Social Work - Distance Learning

BA (Hons)

The BA (Hons) Social Work Distance Learning degree from Robert Gordon University is designed for someone already working in a related social care role. It will provide you with the knowledge, values and skills required by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to practice as a qualified Social Worker.

This part-time degree gives you the flexibility to balance your learning with work and other life commitments. Designed as a work-based degree, it is delivered through a combination of on campus learning, practice experience and tutor led learning supported by online resources. There are two entry levels dependent on your existing qualifications and experience.

As a Social Worker you will have a vital role in society providing support and protection to people who are disadvantaged and vulnerable.

This course has multiple study options
View study options

Mode of Attendance

  • Blended

Mode of Study

  • Part Time

Start Date


Course Length

3 years and 8 months

Mode of Attendance

  • Blended

Mode of Study

  • Part Time

Start Date


Course Length

2 years and 4 months

Stage 2

Stage 2 enables you to develop knowledge and skills associated with social work practice.  You will acquire an initial ability to demonstrate assessment and intervention skills with a range of client groups.  There are three teaching blocks and one assessed placement during the 14 months of this Standard Entry stage.

  • Induction teaching block week – January
  • Teaching block week – June
  • Pre-placement teaching block week - January
  • 60 day placement (January - April)

Stage 3

For students progressing from Stage 2 or joining via Advanced Entry this stage is over a 13 month period and comprises of two teaching blocks and an assessed placement.

Stage Three enables the student to apply advanced social work skills to specific client groups.  This will be demonstrated by a greater level of independent study and increasing competence in social work practice.  

  • Teaching block week - May
  • Pre-placement teaching block week – January
  • 100 day placement (January – June)

Stage 4

Stage Four enables you to engage in more advanced self-directed study and to acquire a critical and evaluative understanding of social work and related disciplines. You will also be developing your research skills culminating in the completion of a dissertation. This stage has two teaching blocks over a 15 month period.

  • Teaching block week – June
  • Teaching block week – January


We have on campus and virtual events to help you find out more about study, student experience and future career paths.

Graduate Story



Modules and delivery order may change for operational purposes. The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our course and module disclaimer for more information.

Detailed module information

Learning Method

Work based degree delivered with a combination of on-campus learning, practice experience and tutor led learning supported by online resources.

There are two one-week on-campus teaching blocks per-calendar-year involving a variety of teaching methods and activities with 25 to 55 other students. In addition there will be some remote teaching sessions throughout the year. As well as online discussion groups, email and telephone contact with personal tutors, students benefit from regular group and/or individual tutorials, where appropriate, in their local area led by their personal tutor. All modules at each stage of the course are compulsory and developmental feedback will be provided for each module. Each stage of the course is worth 120 academic credits. The degree classification is based on the marks obtained for modules taken at Stage 4. Completion of studies will be ratified at the course Assessment Board which usually sits in October.

The online element of the course is delivered through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), CampusMoodle.

CampusMoodle offers you the flexibility of where and when you choose to study and gives you full open access to tutors and other class members. You will have the benefit of being part of a group of learners with the invaluable opportunity to participate in active, group-related learning within a supportive online community setting. The online campus provides you with course materials which include:

  • Online activities
  • Discussion forums - student and tutor led
  • Up-to-date web technology for delivery methods
  • User friendly material

Activity Summary

  • Independent study - 825 hours per stage
  • Block teaching comprising lectures seminars and group learning - 45 students per group for 30 hours x 2 blocks per stage
  • Tutorials, individual, group, face to face or remotely - up to 10 students for 8 hours per stage

How long is a BA (Hons) Social Work - Distance Learning course?

A Social Work - Distance Learning course can be completed part time, over:

  • 2 years and 4 months (May start)
  • 3 years and 8 months (January start)

Independent Study

There is a strong emphasis on independent study where you are encouraged to research materials. All modules will direct you to indicative and recommended reading.

Staff Delivering on This Course

Our class sizes are small, and this, along with a high level of contact time with staff, enables us to provide a friendly and supportive learning environment.


Typically students are assessed each year:

Year 2

  • 6 written assignments, including essays
  • 1 practical skills assessment
  • 1  group critique

Year 3

  • 4 written assignments, including essays
  • 1 portfolio
  • 1 practical skills assessment

Year 4

  • 5 written assignments, including essays
  • 1 dissertation


We aim to provide you with feedback within 20 working days of hand-in for all coursework.


Academic Support

The Inclusion Centre advises and supports students who disclose a sensory or mobility impairment, chronic medical condition, mental health issue, dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-entry visit to discuss any concerns and to view the facilities.

Online Learning & Support

All undergraduate and postgraduate students, whether you are learning on campus or by online learning, benefit from using our collaborative virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle. You will be provided with 24/7 online access to your learning material and resources, along with the ability to interact with your class members and tutors for discussion and support.

Study Skills Support

The Study Support Team provides training and support to all students in:

  • Academic writing
  • Study skills (note taking, exam techniques, time management, presentation)
  • Maths and statistics
  • English language
  • Information technology support

Library Support

The Library offers support for your course, including the books, eBooks, and journals you will need. We also offer online reading lists for many modules, workshops and drop-ins on searching skills and referencing, and much more.



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. There is the possibility of the 60 day placement being undertaken in your place of work with some adjustments made to your existing role. This might not be suitable in all cases and must be discussed and agreed with the course team.

