Social Work BA (Hons)

Part-time undergraduate (4 years)

Peterborough (Guild House)


Teaching times

Trimesters 1, 2 & 3: Wednesdays


Passionate about making a difference? Our part-time Social Work course is approved by Social Work England. It's a flexible way to train as a social worker. Study in Peterborough and develop your practical skills while on placement. Unlock the door to a rewarding career working with vulnerable adults and children. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to register as a social worker.

Full description


Our Social Work degree is a professional qualification, approved by Social Work England (SWE). This means that you'll be able to apply to register with SWE once you finish the course.

During your training with us, you'll acquire the skills and knowledge to practice as a social worker. You'll be skilled in case management and able to work safely within the law.

The social work profession offers a wide range of job opportunities and increasingly involves working with colleagues from other disciplines. You could work in the private, voluntary or independent sector; at county or city councils, family centres, learning disability charities, the YMCA and many more.

Our graduates work in services including adoption, fostering, child protection, adult safeguarding and youth offending.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Ethics, Values and the Legal Context of Social Work
    The purpose of the module is to give you a broad understanding of the centrality of ethics and values to the profession. You will also consider the tensions and conflicts that are linked to the legal context within which the social work profession must operate.
  • Knowledge, Evidence and Practice
    You will reflect on how knowledge is created and applied in the activity of social work. This module prepares you to evaluate the quality of knowledge whether as evidence, research or in the interpretation of professional practice.
  • Communication Skills and Key Theories Applied to Social Work Practice
    You will be introduced to key theory and concepts relating to communication in its different forms. You will study how these might be used in practice situations.

Year two, core modules

  • Social Work in Society
    This module will help you understand how service users' lives are influenced by their social and policy context. Poverty, inequality and social exclusion are key factors shaping the lives of most of the people that social workers engage with in their practice and you will gain a good understanding of these topics.
  • Social Work with Adults
    This module will give you an overview of five key areas of social work with adults: mental health, disability, age, gender and culture. You will examine the inter-relationships between these dimensions and the notion of safeguarding of vulnerable adults.
  • Powers, Duties and Accountability in Social Work
    You will be required to examine and evaluate the sources of professional power, structures of accountability and their duties when making professional decisions and judgements. This module will give priority to duties relating to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. You’ll also undertake a placement of 70 days in a social work setting.
  • 70-day placement
    You will normally be placed in a private, voluntary or independent sector agency where you will undertake direct work with people who are vulnerable or have particular needs. The focus will be on engagement, assessment, interpersonal skills and gaining an understanding of the core elements of the social work role.

Year three, core modules

  • Practice 1: Communications Skills and Partnership Working
    This practice module helps you learn how to critically analyse and put communications and partnership skills into practice. You will aim to maximise the choices available to people who have faced difficulties in society, including abuse, disadvantage, discrimination, marginalisation and poverty.
  • Social Work with Children and Families
    This module provides you with an understanding of the context of child and family intervention and how to recognise signs, symptoms and consequences of child abuse.
  • Transition into Professional Practice
    This module prepares you for transition into the Assessed and Supported Year in Social Work (ASYE) of professional social work practice. It will help you gain critically informed insights about the implications of powers, duties and responsibilities arising from both the internal and external environments.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    The undergraduate major project enables you to raise and address significant questions relating to your chosen topic/issue. You will be supported by a tutor with similar interests and research profile. This module requires autonomous study and it is your chance to demonstrate that you have met our University’s expectations and are ready to graduate.

Year four, core modules

  • Wellbeing Across the Life Course
    This module provides an opportunity for you to examine different dimensions of well-being, in particular, mental health and social inequalities in health. You will also undertake a 100-day placement in a social work setting.
  • Analytical Thinking and Decision Making
    This module aims to develop the understanding and skills needed to undertake effective assessments and care plans that lead to appropriate interventions. Topics explored include ‘need', 'risk', professional judgement, decision-making, and the factors that inhibit and facilitate change. You will also examine multi-complex systems that impact on service users lives, such as working with diverse communities, partnership, ethical dilemmas and the application of anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory principles. This will include the complexities of working with service users who could be resistant to intervention, the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children and complex decision-making within these contexts.
  • 100 - Day Placement
    You will normally be placed in a statutory related setting, such as a Local Authority Social Work team, where you will work under the direct supervision of a Qualified Social Worker and undertake assessments and interventions as part of formal or statutory processes. This will include risk assessment, safeguarding and the appropriate use of authority.

Core modules available in all years

  • Assessed Readiness for Direct Practice
    This module will prepare you for undertaking your first placement by making sure that you have experienced appropriate preparation opportunities. This includes an assessment of 'Readiness to Practice' before you start your first placement. The module does not attract any credits.

Please note that you will need to complete all of the above core modules. This course does not have any optional modules. Modules are subject to change and availability.


Assessments are your opportunity to show the skills and knowledge that you are gaining in your journey to become a social worker. We use a variety of assessment methods which include assignments, presentations, learning journals, portfolios, patchwork texts (short pieces of writing, or ‘patches’, built up week-by-week), poster design and placements.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Peterborough (Guild House)
Guild House

Guild House is our small, friendly campus in the historic city of Peterborough.

Explore our Guild House campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)*


*Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you’re studying at 3/4 of a rate of a full-time student (75% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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