Department of Social Work and Social Care

Tips for applicants and recommended reading for the BA in Social Work

Tips for applicants

How can I make my application stand out?

Step 1

Find out about social work through:

  • reading introductory books and looking at websites
  • talking to qualified workers or other professionals if you can – is this for you?
  • try it out – why not do some voluntary or paid work in a relevant area?

Step 2

Check your eligibility:

  • do your qualifications meet those required by the course?
  • check for other requirements, ie health and CRB checks, personal qualities etc. Ask if you are not sure.

Step 3

Complete your application carefully and:

  • allow sufficient time to complete the UCAS form well
  • plan and write a full personal statement – 'sell' yourself well and explain why social work is the right choice for you
  • let your referees know what you want to do and why so that they can write an informed reference
  • refer to Applying for guidance on completing your application
  • ask someone to read through your application.

Step 4

If you are invited to interview:

  • make sure that you are well prepared
  • check out recent news relating to social work issues and read relevant books/periodicals
  • review your application form so you remember what you said
  • be prepared to talk about personal and professional experiences that are relevant
  • prepare questions in advance.

Recommended reading

You might like to look at some books, periodicals and/or websites for general information about social work, as well as current issues within the profession, before you start your course of study with us.

The following may prove useful:

  • R Adams, L Dominelli and M Payne (2009): Social Work – Themes, Issues and Critical Debates, third edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • R Adams, L Dominelli and M Payne (2009): Critical Practice in Social Work, second edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • C Beckett and A Maynard (2013): Values and Ethics in Social Work, 2nd edition. London: Sage
  • V Cree (2003): Becoming A Social Worker. London: Routledge
  • V Cree and A Davis (2006): Social Work: Voices from the Inside. London: Routledge
  • K Healy (2014): Social Work Theories in Context: Creating frameworks for practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • N Thompson (2009): Understanding Social Work: preparing for practice, 3rd edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • N Thompson (2012): Anti-Discriminatory Practice: Equality, diversity and social justice, fifth edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • P Trevithick (2012): Social Work Skills and Knowledge – A Practice Handbook, third edition. Buckingham: Open University Press
  • K Wilson, G Ruch, M Lymbery and A Cooper (2011): Social Work: An Introduction to Contemporary Practice, 2nd edition. Harlow: Longman

Community Care contains information regarding many aspects of social work and relevant news.

The Guardian's Social Care Network contains articles about current issues within social work and social policy. 

See the prospectus entry for the BA in Social Work for more details about this course.