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Course overview

Start date

September 2018

Subject area

Social Work and Community




On campus

Course summary

The MA Post-Qualifying Professional Practice has been designed to support the continuing professional development of qualified practitioners who are out in the field practising as social workers.

Once you have qualified as a social worker, you may decide to develop areas of specialism and complete various professional practice short courses such as the Practice Educator 1, Practice Educator 2 and BIADOLS.

These can be stand-alone courses, but we have also come up with the notion of building them into a master’s qualification framework. In this way, the courses are considered as modules within the MA.

This course is linked to your social work practice, giving you an opportunity to explore in depth an aspect of your current work and to link that to a more academic research-based approach which can help to inform your practice.

It is open to you if you have been in post-qualifying social work practice for at least 18 months.

Contact us

If you have any questions, talk to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0) 20 8223 3333 or email

Get in touch

All of the social work courses at the University of East London have been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the College of Social Work. They have received positive feedback from both organisations.

You will receive guidance from our past students. Many of the university’s qualified social workers work in the local London boroughs and come back to help supervise our qualifying students.

Every member of the social work team is HCPC-registered, understands and has direct experience of social work practice and is researching in their area of expertise. Not all universities can say the same about their academics.

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What we're researching

Our Centre for Social Work Research (CSWR) generates knowledge in social work thinking and methods. It also helps and encourages more social workers to become involved in research to improve shared knowledge.

Our founding goal is to shed light on underlying processes in practice and policy-making. We also work to strengthen the evidence base for ‘relationship-based social work’. This places the client-practitioner relationship at the heart of practice.

Current research themes include relational approaches to people at risk of self-harm or suicide, safeguarding and child protection, social work and education as well as the transformation of welfare in the UK.

The CSWR is led by Professor Stephen Briggs, who teaches on the MA Social Work course. His current research interests include adolescent mental health, psychoanalytic approaches to suicide and self-harm, and infant observation and its application to understanding infant mental health.

Dr Jo Finch, Course Leader of the MA Social Work course, is deputy director of the CSWR and a research specialist in the field of practice education (practice learning, assessment and suitability) with a focus on struggling or failing students. Her work has been published in the British Journal of Social Work and the European Journal of Social Work in Practice.

Paul Adams, Course Leader of the Youth and Community Work MA, is involved with a number of youth work organisations, including national government working groups. He’s also a trustee of Y Care International - an international relief and development agency working in partnership with YMCAs throughout the world to help them respond better to the needs of the most disadvantaged young people.

Making a difference

UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.

Fees and funding

£10,280 to fund your Masters Programme under the Postgraduate Loans (PGL) scheme

Postgraduate Loans (PGL)

The Postgraduate Loan (PGL) provide non means-tested loans of up to £10,280 to taught and research masters students.  It will be paid to students as a contribution towards tuition fees, living costs and other course costs.

Applications are made directly through Student Finance England


Whether you qualify depends on:
•    if you’ve studied on a postgraduate course before
•    your course
•    your age
•    your nationality or residency status

Full eligibility can be found here 

Please take a look at the Postgraduate Loans for an overview of the new funding.

Apply for a 50 per cent discount on your tuition fees! You can get a 50 per cent discount on course fees through a UEL Postgraduate Scholarship.

The scholarship is open to full-time and part-time UK and EU students of taught postgraduate courses.

To see our full eligibility criteria and how to apply click here

Terms and conditions apply.

How we can help you

Did you know that with a postgraduate qualification you can expect to earn more than someone who only holds an undergraduate degree?

If you want to build new skills, change career paths, or further your career prospects, a postgraduate degree can help you. Our range of scholarships and bursaries will make financing your education that much easier. Below are some the funding available to support you in your studies:

  • Alumni Discount - 15% fee waiver
  • Early Payment Discount - 5% fee waiver
  • Asylum Seeker scholarship - 100% fee waiver
  • Civic Engagement - £1,000
  • Harship bursary - up tp £2,000
  • Sport Scholarships – Up to £6,000
  • Team UEL - £1,000

Terms and conditions apply.

There are a number of ways you can pay your fees to UEL

•    Online payment facilities
•    By telephone
•    In person at our Docklands or Stratford campus
•    Bank transfer Full information on making payments can be found here

If you wish to discuss payments to the University, please contact our Income Team on 020 8223 2030 or you can email

Below are some ideas on how to fund your postgraduate study:

The Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) are here to help you navigate
your finances while you're a student at the University of East London.

