Professional Social Work Practice - Step Up to Social Work PG Dip

Postgraduate (14 months full-time)



This course starts in January 2020. 

The application window for Cohort 6 Of Step Up to Social Work has now closed.

If you're interested in other routes into social work please attend one of our open days for more information. If the Department for Education fund another cohort of Step Up to Social Work we will update this page in 2020. Please follow us on Twitter where information about Step Up is also shared @ARU_StepUp 

University-based teaching sessions are delivered in two blocks: January to mid-February and end of July to beginning of September. You'll also attend one University-based day once a month during the rest of the course.


Train as a social worker, both in university and out on placement, with this accelerated postgraduate course. Places are fully funded by the Government: apply through the Department for Education from February 2019.

Full description


On successful completion of the course you’re eligible to register as a social worker and work in statutory practice.

Social work is a varied profession and this qualification will enable you to work with different people in a range of settings. These include local authorities, housing organisations, voluntary sector projects, schools, health settings, private sector agencies and independently.

While the aim of the course is to train you to become a social worker with children and their families, it's generic enough that there are a number of other options you could consider. These include working with people with mental ill health, learning or physical disabilities, those who have committed criminal offences, who misuse drugs or alcohol, or who live in communal settings.

Social work is a versatile qualification and you'll gain a lot of transferable skills and knowledge, resulting in a career that can be varied and develop in many different ways.

Modules & assessment

  • Becoming a Social Worker
    This module covers the foundation knowledge needed to work with families including: context of social work (social and political), communication skills, social work theory and child development and impact on adulthood.
  • Preparation Skills for Practice
    This is a skills based module and is a requirement of the regulatory body. It will help you develop the skills required for your first placement and uses interactive methods supported and led by tutors, practitioners and service users.
  • Working with Families
    This module builds on the first block and first practice placement experiences and develops your understanding of the journey for families through social care services. Additional focus is given to: legal context of practice, assessment and intervention, management of risk and working with people with diverse needs.
  • Advanced Skills for Practice
    This is the second skills-based module and focuses on skills required for statutory settings. We will also support you to build your skills in communicating in challenging situations and using different approaches and styles. These sessions are supported and led by tutors, practitioners and service users.

At the end of each block you’ll complete a practice placement. The first will be 70 days in adult practice and the second 100 days in a children and families setting.


We’ll assess you through academic assignments, simulated practice, presentations, practice debriefs and the portfolios detailing your professional development.

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?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

Places are fully funded


Bursaries available

You’ll be entitled to a bursary of £19,833 for the duration of this course. (Please note that this may be subject to change by the Department for Education before the course starts.) There are no tuition fees.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2020-21.

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.

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