ProfMasters Social Work

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 150)

The Professional Master of Social Work is a full-time programme approved by CORU (The Social Workers’ Registration Board, leading to a professional social work qualification. With this qualification you are eligible to apply for professional registration which is a requirement to practice social work in Ireland. The Masters is also recognised internationally. The programme is taught by research-active academics with broad teaching and practice experiences. Modules will address topics such as social work counselling skills, social work theory and methods, human development and behaviour,  justice and human rights, working with children, families and adults, research methods, as well as working with groups and communities. We have very strong practice partnership arrangements that enable us to deliver high quality placements for students


The Professional Master of Social Work FT is a two-year full-time professional programme in social work. The programme contains academic and field work components. It is full-time and full attendance is required.


  • Registered graduates can work in a range of practice settings including: medical social work, mental health social work, child welfare and protection and criminal justice social work.
  • Extensive fieldwork placements included.
  • A range of teaching methodologies are used including didactic lectures, small group teaching and skills workshops.
  • A committment to service-user engagement.
  • Modules taught by both academics and experienced social work practitioners
  • Programme is widely recognised abroad:Graduates with this degree have successfully registered as professional social workers in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, among other countries. 


Careers & Employability

  • Graduates with this degree have successfully registered as professional social workers in Ireland, the  United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, among other countries.
  • Graduates obtain employment in a range of social work practice contexts including criminal justice, child welfare and protection, community based social work, and health-related social work. They work with communities, children and families, older people, offenders, people with disabilities, and people with mental health difficulties, amongst others

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Social Policy requirement 

Applicants’ primary degree must include a large social policy component, equivalent to a major in social policy in an Irish degree. Applicants from countries or universities where social policy is not taught as a distinct discipline will have to demonstrate that their primary degree included modules and coursework which amounts to the equivalent of a social policy major. Please contact the admissions coordinator if you wish to ascertain whether your undergraduate degree is eligible

If you do not have the equivalent of a social policy major in your primary degree, you would need to undertake a suitable transition course, such as UCD’s Higher Diploma in Social Policy, in order to meet this element of the entry requirements for the Professional Masters in Social Work.

Prior Learning

To obtain the Professional Master of Social Work award, all modules on the programme must be successfully completed. As all modules specifically relate to social work and contribute to the attainment of the CORU-required Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers, recognition of prior learning is not permitted.

Social work has had a long and distinguished presence in University College Dublin. Over many decades our social work programmes have graduated highly qualified professionals that have been employed in many social, health and community settings, both in Ireland and internationally. We enjoy very strong partnership arrangements with a range of local and national social work, health and community agencies.

The Professional Master of Social Work offers generic professional training in social work.  The aim of the Programme is to build on students’ prior learning and experience to develop their practice expertise. Our Programme is approved by the national Social Workers' Registration Board (CORU).

The Programme attracts students from diverse academic and social backgrounds, including those how have accessed higher education later in life, those who have decided to change careers, 'conventional' undergraduates, and, increasingly, applicants from outside Ireland.

The curriculum is planned as an integrated whole, delivered by staff who possess a wide range of practice and research experience.The content of the curriculum meets regulatory body standards in terms of university and practice learning curricula.

The Programme enables students to apply university based learning through the completion of two professionally supervised, three month, practice placements.



Upon successful completion of this masters programme, graduates are eligible to apply for registration with CORU, the Social Workers' Registration Board as well as other international registration boards and upon registration with the relevant registration boards can then pursue a career in social work in Ireland or in many other jurisdictions.

View All Modules Here

The above list is the stage 1 modules, at Stage 2 the offering is as follows: 

Practice Placement 2
Group Work and Community Work
Adult Services and Health 2
Advanced Social Work Theories and Methods 
Social Justice & Human Rights 
Social Work Counselling Skills 2
Research Methods 2
Child Welfare and Protection 2
Preparation for Professional Practice 2

Modules are subject to change

ProfMasters Social Work (W426) Full Time
EU          Year 1 - € 10240
nonEU    Year 1 - € 21520
EU          Year 2 - € 9880 aa
nonEU    Year 2 - € 20900 aa

aaSecond Year Fee applies to Students in 2nd Year in 2023 and who were a 1st Year Student on the programme in 2022/23
***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

The Professional Master of Social Work includes extensive fieldwork placements and is widely recognised abroad as a professional social work qualification. Graduates with this degree have successfully registered as professional social workers in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, among other countries.  If you are unsure what the requirements are for professional social work registration in the country in which you hope to practice, you should check with the relevant registration body in that country.

Admission requirements
For graduates of UK universities, grading of undergraduate degrees is similar to that used in Ireland and the academic requirements defined in the initial screening criteria set out above apply directly.
For North American students, the minimum academic standard for entry equates to a GPA of around 3.0 on undergraduate degrees from most universities. To be competitive for entry, North American applicants would normally require a GPA of at least 3.5, though since work experience and orientation to social work are also taken into account, the level of academic qualification required for final selection is not fixed.

To qualify under initial screening, primary degrees must be the equivalent of an honours level Bachelor’s degree. Such degrees are defined as Level 8 qualifications in the Framework of Qualifications for the European Higher Education Area (also known of the Bologna Framework ).   Degrees classed ‘ordinary level’ (Level 7 in the Bologna Framework) are not considered as eligible for entry to the Professional Master of Social Work. Applicants are required to submit transcripts from all previous bachelors or masters programmes as well as a personal statement, references and details of work experience (the form on which to do this can be found below). Also applicants should submit a copy of either their birth certificate or the photo page of their passport for nationality verification purposes.

