MA/PgDip Advanced Social Work


This MA and related qualifications are not available for admission at this time. 


The MA Advanced Social Work programme supports students to develop skills in critical analysis and reflection on their practice, to engage with current knowledge and to use knowledge and theory to inform their judgments, decision making and practice more widely. Modules are also open to other professionals who are engaged in complex work in related areas, for example health visitors, nurses, police officers, people working in therapeutic roles and commissioners of services.

Who is it aimed at?

Social workers studying for this programme should have at least one year of qualified practice experience and should be at the 'social worker' or 'experienced social worker' levels of the Professional Capabilities Framework.  These are practitioners who are working with complexity, managing greater levels of risk and uncertainty and holding increased levels of responsibility.

Structure of the programme

The MA Advanced Social Work is a modular programme where students can take a single module as a stand-alone course or study a number of modules over a maximum of five years to accumulate academic credits which can lead to a Post-graduate Certificate, Diploma or MA. Students can choose which modules to study and in which order to take them. Students can tailor the programme to their own interests and requirements by choosing which modules to study and what order to take them (we offer advice about which combinations of modules work well). Each module enables students to engage with current research and contemporary debates in the profession to inform their practice at a sophisticated level. Some modules relate to specific areas of practice, such as "work with looked after children", while others relate to a specific role, such as "commissioning". Other modules explore significant features of complex contemporary practice which have relevance for all practitioners, such as "increasing social diversity" and "changing norms of family practices".

The programme is delivered using a blend of onsite teaching (usually two or three days for each module) and learning supported by a Virtual Learning Environment. Students take part in workshops, facilitated small group work (face to face and via a virtual discussion forum), individual study and individual tutorials (online or in person). Students carry out assignments which relate directly to their current or recent practice and there is an emphasis throughout the programme on developing skills in engaging with theory and knowledge to inform practice. Study takes place in small groups and is designed to be accessible for students who are travelling to Lancaster from other parts of the UK.

Key features

The programme includes the following key features:

  • Most modules are available as stand-alone courses. Practitioners can therefore register for one course at a time and acquire credits which can be used for a postgraduate qualification (Postgraduate Certificate of Achievement, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or MA) at a later date.
  • Modules are delivered by researchers, educators and practitioners who are leaders in their particular fields. Key-note speakers are invited to address students and other practitioners about current issues in practice and policy.
  • Modules related to specific areas of practice (e.g. advances in child protection) or specific roles which social workers may have in practice (e.g. professional supervision).
  • Onsite teaching is delivered at times which enable the programme to be accessible to students who are located at a distance from Lancaster.
  • Each module includes a small number of intensive, day-long workshops and weekly distance learning, for example small, facilitated virtual seminars and opportunities for individual tutorials.
  • Students are facilitated to work in small groups, with colleagues who are experienced practitioners in social work and other related professions.
  • The programme is delivered at Masters Level and requires practitioners to have a 2:2 degree or equivalent qualification. Students are supported to develop the academic skills which are required for study at this level.
  • The programme is designed for part-time students and can be completed within 60 months.


Applicants are able to select the modules which are most relevant and interesting for them.  Students taking the MA are required to take the Research methods module and either the Action research or Work-based project.  All modules are 20 academic credits except where indicated. For further information on the modules running this academic year, please contact us.



This MA and related qualifications are not available for admission at this time.