Taught course

International Social Work and Social Development

University of Bedfordshire · Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree at Honours level, or equivalent. Applicants should have either a professional social work qualification or a good Honours Degree in a relevant subject. For candidates without a degree, equivalent academic ability can be evidenced through work or voluntary activity. International students should have an IELTS score of at least 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each band.


Months of entry


Course content

About the course

Every country's approach to social work and social development is different, and this course will help you acquire the skills and knowledge you will need to give your career a global perspective. Your studies will provide a broad level of understanding by exposing you to the variety of ways in which our subjects are approached in diverse contexts, and there will be a particular focus on the global south, and on recognising how responses to social issues have developed. There will also be an emphasis on issue which have an international dimension, such as human rights and social justice, trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

Key features

    • Study, compare and evaluate different welfare regimes and indigenous responses to human need within a framework of equality and social justice
    • Explore the ethical aspects of your subject including attention to power and anti-discriminatory practice
    • Develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of the knowledge, theoretical and ethical underpinnings and approaches to international social work and social development in diverse global contexts
    • Gain an in-depth knowledge and critical appreciation of research models and methods, and acquire a high level of skill in evaluating and undertaking research while working within a robust ethical framework
    • Benefit from a programme that will give you the core skills, initiative and professionalism necessary to carry out direct work with clients in a range of settings, for example working for NGOs, governments or voluntary organisations.
  • This course offers global perspectives, theoretical foundations, ethics and practice skills equipping social work and social development professionals to respond effectively in diverse country contexts and make global-local connections. It aims to enable students to develop cultural competence and the ability to work effectively in different global contexts.

  • You will develop critical thinking, enquiry and evaluation in response to human need encouraging reflectiveness, increasing self-awareness and questioning of models of practice. You will also develop team working skills as be exposed to multi-disciplinary and culturally diverse working, both through collaboration with other students and observing practice in community-based projects.

  • The course aims to equip students with the skills to carry out research and to understand the implications of research for practice. It also provides the opportunity to acquire in-depth knowledge of a specialist subject of your own choosing.

  • The practice skills element of the course enables students to apply theory to practice and to develop the core skills, initiative and professionalism necessary to carry out direct work with clients in a range of settings; for example working for NGOs, government or voluntary organisations.

Career opportunities

There is growing demand in both developed and developing countries for the skills of social work and social development professionals. A wide range of job opportunities is available in both the statutory and non-statutory sectors, these include specialist roles in NGOs and various humanitarian organisations.

Job titles for typical successful Masters students include: Social Development Worker, Child Protection Worker, Community Worker, Animateur, Project Worker, Women’s Worker, Gender based Violence Specialist, Advocacy Worker. Roles in policy and research in the public, private and NGO sector are also open to graduates.

Further study options include PhD or the Professional Doctorate for Home/EU Students.

Areas of study may include:

  • International Social Work and Social Development
  • Comparative Social Work and Cultural Competence - Approaches, Policy and Practice
  • Models and Methods of Social Investigation
  • Human Rights, Advocacy and Social Justice
  • Complexities of Forced Migration: Human Displacement, Trafficking and Refuge
  • Humanitarian Aid, Non-governmental Organisations and Social Work in Disasters
  • Gender in International Social Work and Social Development
  • International Relations - Globalization
  • Practice Skills Workshops – Project Management, Training and Development, Evaluation and Communication Skills
  • Dissertation

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

+44 (0)1234 400 400