Course Fact File
CodeMSWK
Duration2 Years Full-time
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsMSW
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing Date6 February 2024
Non-EU Closing Date6 February 2024
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

Our Master of Social Work (NFQ Level 9) programme is a two-year full-time course that combines academic study with fieldwork placements. This programme is approved by CORU. When you finish this MSW you will have a qualification that enables you to register as a social worker with regulatory bodies in Ireland (CORU) and abroad. 

  • Prospective applicants should also visit our School of Applied Social Studies website at: https://www.ucc.ie/en/appsoc/courses/. This website has been designed to answer questions you may have about our social work programmes.

Course content

This MA is a full-time professional training programme running for 21 months over two academic years from the date of first registration for the programme.

As part of this MA you will take modules in social work theory, skills, social policy and topics specific to social work settings such as child and family welfare and mental health.

Students take 60 credits in each year of the programme (a total of 120 credits). The programme is divided into six thematically-based combinations as detailed below.

Year I

Social Work, Counselling and Development Issues

  • SS6101 Social Work Approaches 1: Theory and Practice (10 credits)
  • SS6102 Human Growth and Development (5 credits)
  • SS6108 Child and Family Welfare I (5 credits)

Social Work Practice and Fieldwork Placement I

  • SS6112 Practice Skills and Fieldwork Placement 1 (20 credits)

Social Science, Law and Social Work Settings

  • LW6005 Social Work and the Law (Child Law) (5 credits)
  • SS6105 Social Policy and Social Exclusion (5 credits)
  • SS6106 Applied Social Research (5 credits)
  • SS6107 Social Work Settings 1 (5 credits)

Year II

Social Work, User Groups, and Law

  • LW6003 Social Work and the Law (The Rights of Vulnerable Persons) (5 credits)
  • SS6200 Social Work Approaches II: Theory and Practice (5 credits)
  • SS6201 Child and Family Welfare II (5 credits)
  • SS6202 Social Work Settings II (5 credits)

Social Work Practice, Counselling Skills, and Fieldwork Placement II

  • SS6207 Practice Skills and Fieldwork Placement II (20 credits)

Dissertation and Practice Research Presentation

  • SS6206 Dissertation in Social Work (20 credits)

Learning outcomes

When you have completed this course, you will be able to:

  • apply knowledge of social systems and human behaviour to promote social change, problem-solving in human relationships and the empowerment of people to enhance their well-being
  • critically examine and respond to the impact of social and political contexts on service users and social work
  • promote principles of social justice, human rights and anti-oppressive practice as intrinsic elements of social work practice
  • demonstrate core social work practice skills in the areas of: professional autonomy and accountability, interpersonal and professional relationships, effective communication, personal and professional development, provision of quality services, knowledge, understanding and skills
  • demonstrate knowledge of theory, legislation, policy, official inquiry reports and international conventions, and apply them to assessment and intervention planning in social work practice
  • illustrate an approach to learning that is self-directed, strengths-based and reflective.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

The MSW/Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work Studies (PGDSWS) is a full-time professional course that involves five full days in college or five full days in practice. 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 will be required to move outside Cork. The course is split roughly 50/50 between college academic work and practice placements. Students on the PGDSWS go on placement to a wide variety of practice contexts all over Ireland and in year 2 have the option to do an international social work placement.

Assessment

You will undertake a wide variety of academic and practice assessments. You are assessed through group projects, enquiry-based learning assignments, reflective portfolios and learning journals, essays, research presentations, and a minor dissertation.

Why Choose This Course

The success of the two years of study wouldn't be possible without a great MSW team and my fellow students, who are now friends for life...

Zuzana Strbianova, MSW Graduate

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Overall, the MSW at UCC is a great course, I got the opportunity to be part of a great class, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about themselves...

Karen McInerney, MSW Graduate

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As a mature student, I'm thoroughly enjoying the course! It has been the best decision I've ever made to take the leap from full-time employment to full-time education...

Mature Student, MSW

Find Out More

This programme is a leader in social work education in Ireland: it was one of the first courses to adopt a reflective approach to teaching and learning which supports the development of skilled, reflective practitioners.

This programme is approved by CORU. It has been commended for its delivery of a coherent, well-constructed and successfully executed course of professional social work education. The teaching and learning methods on the course are centrally concerned with building on students’ prior knowledge and experience, and with developing and extending skills and competencies. Preparing you to meet the requirements for professional registration under CORU is key and our graduates are much sought-after by major national and international employment agencies.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

A limited number of placement opportunities outside of Ireland are available each year. The School has links with placement agencies in the US, India, South Africa, and some European countries. Students are advised that international placements are more suitable in year 2 than year 1. These placements bring important comparative opportunities into the whole student group when placement experiences are deconstructed on return to college. It is School policy that all social work students should do at least one placement in Ireland.

