MA Advanced Social Work Practice

How do you write a COP10 form for the Court of Protection? What are your responsibilities in safeguarding adults within clinical practice? How can you develop your professional identity?

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Focus on your professional development needs at a pace that suits you. Study specialist units that reflect your career aspirations. Develop practical skills you can use in the field.

Our part-time, postgraduate course is designed for practitioners working in social work or social care. It’s a flexible course and we offer a range of learning pathways to help you develop your career across the field of social work.

We offer three professional post-qualifying final awards: postgraduate certificate (PgCert, 60 credits), postgraduate diploma (PgDip, 120 credits) and master of arts (MA, 180 credits).

You can study at a pace that suits you and take either individual units or complete a full programme to enhance your practice-based skills and knowledge.

Usually, you’ll choose a pathway with your employer and then we’ll explore a study route for you. We take into account your level of experience and skill, your work context and setting, and the skills you wish to develop.

Once you and your employer decide on a learning pathway, we’ll provide you with detailed guidance for each area of study.

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

This course helps to advance your professional practice, enhancing the skills you use in your existing role, and helping you to develop your career in social work.

On our Advanced Social Work Practice course, you can specialise in a defined area of practice and develop a learning pathway that reflects the route you’d like to take with your career.

This course also contributes to the evidence of continued learning you’ll need to provide to the Health and Care Professions Council to continue with your registration as a social worker.

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Entry requirements

Typically, an applicant should hold either a 2:2 UK honours degree (or international equivalent) or a professional qualification in social work recognised by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Applicants should also either be working in the field of social work or social care or have recent experience of social work.

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

Course details

Teaching and learning is undertaken through a range of masterclasses often led by nationally known experts in the defined field of study. This is supported by active skills-based work, seminars, tutorials, web links and the use of problem based learning techniques.

The MA in Advanced Social Work Practice is an exit award that incorporates 180 credits. To complete the MA award the Research Methods unit must be undertaken.

Read more about this year of study

Likely Optional Units

Assessed and Supported Year in Employment

This Masters level unit will address issues of professional practice for Social Workers at the beginning of their career, aligned with the PCF/ASYE level capabilities.

The unit will provide underpinning knowledge and learning to be delivered alongside employer ASYE programmes and will contribute to students understanding and achievement of PCF/ASYE level descriptors and continuing requirements of professional registration.

Assessment and Intervention- Skills for Practice

The overall aim of this unit is to provide a systematic and critical exploration of areas of practice that relate to the assessment and intervention in working with children, adults, families and communities. The focus is upon skill development underpinned by theoretical knowledge and application within and across a range of contexts and service user groups. The unit will focus upon models of assessment and intervention and focus upon defined skill areas relating to defined areas of practice. It aims to enable recognition of the contribution, and begin to make use of, research informed practice and will focus upon utilising critical thinking and evidence based decision making to understand assessment and intervention across a range of service settings in addition to focusing upon forms of harm and their impact on people, and the implications for practice, drawing on concepts of strength, resilience, vulnerability, risk and resistance, and their application to practice. It considers assessment and intervention within an inter professional and intra organisational context and considers how practice and organisational cultures can shape and impact upon practice.

The areas identified are linked to TCSW Professional Capabilities Framework  level descriptor -Social Worker and Experienced Social Worker

Best Interests Assessor

The aim of this unit is to provide the necessary legislative frameworks and accompanying principles required for practitioners to undertake the statutory role of Best Interest Assessor (BIA). The BIA is responsible for deciding whether a person is deprived of their liberty as defined by Article 5 of the ECtHRs, whether it is in their best interests and for how long an authorisation should last. In order for practitioners to be qualified as BIAs their respective Supervisory bodies will need to be satisfied that they are able to undertake assessments at the standard set in the Mental Capacity (Deprivation of Liberty: Standard Authorisations, Assessments and Ordinary Residence) Regulations 2008. Similarly, practitioners will need to demonstrate the six areas of capability as defined by the College of Social Work (TCSW). 

