disadvantages many people encounter in our society.

Social workers are often involved in complex and sometimes difficult situations. They are also involved in rewarding and meaningful work. At the University of Dundee you will learn the skills to equip you to successfully work with the wide range of social problems encountered in social work settings as well as the skills to engage far more widely with people in all sorts of circumstances.

Our programme draws heavily on the expertise of users of social work services and carers, as well as wider stakeholders such as local authority, voluntary agency and private agency staff. Users of social work inform many aspects of the programme such as assessment and also work alongside lecturers to deepen your understanding of their needs.

Alongside developing knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities, the programme will provide you with an underpinning knowledge about ethical theory and will stimulate discussion and reflection on your own ethics.

There is a strong commitment within the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education to provide you with experience of working with other caring professions. You will be offered a strong inter-professional thread throughout the four years of the degree, including practice learning opportunities within inter-professional settings. The worth of this approach has been formally recognised by the award of a university prize for innovation.

What's so good about Social Work at Dundee?

Our programme offers a range of Practice Learning Opportunities in various settings and with various service-user groups including children and families, offenders, older adults, people with physical and learning disabilities, people with mental ill health and people who misuse substances. Students often tell us that the learning and experience they gain from practice learning remains with them forever.

Related Courses

This degree course is based in the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education.

A variety of teaching methods is used throughout the programme and the emphasis is on experience and participation.

A significant proportion of your learning on the programme will be gained from practice experience. During 'practice learning opportunities' you will work in real settings with real people and real problems. Students relish these opportunities and experience valuable and often transformative learning as a result. 

In addition to lectures and seminars, you will be involved in 'Enquiry and Action Learning', role-play, video work and practical exercises on interpersonal and group skills training. The skills of working effectively with others in collaborative practice are also emphasised strongly throughout the degree.

Your learning will be enhanced using the latest techniques in simulated practice and information and communications technology.

Honours Degree

An honours degree normally takes four years, full time, you study levels 1-4, as described below.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

Direct entry to Levels 2 and 3 of the programme may be considered where the applicant can provide evidence of the appropriate level of qualifications and experience. This would be discussed at the point of application.

Typical Degree Programme

Level 1

This year introduces you to the fundamentals of your social work training, embedding knowledge, skills and values in relation to reflective and professional practice. You will have an opportunity to learn alongside students from teacher education and community education within a joint module.

There will also be formative practice learning experiences which will give you the opportunity to learn about the community context of social work, the social work role and task and the experience of service users and carers.

  • Reflective Social Work Practice
  • Working Together
  • Formation of Social Work
  • Assessing Human Behaviour in the Social Environment 1
  • Relationship-based Social Work
  • Power, Politics and Practice
Level 2

This year consolidates learning and reflective skills and the theoretical components underpinning contemporary practice, including the legal context of social work and social policy. You will also learn more about the values base in which social work operates and some of the ethical issues facing us in today's society. The joint learning continues with your peers from teacher education and community learning and development and issues of a national and global level are explored.

You will undertake your first assessed period of practice learning in the second semester which will give you a valuable opportunity to link your academic learning to practice, and to develop your practice skills.

  • Reflective and Ethical Practice
  • Social Work Law and Practice
  • Practice Learning 2
  • The Foundations of Policy and Practice
  • Practice Learning 3
Level 3

The third year of the programme gives you an opportunity to develop your knowledge base to encompass more specialist areas of theory and research. This learning has a strong focus on practical application and you will develop a clear and critical understanding of models of social work intervention.

  • Working Together to Achieve Social Justice
  • Models and Methods of Intervention
  • Reading, Understanding and Applying Research
  • Assessing Human Behaviour in the Social Environment 2
Level 4

This year contains your final practice learning opportunity. You will be required to meet the standards required of a qualifying social worker, and will be given opportunities to consider ongoing professional development needs beyond the programme. The year represents the culmination of all your learning on the programme.

  • Reflective Practice 4
  • Professional Practice 
  • Practice Learning 4

Assessment is predominantly concerned with assignments drawn from coursework which are designed to build your knowledge and skills base progressively and systematically. Social work practice is also assessed on Practice Learning Opportunities, as are the written assignments generated by the experience.

  • We have very strong links to local agency partners who provide us with Practice Learning Opportunities for students.
  • We have a clear focus on looking ahead to finding employment in the final year.
  • We have a reputation for producing good quality graduates.
  • We collaborate closely with our Service Users and Carers group. Service users and carers are involved in the selection of students, in teaching and in many other aspects of the programme.

The current need for qualified social workers means that the vast majority of graduates find attractive posts within a short time of leaving university. You may find that you can secure employment within one of your placement agencies in advance of finishing your studies. Dundee graduates in recent years have risen to the highest professional levels in social work and related agencies.

Since social workers are employed in a wide range of community and group care settings, providing services for most social groups, there is scope to pursue a career in line with your particular interests. The programme provides you with a generic qualification which will allow you to work across all social work contexts.

Professional Accreditation

This programme is accredited by The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and is recognised by all the UK social work registering bodies.

The following are the minimum requirements, please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Please note that the entry requirements in our printed prospectus may be subject to change. The entry requirements listed below are up to date and should be referred to in case of any discrepancy.

Courses starting September 2015

Level 1 Entry

Qualification Minimum Grade Typical Grade
SQA Higher BBB/BBCC ABB/BBBC
GCE A-Level AB/CCC
ILC Higher BBBC
IB Diploma 29 points (including 5, 5, 4 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects A literate subject (SQA Higher, GCE A-Level, ILC Higher or IB Higher Level) plus Mathematics at Standard Grade (grade 2), Intermediate 2 (grade C), GCSE (grade B), ILC Ordinary (grade A), IB Subsidiary Level (grade 5)
EU & International Visit our Your Country webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country
Other Qualifications
SQA A relevant HNC plus a relevant Mathematics qualification
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with CC at Advanced Higher with a literate subject at Higher C or above and Mathematics at Standard Grade 2 or Intermediate 2 at B.
SWAP Access Relevant subjects with ABB grades to include English Literature/Language at SCQF Level 6 and Intermediate 2 mathematics at C.
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DMM
Advanced Diploma BEng - Grade B with ASL-A Levels at AB in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
MEng - Grade B with ASL-A Levels at AB in Mathematics and Physics
Welsh Baccalaureate BEng - Pass with A level at AB in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
MEng - Pass with A level at AB in Mathematics and Physics
European Baccalaureate BEng - 70% overall with 7 in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
MEng - 70% overall with 7 in Mathematics and Physics

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will, in most cases, depend on your current country of residence.

The fee shown is annual, and may be subject to an increase each year.

Fee categoryFees for students starting September 2015
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Rest of UK students £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants."
EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants."

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

Please apply via UCAS



Degree UCAS Code KIS Data
Social Work BA (Hons)L500