Practice Learning Qualification - Social Services

Graduate Certificate
Graduate Certificate Practice Learning Qualification (Social Services)

The Practice Learning Qualification in Social Services is designed for experienced and qualified social work practitioners who wish to assess social work student practice learning opportunities.

It will provide you with rewarding opportunities to positively influence the development of social workers, and subsequently make an important impact to lives of people who will need their services in the future.

The design and delivery of the course reflects a partnership between Robert Gordon University and related social work agencies, as well as service users and carers. It will give you the ability to facilitate and assess the professional development and competence of social work students and provide them with knowledge and skills in the creation and evaluation of learning contexts, the integration of knowledge and social work practice and an evidence-based approach to social work practice.

This course has one study option

Mode of Attendance

  • Blended

Mode of Study

  • Part Time

Start Date


Course Length

12 months

The course will offer opportunities to revisit the social work theory base and gain fresh understanding around the role evidence-based practice has on practice and learning. A major component of the course is undertaking the role of Practice Teacher for a social work student, therefore there is a strong emphasis on the role of reflective practice and how learning is facilitated with the social work student.

Assignments will draw on this experience relating to exploring the theories of adult learning, assessment and leadership. PLQ candidates will be supported throughout the course by a practice mentor who will be identified by either your own agency or by the Course Leader.

You will learn to facilitate the learning of others within the context of supportive learning environments and effective working relationships. You will learn to make sound and accountable assessments of learner practice, and evaluate the effectiveness of the experiences provided to the learner.

With reference to direct practice experiences, you will learn to reflect critically on the contribution of an evidence-based practice approach to the development of social work practice, and the ability to facilitate the learners’ integration of legislation and policy to practice. You will also learn and employ appropriate leadership skills within the practice setting.



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 Methods

The course uses a blended approach to teaching and learning. The conceptual underpinning for each module will be delivered via workbooks. Independent study using prepared interactive materials is reinforced by tutorial contact. In addition to this directed study, assessments of essays, coursework and practice, you are required to attend one study day at RGU for each module. You will study 4 modules:

  • Supporting and Facilitating the Learning of Others
  • The Assessment of Learner Practice and Evaluation
  • Evidence-based Practice
  • Practice Context and Leadership

There will also be an expectation to attend a course induction day and a revision day.

Activity Summary

  • Lectures - 18 hours per year
  • Seminars - 18 hours per year
  • Mentor Support - Time agreed with mentor
  • Placement Host - 60 - 100 days

How long is a Graduate Certificate Practice Learning Qualification - Social Services course?

The Practice Learning Qualification - Social Services can be successfully completed within 12 months. 

Independent Study

A significant portion of this course is underpinned by independent learning, and you will be expected to be responsible for managing your coursework, reading and other learning activities appropriately. Approximately 130 hours are required per module.

Staff Delivering on This Course

Our school is the largest provider of social work education in Scotland, with an expanding social science teaching and research portfolio. Our course team of lecturers have strong practice teaching backgrounds, and a passion for helping you to achieve your best. They will provide you with a stimulating and enjoyable education to enable you to contribute towards the assessment of practice and learning.


Typically students are assessed each year:

  • 6 written assignments, including essays
  • 1 report
  • 1 practical skills assessment


We aim to provide you with feedback within 20 working days of hand-in for all written exams, coursework and practical exams.


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.



A major component of this course is that you undertake the role of Practice Teacher and therefore host and support a social work student within your team/setting or agency. For those candidates seeking to self-fund this learning as an independent Practice Teacher there will be opportunities to negotiate appropriate long-arm practice teaching with the Course Leader and RGU Social Work Placement Coordinators. You will also be matched to a mentor who will support your learning and assessment throughout the course.

Job Prospects

This course helps professional development and enhances promotional and career prospects. It increases your responsibility to the workforce, and contributes positively to the profession both in the public and private and voluntary sectors.

It is RGU’s intention over the next few years to only place social work students with colleagues who hold a practice learning qualification.


What is needed for a Graduate Certificate Practice Learning Qualification - Social Services?

You must be social work qualified with at least 2 years post-qualifying experience. You must also be in a position to offer a social work student a practice learning opportunity within your agency, either statutory or voluntary organisations. Your agency setting must be able to provide learning opportunities which will allow the social work student to meet a substantial proportion of the assessed outcomes as contained within the Standards in Social Work Education. It is acknowledged that it may sometimes be necessary to negotiate learning opportunities for a student from another agency. We welcome applications from self-funding applicants wishing to practice as an independent PT. Please contact the course leader, Lauren Henderson, to discuss this further. 

Those interested in this course should apply by the end of November. Applicants from Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Moray Council should send their application forms to the appropriate person within their agency.

All other applications to be sent to:

Lauren Henderson,
PLQ(SS) Course Leader,
School of Applied Social Studies,
Ishbel Gordon Building,
The Robert Gordon University,
Garthdee Road,
Aberdeen, AB10 7QG

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English should have an IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5, or an equivalent.

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.


Tuition fees for this Graduate Certificate Practice Learning Qualification - Social Services course are as follows:

For Academic Year 2022/2023

  • All Students: £1,060 for entire course

For Academic Year 2021/2022

  • All Students: £1,030 for entire course

Additional Costs

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

Alumni Discount

Robert Gordon University is delighted to offer a 20% loyalty discount on course fees for all alumni who have graduated from RGU.

Student Funding

Postgraduate students will normally make their own arrangements for payment of fees. However, there are a limited number of SAAS funded places on certain postgraduate courses.
There are also sources of funding that are applicable to categories of student.

Scholarships and Financial Awards

You may also qualify for a scholarship or financial award:


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 the Course Leader and they'll do their best to help.

Lauren Henderson

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

We've invested more than £100 million in the development of our campus, new facilities and new resources.

University Wide Facilities

Cookie Consent