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

Identity: The Department is an interdisciplinary social science institution carrying out teaching and research in the University. Staff in the Department includes social policy specialists, those with social work and probation backgrounds, sociologists, demographers and psychologists.

An expanding research programme includes work on social deprivation, poverty and disadvantage, the family, parenting and childcare, demography and population ageing, social security and welfare reform, social work and probation, health and health care.

The course is designed to prepare students to become professionally accomplished practising social workers, and to be able to analyse critically, evaluate and conduct research into social work practice and social policy. The objectives of the course are to ensure that the academic and research emphasis of the taught course is complementary to the practical skills and competencies of the practice components.

Pre Reqs: Applicants should have a first or upper second class, or a post-graduate degree from a UK university or the equivalent from an overseas university. A minimum of 6 months full time supervised social work experience or extensive voluntary work experience is also required. Exceptionally, work in a closely related field may be accepted instead.

Program Structures: The University of Oxford offers a full-time (two year) or part-time (four year) postgraduate course leading to the award of the MSc in Applied Social Studies and the professional qualification in social work practice, the Diploma in Social Work (DipSW).

Program Description:

This course aims to qualify students for the social work professions, or for teaching and research in social work.

Students are required to study relevant social science disciplines, law and social work principles, theory and research; they also complete a thesis and undertake carefully supervised social work practice placements in a range of social work agencies.

The course combines teaching in social science subjects and law with theory and practice in social work. The academic work includes analysis of important social problems commonly found in industrial societies, public and private responses to these problems, and the effectiveness of different types of intervention. A thesis of 12,000 words is written on a specialist area of social work theory or practice. Students are examined by three papers, a law test, the thesis and evaluation of their practice.

Practicum: About half the course is spent in supervised social work practice in a wide variety of social work agencies, including child and family welfare, probation, mental health care, and community work settings.

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This page posted October 15, 2000