Skills and Careers Information

On graduation, you will have been prepared for professional registration and be in a position to demonstrate the core social work practice proficiencies (as prescribed by CORU) in the areas of professional autonomy and accountability, interpersonal and professional relationships, effective communication, personal and professional development, provision of quality services, knowledge, understanding and skills. You will be able to exhibit a good knowledge of theory, legislation, policy, official inquiry reports and international conventions, and apply it to assessment and intervention planning in social work practice. Consequentially, you will be well prepared to respond reflectively and reflexively to a variety of social work situations in a diversity of social work settings, including multi-disciplinary contexts.

The variety of social work fields that have attracted and employed our graduates to date include medical, mental health, child protection, probation, physical and intellectual disability, community social work and primary care.

Requirements

Admission to the Masters of Social Work (MSW) is open to a limited number of students holding at least a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours (NFQ, Level 8) BSocSc Degree (or its equivalent), or graduates who have successfully completed an approved conversion programme, i.e. the Higher Diploma in Social Policy with at least a Second Class Honours Grade I (or its equivalent).

There is a selection process based on the following combined elements: academic performance and research capacity; certified social work-related experience and initiative; knowledge of social work and motivation, commitment and suitability.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicants should NOT apply for both the Masters and Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Studies options as there is ONE selection procedure for both options. 

Requirements for MSW applicants:

1) Applicants have already graduated with at least a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours (NFQ, Level 8) BSocSc Degree (or its equivalent);
2) Applicants have already graduated with at least a Second Class Honours Grade I in an approved level 8 conversion programme, i.e. the Higher Diploma in Social Policy (or its equivalent);
3) Applicants are current final year students in BSocSc (level 8) (or its equivalent) pending their final results in their Summer exams; or
4) Applicants are current students on an approved level 8 conversion programme, i.e. the Higher Diploma in Social Policy (or its equivalent) pending their final results in their Summer exams.

Current final year students/current Higher Diploma in Social Policy students who are successful at interview will be allocated places on the MSW, conditional on achieving a minimum 2nd Class Honours Grade I in their final degree/Higher Diploma in Social Policy exams. Should they not obtain a 2nd Class Honours Grade I but at least a 3rd Class Honours, they will then be allocated a place on the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Studies on confirmation of their results.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Studies option is aimed at graduates who have already completed their BSocSc level 8 degree (or equivalent) but achieved an overall 3rd Class Honours result.  BSocSc Graduates (level 8) (or its equivalent) who have already completed their degrees and did not achieve at least a 2nd Class Honours Grade 1 but achieved at least an overall 3rd Class Honours result can apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Studies option.

GARDA VETTING

Please note that as part of this programme students will require Garda Vetting as they will take part in a placement or UCC related activity where they will be working in an unsupervised capacity with children and/or vulnerable adults. For more information on this process please read the UCC Student Garda Vetting Policy

FITNESS TO PRACTISE

This programme is subject to the University's Fitness to Practise Policy - full details may be found here.

All applicants should also consult with the Frequently Asked Questions about the Selection Process: FAQs.

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

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

  • 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.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.

Deposits 

If your course requires a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second-semester fee payment in January.

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

  • The closing date for submitting an online application for the Master of Social Work & the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Studies is 6th February 2024.

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

Social Work Experience - Paid/Voluntary and Student Placements

To be eligible for this programme you need to have completed at least 420 hours of social work or social work-related experience. Your experience will be used as one criterion to rank candidates for an interview should there be a large number of applicants. However, we may interview candidates who have 250 hours by the application closing date if you state in the application additional/supplementary questions how you will make up the balance of the hours by the interview date (March).

You must outline briefly:

  • Social work practice related experience (paid or voluntary) and
  • Relevant student placements, if applicable.

Please list newest to oldest and specify in the duties and responsibilities box for each position whether it is: 

  • Voluntary/paid
  • Part-time/full-time

You must also include your duties and responsibilities and the number of hours completed for each agency.

Other additional questions: 

  • Social Work Practice Related Experience (Paid/Voluntary) Total Hours.
  • Student Placement Total Hours (if applicable).
  • Summary of all social work-related experience hours combined.
  • Proposed work experience you will complete before your interview to make up the required 420 hours (if applicable).
  • In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning and professional training relevant to this programme.
  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.
  • Please provide the details of one academic referee and one professional referee (this can be from a voluntary role). Both referees will be contacted at shortlisting stage by the review panel.

All additional supporting documentation for application to the Master of Social Work needs to be submitted by 9th of February 2024. If not, the application will be considered incomplete and not processed further.  

There is a selection process based on the following combined elements: academic performance and research capacity; certified social work-related experience and initiative; knowledge of social work and motivation, commitment, and suitability.

Your experience will be used as one criterion to rank candidates for an interview should there be a large number of applicants. However, we may interview candidates who have 250 hours by the application closing date if you state in the application additional/supplementary questions how you will make up the balance of the hours by the interview date.

Interviews take place in mid-March and candidates are advised of the outcome in late March.

The closing date for non-EU applications is 6 February 2024

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For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact

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