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Social Care Practice – BA (Hons)

  • CAO Points: 270

  • Campus: Athlone

  • years: 4

Course Overview

This programme is approved by CORU – (Health and Social Care Regulatory Body)

Social care is a practice based profession and an academic discipline. This degree will give you a recognised professional qualification in social care and prepare for you for the challenging and rewarding role of being a social care worker. Our programme is a combination of academic study and assessed practice learning opportunities. We use a variety of innovative teaching methods to support students to acquire the knowledge, skills and values required to practice as a Social Care Worker.


Social care workers work with a range of service user groups such as:

  • children and adolescents in care,
  • young people considered at risk – juvenile justice,
  • people with disabilities,
  • people who are homeless,
  • people dependent on alcohol/drugs
  • care of the aged
  • and families in the community.

Two practice placements, amounting to a total of 800 hours, form an essential part of this four-year programme. Practice placements are undertaken in years 2 and 3. Practice placement is where a social care student demonstrates their achievement of the  Social Care Standards of Profiencies (SOP).  The Standards of Proficiency set out what you must know, understand and be able to do by the time you have completed your social care programme. This programme is responsive to changing landscape of social care  practice,  this is reflected in our increasing number of placement agencies.

Additional Information

Garda Vetting is a requirement of this programme and will comply with TUS Midland’s Student Garda Vetting Policy and Procedure.

Students participating in the course must be vetted in accordance with the provisions of this policy. Students must complete the National Vetting form(s) in an absolutely honest and truthful manner. Students must disclose any (and all) knowledge of a criminal conviction(s) or pending prosecution(s) in Ireland or outside the jurisdiction. Students who have resided outside of the Republic of Ireland for a period of 6 months or more (from the age of 18 years) shall also be required to furnish a Police Clearance Certificate from their country or countries of residence.

It is important to note that participation in or completion of this programme may be affected by subsequent disclosure/discovery. During the Garda Vetting Process, issues that may emerge which were not declared by the student on the initial vetting form, may result in immediate termination of participation on the programme. Offences that are disclosed through the process that are considered a serious risk to children and vulnerable persons, may also result in a student’s discontinuation from the programme.

The outcomes of the vetting disclosure will be shared with the placement provider. Students cannot progress to placement unless the Garda Vetting Process is complete.

A student on the BA (Hons) in Social Care Practice must be fit to practice. The Technological University of the Shannon Midlands Midwest Student Fitness to Practice Policy will apply to all students on this programme, with special reference to the Dept of Social Sciences, Social Care Addendum. Students will be required to sign off on this, acknowledging that they have read and understood this requirement.

The BA (Hons) in Social Care Practice programme has a mandatory attendance policy. In order to have a clear record of attendance, class attendance records are kept. Attendance during practice placements is monitored by the agency. Before progressing to the next stage of the programme, students have to work additional hours to compensate for any absences during work placements, in order to fulfill the attendance requirement. Absences must be supported by verifying documentation.

Contact Details

Dr. Noelin Fox

Head of Department


What are the entry requirements?

Leaving Certificate

Grade H5 at higher level in two subjects, plus Grade O6/H7 in four other subjects in the Leaving Certificate. Two of these subjects must be mathematics and a language (English or Irish). Note: An FL2 in foundation level mathematics will be accepted as meeting the minimum mathematics requirements for entry to this programme.


Up to 15 places reserved for QQI students. QQI applicants to this programme must hold one of the following awards: Early Childhood Care (5M2009), Nursing Studies (5M4349), Community Care (5M2786), Community Health Services (5M4468), Applied Social Studies (5M2181). They are also required to have a pass in Social Studies (5N1370), and hold distinctions in 3 modules.

Mature Applicants

Mature applicants are not required to meet minimum entry requirements. However, an interview may form part of the selection process.

Language Proficiency

Instruction is through the medium of English and applicants who do not have school Leaving Certificate English must provide evidence of equivalent competence by way of recognised proficiency tests in English (e.g. IELTS). Those for whom English is not their first language, but who have been resident in an English speaking country for a number of years and/or those who have completed a QQI Award, are exempt from taking a proficiency test in English.

The minimum requirement for entry to undergraduate programmes (Level 6, 7, 8) at TUS is IELTS 6.0 or equivalent internationally recognised English exam. IELTS 6.0 indicates that the learner or test taker:

  • has competent level to study academic programme.
  • has an effective command of the language
  • can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
International Applicants

International applicants should apply directly to the International Office at TUS, allowing plenty of time for completing the visa process. Applications for September start should be made by 1st June at the latest to ensure visas are processed in time. You should familiarise yourself with visa processing times for your country of origin to ensure you make a timely application. Find out more here.

Course Modules

  • Professional Social Care Practice 1.1

    Credits : 5

    This module introduces students to Social care. It is built on the Framework of the Standards of Proficiency. It provides students with an understanding of the historical evolution and framework of social care. It introduces the role of the professional social care worker in different social care contexts. Built on the framework of the CORU Standards of Proficiencies; this module informs students on child protection policies and procedures in the Irish Context and equips them to deal with child protection concerns effectively.

