Social Work Degree - Distance Learning BA (Hons)

BA (Hons) Social Work

1. Overview

This distance learning social work course is approved by the Scottish Social Services Council. The course has been established for over twenty years and provides professional training to students from the UK and beyond.

You will benefit from the vast array of specialist teaching available from a large academic staff, with all personal tutors being professionally qualified Social Workers.

This course is predominantly taught through the University's virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle, where you will be able to interact with tutors and fellow students from around the country. Online University Workbooks / Materials and Core Text will be provided for all modules except those that are related to Assessed Practice Learning.

To support their learning through self-directed study students are required to attend two teaching blocks per year of study at the University, each lasting one week. It is also a requirement of the course that students have access to a suitable home computer to support their learning and access course material.

As the degree leads to a professional qualification in social work, students must complete and pass the assessed practice learning components of the course.

2. What you will study


Semester 1

  • Psychology for Social Work Practice
  • Sociology for Social Work Practice

Semester 2

  • Social Policy and Social Work Practice
  • Human Growth and Behaviour
  • Law and Legal Systems

Semester 3

  • Reflective Practice and Development 1
  • Practice Analysis 1


Semester 1

  • Social Work with Older People
  • Social Work with Children and Families
  • Theory to Practice

Semester 2

  • Practice Learning 2/Contexts
  • Risk Analysis
  • Reflective Practice and Professional Development 2
  • Practice Analysis 2


Semester 1

  • Research Methods
  • Social Work with People with Substance Problems
  • Social Work in Criminal Justice
  • Social Work in Mental Health and Disability

Semester 2

  • Professional Development Plan
  • Dissertation and Research Studies


Students are required to attend two teaching blocks per year of study at the University, each lasting one week. These teaching blocks provide a variety of important functions including:

  • Important introductions to forthcoming modules of study
  • Opportunities for students to meet to share ideas and learning
  • Dissemination of current theoretical concepts and policy

In addition to online discussion groups, email and telephone contact with personal tutors, students benefit from monthly group and/or individual tutorials, where appropriate, in their local area led by their personal tutor

3. Entry requirements

Standard Entry (Stage 2)

The distance learning route of the Degree which commences at SCQF8 is designed for employment based students who are seeking a professional qualification in social work, but who:

  • for geographical, financial and family reasons cannot attend a full-time Social Work course, and
  • are able to evidence relevant SCQF7 level accreditation from prior certified and experiential learning.

All candidates must have a minimum of two years full-time experience (or equivalent if working part-time) in a social work or social care role involving direct service-user contact. You must also be currently employed in a social work setting for a minimum of 17.5 hours per week and remain employed within the social work / social care sector for the duration of the period of study.

In addition, candidates must satisfy the requirements of the Scottish Social Services Council as laid out in the Standards in Social Work Education (SSSC 2003) in respect of language and literacy skills, numeracy skills and IT skills. In all cases, applicants must be eligible for registration with the Scottish Social Services Council and, to that end, must be subject to enquiry within the Scottish Government's Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme. In order to undertake the course students must be registered with the SSSC.

Advanced Entry (Stage 3)

There is also an entry point at Stage 3 (SCQF 9). This enables candidates to work towards the BA (Hons) in Social Work over two and a quarter years instead of undertaking the full programme of study over three and a quarter years. Whilst there are financial benefits for self-funding students in terms of cost, the whole ethos of the advanced entry admission process is to give accreditation for previous experience and certified learning. Candidates are required to provide a Portfolio of Evidence in order to gain this level of advanced entry: the portfolio will be assessed by the academic members of the Course Team and experienced practitioners and managers from agency stakeholders.

Successful candidates will have previous relevant experience and previous certificated academic learning at Diploma of Higher Education or Degree level in relevant cognate areas. Academic learning must include knowledge of social sciences and psychological theories. You will require a minimum of two years experience of working within a social work practice setting. You must also be currently employed in a social work setting for a minimum of 17.5 hours per week for the duration of the period of study.

Stage 2 entry: requires 120 academic points and a minimum of two years relevant experience.

Stage 3 entry: normally requires a minimum of two years relevant experience, a degree or equivalent qualification or a minimum of 240 academic points in a related subject area, and the successful completion of an assessed advanced entry portfolio to allow accreditation of previous experience and learning. You should also note that there is a nominal fee (currently £485) for the submission of the portfolio.

Stage 4 entry: requires 360 academic points. You will be a professionally qualified social worker who has either the CQSW, CSS or the Dip. SW and have completed further certificated learning in, for example, Practice teaching, MHO or Child Protection, or perhaps the registered Managers Award.

4. Placements and accreditations

Stage 2 entrants complete two assessed practice learning placements, one of 60 days starting in the January of the second calendar year of study, and one of 100 days starting in the January of the third calendar year of study.

Stage 3 entrants complete one assessed practice learning placement of 100 days, starting in the January after starting the course.

Stage 4 entrants - there is no placement requirement.

5. Course Fees

For Academic Year 2015/2016

Scottish Students

  • £3,500 per academic year

EU Students

  • £4,750 per academic year

Rest of UK Students

  • £4,750 per academic year

International Students

  • £4,750 per academic year

For Academic Year 2014/2015

All Students

  • £3,400 per stage for Scottish students
  • £4,500 per stage for international students
  • £4,500 per stage for Rest of the UK and EU students

For Academic Year 2013/2014

All Students

  • £3,270 per stage for Scottish students
  • £3,950 per stage for international students
  • £3,950 per stage for Rest of the UK and EU students

For Academic Year 2012/2013

UK/EU Students

  • £3,150 per stage

International Students

  • £4,000 per stage

For Academic Year 2011/2012

All Students

  • £3,090 per stage

All course fees are reviewed annually and subject to change. Published fees apply to the course's mode of delivery.

For further information see Student Finance pages


6. How to apply

We are not currently accepting applications for the course.

This year the applications process will open on 10 August 2015 and applications will not be accepted prior to this date. Please check the website again at the start of August for updated information. The supplementary information that is required along with the application may change so please do not complete this prior to August.

The closing dates will be in October/November and selection interviews for the course will be held in November/December. These dates will be confirmed in August 2015.

Please note that only completed applications will be considered.

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BA (Hons)

Start date


Course length

3 years and 6 months

Mode of Attendance

Distance Learning

Academic school
School of Applied Social Studies
More information:
Robert Buckley Senior Lecturer
01224 263218
Nicola Youngson Lecturer
01224 263237

Robert Gordon University, Garthdee House, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, AB10 7QB, Scotland, UK: a Scottish charity, registration No. SC013781