• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Education & Social Work
  • Study Mode: Full Time

Develop advanced critical, analytical, Interdisciplinary and research skills in any aspect of social work. Our flexible on-campus course is tailored to your interests.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

in UK for Social Work -

The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019

This course focuses on the complex issues and challenges of 21st century social work. 

We have a range of expertise and experience, including interdisciplinarity (a specific and unique strength of the programme), leadership, research, values and social work practice.  We are particularly keen to establish links between theory and practice. Our modules also draw on experienced and knowledgeable guest lecturers both from the field and from academic research.

Flexible course

The MSc in Advanced Social Work Studies will allow you to engage with advanced level social work theory and develop the knowledge base and enquiry skills required to understand and contribute to 21st century social work.

The course curriculum will encompass taught modules which require you to engage with ethical issues and dilemmas relating to social work.  You will have the opportunity to critically engage with the challenges and opportunities of inter-professional collaboration and the role that organisational culture and change plays in the way social work is shaped and delivered.

The course will require you to develop and apply research skills and methods to social work issues in order to produce a Master’s level dissertation. This will allow you to explore and examine social work issues and contexts in order to develop new ways of thinking and understanding, and in turn seek to be transformative and impactful.

Professional relevancy

The social work modules have been approved, and are reviewed regularly, by the Scottish Social Services Council. 

Who should study this course?

If you do not require a qualification to practise social work, but wish to enhance and develop your social work skills and knowledge at Master's level, this course is for you. Without the requirement for practice placements, the qualification can be achieved within one year.

If you are a postgraduate student wishing to develop a research profile, or to further your career in terms of practice or leadership, this course is also suitable.

"One of my favourite things about studying on the programme is the eclectic mix of academic backgrounds and life experience everyone brings to classroom discussions. As everyone has studied previously, challenging each other and gaining an alternative insight into discussions has been an invaluable learning experience for me."

Former Postgraduate social work student

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

How you will be taught

At the University of Dundee, we emphasise the development of autonomous and self-directed learning, with support and guidance through structured personal tutor and module leaders.  Our approaches include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Group based discussions
  • Enquiry and action learning – collaborative research and problem solving.
  • Collaborative group inquiry activities (including inter-professional collaboration)
  • Online materials - discussion boards, academic activities, core materials and signposts to literature.
  • Independent and autonomous study and research which is supported and guided by module leaders and /or personal tutors.
  • Option for work based project to situate learning and research.

What you'll study

Core Module: Research Methods for Professional Inquiry (PD50177)

(Credits: 30)

The purpose of this module is to introduce you to research methodology and methods. In the course of the module you will develop an appreciation of what is entailed in conducting research in a professional field. The module content will follow the stages of research, starting with the research problem/question through to the presentation of findings. This module is also intended to prepare you to progress on to a small scale enquiry and to begin to think about the academic research process and the task of developing and conducting a research study.

Core module: Collaborative Working (PD50214)

(Credits: 30)

Students will be able to critically analyse different approaches to collaborative working and the factors impacting on their effectiveness. They will also be able to evaluate collaborative inquiry methodologies. Students will have the opportunity to work with, and learn from, professional peers from a wide range of backgrounds across the Masters Framework. The module assessment will be tailored to student’s prior experiences and professional expertise.

Core module: Decision Making (SW50017)

(Credits: 30)

This module allows students to evidence their critical understanding of, and competence in, making and communicating decisions in complex situations within their practice. Students will draw on ethical, legal, research and risk-related knowledge and will evidence an integral commitment to social justice and an understanding of the potential for oppression within neo-liberal risk practices.

Core Module: Dissertation (PD50206)

(Credits: 60)

The culmination of a Masters programme is a substantial piece of work which will contribute to the development and enhancement of professional knowledge and practice for the writer and others across a range of professional fields. Students are expected to show that they can exercise independent critical judgement and that they have command of the necessary research processes required to carry forward and report a systematic investigation, either empirical or philosophical. They are also required to show that they can apply what they have learned through their studies to set up a project which will inform research or will explore an aspect of practice. A study of this professional standing and worth must be well planned and resourced, engage with research and public theories, be critically reflective and explore the assumptions that underpin practice.

Optional modules

The optional modules available to students include the following:

Caring within Integrated Services (SW50018)

This module provides students with a critical insight into health and social care integration. Students study the theoretical and policy context of the changing landscape of social care in Scotland along with international perspectives.

Leadership, change and Organisational Development (PD50175)

(Credits: 30)

This module introduces participants to the concept of leadership and its role within strategic development, organisational learning and communities of practice. Participants will explore and critically appraise the significance of leadership, its relation to management and impact on organisational development. With reference to current literature and research, participants will examine theories of leadership and how leadership differs from management within organisations. It also asks participants to explore the key principles of vision and values, culture and climate. Participants will be asked to consider personal and professional values and the notion of a systems view in the context of guiding organisational change.

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods will include a combination of:

  • reflective and critical essays
  • oral presentations
  • research visualisations
  • research reports

The programme will prepare you for your chosen career in social work or a related field and gives you the flexibility and choice about how best to do this. The scope for applying advanced social work skills is vast - social workers are employed in a wide variety of settings, beyond what might traditionally be considered 'social work.'

You should have an Honours Degree of 2:2 or above.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 6.0

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee statusFees for students starting 2019-20
Scottish and EU students £7,300 per year of study
Rest of UK students £7,300 per year of study
International students (non-EU) £17,275 per year of study
Fee statusFees for students starting 2020-21
Scottish and EU students £7,650 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Rest of UK students £7,650 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
International students (non-EU) £18,150 per year of study
See our scholarships for International applicants

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students will increase by no more than 5% per year for the length of your course.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.

You apply for this course through our Direct Application System, which is free of charge. You can find out more information about making your application when you click Apply Now below

  Degree Course code
Apply nowAdvanced Social Work Studies MScP060230

Course Contact

Dr Richard Ingram
Education and Social Work
+44 (0)1382 381471

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