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Social Work: Studying Social Work

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Studying Social Work

Social work is a dynamic and inspiring discipline.  Our social work programmes explore the multi-disciplinary nature of social work with reference to the following global definition, agreed in 2014:

Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work.  Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.

We offer social work education at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The 4-year undergraduate programme leads to the BSc (Social Work) degree from the University at Honours level. The 2-year postgraduate programme leads to either the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree or the PG Diploma in Social Work from the University.

We have a lively community of PhD students who have come from all over the world to study with us. You can read more about their work on our Student Profiles pages.

We also offer, in collaboration with our agency partners, training for mental health officers.

Social Work at the University of Edinburgh was rated as third in the UK for its quality and breadth of research, in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014). In addition to its 3rd place ranking using the respected Research Fortnight "Power Index", the alternate Times Higher Education "research power" index ranks Social Work as 1st in the UK.

All our graduates find interesting and rewarding employment across a whole range of social work fields in professional practice, policy, training and management; many go on to become the 'movers and shakers' in the social work profession across the world. For more information about possible careers in Social Work please go to the Scottish Social Services Council website.

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