  • Developing Academic Practice and Autonomy

    Credits: 5

    The module will help students develop their academic skills and a sense of autonomy in order to thrive in the third-level academic environment and beyond.

  • Group Dynamics and Collaborative Practice

    Credits: 5

    The module provides students with the awareness of the importance of the self when working with colleagues and service users. It explores the nature and principles of groups and group work and develops confidence in building effective working relationships with individuals and groups.

  • Introduction to Psychology

    Credits: 10

    This module will introduce students to the study of Psychology providing an understanding of key theories and perspectives in the development of the individual relating to the psychology of learning, personality and social influence, areas of particular relevance to Social Care Practice. The research process underpinning evidence-based theories will be examined. The module will provide a foundation for future modules namely Applied Child Development Psychology, Mental Health Psychology and Counselling and Psychotherapy. Central to the theoretical knowledge delivered in lectures will be its practical application to the field of Social Care Practice.

  • Fundamentals of Irish Law

    Credits: 5

    To introduce students to the fundamental principles of Irish law and to the structure and distinct features of the Irish legal system as applied to the social care profession. In addition, this module will prepare students for their first placement by ensuring that they are aware of the law pertaining to data protection, freedom of information, confidentiality, whistleblowing, informed consent, health and safety legislation and the various regulatory and compliance requirements applicable to the profession.

  • Professional Social Care Practice 1.2

    Credits: 5

    The primary focus of the module is to equip students with the knowledge necessary for generalist social care practice. This module will focus primarily on relationships and introduces the student to the importance of the “use of self” in social care practice while assisting them to develop greater self-awareness while emphasising a strengths’ perspective.

  • Applied Child Development Psychology

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is as follows:

    • To provide students with an understanding of the nature of physical, cognitive, social, emotional and moral development during infancy and childhood.
    • To explore the various theoretical approaches to child development.
    • To consider the practical applications of theoretical knowledge about child development to social care practice
  • Creative Approaches to Social Care 1.2

    Credits: 10

    To provide

    • experiential opportunities to gain specialist knowledge of the various forms of creative art and to explore and develop the student’s own creativity with reference to creativity theory,
    • an introduction to creative drama and movement and its use in social care settings through theory, practicals and self-reflection.
  • Principles of Sociology

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to introduce students to the principles of sociology which can be applied in social care practice settings. This will enable students to apply sociological tools in order to provide professional insights, engage in self reflection and demonstrate a sociological awareness and imagination.

  • Placement Preparation 1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to prepare the student for the first practice placement in a Social Care settings. The student will be supported in applying the Standards of Proficiencies into the day-to-day practice of Social Care.

  • Professional Social Care Practice 2.1

    Credits: 5

    This module aims to further enhance students’ knowledge, skills and competencies in regard to social care provision. To support students to examine culturally competent practice and methods of engagement within social care, from both a national and international perspective. To discuss supporting children and young people through their life stage transitions. To recognise the complexity of needs and issues of young people within the juvenile justice system, and to examine the relevant responses and best practice provision to address same. The module aims to address profession-specific skills and knowledge of profession specific groups.

  • Social Policy Perspectives

    Credits: 5

    This module will introduce students to the field of social policy, the meaning of social policy, its origins, the history of social policy and social service development in Ireland. The concepts of welfare and wellbeing are central to the understanding of social policy and the sectors responsible for the protection and promotion of individuals welfare and will be explored throughout the module. This module will engage students to understand social policy and its importance in the delivery of social care services. The module will allow students to reflect on the role of social care workers as agents of change in addressing diswelfares and promoting social justice for individuals that they care for and support while adhering to the current Code of Professional Conduct and Ethnics.

  • Creative Approaches to Social Care 2.1 – Art, Drama or Recreation

    Credits: 5

    • Art – The Creative Approaches to Art module offers learners an opportunity to develop safe practice based on creative and recreational knowledge, abilities and teamwork based facilitation skills.
    • Drama – the module aims to facilitate the student in developing the skills needed to apply the creative arts (Drama and on a minor level recreation) in social care situations. Drawing on various forms of drama and drama therapy, the student will learn to analyse and critique drama as a form of therapy in the social care context.
    • Recreation – Through research and assessing needs for practical participation and reflective work, it will provide the learner with knowledge and confidence to assess, plan, develop and deliver a recreation programme to mainstream and special needs groups in a safe environment.
  • Disability: Concepts and Practice

    Credits: 5

    This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to explore the inclusion and exclusion of people with disabilities from key areas of social activity, across different historical and cultural contexts, and to recognise the necessity of the shift towards person-centred and rights-based approaches in disability policy and practice today.

  • Placement 1

    Credits: 10

    The aim of this module is to provide the student with an opportunity to practice in a social care setting to develop their skills, knowledge and competencies for professional practice.

