Department of Social Work and Social Care

About the Department

The Head of the Department of Social Work and Social Care is Senior Lecturer, Dr David Orr.

In our Department, full time teaching faculty (Lecturers, Senior Lecturers and Professors) are supported by excellent Teaching Fellows and Associate Tutors generally working on a part-time basis whilst holding often very influential and senior roles in social care settings. See 'People and contacts' for details of the full team.

Teaching in the Department of Social Work and Social Care

We teach undergraduate, postgraduate, and post-qualifying (CPD) courses.


We offer two undergraduate (BA) degrees:

  • The Social Work BA is a qualifying course enabling graduates to register as a social worker. The course gained an overall satisfaction score of 78% in the 2019 National Student Survey (NSS).
  • The multi-disciplinary Childhood and Youth: Theory and Practice BA straddles not only the Departments of Education and Social Work and Social Care, but includes modules from the Department of Anthropology, the School of Psychology and the Department of Sociology and Criminology.


  • The two-year Social Work MA has been established at Sussex for nearly 50 years.
    The Social Work Postgraduate Diploma enables students to work in the summer period between Years 1 and 2, rather than completing a dissertation.
  • We have had full cohorts for the two years we have been running the government-funded fast-track Postgraduate Diploma, 'Step Up To Social Work', and anticipate a further funded cohort in 2021.
  • The Social Research Methods MSc is often taken as the first year of the 1+3 Social Work and Social Care PhD.
  • The Childhood and Youth Studies MA is, like the BA, a multidisciplinary degree straddling various disciplines.


The Department of Social Work and Social Care offers various continuing professional development (CPD) modules and 'pathways' to give qualified social workers and social care professionals the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills for specialist roles. Independent modules may be studied, or a collection of related modules leading to an academic award (postgraduate certificate, diploma or Masters degree).

Since 2018, the Department of Social Work & Social Care at Sussex has been part of a flagship teaching partnership with East Sussex County Council, Brighton & Hove City Council and the University of Brighton. The South Coast Regional Centre for Education (SCRC) focuses on delivering excellent social work education on the frontline with funding from the Government's Department for Education. Consisting of three hubs - the Student Learning Hub, the Professional Development Hub and the Practice Research Hub - the SCRC provides an enhanced teaching and placement experience for students, a defined career pathway for social work practitioners and research which is driven by issues experienced by adults and children’s social workers.
See the internal release for more details.

Research in the Department of Social Work and Social Care

Doctoral researchers can study on our Social Work and Social Care PhD.

The Department currently hosts three research centres: The Centre for Innovation and Research in Wellbeing (CIRW), the Centre for Innovation and Research in Social Work (CSWIR), and the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY). Visit these websites for details of research being carried out by members.

Doctoral researchers will almost certainly want to familiarise themselves with the web page, Seminars and speakers: current term, which gives details of all events hosted by the School and its research centres in the current academic year, including many designed for or presented by its doctoral researchers. Most events are 'open' and advance booking is not required.