Course Overview

If you are currently working in social care or have one year's full-time (or equivalent) social care experience, then the BA Social Care may be the course for you!

The Bachelor of Arts (Social Care) provides teaching of theoretical concepts applied to social care practice. It was developed in response to the continuing educational needs of social care workers in the context of the professionalisation of social care work and includes both theoretical and practice components.

The BA Social Care reflects the depth and breadth of social care work both in terms of service users groups, such as children, individuals with disabilities, adults or older people and in terms of service diversity, such as residential, community or independent living services. Current students and graduates of the BA Social Care work in a vast array of statutory, voluntary and private services and settings including independent and residential services for individuals with disabilities, residential and aftercare services for children, homeless services, services for older people and community support services.

Applications and Selections

Apply Online

Please visit our How to Apply page for Application tips and Supporting Documents information.

Applications will be assessed solely on the information provided within the online application form and interviews do not form part of the selection process. Applicants are therefore advised to complete the application form fully and thoroughly, as incomplete applications cannot be considered. Please contact the course administrator for further information.

Practice Placement
Practice placement is an integral component of the BA Social Care and provides the opportunity for learners to integrate theory and practice. In line with current CORU guidance, the practice placement component of the BA Social Care is comprised of 800hrs of placement in a variety of settings over the 4 years of the programme, as such each annual placement consists of 200hrs. As the BA Social Care has been designed to meet the needs of adult learners, practice placements are organised in partnership with students and commonly operate on a continuous rather than ‘block’ basis. Nonetheless, block placements can be accommodated where preferred and possible.

Exemptions and Advanced/Direct Entry
Applicants with existing academic qualifications can apply for exemptions from modules (post-registration only), where direct comparability can be demonstrated. Applicants with appropriate prior academic qualifications can apply for advanced/direct entry to years 2 or 3 of the course. Advanced entry applications must be approved prior to registration on the course. It is not possible to enrol directly into year 4.

Please note, applications for advanced/direct entry will be assessed solely on the information provided in the application documentation and applicants are therefore advised to complete the documentation fully and thoroughly. Late or incomplete applications cannot be considered. Please contact the course administrator for further information.


Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Assessment of course modules, seminars and work placements is based on a combination of written assignments, practical work, work placement supervisor’s reports, online work, project work and examination (or any combination of these) in each year of the course.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Formal academic qualifications are not required to commence this BA. Candidates are expected to have good reading and writing skills, as well as basic IT skills, as independent home study is required. Candidates must also have a minimum of one year’s experience in care work, which has been gained in either a formal (i.e. employed as a care assistant) or informal capacity (i.e. caring for a family member, voluntary work in a caring capacity).

Entry requirements for part-time students can be found in our FAQs section (i.e. age, english language requirements etc.).

Additional Requirements

Students must satisfy Garda/Police clearance requirements. Garda clearance must be applied for through NUI Galway, regardless of whether an individual currently hold Garda clearance with another organisation.

4 years, part-time

Next start date


A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date


NFQ level


Mode of study

Blended learning

ECTS weighting




Course code

Course Outline

Year 1: The first year of the course provides a general introduction to the field of social and health studies through three course components: course modules, a seminar and work placement. Students receive interactive materials for home study and attend a workshop for each module. Students also attend one weekend seminar, which normally takes place in mid-November. In addition, students complete supervised work placement in a social care setting. Students who successfully complete these course components may leave the programme at the end of this first year and be awarded a Certificate in Social Care or they may continue to the second year of the programme.

Year 2: This second year develops the skills and understanding gained in year 1 as well as developing on the theoretical ideas that underpin social care practice and service provision. On successful completion of year 2 students may leave the course and graduate with a Diploma in Arts (Social Care).

Year 3: This year builds on years 1 and 2 with further theoretical exploration of social care work and service provision through interactive distance education materials, workshops and work placement. The core competencies required for working in the social care field are further developed and linked to their application in a workplace setting. Years 3 and 4 form the degree cycle of the course.

Year 4: This final year of the BA in Social Care is comprised of workshops, work placement and self-directed study components. In addition, learners complete a dissertation on a particular area of social care work, with the support of a named individual supervisor.

