Skip to main content

Bachelor of Social Work (Hons)

logo of University College Cork (UCC)logo of Cork ETB (CETB)


Graduates of the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) tertiary degree will be eligible to apply to be registered as a social worker with regulatory bodies in Ireland and internationally. This full-time four-year undergraduate degree integrates theory and practice through further education, university and agency-based learning. Successful completion of this tertiary degree leads to an academic qualification (BSW) and it is approved by the Health and Social Care Professional Council (CORU) as a social work training course. Successful graduates can use their qualification to apply to CORU to be placed on the register of social workers. In Ireland, all social workers need to be registered to practise.

Incorporating the Level 5 Applied Social Studies with the BSc (Hons) Social Work will give learners the opportunity to start their degree in Social Work in the Further Education and Training (FET) sector leading to direct access to the University College Cork (UCC).

The BSW Degree is a professional training programme approved by the Health and Social Care Professionals Council (CORU). As a professional training programme, social work students are required to attend every class of each module (including fieldwork placements) unless unavoidably prevented from doing so. If a student’s attendance falls below 80% in any module, they will be required to repeat that module before being allowed to proceed with their training.  Students will be required to undergo Garda Vetting and to adhere to UCC’s Fitness to Practice policy.

Provider Locations and Structure

Students will spend the first year of this programme at the College of Further Education, Morrison’s Island Campus, in Cork City as well as taking weekly lectures in UCC. Year 2 of the course is university-based, and lectures take place over two 12-week semesters. In Years 3 and 4, students undertake one semester in the University and another on a 14-week professional placement.

Year 1 – Cork College of Further Education, Morrison’s Island Campus & University College Cork.

Years 2-4 – University College Cork.

Course Content – For All Years

Year 1 Level 5 Embedded Award – Further Education 5M2181

5N0754 – Psychology

5N1370 – Social Studies

5N1279 – Human Growth & Development

5N0765 – Intercultural Studies

5N1394 – Legal Practice & Procedures

5N1350 – Applied Economics

5N0690 – Communications

5N1356 – Work Experience

Year 1 UCC Modules

SS1202 – Introduction to Social Work Theory, Methods, and Skills (10 credits)

+ 6 x 2 hour Social Policy Seminar Workshops delivered in UCC in Semester 1.

Year 2

SS2208 – Child Care Policy (5 credits)

SS2228 – Social justice, Human Rights and Advocacy Approaches in Social Work. (5 credits)

SS2220 – Introduction To Social Work Practice (5 credits)

SS2224 – Critical Perspectives on Age and Ageing (5 credits)

SS2201 – Practice Skills Laboratory (10 credits)

SS2214 – Social Work Practice Contexts (10 credits)

SS2216 – Social Recovery Approaches to Mental Health (5 credits)

SS2217 – Social Research (5 credits)

Year 3

LW3401 – Legal Studies (5 credits)

SS3206 – Placement I (20 credits)

SS3207 – Placement Portfolio (10 credits)

SS3208 – Life Courses, Biographies and Reflective Learning (5 credits)

SS3209 – Child Care and Protection Practice (5 credits)

SS3210 – Deviance, Welfare and Justice (5 credits)

SS3216 – Community Development (5 credits)

SS3217 – Groupwork (5 credits)

Year 4

LW4401 – Legal Studies (5 credits)

SS4208 – Placement II (20 credits)

SS4209 – Placement Portfolio (10 credits)

SS4211 – Anti-Racism and Anti-Discriminatory Practice (5 credits)

SS4212 – Contemporary Issues in Social Work (5 credits)

SS4214 – Action Research Study (15 credits)

Embedded Awards

This tertiary degree is a comprehensive 4 year programme. The programme is designed to support academic success despite challenges that may arise. If a student has to leave the programme before completing the final year, tertiary degrees include embedded awards. Embedded awards formally recognise learning achieved during time in the programme. For this degree, the embedded awards are:

After successfully completing Year 1 NFQ level 5 5M2181 QQI Certificate in Applied Social Studies from QQI

The final NFQ level 8 Bachelor of Social Work (Hons) is awarded by UCC.

Planned Intake (Number of Places)

21 students per year.

Entry Requirements and Eligibility

Places are awarded on the course subject to personal statement and successful interview. Both the College of Further Education and the Higher Education Institution will be represented on the interview panel. Students will be invited to write their personal statement prior to the interview, as part of the interview process.

Candidates seeking entry into this programme should have:

  • Leaving Certificate with five subjects at grade O6 or
  • Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme with four subjects at grade O6 plus LCVP with distinction or   
  • Hold QQI Level 4 award with a minimum of a grade of distinction or 
  • Be mature applicants. Mature applicants – (i.e. those aged 23 on or before 1st January of the course commencement year).  These applicants do not have to meet the minimum entry requirements listed here and are considered on an individual basis (previous education, work experience, and demonstration of competence to undertake the programme)

Applicants from the United Kingdom and overseas would need to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the minimum entry requirements above in a General Certificate in Education (GCE), such as the GCE A Level.

Applicant’s Desirable Competencies and Experience

Applicants considering the tertiary BSW degree should want to be part of an active and changing dynamic environment.  They should also enjoy working with other people and value caring for people. In this environment, excellent problem-solving, critical and reflective thinking skills are a strength. Potential students may have a special interest in social justice, human rights, and anti-oppressive practices. In line with UCC’s Graduate Attributes Programme , graduates will be recognised for being well-rounded, curious, self-aware individuals who continually learn new skills, are open to new ideas, and make things happen.

English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language, as follows:

  • Irish Leaving Certificate English: Ordinary Level Grade D3
  • GCE A-Level English Language: Grade D

All applicants whose first language is not English and who have not been educated through the medium of English must demonstrate CEFR proficiency at B2 for access. Evidence of English Language Proficiency must be provided through one of the following mechanisms:

  1. English language proficiency assessment conducted by relevant ETB during the enrolment process. Minimum B2 in all skills on entry.
  2. A valid certificate in English language from one of the institutions listed below:
  • International Examinations: Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE), Minimum Grade – Grade B or higher
  • International Examinations:  Cambridge Advanced (CAE), Minimum Grade – Borderline Fail Min 170 points
  • International Examinations: Cambridge Proficiency (CPE), Minimum Grade- Unsuccessful With min. 170 points
  • International Examinations, IELTS, Minimum Grade 6
  • Duolingo English Test DET 120 with a minimum score of 110 in each individual section

Note: IELTS certificates are only valid two years from the date of assessment. It is recommended that the same validity duration is applied to all other examinations.


Onward Pathways

This course is approved by the Health and Social Care Professional Council (CORU) as a social work training course. Successful graduates can use their qualification to apply to CORU to be placed on the register of social workers. In Ireland, all social workers will need to be registered to practise.

International accreditation bodies also recognise the BSW for registration purposes. Social workers are employed in a wide variety of contexts including:

  • Hospitals
  • Child protection teams
  • Mental health settings
  • Primary care services
  • Probation and welfare service
  • Family support agencies
  • Disability organisations
  • Youth settings
  • Community organisations

Special Features

Students on this course are at all times subject to Garda Vetting and Fitness to Practice guidelines Fitness to Practise | University College Cork (

To progress to Second Year, candidates on the BSW Tertiary Degree must pass the full QQI Level 5 award (8 modules to the value of 120 QQI credits) with a minimum of 3 module distinctions that cannot include the work experience module. They must also achieve a pass grade in SS1202 Introduction to Social Work Theory Methods and Skills. Candidates must always satisfy the Fitness to Practice requirements throughout the course.

Contact Details

For more information, please contact the Tertiary Managers at

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set these optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy page

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone.