Department of Social Work and Social Care

CPD in Social Work

CPD Leader: Dr Kristine Hickle

What we're about

Sussex Continuing Professional Development (CPD) awards can help you to meet the requirements of re-registration, or simply to improve your understanding of key areas of social work practice by:

  • building on the knowledge you acquired on your qualifying course and/or supporting you to improve your knowledge, skills and practice
  • enabling you to learn in and from your study group, helping you develop your presentation skills along with your understanding of key issues
  • allowing you to build up academic credits which can lead to a full academic award
  • giving you the opportunity to study modules offered by Schools/Departments across the university
  • offering learning opportunities developed by research and an understanding of practice issues from various contexts and perspectives - including serve users.

Here at Sussex we:

  • are committed to widening participation - tell us your needs and we will do our best to accommodate them
  • are developing distance-learning opportunities
  • subscribe to APL (Accreditation of Prior Learning) enabling previously-earned academic credits from other institutions to count towards our own awards
  • offer discounts - so make sure you're getting the best deal!
Is CPD right for me?

Our awards and modules have been designed for newly qualified and experienced social workers, senior practitioners and managers, as well as those working in children, adult and family contexts who - though experienced - may not be professionally quallified. They are taught and assessed in partnership with service experts, including service users, carers and practitioners.

Assessment of all CPD modules is 'work-based'.

Learning and teaching is critically reflective and informed by the very latest research. CPD accredited learning gives you the critical frameworks you need to develop your practice and reflect on it from an informed position. All learning is evidenced and can therefore support professional registration and/or career aspirations.

Awards, modules and credits - and how to earn them

CPD Pathways

The CPD framework at Sussex has been designed to provide a range of accredited learning and critical frameworks needed to develop and specialise your practice through our 3 distinct 'pathways' (listed below). When considering CPD, you need to think about the area (pathway) you wish to specialise in to ensure that you select modules appropriate to achieving the right final award for you.

  • Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or MA in Leadership and Management in Social Work and Social Care
  • Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or MA in Social Work Practice Education
  • Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or MA in Effective Practice in Social Work and Social Care

At least fifty per cent of academic credits earned for any award MUST be from core modules. See CPD Pathways and Awards for details.

CPD Awards

You apply to register on an individual module on a stand-alone basis (modules are worth 15 or 30 credits). The maximum registration period on a module is one academic year. Once you have accrued 60 stand-alone Master's level credits, you will have achieved a Postgraduate Certificate and are eligible to register for one of the following CPD awards:

  • Postgraduate Diploma: 120 Masters-level academic credits
  • Masters (MA): 180 Masters-level academic credits

Once registered for an award, the following timelines apply:

  • Postgraduate Certificate
    Award made automatically once 60 credits accrued.
  • Postgraduate Diploma
    You will 'import' 60 credits from the Postgraduate Certificate leaving a further 60 credits to complete to achieve the Postgraduate Diploma. The maximum period of registration for the Diploma is 5 years and you must achieve your 120 credits within 7 years of the first module for the Certificate being completed.  
  • Masters (MA)
    You will 'import' 120 credits from the Postgraduate Diploma leaving a further 60 credits to complete to achieve the MA. These 60 credits are gained from our Dissertation module which offers an opportunity for you to critically explore a particular issue related to your professional field in depth with a view to developing a leading role in your profession. The maximum period of registration for the MA is 2 years and you must achieve your 180 credits within 8 years of the first module for the Certificate being completed.

For further advice about credits, awards and registration periods, contact


Credits obtained under the previous PQ framework

For those who have gained academic credits under the old Post-Qualifying (PQ) framework may be able to match these credits to those currently offered within the three CPD award pathways subject to when prior credits were achieved, in order to gain Advanced Standing towards these awards.

The modules within the Effective Practice pathway which can be mapped include:

- Enabling Work-based Learning
- Developing the Professional Role
- Achieving Better Outcomes for Children
- Understanding Children
- Effective Assessment
- Consolidation of Professional Practice
- Supervision and Evaluation of Professional Learning

The modules within the Practice Education and the Leadership and Management pathways which can be mapped include:

- Enabling Work-based Learning
- Supervision and Evaluation of Professional Learning
- Teaching the Practice Curriculum

APL and advanced standing

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

Academic credits brought to our awards from other institutions must have been earned within the last five years. When you apply to us, you will need to match up the learning outcomes of the modules we currently offer to identify the most relevant award to apply them toward. Up to fifty per cent of previously-earned academic credits from other institutions can be used towards a Sussex award. This is known as 'Accreditation of Prior Learning' - or APL - for which a nominal fee is applicable.

Advanced Standing

If you have previously-earned academic credits from the University of Sussex that (i) have been earned within the last five years and (ii) match the learning outcomes of current modules/awards offered, you need to apply for advanced standing (rather than APL) for which there is no charge.

If you wish to apply the academic credits from a previously earned award (eg. a Postgraduate Certificate) towards a higher award (a Postgraduate Diploma or an MA), the higher award will take the place of the lower once successfully earned. You cannot hold both awards.

For help or advice regarding the eligibility of your own previously-earned academic credits, please contact the CPD support team: 

We will discuss your personal situation to see what would best suit your circumstances.

Modules currently offered

CPD Programme for 2022/23


15 credit modules: £600

30 credit modules: £1,000

45 credit module: £1,500

60 credit Dissertation module: £2,000

Exceptions to the above listed prices are for:

  • The new combined 'Practice Education Stage 1 & 2' module which is £1,500.
  • The new 15 credit 'Practice Education Stage 2' module which is £850.
  • 'Understanding and Engaging with Trauma-Infored Practice' which is £700.

Full awards are priced at:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits): £2,000 - £2,200*
  • Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits): £4,000 - £4,200*
  • MA (180 credits): £6,000 - £6,200*

* Dependent on whether 30 credit modules are taken throughout the course or 2 x 15 credit modules

For queries regarding fees, contact the the CPD support team for details:


Applying for modules or awards


If you are an organisation interested in our delivering a module - or modules - to a group (or groups), contact the CPD Leader, Dr Kristine Hickle, to discuss:

All other enquiries should be directed to the CPD support team:

If you are interested in undertaking doctoral study, see the Prospectus for details of the PhD in Social Work and Social Care.