Stage 3 entrants complete one assessed practice learning placement of 100 days, starting in the January after starting the course. This placement should be done with a different service user group in a different setting.

Stage 4 entrants - there is no placement requirement.

Placements are undertaken in a block period of full-time days. Course staff will work with you to identify suitable opportunities for your placement(s) in your locality.

Placements abroad may also be available.

Job Prospects

Is Social Work (Distance Learning) a good course choice?

Previous BA Social Work (Distance Learning) graduates of Robert Gordon University have gone on to enhance their current careers and progressed in the following roles:

  • Child and Family Social Work
  • Care Sector - Management
  • Mental Health Social Work

Application Process

Closing dates

  • Standard Entry to Stage 2 in January 2023 - Monday 7 November 2022
  • Advanced Entry to Stage 3 in May 2023 - Monday 10 October 2022

This earlier date is to allow sufficient time for the preparation and submission of the Advanced Entry portfolio in 2023.

Selection Interviews

Selection interviews for the course will be held on the following dates:

  • Advanced Entry (Stage 3) – Wednesday 26 October 2022
  • Standard Entry (Stage 2) – Wednesday 24 November 2022

The selection interviews will usually involve a written task and an interview via Microsoft Teams.

Supplementary Documentation

Once you have submitted your application, you will be asked to submit your completed supplementary documentation and you will be provided with instructions on how to do this. The documents are available here to download. Only fully completed applications which incorporate all the required supplementary information will be considered.

Admissions Timetable Summary 2022-23

Stage 2

  • 1 August 2022 - Applications open
  • 7 November 2022 - Applications close for Stage 2
  • 23 November 2022 - Selection interviews for Stage 2
  • 16 January 2023 - Induction block for Stage 2

Stage 3

  • 1 August 2022 - Applications open
  • 10 October 2022 - Applications close for Stage 3
  • 26 October 2022 - Selection interviews for Stage 3
  • Late November 2022 - Stage 3 applicants start portfolio
  • 6 March 2023 - Portfolio submission date
  • 15 May 2023 (approximate date) - Induction block for Stage 3

All candidates

In all cases, applicants must register 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. At the point of enrolling on the course at Standard or Advanced Entry students must have started the process of registration and this must be completed within 12 weeks of starting the course. Qualification Conversion Entry applicants will need to provide evidence of their SSSC or equivalent registration.

In addition, applicants must satisfy the requirements of the Scottish Social Services Council as laid out in the Standards in Social Work Education (SSSC 2019) in respect of language and literacy skills, numeracy skills and IT skills. Applicants require to have passed Standard Grade Maths or equivalent and failure to evidence this will require a numeracy test to be completed at the interview stage.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English should have an IELTS of 6.0 overall, with no component lower than 5.5.

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

Please note, some courses may require a higher standard of English than stated in this page. Contact for further information.

What are the entry requirements for a BA (Hons) Social Work - Distance Learning course?

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 (120 academic points) from prior certified and experiential learning.

All applicants 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 with a range of service users. For example, applicants should be involved in drawing up care plans and implementing them. Applicants 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.

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 certificated learning.

Successful applicants will have previous relevant experience and previous certificated academic learning at Diploma of Higher Education or Degree level (240 academic points) in relevant cognate areas. Academic learning must include knowledge of social sciences and psychological theories. Applicants will require a minimum of two years experience of working within a social work practice setting incorporating direct service user contact involving assessments and interventions. For example, working as a social work assistant in a social work practice team. Applicants 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.

Applicants are required to provide a portfolio of evidence to allow accreditation of previous experience and learning in order to gain this level of advanced entry. The portfolio is set by the course team following successful completion of the selection interview and will comprise of academic pieces of work as well as a practice assessment proforma based on practice from the applicant's current role. The portfolio will be assessed by the academic members of the course team and experienced practitioners and managers from agency stakeholders. Applicants should also note that there is a nominal and non-refundable fee (currently £495) for the submission of the portfolio.

Qualification Conversion Entry (Stage 4)

This stage of entry is for professionally qualified social workers who already have 360 academic points. Applicants will also have 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.

This stage of entry allows applicants the opportunity to upgrade their current qualification to a BA (Hons) degree classification.

Applicants for this stage of entry must contact the Admissions Tutor in advance of submitting an application.


The Social Work - Distance learning course has the following tuition fees:

For Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Scottish Students: £4,180 per stage
  • EU Students: £5,810 per stage
  • Rest of UK Students: £5,810 per stage
  • International Students: £6,230 per stage

For Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Scottish Students: £4,060 per stage
  • EU Students: £5,640 per stage
  • Rest of UK Students: £5,640 per stage
  • International Students: £6,050 per stage

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:

Student Funding

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to SAAS for a part time fee grant:

Students from other parts of the UK should visit the appropriate website:

Scholarships and Financial Awards

You may also qualify for a scholarship or financial award:

Widening Access Accommodation and Welcome Pack Offer

If you are applying to RGU for September 2022 and meet widening access criteria, you may qualify for free accommodation in your first year of study, along with our welcome pack to support your transition to university. Find out if you are eligible:


For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter.  For further information see:


Have a question about the course? Get in touch with our Student Admissions Service and we'll do our best to help.

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Taking this course, you will have access to some of the world's best facilities. 

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