Classes days and times
Workshops normally take place on Fridays and/or Saturdays (or a combination of both) and, will run generally from 10am to 4pm. The Seminar in years one and two normally runs from approximately 9:30am to 5pm. All workshops will be held at NUI Galway, unless otherwise advised. Provisional timetables for year one will be available from 31st May 2020  and can be requested from the course administrator.

Mandatory induction for 1st years for 2020/21 will be held over two consecutive days (i.e. a Friday and a Saturday) in early September 2020 (exact dates to be confirmed).


Year One: Certificate in Social Care

  • Introduction to integrated and experiential learning
  • Introduction to social care practice and care skills
  • Seminar 1 (at NUI Galway)
  • Introduction to legal, ethical and professional practice in social care
  • Health and health promotion in the social care context
  • Introduction to communication skills for social care
  • Social and health services: history, systems and context
  • Practice Placement

Year Two: Diploma in Arts (Social Care)

  • Sociology: social care in context
  • Psychology across the lifespan in the social care context
  • Seminar 2 (at NUI Galway)
  • Health promotion model of social care
  • Introduction to care planning for social care
  • Communication and relationship skills for social care
  • Legal, ethical and professional practice in social care
  • Introduction to research for social care
  • Practice Placement

Year 3: Bachelor of Arts Social Care

  • Experiential learning and evidenced based practice in social care
  • Working with People with Disabilities - a Social Care Perspective
  • Professional autonomy and accountability in social care practice
  • Social care across the lifespan - working with children and young people
  • Health promotion strategies and approaches in social care
  • Research methods and methodology for social care
  • Practice Placement

Year 4: Bachelor of Arts Social Care

  • Social care across the lifespan - working with adults and older people
  • Management and leadership in social care settings
  • Research project
  • Social care and health promotion - national and international professional perspectives
  • Practice Placement

Please note that this outline is for guidance only and alterations may be made as required.


Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the course are employed by statutory, private and voluntary bodies and work with a variety of groups including young children, young people, older people and individuals with disabilities. In addition, graduates of the course have gone on to pursue study on both taught and research postgraduate courses.

Who’s Suited to This Course

It is designed to meet the needs of adult students returning to education and to enable those working in the social care field to further develop and enhance their understanding, knowledge and skills. The course aim is to provide students with a professional education and training in the principles and practice of social care.

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€2,830 p.a 2020/21

Fees: Tuition

€2662 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Student levy

€168 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Non EU

€3,330 p.a. 2020/21


€500 is due on acceptance of an offer of a place, the €915 remaining Semester 1 fees are due by 31st October; €1,415 Semester 2 fees due by 31st January. Scholarships will constitute a course fees discount between 10 - 30% for eligible applicants. See Social Care Fees Scholarship Form for further details, or see Funding and Fees for information on funding opportunities for students applying to courses here in NUI Galway.

Find out More

Social Care Course Administrator
Room 204 Aras Moyola
National University of Ireland Galway
Tel: 091 493874

What Our Students Say


Rob Partridge |   Current Student

I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge, not just from the lectures I attend, but from speaking with the other students on the course who come from different personal and professional backgrounds, and share their experience during class discussions. The learning from the course is transferable and interchangeable with my personal and professional life, and will be invaluable in my current role at work, and in any future positions.

Yvonne McCarthy |   Current Student

I struggled making the decision to apply for the course - I had self-doubts and thought that I wouldn’t be good enough or that I would be a failure (I have never been the best at academic work) - but I am learning so much. I know I am developing my skills and my confidence has grown.

Angela Rooney |   Graduate

I had completed some FETAC Level 5 and 6 childcare courses and I wanted to do something more. I found this Social Care Degree and decided to do it. It was the best decision of my life! I can definitely say that without this degree I would not have had the confidence or knowledge to change careers. After graduating I was offered a position as a social care leader working in a residential setting with adults who have intellectual disabilities. I would advise anyone thinking of doing this course to go ahead and apply - don’t leave it till "next year" - do it now and start a journey that will benefit you in numerous ways!


  • Social Care Programmes

    Social Care Programmes PDF (163 KB)

  • Adult Learning Prospectus

    Adult Learning Prospectus PDF (3.4 MB)

  • Short Courses Series 2019

    Short Courses Series 2019 PDF (1.4 MB)

  • Postgraduate Prospectus 2020

    Postgraduate Prospectus 2020 PDF (20.6 MB)