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 programme of study with us.

The following may prove useful:

  • S Banks (2006) Ethics and Values in Social Work, third edition(Palgrave)
  • R Adams, L Dominelli and M Payne (2009) Social Work – Themes, Issues and Critical Debates, third edition(Palgrave)
  • V Cree (2003) Becoming A Social Worker(Routledge)
  • N Thompson (2000) Understanding Social Work, second edition(Macmillan)
  • N Thompson (1997) Anti-Discriminatory Practice, fourth edition(Macmillan)
  • R Adams, L Dominelli and M Payne (2009) Critical Practice in Social Work, second edition(Palgrave)
  • P Trevithick (2005) Social Work Skills – A Practice Handbook, second edition(OUP)
  • K Wilson, G Ruch, M Lymbery and A Cooper (2008) Social Work: An Introduction to Contemporary Practice (Longman).

Community Care (weekly publication) contains information regarding many aspects of social work and relevant news, as well as reviewing recent publications and advertising social work vacancies nationally.

The Society section of The Guardian newspaper every Wednesday contains job adverts and 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