UCC Undergraduate courses

Social Work

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Social Work

  • Code


  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    4 years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    BSW (Hons)

  • Fees

    Student Contribution + Capitation Fee: €3,165. See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    The BSW Degree Programme is only available to those who have reached 23 years of age by 1 January of the year of proposed entry to UCC. Applicants are short-listed for interview based on MSAP results and the personal statement submitted with their CAO Application. See Requirements for full details.

  • CAO Points

    *Mature Entry*

Course Outline

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) will make you eligible to apply to be registered as a social worker with regulatory bodies in Ireland and internationally. This full-time four-year undergraduate degree is open to mature students only, and integrates university-based and agency-based learning. Successful completion leads to an academic qualification (BSW) and it is approved by the Health and Social Care Professional Council as a social work training course.

Years 1 and 2 of the course are college-based and lectures take place over two 12-week semesters.

In Years 3 and 4, you undertake one semester in college and another on a 14-week professional placement.

Year 1 Modules:

  • AP1110 Psychology as Science (5 credits);
  • AP1149 Introduction to Development and Social Psychology (5 credits);
  • EC1121 & EC1122 Markets, Governments and Economics of Social Issues I & II (5 credits each); or PA11104 & PA1105 Market Analysis and Evaluation of Social Issues 1 & 2 (5 credits each);
  • SS1017 & SS1018 Politics and Social Policy 1 & 2 (10 + 5 credits respectively);
  • SS1202 Introduction to Social Work Theory, Methods and Skills (10 credits);
  • SC1012 Introduction to Sociology (5 credits);
  • SC1013 Key Issues in Sociology (10 credits);

Year 2 Modules: 

Social Policy: Child Care Policy; Mixed Economy of Welfare and Personal Social Services; Social Policy and Social Work; Introduction to Social Work Practice

Social Work: Skills Laboratory; Social Work Methods; Social Work Practice Contexts; Social Recovery Approaches to Mental Health; Social Research

Year 3 Modules:

Law: Legal Studies

Social Work: Placement; Placement Portfolio; Life Courses, Biographies and Reflective Learning; Child Care and Protection Practice; Deviance; Welfare and Justice; Social Work Methods

Year 4 Modules:

Law: Legal Studies

Social Work: Placement; Placement Portfolio; Anti-Racism and Anti-Discriminatory Practice; Contemporary Issues in Social Work; Action Research Study

As a professionally validated course, the BSW has a mandatory attendance policy. In order to have a clear record of attendance, class attendance records are kept.

See the College Calendar for additional information on the Programme and the Book of Modules for further information on modules.

Course Practicalities

Expected lecture hours: The BSW is a full-time undergraduate course which is demanding in terms of the commitment required to undertake it. Each year of the course has 12-15 lecturing hours per week.

Expected reading hours: You will be expected to undertake at least 15 hours reading time in order to meet the assignment deadlines.

Expected practical hours: During Years 3 and 4 you will spend a semester (14 weeks) on a social work placement. While on placement, normal working hours apply (eg 9am-5pm).

Other practicalities
Commencing with the 2013/2014 intake, this programme will be subject to UCC's Fitness to Practise Policy – full details may be found here.

Garda vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC once a student has accepted their place on this progamme.


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May.  Not all modules will have written examinations.  Many modules use other types of assessment.

The BSW course is assessed through a variety of methods, including continuous assessment, exams and practice placements (14 weeks in Years 3 and 4). There is also a compulsory attendance policy and you are required to fully attend all lectures, tutorials and practice placement. In order to pass each module, you must satisfy the attendance requirements.

Who teaches this course

  • Dr Simone McCaughren — BSW Course Director
  • Lydia Sapouna — BSW Deputy Course Director and BSW Year 3 Coordinator
  • Hilary Jenkinson — BSW Year 2 Coordinator and Selection Coordinator
  • Dr Pat Twomey — BSW Year 1 Coordinator and Selection Coordinator
  • Dr Mary Wilson — BSW Year 4 Coordinator
  • Gerard Mannix — BSW course Executive Assistant

Why Choose This Course

...with the support I got from the BSW team, I got an academic scholarship and graduated with a first class honour...

