Social Work - BA (Hons)

Social work is about changing lives for the better. Our degree has been designed with professional practice in mind, helping you to develop the knowledge and practical skills you need to become a confident, competent social work practitioner.


The School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research is one of the best in the country for teaching and research.

This programme is regulated by Social Work England (SWE).

Reasons to study Social Work at Kent

  • Successful graduates of this programme are eligible for professional registration with Social Work England (SWE), the regulatory body for social work.
  • Social Work at Kent is ranked 2nd for research quality in The Complete University Guide 2023.
  • You are taught by qualified social workers with diverse practical experience, whose research explores the complexities of the social world
  • You gain the knowledge, skills, confidence and critical understanding necessary to practise social work.
  • 90% of Kent Social Work graduates were in graduate-level jobs or further study 15 months after graduation. (The Guardian University Guide 2023)

What you’ll learn

You gain a thorough understanding of issues and trends in adult services and social care for children and families. You critically examine how to work with individuals experiencing mental distress, and the role of mental health services. You study partnership working, interventions and skills, research skills and critical and reflective practice.

You’ll complete 20 practice-focused skills days in your second year, as well as a 70-day practice learning placement and five skills development days. Additionally, your final year includes 100 days of practice learning and five skills development days. During these placement periods, you are supported by a practice educator and assessed in accordance with the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF).

See the modules you’ll study

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Watch to find out why you should study at Kent.

My work placement has been challenging, but amazing ... an invaluable opportunity to gain experience and insight.

Willis Atherley-Bourne - Social Work BA

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications, typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact the Admissions Office for further advice. It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

Mature candidates with equivalent qualifications are considered dependent on their qualifications and experience.

Satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and a satisfactory health declaration are required for applicants receiving offers. 

In addition to the examination grades set out below, candidates must demonstrate awareness and understanding of the needs of people requiring social care or social work. Paid/voluntary social care experience of dealing with vulnerable groups in society or some personal experience is required. All candidates are assessed against the criteria for entry level of the Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work.

Applicants being considered will complete a written test and, if satisfactory, will be invited to attend for an individual interview and observed group discussion. 

Students will be required to travel to placements by car due to the geography and transport infrastructure of the locality.  As part of the admissions process, applicants will be asked to declare that they have a driving licence for the duration of the programme, use of a car and appropriate insurance.  This does not apply to students who are not able to drive because of a health condition or impairment.

Accreditation of prior learning

In certain circumstances it may be possible for a student who has completed a stage of the BA Social Work from another university to be considered for entry to the second year of the degree at Kent. Before considering a transfer, the Admissions Tutor for the BA Social Work will need to be satisfied that the student has met the preceding stage's learning outcomes as required and defined by the University of Kent.

Once this has been accessed and to be considered for direct entry, the student must complete health and criminal offences declarations and also provide evidence that:

  • they would have met our entry criteria at Stage 1
  • their standard of work is good (providing evidence of a minimum of four essays, marks and feedback, plus an academic reference from their tutor or lecturer).

A reason for requesting the transfer will also be required and, normally, the student will be invited to an interview with a member of the Social Work team.

  • medal-empty

    A level


  • medal-empty GCSE

    English at GCSE grade 4 or above (or equivalent) is essential for all candidates. GCSE equivalence within an Access to Higher Education course is acceptable as a substitute for GCSE or Functional Skills level 2. Although Maths GCSE at 4 or above is preferred, applicants will still be considered if this requirement isn't met.

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    We welcome applications from applicants with the Access to HE Diploma

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    30 points overall or 15 points at higher level

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average (plus 50% in LZ013 Maths and Statistics if you do not hold GCSE Maths at 4/C or equivalent). Progression is also dependent on entrance tests and interview.

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

English Language Requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language must complete the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) qualification and achieve a score of 7.0 overall and in each subtest.


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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.


The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £13500
  • International full-time £18000

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

Successful applicants to this programme are required to complete and pay for an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (which the University will facilitate), and the update service as required/recommended.

This programme includes a compulsory placement element. Although a government bursary may be available, there may still be costs associated with this aspect of the programme. Please contact us for further information.

