Course Overview

The MA in Social Work (MSW) programme is located within the School of Political Science and Sociology. It is an innovative programme, one of the newest programmes in the country, committed in particular to the promotion of human rights and social justice. In high demand from its inception in 2004, the MA in Social Work programme provides accredited professional education and training in social work.

The programme is currently accredited by the statutory regulatory agency, CORU (see http://www.coru.ie/), the Health and Social Care Professionals’ Council.

One of the strengths of the Master of Arts in Social Work Programme (MSW) at NUI Galway is the small size of class membership, which facilitates supportive relationships between students and staff members. The programme is delivered as part of the provision of the School of Political Science and Sociology, also home to the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre.

Throughout the teaching, the connection between academic learning and practice application is central. We benefit from excellent partnerships with practice teachers and statutory and voluntary organizations which employ social workers across individual, family and community services. We are continually striving to develop and foster these relationships. Where possible, opportunities for international placements are also offered. The Social Work Programme is well placed to provide high quality theoretically informed research and up-to-date practice applied professional education. We have a dedicated Social Work Staff Group that works alongside School colleagues to provide students with a broad range of teaching and learning experiences and access to knowledge and expertise from local, national and international perspectives.

We offer joint teaching and learning opportunities with other disciplines within the School (e.g. Social Policy & Community Development) and are connected to the Child and Family Research Centre (see http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/) and a range of research clusters, which are partnered with the Life Course Institute (see http://www.nuigalway.ie/lifecourse). This means that staff throughout the School play a key role in relation to teaching and supervising research dissertations by students. The Programme also benefits from inter-disciplinary training with colleagues in other schools (e.g. School of Health Sciences), professionals in practice and service users and carers.

The maximum annual intake of Social Work students is 20. A dedicated teaching room, with extensive computer facilities, is available to students. The programme adheres to the definition of social work provided by the International Federation of Social Workers (see http://www.ifsw.org/) and expects Social Work students to adhere to both professional and university codes of conduct (see http://www.iasw.ie/ and http://www.coru.ie/ for codes of ethics and practice). 

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above. 

Who Teaches this Course

The current Director of Social Work is Prof Caroline McGregor.
The Practice Learning Co-ordinator is Ms Marguerita McGovern.
The Year One Co-ordinator is Dr Paul Michael Garret.
The Year Two Co-ordinator is Mr Declan Coogan.

Other staff members of the School of Political Science & Sociology and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre staff are members of the programme board, module convenors and contributors.

Requirements and Assessment

Students will be expected to pass all modules, including the practice component of the first year before progressing to the second year. Each module will be assessed through a variety of assessment methods including written assignments, individual and group presentations, podcasts, written examinations and minor dissertation. Students will require at least a 50% pass in each module. All Year 1 academic and fieldwork modules must be passed before progression to Level 2. No ’compensation’ between modules allowed.

Fieldwork

The Fieldwork component of the MSW is 50% of the entire period of the course. Students are placed in a variety of statutory, non-statutory and voluntary agencies. Geographically these agencies are along the Western seaboard, though there are also a number of placements in the Midlands and the East of the country. In Year 1 the placement runs for 14 weeks from early January to mid-April. In Year 2 the placement is also 14 weeks, from September to December. Each student is supervised by a professionally qualified social worker (the Practice Teacher) and is visited on placement by a Personal Tutor to discuss the student’s learning progress in developing the skills required for professional practice. International placements have been available in Chicago, South Africa and the Philippines. These are, in general, self-funded.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Candidates applying for admission to the programme must have completed a Level 8 primary undergraduate degree (minimum of Second Class Honours, Grade 2) in one of the following: Bachelor Degree with a major in Social Work, Sociology, Psychology Social Policy, Social Science, Social Studies, Social Care, Public and Social Policy, Youth and Family Studies, Health and Social Care, Childhood education, Community Development, or B.Soc.Sc or other relevant qualifications deemed equivalent by the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies. These may include undergraduate/postgraduate degrees such as Childhood/ Children’s studies, Geography, Law, Economics, Theology, Philosophy, if such degrees have included a significant proportion of social science related subjects. Potential Candidates should contact the programme director to request an assessment of their eligibility.   Transcripts will be required to assess this dimension.

