Bachelor of Arts (Social Care)
Diploma in Social Care
Certificate in Social Care

Course overview

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.


Who is the course intended for?

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 programme aim is to provide students with a professional education and training in the principles and practice of social care.

Key facts

Entry requirements

Formal academic qualifications are not required to commence this BA. Candidates are, however, expected to have good reading and writing skills, as well as basic IT skills, as independent home study is required.  Candidates should also have a minimum of one year’s experience in care work, which has been gained in either a formal or informal capacity. Candidates under 21 years should meet the University’s minimum matriculation entry requirements. Those for whom English is not the first language should check the University requirements at:

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.

Duration: 4 years, part-time

Next start date: Please contact the Programme Administrator

ECTS weighting: 180

Average intake: 40

Closing date: 5pm, Friday, August 14th 2015

NFQ level: 8

Mode of study: Blended learning - including workshops, seminars, work-placements, on-line and home study.

Course outline

Year 1

The first year of the programme 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 1as 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 programme 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 programme.

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 May 1st 2014 and can be requested from the Programme Administrator at


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

Work-placement 1


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

Work-placement 2


Year 3: Bachelor of Arts Social Care


Experiential learning and evidenced based practice in social care

Care planning in social care practice

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

Work-placement 3


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

Work-placement 4

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

Applications and selections

Applications are closed for this programme: Apply here


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.


Work placement/practice placement and recognition of prior experiential learning.

Work 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 workplacement 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 the BA Social Care has been designed to meet the needs of adult learners, workplacements 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.

Students with social care experience can apply for recognition of prior experiential learning, which provides for a reduction in the number of hours of work placement. The precise number of hours reduced will be dependent upon the extent and type of experience evidenced by the applicant. In certain circumstances, a practice project based upon the applicant’s experience may form part of recognition of prior experiential learning requirements.

Please note an application for recognition of prior experiential learning can only be made after registration on the BA Social Care.


Exemptions and Advanced/direct entry.

Applicants with existing relevant academic qualifications can apply for exemptions from modules (post-registration only), while applicants with significant social care experience and existing relevant academic qualifications can apply for advanced/direct entry to years 2 or 3 of the programme. It is not possible to enroll directly into year 4.

The closing date for applications for advanced/direct entry is 5pm Friday 14th August 2015. 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.

If you would like to receive further information on applying for advanced entry, you can contact the Programme Administrator at or at 091-493874.

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 programme.

Find out more

Social Care Programme Administrator
Room 204 Aras Moyola
National University of Ireland Galway
T: 091 493874
F: 091 494577

Fees for this course

EU (Total): €2,740 per year
Non-EU (Total): €3,240 per year

Fees for all Adult Learning Professional Development courses

Fees are reviewed annually. The Fees per year for 2013-2014 were EU €2,740. Non-EU €3,240.

Please note, half the fee is due on acceptance of an offer of a place.

Past Students

Social Care

Michael Quinn

"This course has been the greatest experience in my adventure, back to education as a mature student. It has given me new perspectives in which I view people and the world. It has been very challenging and rewarding. I am excited and nervous about my dissertation – but I see this as a springboard to more adventure. My tutors are very supportive and I would personally recommend this course to any prospective care worker"