Deirdre Murphy

Graduate, 2013

Find Out More

The BSW is a full-time, professional course that requires considerable commitment on the part of students. However, as the BSW is a course specifically for mature students, we have particular interest in trying to support students who may be returning to education after a lengthy absence. This is reflected in the orientation of the course and how it is run.

We recognise the valuable life and professional experiences you bring to the course, and you are encouraged to critically reflect on these in order to promote the development of your social-work practice. The course also incorporates approaches to teaching and learning appropriate for adult learners.

These methods include interactive teaching, group work, self-directed study, critical reflective learning, peer feedback and continuous assessment.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Practice placements are an integral part of the course. You are required to complete two 14-week fieldwork placements, for at least one of which you may be required to move outside Cork (consideration is given to students with children and other caring responsibilities).

The course has a wide range of placements within both voluntary organisations and statutory agencies in Ireland and abroad. We have strong links with agencies in South Africa, Chicago (US) and India and several students have completed placements with these organisations.

Skills and Careers Information

This course is approved by the Health and Social Care Professional Council (CORU) as a socialwork training course. Successful graduates can use their qualification to apply to CORU to be placed on the register of social workers. In Ireland, all social workers will need to be registered in order to practise.

International accreditation bodies also recognise the BSW for registration purposes. Social workers are employed in a wide variety of contexts including:

  • hospitals
  • child protection teams
  • the probation and welfare service
  • family support agencies
  • disability organisations
  • youth settings
  • community organisations


This programme is open to Mature Students only (i.e. those who are 23 years of age by 1 January of the year of proposed entry).  Application is made through the CAO and the closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1 February of the year of proposed entry.  

Selection for the programme is based on:

  • MSAP results
  • Statement of Interest in CAO form: this should outline your motivation and interest in pursuing this course and readiness to undertake professional training in social work.
  • CV (included in your CAO application)
  • Evidence of interest and/or knowledge in social issues and social work; evidence of required academic potential; evidence of relevant life and/or work exepreince; readiness to undertake professional training.

Shortlisted candidates attend the selection day in the School of Applied Social Studies. The selection process includes group and individual interviews. There are no official qualifications required to gain entry to the BSW. You will be judged on your:

  • relevant experience (both work and life experience)
  • potential to complete a demanding undergraduate programme of study
  • demonstrated commitment to social work interest in and knowledge of social issues
  • commitment to this field of activity.

All qualifying candidates are welcome to apply.

In recent years, the BSW has included students from many different backgrounds, from a variety of nationalities, and a wide range of interests and lifestyles. We encourage this diversity. The BSW is committed to positively contributing to social work. Our vision is to provide a critical educational experience for our students that will contribute to them becoming a positive force in society. 

Information for International Students.

Fitness to Practise
Commencing with the 2013/2014 intake, this programme will be subject to UCC's Fitness to Practise Policy – here.

Student Garda Vetting

All students on this programme will come into contact with the public and assume positions of trust through educational and training opportunities. To ensure the protection of the public, and to justify public trust and confidence, UCC is committed to ensuring that only suitable candidates are allowed to undertake this programme.

Student Garda vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC once a student has accepted their place on the programme. It involves a police check to establish whether the individual being vetted has had criminal convictions in the past or whether any criminal proceedings are pending. The Garda Siochána provide this information for students who have resided in Ireland for a period of six months or more (including permanent residence).

All students who have resided outside Ireland for a period of six months or more must furnish a Police Clearance Certificate from their country or countries of residence. This certificate should state that the student has had no convictions recorded against them while residing there.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

Fees and Costs

Full-time EU/EEA/Swiss State undergraduate students may be exempt from paying tuition fees. The State will pay the tuition fees for students who satisfy the Free Fees Criteria. In 2017/18 the Student Contribution Charge will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee is expected to be €165.

Non-EU Fees

The 2017/2018 Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

How Do I Apply

EU Applicants: Application to Year 1 of the degree programme is made directly through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie. The normal closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of entry.

Non-EU Applicants.


Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can apply online.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

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