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Social work

Supporting your future in Social Work

If you thrive on the unexpected and want to make a difference in people’s lives, social work could be the career for you. Social work is about empowering people and supporting them towards being independent. Social workers help people to function, participate and develop in society.

Key information

Undergraduate course


  • Foundation (4 Years)


  • January
  • September


  • Cambridge

Social work overview

Our course provides the knowledge, values and skills you will need to qualify as a social worker. But social work isn’t just about what you learn: it’s also about who you are. You will need qualities such as patience, honesty, sensitivity, tolerance, persistence and sound judgement.

As a student, you will train to assess people’s circumstances and needs. Working alongside other professionals, you will plan, provide, review and evaluate services. You will become skilled in problem-solving, and understand how to set up supportive activities with individuals, families, groups and communities. Learning to assess the risks facing vulnerable children or adults, and how to set up and measure protection plans for them will be key. You will also gain a thorough understanding of your legal powers and duties.

Pathway progression

Successful completion of this pathway will lead to the award of the following from ARU:

You will be required to pass all modules (120 credits) in order to successfully complete the foundation course, alongside the following requirements, which you will be supported through during your foundation course

  • Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure
  • Occupational Health clearance
  • Successful Interview with social work team
  • Pass IELTS with a score of 7.0 (no less than 7.0 in any band)

Please note that this course is only available to UK students only.

Please see our UK course matrix for entry point, intake and study location information.

Course structure

Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC)

This Element has been designed to help students develop their academic literacy, and
research and communication skills in preparation for undergraduate study. The areas of
reading, writing, speaking, and listening will be covered. ILSC also helps students
understand the institutional culture, practices, norms and expectations of the UK higher

A subsidiary aim of this Element is to ensure that students develop transferable skills of
effective and professional communication to support ongoing study, as well as providing a
basis to foster career and life-building skills.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

No previous technical experience is required for this Element, which provides students with
an introduction to practical ICT skills. This foundation will be needed for academic success
across many areas of higher education. The students will use industry standard office
productivity software and techniques to produce presentations, written assignments, and
charts and tables in spreadsheets.

Alongside practical skills, fundamental topics surrounding technology use will be discussed,
together with societal and ethical perspectives. The Element will enable students to discuss
the main challenges facing society and consider the implications of their technology use.

By the end of the Element, students should have sufficient mastery of the Microsoft Office
productivity suite to allow them to plan and produce presentations, use functions and write
formula to display, format and analyse quantitative data and produce written assignments to
a standard appropriate to higher education.

Critical Thinking

This Element aims to enable candidates to participate in and practice independent learning
tasks for deeper thought and investigation as needed for Higher Academic pursuits. This
Element is designed to teach, reinforce, and practice independent learning and critical
thinking, as opposed to rote memorisation for success in University and professional life. An
open-class forum of discussion is used to encourage critical thinking skills within academic
and professional-facing contexts.

This Element enables candidates to invest in strategies that will deepen understanding and
interpretation of processes, motives, argument, rationale, credibility, and possibilities which
will then be applicable to a range of studies. Students will undertake research, based on an
issue related to their degree programme, to review the main points of examining an
argument in depth. They will learn to create a personal response that analyses the content
of the issue under study

Core Maths

Core Maths is a course that ensures students have the necessary basic mathematical skills
required for their Level 4 studies. By the end of the course, students will be able to carry out
basic mathematical manipulations and understand the relevant key concepts required in
order to progress to their chosen degree course. Each mathematical concept is introduced
by a lecture, in which examples of how to use and apply the concept are demonstrated.
Students practise problems in a tutorial for each topic, using worksheets given out in
advance of the sessions. The worksheets include problems applied to the various everyday
scenarios to indicate the importance and applicability of mathematics to their future degrees.
The subjects covered are a range of arithmetic skills, algebra, solving equations, probability
and basic statistics.


This Element seeks to consider and critique different principles and theories about ethics.
This course will investigate the status of several major ethical theories and claims and
consider some practical ethical issues (such as global poverty and animal welfare) which are
impacted by these theories. Students should critically think about potential ethical dilemmas
and engage with difference value systems.

Ethics asks questions about claims in order to better grasp the nature of acceptable
principles in behaviour and treatment. These ideas cover areas in reference to psychology,
technology, education, business, and the medical and legal fields. With respect to ethical
questions, this element will investigate competing answers to an idea and critically engage
with them to examine their strengths and weaknesses. Students should gain a broad
understanding of how ethics can be applied to a variety of subject areas and what questions
should be asked to evaluate validity.


This Element aims to introduce students, from a broad range of degree programmes, to
psychology. The main psychological approaches (cognitive and behavioural;
psychodynamic; developmental, social and biological) will be discussed in relation to current
psychological theory. Current and real-world applications of these approaches will also be
discussed. Student will be given an introduction to psychopathology through the discussion
of mental health disorders. In addition to these approaches, discussion of the mind/brain
separation will also be introduced via the psychological topics to provide students with
knowledge of psychology as a humanities subject. Research methods and psychology as a
social science will also be covered to provide students with an understanding of scientific

Intercultural Studies

This Element explores significant moments of difference between cultures and subcultures
around the world. Students draw from their own cultural experiences as well as learning from
others and lecturer-lead case studies, gaining the skills required to explore and articulate
similarities and differences between different cultural practices, institutions and beliefs.
This Element will provide a platform for students to explore intercultural issues in
contemporary global society, describing the key concepts and components of culture.
Students will compare and contrast different cultures’ analytical frameworks. This Element
will introduce key concepts and explores various perspectives in intercultural studies,
covering different expressions globally and historically of power. It aims to make students
aware of and develop empathetic understanding toward other cultures and value systems.
The inter-disciplinary nature and critical thinking approach of the program empowers
students for a meaningful encounter and cooperative action with other cultures and systems.

Preparing for a Career in Caring

This Element delivers a current look at the UK Health and Social Care services and the key
aspects of pursuing a career within them. The Element introduces candidates to the
challenges and opportunities that a career in health and social care services presents today.
The course will cover an introduction to the health and social care sector in the UK, as well
as an overview of current affairs within and affecting the sector. Students will develop
knowledge and understanding of the core values of the NHS, the NMC and the Health and
Care Professions Council (HCPC).

The course will provide students the opportunity to apply theory and develop skills of
professional practice, as well as provide an opportunity to develop written and verbal
communication skills in line with the requirements of the professional body.
The course will also provide opportunities for students to develop their interpersonal skills in
preparation for a career in the health and social care services.
The course will provide opportunities for students to improve their presentation and interview
techniques as needed to progress in their University studies

Related links

For more information about intake semesters and campus location please see our course matrices.

Find out the academic entry requirements for our courses listed by country. Unless stated, requirements are standard across all courses.

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