Frequently asked questions

General questions

More detailed questions

General questions

When can I apply for entry?

Applications open in October, and close early September. 

How do I apply?

Applications are made via the online application system.

Is there an application fee?


I have applied before - do I need to re-apply?

Yes, via the online application system.

Are my undergraduate qualifications appropriate?

We require a 2:1 in any academic discipline. Lesser degrees will be considered if there is evidence of substantial relevant work experience.

What are the English Language requirements for the course?

An English Language test will be required. Please refer to the programme prospectus page for information.

What accommodation is on offer?

Please refer to the University’s main accommodation webpage.

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More detailed questions

How is the University of Bristol programme run?

The MSc programme is planned and managed by University of Bristol. This is a two year master's programme designed to comply with University requirements, QAA guidelines at master's level and with the requirements of the Health and Care Professionals Council and Department of Health. In addition, all students are expected to meet professional requirements in accordance with the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF).

The programme prides itself on being research-live and practice-near, with academic input given by a staff team who are involved in cutting-edge research. This academic input is consolidated through 170 practice learning days and 30 skills days. Teaching and assessment are provided in collaboration with social work practitioners from partner agencies, and members of an active Service User and Carer Forum.

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Is the programme an approved professional social work course?

The MSc Social Work has the status of an ‘approved programme’ with the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC). This two-year programme is provided under the new framework for Social Work qualifications. It is a joint professional practice and academic award. On successful completion of the programme you will be eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC.

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What are the Bristol University fees?

Please refer to the University's fees and funding pages.

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What is the news about bursary support for MSc students?

The Department of Health and the Department for Education continue to review the bursary allocation for social work education. The University of Bristol will be allocated a set number of bursaries for each academic year. The number of bursaries available does not usually cover the number of places we have available on the course. Consequently, some students enter the programme without a full bursary - either ‘self-funded’ or sponsored by their Local Authority. We allocate bursaries according to performance during the interview day. Please refer to the NHS website for further information regarding social work bursaries.

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What financial help is available from the University?

Please refer to the University's fees and funding pages.

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What is the selection procedure?

There are three stages to the selection procedure:

  1. First, all application forms are screened to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria.
  2. Second, the applications are read carefully and scored. The team uses a scoring framework developed through discussion with partner agencies and the Service User and Carer Forum.
  3. Third, applicants with scores above an agreed threshold will be invited for interview.

The following criteria are used when considering the applications:

  • academic preparedness and good written English;
  • relevant learning from work and life experience;
  • experience and understanding of social work and social care and appropriate personal and intellectual qualities;
  • understanding of, and commitment to, the values and ethics of social work.


Successful applicants will be invited to interview. Interviews will be held regularly from the end of January. Candidates will be interviewed by one member of University staff, a social work practitioner, and a representative of the Service User and Carer Forum.

The interview day will have four parts:

  • an information session;
  • a short written exercise, 
  • a communication and inter-personal skills exercise; and
  • a personal interview.

Successful applicants will either be offered a place or will be offered a place on the waiting list.

Offers will be conditional on various factors to be completed before the start of the programme including:

  • satisfactory completion of a criminal records check;
  • satisfactory health check as required by the General Social Care Council;
  • academic requirements as specified in the offer letter.

Applicants who are invited to interview are required to complete a 'Declaration of Suitability for Social Work'. Please note that the information you declare does not necessarily rule out your application. However, if you have a criminal conviction you may be asked for further information about this before a decision is made. It is also important for all applicants to know you will need a new Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check prior to enrolment (see DBS checks section for further information including payment).

You will also be required to spend two days shadowing a qualified social worker before taking up your place on the course. Further information about these aspects will be available at that stage.

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How is the programme structured?

The organisation of teaching and learning on this course is modular. Assessment is based on written work, direct assessment of practice, various forms of continuous assessment, and participation in classes and workshops.

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Can the programme be undertaken part-time?

No. The MSc Social Work is a full-time programme; it runs for two calendar years from October in year one to the end of September two years later.

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What is the programme philosophy?

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