Prior work experience is compulsory and candidates must have obtained six months (approx. 960 hours) of voluntary or paid work experience relevant to the social work profession in order to be eligible to apply. Relevant supervised placement learning will normally count for up to a maximum of 240 hours (6 weeks). It is the candidate’s responsibility to demonstrate clearly in their application how they have met the required 6 months/960 hours experience and the relevant experience form in the PAC application must be completed and submitted as part of the application.

Two letters of reference one academic and one work related and a well written and convincing personal statement (300 words) must also be submitted. Advertising for applications for the MA in Social Work (MSW) usually takes place in early January. The closing date for applications is Friday 9th February. Short listed applicants will be called for interview in March (proposed dates are 1st and 2nd March, 2018) and successful applicants will be notified in April. Places on this course cannot be deferred.


Additional Requirements

Garda Vetting/Police Clearance is necessary and required for students participating in this programme.
Duration

2 years, full-time

Next start date

September 2018

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

20

Closing Date

9 February 2018

Next start date

September 2018

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

 

ECTS weighting

120

Award

CAO

PAC code

GYA40

Course Outline

Programme aims and objectives

The aim of the MSW Programme is to aid in the development and formation of students wishing to gain accreditation as professional social workers. This is achieved by

  1. Preparing students to undertake an ethnically based practice integrating both theory and research, policy, skills and reflection. 
     
  2. Putting in place the foundations of generic learning applicable to all fields and methods of practice. 
     
  3. Sustaining the focus on human rights and social justice within social work practice. Students will learn professional autonomy and accountability; develop interpersonal and professional relationships; practice effective communication; build towards personal and professional development; assess and be able to deliver a quality service; develop knowledge, understanding and skills in a creative environment. Underpinning all of these domains is the basic principle of respecting and advocating for the rights of the service user.

Through the course, student participants are encouraged to:

  • develop an appropriate skills base within practice placement settings

  • lay an emphasis on the need for social workers to make use of social theory and research evidence

  • facilitate the development of critical and reflective thinking and practice

Students are expected to show evidence of a commitment to promoting social justice and human rights throughout their studies and practice.

Programme Content (Subject to Change)

Year 1

Social Work Practice (5 ECTS) 
Theory and Social Work 1 (5 ECTS) 
Methods of Social Work (5 ECTS) 
Research Methods (5 ECTS) 
Children, Families, and Vulnerable Adults (10 ECTS) 
Social Policy (5 ECTS) 
Mental Health and Health Promotion (5 ECTS) 
Field Work Placement I (20 ECTS)

Year 2

Social Work, Law and Human Rights (5 ECTS) 
Contemporary Social Issues (5 ECTS) 
Social Work, Supervision, Management & Administration in a Culturally Diverse Setting (5 ECTS) 
Theory and Social Work 2 (5 ECTS) 
Criminal Justice System, Probation & Social Work (5 ECTS) 
Research Dissertation (15 ECTS)
Pre Placement Programme,
Recall Day & Field Work Placement 2 (20 ECTS) 

Modules for 2015-16

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (60 Credits)

Required SP718: Theory & Social Work I


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP718: "Theory & Social Work I" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP611: Social Policy


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP611: "Social Policy" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP601: Social Work Practice


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP601: "Social Work Practice" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP603: Methods of Social Work


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP603: "Methods of Social Work" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP604: Research Methods


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP604: "Research Methods" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP606: Children, Families & Vulnerable Adults


