This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a module introducing health and social care followed by a module which explores the ideas and ways of working with people that underpins social work practice with a range of different service user groups.
- At Stage 2, you’ll study a module covering the law and social work before taking a practice module, which includes a 90-day placement.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll choose one module from a choice of three and conclude your degree with a practice module where you will undertake another 90-day placement.
Stage 1 develops essential underpinning knowledge and study skills – including digital and information literacy – and offers fascinating perspectives on contemporary society and how we organise social care. It’s the ideal start to your journey towards registration as a professional social worker, and as you progress you’ll draw on your learning time and again.
Stage 2 covers a range of legal issues related to social care and social work practice including children and family services, youth justice, community care and mental health. You’ll also examine the legal framework that shapes and regulates social care decision-making. You’ll start to apply your learning to your own practice and understand the key roles that social workers undertake and the relevant knowledge, values and skills of the social work process.
At Stage 3 you’ll choose one area of interest to study from four options, then finish your degree with a practice-based module. You’ll become an increasingly confident, critical, analytical and reflective practitioner, and an independent learner. On graduation, you’ll be eligible to apply for registration with Social Care Wales (SCW) and begin your career as a qualified social worker.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2021.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) Social Work (Wales) uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- working in a group with other students
- using and producing diagrams and screenshots
- undertaking practical work
- finding external/third party material online
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
- using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
- engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your degree.
In addition to above, there are entry requirements for this qualification which include medical criteria; the regulatory body for the BA (Honours) Social Work (Wales) – the SCW – has guidance on health and disability relating to fitness for professional practice.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Social Work (Wales) degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
This degree course is restricted to students working or volunteering in social care in Wales.
There are two routes into this qualification, depending on whether you are being sponsored by your employer or studying independently.
For sponsored students, entry has to be made through the employing agency.
Independent students must apply via The Open University in Wales.
To study this degree you must:
- have a qualification in Maths and Welsh or English (this must be equivalent to grade C at GCSE or above)
- show that you can communicate clearly in spoken and written English or Welsh
- demonstrate that you have the appropriate personal and intellectual qualities to be a social worker
- take part in an interview
- obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) with barred lists (children and adults) check and a medical check
If you are an independent student, in addition to the above, you must have successfully completed the Certificate of Higher Education in Social Care Practice (Wales) (T34). Following selection you'll then enter the degree at Stage 2.
For more information on either route or how and when to apply, contact the Wales Faculty at Wales-HWSC@open.ac.uk.
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most OU students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You’ll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:
People, work and society Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.
View full details of People, work and society Access module
Skills for career development
This degree will develop the skills needed to work with individuals, families, carers, groups, communities and other professionals, and you’ll be able to demonstrate to employers your professional competence in social work practice. Employers sponsoring staff on this degree have commented that:
- OU graduates are enthusiastic social workers who are well equipped to provide high quality interventions with service users
- a very high percentage of their OU qualified staff remain within their organisation and progress to more senior roles.
An honours degree in social work is the professional qualification required for all social workers in the UK. Once you’ve successfully completed the degree course, you’ll be entitled to apply for registration with Social Care Wales (SCW) and begin your career as a qualified social worker.
This degree has been approved by Social Care Wales and is compliant with the Welsh Language Standards. Once you’ve successfully completed this degree course, you’ll be entitled to apply to register with Social Care Wales as a social worker.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):
- Social worker
- Care home manager
- Probation officer
- Prison officer
- Adult guidance worker
- Advice worker
- Careers adviser
- Charity officer
- Community development worker
- Equality and diversity officer
- Health promotion specialist
- Volunteer coordinator
- Youth worker.