Social Work

Social Work

Ranked 1st for research quality in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Join our world

Based at the University of Kent's Medway campus, you are taught by qualified social workers with diverse practical experience. Successful graduates are eligible for professional registration with Social Work England (SWE), the regulatory body for social work. Social Work is an applied degree that links theory to the practical skills required of social workers. 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.

School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

At the University of Kent, you study social work within the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR). SSPSSR has an international reputation for teaching and research. It is consistently ranked among the top four disciplinary centres of its kind in the UK for Sociology. SSPSSR is one of three schools within the Division for the study of Law, Society and Social Justice (LSSJ).

Social Work at SSPSSR: Undergraduate programmes


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All the lecturers are extremely approachable and supportive. I feel they offer opportunities for us to develop the skills we need, such as reflection, professionalism and critical thinking.

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Teaching and research excellence

Our academics are leading experts in research that explores the complexities of the social world. They are internationally renowned for their world-class teaching, research and publications. Our research informs the topic we teach.

Our research expertise includes:

  • Youth justice
  • Child protection
  • Care proceedings
  • Professional judgement and decision-making
  • Social work and asylum and immigration systems
  • Child sexual exploitation and race
  • The sociology of race and ethnicity
  • Homelessness
  • ‘Affective community spaces’ - the care that people experience in everyday places such as cafes and libraries
  • Specialist social work communication skills

Supportive student environment

Our teaching environment is characterised by high levels of student support and our staff are friendly and accessible. The student body is a cosmopolitan mix of mature and younger graduates creating a rich and diverse learning environment. You are allocated an academic adviser to support and mentor you throughout the programme. During placement periods, you will be supported by a practice educator and assessed in accordance with the Professional Capabilities Framework.

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The Partnership Initiative

The Partnership Initiative (PI) works to embed service user and carer perspectives, experience and expertise into social work programmes at 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.

Membership of the PI is open to people in Kent and Medway with direct experience of social services and social workers, whether as service users or as carers. The PI meets regularly with academics and representatives of the student body. PI members are paid for their involvement.


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‘It’s a great degree that also gives you the opportunity to explore multiple career options outside of just being a social worker.’

Reach your potential

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.

Our graduates go on to work with employers such as:

  • The NHS
  • Local authority adults' and children's services
  • Charities and other voluntary organisations
  • Private agencies eg fostering agencies
  • Social research
  • Agency supply work (to experience a range of situations and workplace settings).

Postgraduate studies at SSPSSR

SSPSSR has a long and distinguished history, and is one of the largest and most successful social science research communities in Europe. When not on campus or teaching, our staff actively engage in research activities such as writing books, speaking at conferences, and contributing to academic journals such as the British Journal of Social Work.

The School supports a large and thriving postgraduate community. We have close links with employers such as Kent County Council, Medway Council and Avante Care, who not only provide student practice learning opportunities but are also engaged in joint research projects with us.