Entry requirements

Although some modules in this degree are available to all students, the full degree programme is at present restricted to students who are being supported in their practice by their employing agency.

You must also:

  • have GCSE at grades A*-C in English and mathematics or certified equivalent 
  • meet the UCAS tariff threshold of 96 points or equivalent
  • show that you can communicate clearly in spoken and written English
  • demonstrate that you have the appropriate personal and intellectual qualities to be a social worker
  • obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) with barred lists (children and adults) check
  • undertake a written test
  • take part in an interview.

Entry to the degree must be through your employing agency; you cannot apply direct to the OU. Agencies and individuals interested in taking part in the programme are invited to contact us. Students who get a place on the degree course can pay their own fees or be funded by their employer.

Please ask your employer to complete an Expression of interest form located on our Social work website.

Start dates

February 2020

Applications close 01 August 2019

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week, plus work-based learning.

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)300 303 0529 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you. 

How much will it cost?

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.

The total cost of your qualification will be £19,524* based on our current fees.

  • Practice-based modules cost £3,738    
  • Theory modules (60 credits) cost £3,012

*The fee information provided here is valid for new students starting the programme after 1 February 2020. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a computer, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access. If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you register.

Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how you can pay. That’s why we offer a wide range of flexible payment and funding options to help make study more affordable. Options include Full-Time Tuition Fee Loans (also known as student loans), monthly payment plans and employer sponsorship. We’re confident we can help you find an option that’s right for you.

Full-time Tuition Fee Loans

As a student on the BA (Honours) Social Work (England) you may need to apply for a Full-Time Loan of £9,000 per year. You pay nothing up front and only start to repay a Full-Time Tuition Fee Loan when you’re earning over the income threshold, currently £25,000. Repayments are linked to your income to ensure they’re affordable, and are deducted automatically by your employer through the UK tax system. On a salary of £27,000, for example, repayments would be £15 a month.

If you think a Full-Time Tuition Fee Loan is right for you, find out How to apply for a loan.

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments. You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

Employer Sponsorship

It may be possible for you to secure sponsorship from your employer who will cover your tuition fees.

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card, and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.


Skills for career development

This degree will develop the skills needed to work with individuals, families, carers, groups, communities and other professionals, and you’ll be able to demonstrate to employers your professional competence in social work practice. Employers sponsoring staff on this degree have commented that:

  • OU graduates are enthusiastic social workers who are well equipped to provide high quality interventions with service users
  • a very high percentage of their OU qualified staff remain within their organisation and progress to more senior roles.

Career relevance

An honours degree in social work is now the minimum professional qualification required for all social workers in the UK.

Accreditation

Once you’ve successfully completed this degree course, you’ll be entitled to apply for registration with Social Work England (SWE) and begin your career as a qualified social worker.

Other careers

Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

  • Social worker
  • Care home manager
  • Probation officer
  • Prison officer
  • Lecturer
  • Adult guidance worker
  • Advice worker
  • Careers adviser
  • Charity officer
  • Community development worker
  • Equality and diversity officer
  • Counsellor
  • Health promotion specialist
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Youth worker.

Register for this course

Please see Entry requirements to register for this course as online registration is not available.

Download a prospectus

Our prospectuses are your essential guide to studying with us, covering courses, fees and funding, career prospects and more.

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