Summary of social work graduate programs prepared by Melissa C.F. Becker, MSW, September 2000
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Brunel University Department of Social Work (UK)

Identity: The aim of the course is to produce competent practitioners, who are able to work critically and professionally in combating racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. The Masters Degree concentrates on the acquisition of research ability with particular attention to questions of ideology in research theory and practice. The MA/DipSW is a modularised programme leading to the professional award of Diploma in Social Work, and an MA, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate according to Masters level credits accumulated.

We have a long-standing commitment to providing training opportunities for mature applicants and for black and other ethnic minority students. Anti-discriminatory practice has been at the core of our training philosophy for some years and this emphasis continues in the Diploma in Social Work and elsewhere in our teaching. Through its large and active programme partnership, the Department maintains close links with social service and voluntary organisations and our staff group represents a wide range of social work practice.

In recent years, the Department has undertaken ground-breaking research in comparative social work, community care, child development, race and social work and in the field of criminal justice. There are four major research programmes currently underway in the department: Child welfare, focusing on policy and practice issues in child protection and family support; Racism, ethnicity, identity and the impact of these issues on the development of careers for Black professionals; Crime, justice and social work with a particular focus on crime and the family; Community care, focusing on issues such as poverty, participation, disability, decarceration, changing professional roles and relationships.

Pre Reqs: The minimum requirements for entry are an honours degree in any subject and one year's full time experience in a supervised social work setting (paid or voluntary capacity) or equivalent.

Program Structures: Full-time: 2 years.

The professional and academic elements of the course are closely integrated throughout. The DipSW is awarded with either the BA (Hons) SW or MA Applied Social Studies or via the Open Learning route with the DipHE (Applied Social Studies). The Open Learning route is a three year program.

Foundation Requirements: The professional learning concentrates on modules in core social work skills and methods, law and welfare rights, oppressions and inequalities, and the first practice placement which is 50 days long.

Year 1 Masters Degree studies focus on core concepts, themes and analytical skills in the social sciences, with an introductory module on social research methods during the second semester.

Year 1: First year placement; Social Work Practice 1 & 2; Law and Rights; Social and Psychological Contexts; Welfare; Ideology and Society; Introduction to Research Methods.

Concentrations: Year 2 students specialise in work with a particular client group (children and families, adults in the community or mental health), social work in the Criminal Justice System and also take modules in particular social work methods such as family work and work with individuals. The second year placement is 80 days long.

There is further study of research methods and theories and of the research literature relevant to social work practice. Students will plan and implement the programme of study for their dissertations and present work in progress to their peers. The course philosophy views research ability as an extension of core social work practice skills rather than a supplement to them, and the emphasis is towards qualitative research rather than methods involving difficult statistical work.

Students write a dissertation of 15,000 words in the final year of study.

Year 2: Final Year Placement; Modern Social Theory; The Creative Researcher; Special Methods; Client Group Speciality; Children and Families Mental Health; The Dissertation.

Practicum: The normal pattern of attendance involves two days a week in University and two and a half or three days a week in placement, with some block periods of each. Year One placement is 50 days long. Year Two placement is 80 days long.

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This page posted September 23, 2000