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

This module teaches students theory, policy and practice that is essential for preparing them for work with persons in need. The module introduces students the core basic theoretical perspectives that inform our understanding of the relationship between human behaviour and environment. In so doing, it takes a life course perspective with Family Support in Social Work as an over-arching framework.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the life span/life course development of the human being
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the main theories relating to human behaviour and the social environment, social support, family support and resilience
  3. Evaluate the role, function of a range of child/family and adult care services;
  4. Develop A ‘matrix of need’ practice model of intervention which incorporates resiliency building in service users across all populations;
  5. Critical understand a practice framework for ‘social support networks capacity building’ in individual/family work and community capacity civic engagement contexts;
  6. Critical Understanding of the influence of a student’s own life course and narrative constructions upon their own social work practice
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Social Work and Human Development" by Crawford K & Walker, J
    ISBN: 978-184445380.
    Publisher: Learning matters.
  2. "Family Support as Reflective Practice" by Dolan, P., Canavan, J. & Pinkerton, J
    ISBN: 978-184310320.
    Publisher: Jessica Kingsley
  3. "Hitting the Ground Running: A survival guide for newly-qualified social workers in children's services," by Donnellan, H. & Jack, G.
    ISBN: 978-184310989.
    Publisher: Jessica Kingsley
  4. "Family Support, Policy Highlights" by Featherstone B. and Dolan, P.
    Publisher: National Children’s Bureau
  5. "Sage Handbook of Social Work (Parts 2 & 4)," by Gray M, Midgley J. & Webb S.A
    ISBN: 978-184920751.
    Publisher: Sage
  6. "Understanding the Life Course," by Green, L.
    ISBN: 978-07456401.
    Publisher: Policy Press
  7. "A Critical Approach to Human Growth and Development" by Nicolson, P.
    ISBN: 978-023024902.
    Publisher: Macmillan
  8. "Child Protection and Family Support: Tensions, Contradictions and Possibilities" by Parton, N.
    ISBN: 978-04151422.
    Publisher: Routledge
  9. "Human Growth and Development: An Introduction for Social Workers." by Sudbury, J
    ISBN: 978-041543995.
    Publisher: Routledge
  10. "Children's Rights in Ireland: A Current Perspective on Implementation, from a Past Lens with a View to the Future,The Irish Human Rights Law Review" by Dolan, P.
    Publisher: Claus Press
The above information outlines module SP606: "Children, Families & Vulnerable Adults" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP613: Mental Health & Health Promotion


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP613: "Mental Health & Health Promotion" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP608: Field Work I


Semester 2 | Credits: 20

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP608: "Field Work I" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Year 2 (60 Credits)

Required SP610: Field Work II


Semester 1 | Credits: 20

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP610: "Field Work II" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP607: Social Work, Law & Human Rights


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP607: "Social Work, Law & Human Rights" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP719: Theory & Social Work II


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP719: "Theory & Social Work II" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP609: Contemporary Social Issues


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP609: "Contemporary Social Issues" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP612: Research Dissertation


Semester 2 | Credits: 15

Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP612: "Research Dissertation" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP614: Social Work, Supervision & Management in a Multi-cultural Context


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP614: "Social Work, Supervision & Management in a Multi-cultural Context" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SP722: Criminal Justice System, Probation & Social Work


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SP722: "Criminal Justice System, Probation & Social Work" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates will be eligible to apply for registration with CORU as qualified social workers in a range of public, private and voluntary sector organisations. TUSLA, Health Service Executive, County Council, Community and Local Government and Department of Justice and Equality are examples of employers of social work in the public sector. The nongovernmental sector includes services to children and adults such as, Ability West, Enable Ireland, Brothers of Charity Services, Western Region Drugs Task Force, Jigsaw and COPE Galway. Graduates have also found employment internationally in the U.S.A., Canada, Scotland, England and Australia for example. With regard to further study, we encourage qualified social workers to consider post graduate study and or further professional training (e.g. PhD study or a recently established Higher Postgraduate Diploma in Practice Teaching, Supervision and Management).

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,500 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€6,276 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€15,500 p.a. 2018/19

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

Find out More

Academic curriculum queries:
Prof Caroline McGregor
E: caroline.mcgregor@nuigalway.ie
T: +353 91 492 027 

Practice placement queries:
Ms Marguerita McGovern 
E: marguerita.mcgovern@nuigalway.ie
T: +353 91 495 295

General Enquiries:
Ms Kay Donohue 
E: kay.donohue@nuigalway.ie
T: +353 91 492 290

More information


What Our Students Say

Holly

Holly Sheeran |   MA in Social Work (MSW) Graduate

While it is without a doubt a challenging and demanding course, it has given me the foundations for social work practice; both through the theory and discussion in the classroom and through the hands-on experience as a trainee practitioner over the two excellent placements. Respecting values, working within an ethical framework and practicing in a diverse cultural society are core components which are applied to my every day work in a voluntary organisation, and I have been able to specialise in areas that are of particular interest to me to improve my social work ‘toolkit’.