Interviews will be conducted in the second stage of selection for entry. In exceptional circumstances to facilitate international applicants, the interview may be conducted by audio-visual link or Zoom, subject to it being possible to make suitable arrangements. Arrangements in this regard will be made on a case-by-case basis.

English language requirement
If you have not completed a primary degree in an institution where the language of instruction is English, you will be required to show evidence of English language ability. In view of the role of professional placement in the training programme for the Professional Master of Social Work and the language demands which effective participation in placement requires, a high level of proficiency in spoken/conversational English is required in addition to English reading and writing. You will normally be required to have a minimum IELTS score of 7.0, or its equivalent on other similar English-language tests recognised by UCD, with a score of 6.5 or above on all individual bands. In addition, proficiency in spoken English may be assessed by interview and will be taken into account for selection purposes.


  • The minimum standard for entry is the equivalent of an overall Second Class Honours Grade II in the applicant's primary (Level 8) degree
  • Applications should hold a BSocSc degree with a major in Social Policy or a BSocial Work or equivalent; or another undergraduate degree, at least half of which has involved the study of Social Policy or Social Policy related subjects.
  • Alternatively, applicants must hold a level 8 primary degree together with a Second Class Honours (or GPA equivalent in the institution which awarded the degree) in a postgraduate (level 8) Higher Diploma in Social Policy or equivalent. A Level 9 Masters in a relevant discipline may also be considered. 
  • If your degree grade is given as a GPA, the standard for entry is the GPA equivalent of a Second Class Honours Grade II in the institution which awarded your degree. You should note that this may vary from institution to institution. For degrees awarded by UCD it is a GPA of 2.48.

Written Piece

There will be a short written piece included as part of this year's application process, on the same day as the group interview. This will involve writing a short reflection on your participation in the group selection process. If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty e.g. Dyslexia, and require exam accommodations, please contact the admissions administrator at least one week before the interview so that appropriate exam accommodations can be put in place. Students are required to provide evidence of their disability in order to receive accommodations.

Work Experience
In addition to the academic requirements described above, we expect applicants to have been involved in relevant paid or volunteering experiences to demonstrate their commitment to a career in helping people. For this reason we expect them to have completed at least 250 hours of relevant paid or voluntary employment experience at the time of submitting their application, and in total 420 hours by the time the programme begins (end of August in the year of application). You will be asked to complete details of this on the application under an 'Employment History' section.The template can be downloaded from the “Graduate Programmes” page of the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice website in the section for “Professional Masters in Social Work. Placements completed as part of your eligibility degree programme CANNOT be counted in these hours.

You should note that UCD reserves the right to check the information submitted on your online Work Experience form with your employer or the organisation that you are volunteering with.

We regard a variety of types of paid or voluntary work experience to be relevant to the application. It is important that applicants can demonstrate that they have had access to supervision over the course of your experience. Relevant experience should generally be interactive and involve direct contact with service users.
The following are suggested, but not exclusive, types of relevant paid or voluntary work experiences:
• Working in social care settings with adults or children in day care, residential or community based settings
• Working with people in health care settings
• Working with people in criminal justice settings
• Working with young people in educational and youth services
• Working with voluntary sector organisations that are involve in advocacy services for disadvantaged groups
• Working with voluntary sector organisations involved in online helping

Current students in the 2nd (BSocSc Social Policy and Sociology - Social Work and Professions pathway only) or final year of their degree or higher diploma programme may apply for the Professional Masters in Social Work (Full Time) programme if they meet the work experience requirements. Places on the programme will be offered subject to the attainment of the required admission standard in their degree/higher diploma programme.

Shortlisting for Interview

Applicants will be shortlisted for interview on the basis of academic results and relevant work experience. Interviews will take place in the February of the calendar year before the programme commences. As the programme tends to be over-subscribed we regret that not all eligible candidates will be shortlisted / interviewed. Interviews will be conducted remotely. Eligible candidates will receive invitation to interview with further details.

Students who successfully complete the Professional Master of Social Work and are eligible to graduate may apply to CORU for registration as a professionally qualified social worker.  

English language requirement

  • You will normally be required to have a minimum IELTS score of 7.0, or its equivalent on other similar English-language tests recognised by UCD, with a score of 6.5 or above on all individual bands. In addition, proficiency in spoken English may be assessed by interview and will be taken into account for selection purposes.

Sarah McLaughlin
Social Worker in the US

My experience of studying social work at masters level at UCD has been overwhelmingly positive. The campus has excellent facilities and a proactive student body ensures a great student life definitely worth experiencing. The faculty in the School are extremely supportive and the curriculum is well recognised internationally.

Now, working as a professional Social Worker, I realise that the masters provided an excellent basis for this challenging and rewarding career.

The following entry routes are available:

Professional Masters Social Work FT (W426)
2 Years
Full Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised

Applications are made online via the "Apply now" links above. Applications close on the 20th February 2023 at midnight, Dublin time. Group interviews for shortlisted applicants are likely to take place during the week of 13th March 2023 (TBC). Zoom interviews will be offered to international applicants.