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

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The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for the administration of social work bursaries. Please refer to the NHSBSA website for the latest available information including the eligibility criteria

Students on Social Work BA programmes are only eligible to receive a bursary during Stages 2 and 3 of their programme. No student receives a bursary at Stage 1.

We do not receive confirmation of the number of bursaries for Stage 2/3 of our BA programme until the Summer Term of Stage 1. There are generally fewer bursaries than students registered. We are obliged to provide the NHS Business Services Authority with a ranked list of students. Students will be ranked according to the following: academic achievement and Stage 1 attendance.

Students who do not receive a bursary, but meet the eligibility criteria, are currently able to apply to the NHSBSA for a Travel Allowance to help with placement-related travel costs.

Undergraduates (including those who receive a bursary) may continue to be eligible for a student loan from Student Finance England, subject to eligibility criteria.

In addition, Kent offers generous financial support schemes to support eligible undergraduate students during their studies. Find out more on our fees and funding page.

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

Teaching and assessment

Social Work is an applied degree that links theory to the practical skills required of social workers. Most staff teaching on the Social Work degree are qualified social workers and all have a varied range of practice, managerial, research and academic experience. Practice experience is an integral part of the course and placements allow you to try out the knowledge and values you have learned in your studies.

Teaching methods include formal lectures, large and small group discussion and experiential work, and a programme of seminars.

During placement periods, you will be supported by a practice educator and assessed in accordance with the Professional Capabilities Framework.

In addition to the assessed placements, you will be assessed through a mixture of written assignments, in class tests, presentations and video work. Successfully completing Stage 1 also includes satisfying the Board of Examiners that you are safe to undertake the practical component of Stages 2 and 3.  This will include completing the Readiness for Direct Practice module.

Social workers are required to be computer literate and you will be expected to develop these skills.

More information about teaching and assessment can be found in the Programme Specification for this degree, available on the University's Course specifications webpage.

Students must also meet the Education and Training Standards stipulated by Social Work England

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Independent rankings

Social Work at Kent scored 91% overall in The Complete University Guide 2023.

Social Work at Kent was ranked 2nd for research quality and 15th overall in The Complete University Guide 2023.


Graduate destinations

Our programmes provide you with knowledge and skills that appeal to employers such as:

  • The NHS
  • Local authority adults' and children's services
  • Charities and other voluntary organisations
  • Private agencies eg fostering agencies
  • Social research

Some graduates choose to take on agency supply work to experience a range of situations and workplace settings.

Help finding a job

The School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research has its own employability team who work with businesses to maximise opportunities for our students. We also hold an Employability Month every February and run networking events throughout the year.

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Work experience

During your studies, you spend 170 days out on placement. You are supported by a practice educator and assessed in accordance with the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF). The PCF was developed by the Social Work Reform Board to set out consistent expectations for social workers throughout their careers.

Career-enhancing skills

You graduate with subject-specific knowledge that is essential for a career in social work. You also develop the key transferable skills graduate employers look for, including:

  • the ability to analyse problems
  • excellent communication skills
  • work independently or as part of a team
  • an understanding of, and sensitivity to, the values and interests of others.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Professional recognition

Social work is a regulated profession. A qualifying degree in Social Work is a prerequisite for eligibility to apply for professional registration with Social Work England (SWE) as a qualified social worker.

As a social work student, you will be expected to adhere to SWE's Guidance of conduct and ethics for students. As well as regulating individual social workers, SWE also regulates the performance of social work courses, and publishes its reports on its website.

Please note that driving - and having access to a car - are requirements for undertaking a placement in a statutory setting with our local authority partners.

The Partnership Initiative

The Partnership Initiative (PI) works to embed service user and carer perspectives, experience and expertise into social work programmes at the University of Kent, including student selection, teaching and assessment and research activities. The PI was set up when the BA Social Work was founded at Kent in 2003 and also works closely with the MA Social Work programme that began in 2013.

The PI’s mission statement is that, ‘PI exists in order that people who use services and carers work collaboratively with staff and students. This is to ensure that the skills and experiences of all are integral to the social work programmes at the University of Kent.’

Apply for Social Work - BA (Hons)

For the Social Work BA (Hons) degree at Kent, you must apply through UCAS. Learn more about the application process or begin your application by clicking the link below.

Apply through UCAS >

Contact us


United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896


International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254

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