We can give you advice, information and guidance on government and
university funds so that you receive your full funding entitlement.


Phone: 020 8223 4444

Tuition fees

Per 30 credit module

Tuition fees are subject to annual change. Fees for future years will be published in due course.

Entry requirements

Applicants need to be qualified and registered social workers or allied professionals.

We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. 


(Including European Union)

We accept a range of qualifications from across the world. Please see our country pages for information on specific entry requirements for your country.

If you don’t quite meet the academic requirements for this course, you can apply with an additional foundation year. Read more about the International Foundation Programme.

Overall IELTS 7.5 with a minimum of 7.5 in Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

If you do not meet the academic English language requirements for your course, you may be eligible to enrol onto a pre-sessional English programme. The length of the course will depend on your current level of English and the requirements for your degree programme. We offer a 5-week and an 11-week pre-sessional course. Find out more here.

As an inclusive university we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application (particularly your personal statement) and may ask you to attend an interview or submit a piece of work to help us decide on your eligibility for the course. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.

You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre. Please click here for details.

What you'll study

Consolidating Your Social Work
Specialist modules for those working with children and families, adults and with people in mental health settings 
Practice Educator Professional Standards 
Best Interests Assessor (six one-day workshops)
Professional Practice Innovation Project.

How you'll be assessed

Each module on this course is assessed separately. We assess you via coursework, assignments, project work, portfolios, group work and, for some modules, through mentor reports.

Course Specification

How you'll learn

You will benefit from our team’s direct experience in the field. Every staff team member is a qualified social worker and has had social work jobs in their specialised field. Each will bring something different to your learning experience.

For instance, Karen Adshead has almost 20 years’ post-qualified experience, which includes international social work and child protection, while Dr Jo Finch is a play therapist who has worked with children and families and children with disabilities.

Jacqueline Harry is a qualified social worker with a legal background. Mark Wheeler worked as a mental health social worker in east London for five years.

As well as the short courses, there is also a final longer project, worth 60 credits, that is linked to your current practice.

As part of our commitment to enhancing current social work practice, a series of external speakers come to the university to give talks. Invariably they have a particular expertise in their field.

Our Centre of Social Work for Research also organises evening seminars. Students and staff are invited as well as the department’s stakeholders, including its practice educators. These evenings are invaluable for networking and exchanging ideas and current practice knowledge.

“We have changed the way we deliver the course to meet the needs of busy people, says Course Leader Dr Jo Finch.

“We set the dates for whole days in advance, because it doesn’t work when we ask people to come in for two hours for a regular UEL module.

"Practitioners would rather come for a whole day and do a lot rather than come for 24 weeks and just two hours each time.”

What you'll learn

The Practice Educator Stage 1 and 2 courses are for social workers who wish to supervise students qualifying for their Social Work, BA or Social Work, MA degrees when they are on placement.

We run these courses in partnership with local authorities. It is a regulatory body requirement that our practice educators are qualified to an appropriate level.

The Best Interests Assessor: Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards (BIADOLS) course qualifies you to assess people in certain situations, such as in residential care or hospital, where their liberty may be in question, as well as their mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. Demand for this important qualification has grown as the result of a change in the law.

Another short (postgraduate diploma) course is the Approved Mental Health Practitioner course, run externally by the University of East London in partnership with the London Borough of Enfield. This will also give you 60 credits towards your master’s qualification.

Your future career

Not every social work practitioner wants further qualifications in their specialised field, but they can help your career progression. Moving on to the Practice Educator courses is often viewed as a step towards a management post. This means that we are constantly looking to train new Practice Educators who can supervise our Social Work students out on their placements.

The course thrives on and feeds into the partnership that we have with our service users, local authorities and practitioners, all of whom are involved in the teaching and development of students.

You will benefit from a uniquely east London experience that will help your progression in social work posts locally.

Many of our qualified social workers find jobs in the London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest. We are proud of the continuing contact we have with our former students and we invite them to come back and supervise our qualifying students.

The course has been designed to take you forward in your social work practice. In addition to the short courses, there is a specialist children and families or social work with adults module that will give you insight into that field.

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