Developing Effective Supervision and Mentoring

The aim of this unit is to critically explore and understand the core knowledge and skills required for effective supervision and mentoring of social work practice, that enhance the evidence based decision-making skills and critical analysis of the practitioner and thus promotes safe and positive outcomes for service users. The unit will explore and understand the purpose of professional supervision as a process of change for supervisors, supervisees and service users, critically considering the functions and processes of supervision and the role of the supervisor in assisting supervisees and teams in developing their practice and professional judgement. The unit will also consider the role of supervision, and the effective supervisor, in the management of performance within the workplace. The areas identified are linked to TCSW Professional Capabilities Framework level descriptor Experienced Social Worker.

Leadership and Management

The overall aim of this unit is to provide a systematic and critical exploration of the knowledge base and skills associated with leadership and management within a range of practice based settings. The unit will explore theoretical concepts relating to management, leadership, organisational change, public sector governance and the management and leadership of others. The unit will provide opportunity to develop skills in the application of these concepts to law, policy, workplace cultures and work based practice with a view to achieving quality standards in organisational and individual performance management within the public sector.  Issues relating to individual and organisational accountability within partnership arrangements will be considered. Taught through a series of master classes the module is flexible to meet the emerging and different needs of leaders and managers in a range of settings. There will be a focus on the application of these concepts and associated skills in practice, for some this may relate to supporting others with a focus on staff supervision and in continuing professional development, for others this could relate to managing higher levels of risk and understanding strategic contexts.

The areas identified are linked to TCSW Professional Capabilities Framework level descriptor Experienced Social Worker, Advanced Social Work Practitioner and Principal Social Worker.

Working with the Court of Protection

The aim of this unit is to support health and social care professionals in  their dealings with the Court of Protection.

Since the Supreme Court judgement in 2014, known as the Cheshire West case, there has been a significant increase in the use of the Court of Protection to authorise the care and treatment of those who lack decision making capacity. In particular there has been a need for professionals.

to seek authorisation from the court for so called deprivations of liberty in the community. This has resulted in predominantly adult social workers having to either prepare reports for and present evidence in the courts. This is not a role that this set of workers have previously undertaken.

Therefore, this unit is designed to support workers in this new role.

The unit will cover the necessary knowledge and skills required to work with the Court of Protection. This will include practical court room skills and report writing i.e. COP10 form. The unit will also identify the thresholds for involvement by the Court including identifying a community deprivation of liberty. As such, the relevant legislative frameworks and contemporary case law will be explored including the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

Safeguarding Adults within Clinical Practice

The aim of this unit is to provide a systematic and critical exploration of clinical roles across health and social care settings within safeguarding adults. This will be from the perspective of safeguarding alerters within the process and is designed to support practitioners within these contexts to meet their clinical responsibilities. The unit will support practitioners to demonstrate their professional capability and competency within safeguarding adults under the appropriate health and social care frameworks.

This unit will focus on the roles and responsibilities of health and social care professionals within their clinical practice as it relates to safeguarding adults. It explores current policy and legislative frameworks and identifies the thresholds for interventions. There will be a focus on clinical decision making and links made to respective professional competency and capability frameworks. The unit will explore the particular issue of unwise decisions and self-neglect. Links to the research evidence will take place in order to support clinical decision making.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A Masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:


Additional information about this course

Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies require students to achieve results that demonstrate their ability to practise safely. There are therefore some exceptions to the standard University Assessment Regulations for those students, for example limitations on resits and on compensation of failed marks.

Department of Social Care and Social Work

Our Department of Social Care and Social Work covers a variety of professional disciplines, working closely with industry employers and experts to deliver courses and placements.

The department involves service users, carers and the wider community in its curriculum, to ensure its students gain a thorough understanding of issues like social exclusion, social justice and how to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £1417 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2584 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 each year for books and printing.

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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Want to know more?

How to apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.