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BA (Honours) Social Work (Wales)

The OU offers a distance learning, work-based route to the degree in social work. Successful graduates are eligible to apply for registration as a qualified social worker with Social Care Wales (SCW). With our employer partners, we offer a different route into the profession. It’s one that opens up a host of opportunities to people who, for one reason or another, require a more flexible and individualised approach to social work training. 

Key features of the course

  • Continue in your employment while you study, earning while you learn
  • Study through work-based and distance learning
  • 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

Course Summary

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
Q42
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 8 years
Study method
Distance learning
& Practice-based learning
Practice-based learning is learning delivered in partnership with employers to support their staff development aims.

We’ve blended our unique distance learning approach with learning undertaken in your workplace:

 

  • A flexible model with the potential to earn as you learn.
  • Develop highly relevant skills and knowledge to advance your career.
  • Allows employers to support employees to develop within the organisation.
  • Recognises both academic achievement and attainment of work competencies.
  • Provides a setting for the assessment of professional competencies, where this is a requirement for your qualification.

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with a module introducing health and social care followed by a module which explores the ideas and ways of working with people that underpins social work practice with a range of different service user groups.
  • At Stage 2, you’ll study a module covering the law and social work before taking a practice module, which includes a 90-day placement.
  • Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll choose one module from a choice of three and conclude your degree with a practice module where you will undertake another 90-day placement.

Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

Stage 1 develops essential underpinning knowledge and study skills – including digital and information literacy – and offers fascinating perspectives on contemporary society and how we organise social care. It’s the ideal start to your journey towards registration as a professional social worker, and as you progress you’ll draw on your learning time and again.
ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
An introduction to health and social care (K101)60
Foundations for social work practice (KZW113)60
K101 has two presentations per year, in February and October. Students who wish to complete their qualification in the shortest possible timeframe of three years will need to choose the October start.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

Stage 2 covers a range of legal issues related to social care and social work practice including children and family services, youth justice, community care and mental health. You’ll also examine the legal framework that shapes and regulates social care decision-making. You’ll start to apply your learning to your own practice and understand the key roles that social workers undertake and the relevant knowledge, values and skills of the social work process.
ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Social work law (K271)60
Applied social work practice (KZW216)60

Stage 3 (120 credits)

At Stage 3 you’ll choose one area of interest to study from four options, then finish your degree with a practice-based module. You’ll become an increasingly confident, critical, analytical and reflective practitioner, and an independent learner. On graduation, you’ll be eligible to apply for registration with Social Care Wales (SCW) and begin your career as a qualified social worker.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 20 March 2019.


Accessibility

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 (Wales) 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
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and producing diagrams and screenshots
  • undertaking practical work
  • finding external/third party material online.

In addition to above, there are entry requirements for this qualification which include medical criteria; the regulatory body for the BA (Hons) in Social Work Wales (the SCW) has guidance on health and disability relating to fitness for professional practice.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

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 increases 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.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Social Work (Wales) degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Compare this course

Entry requirements

This degree course is restricted to students working or volunteering in social care in Wales.

There are two routes into this qualification, depending on whether you are being sponsored by your employer or studying independently.

For sponsored students, entry has to be made through the employing agency.

Independent students must apply via The Open University in Wales.

To study this degree you must:

  • have a qualification in Maths and Welsh or English (this must be equivalent to grade C at GCSE or above)
  • show that you can communicate clearly in spoken and written English or Welsh
  • demonstrate that you have the appropriate personal and intellectual qualities to be a social worker
  • take part in an interview
  • obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) with barred lists (children and adults) check and a medical check
If you are an independent student, in addition to the above, you must have successfully completed the Certificate of Higher Education in Social Care Practice (Wales) (T34). Following selection you then enter the degree at Stage 2.

For more information on either route or how and when to apply, contact the Wales Faculty on +44 (0)2920 262728 or Email: Wales-HWSC@open.ac.uk.

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.

Your next step

Call us on +44 300 303 0266 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.

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

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 are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,012*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £6,024*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £18,072*.

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2020. 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 the professional qualification required for all social workers in the UK. Once you’ve successfully completed the degree course, you’ll be entitled to apply for registration with Social Care Wales (SCW) and begin your career as a qualified social worker.

Accreditation

Once you’ve successfully completed this degree course, you’ll be entitled to apply to register with Social Care Wales as a 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.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills. 

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 – including 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 (note that 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.

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