  • Professional Social Care Practice 2.2

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to enable students to examine the importance and benefits of professional structured supervision in social care, to further enhance their knowledge, abstract thinking and self-reflection as a social care professional. To identify the importance professional autonomy and accountability in social care practice. To discuss the concept of professional boundaries in the practice of social care work, and to examine the regulation and registration of Social Care Workers in Ireland.

  • Psychology of Mental Health and Mental Illness

    Credits: 10

    The student will identify and discuss perspectives of mental health and mental illness by: explaining the continuum of mental health, defining and differentiating between mental health, mental illness, and mental disorders. Students will gain an understanding of the defining characteristics of selected mental illnesses and be able to identify potential risk factors and warning signs of various mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, psychosis, and eating disorders. The aetiology of mental illness will be examined alongside the therapies available for successfully managing psychological problems. Students gain insight into the role of social care worker in mental health, recovery-oriented practice and current ethical issues in the field of mental health.

  • Applied Sociology

    Credits: 5

    This module will build on the student’s understanding of sociological concepts and theories, and relate this knowledge to issues relevant to social care practice, while incorporating the use of a sociological imagination in order to critically analyse and assess the social world.

  • Introduction to Management

    Credits: 5

    This module provides a thorough introduction to the principles and practices of modern management. It applies the science of management to social care contexts, and addresses such areas as leadership, motivation, ethics, planning, communication, negotiation and conflict management, together with an emphasis on the exercise of appropriate judgement in managerial and supervisory capacities. It intends to facilitate and engender an ability to assess organisational environments in a critical and analytical fashion.

  • Placement Preparation 2

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide the students with opportunities to acquire skills and develop their knowledge in preparation for their second practice placement in a Social Care setting. The module will support students to reflect on their first practice placement learning and to develop their ability to critically reflect on their own current and future practice and their experience of engaging with the standards of proficiencies.

  • Placement 2

    Credits: 30

    Practice Placement 2 is the second and final placement on the programme and builds on and consolidates the learning that took place on Practice Placement 1 and in the academic setting.

  • Introduction to Research Methods

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to develop the student’s knowledge, understanding and application of the research process to enhance the evidence base of social care practice. The module introduces students to: research methodologies relevant to the field of social care; qualitative and quantitative techniques; ethical issues in research; research design; data analysis and doing research with vulnerable groups.

  • Creative Approaches to Social Care – Art, Drama or Recreation 3.2

    Credits: 5

    • Art – To further develop students understanding of how creative art and recreational approaches can be used safely in social care, through active creative and recreational facilitation, creative skills development, and creative theory.
    • Drama – Delivered through a series of workshops, lectures and practical skills demonstrations, in this module the student will build on facilitation skills in a group work session. The student along with their peers will create and implement a drama workshop safely facilitating an external group from a social care context.
    • Recreation – Through individual and group activity, students will develop a greater understanding of the role of recreation, sport and leisure in social care. To further develop the applied skill in relation to practical research, delivery and management of recreational activities with a variety of groups. To extend knowledge and competence in the delivery of sporting, creative and recreational activities in the community and social care settings
  • Professional Social Care Practice 3

    Credits: 10

    This module is framed by a competency-based approach to curriculum design, the module aims to enhance students understanding and develop critical thinking on current issues in social care practice. Current issues in social care practice including behaviour of concern, engaging with youth at risk drawing on recent empirical research and social care approaches The ‘use of self’ and reflection will discuss the blending of values, skills, and knowledge. There will be a focus on the link between theory and practice and the learning that has occurred as a result of the residential abuse reports.

  • Social Psychology (Elective)

    Credits: 10

    The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of social psychology and its applications in the field of social care practice. The module equip students with an understanding of social influences on individuals and within groups.Students gain an opportunity to reflect on how people think about and perceive their social world (social thinking and social perception) and how they behave towards other people (social relations).

  • Children’s Rights and Family Law (Elective)

    Credits: 10

    Children’s Rights examines different conceptions of childhood as they evolved over time. It explores the national and international development of children’s rights within these various and changing contexts and reflects on the United Nations approach to children’s rights. Participation in this module will require the student to critique perspectives of childhood and children’s rights from a multicultural perspective, discuss of the welfare and liberty rights models of children’s rights and evaluate the impact of the UN on the welfare of children. Family Law is a discipline that deals with one of the most central and personal aspects of society – the Family. It is a discipline that boasts a remarkable history and a discipline which continues to be of major contemporary importance.

    Family law deals with issues pertaining to marital separation, nullity, paternity, custody of and access to children, maintenance and financial settlements, cohabitation rights and adoption. It is an extraordinarily emotive and fascinating area of law because it directly affects that which is of the greatest importance to people – their families. The module is taught through a combination of lecture notes, academic articles and commentary.

  • Conflict Resolution (Elective)

    Credits: 10

    This is a theoretical and practical course, which aims to develop the students’ understanding of the dynamics of conflict and to develop skills in conflict resolution.

  • Professional Social Care Practice 4.1

    Credits: 5

    The focus of the module for the student is to:

    • practice advanced professional skills in social care,
    • critically discuss issues pertinent to advanced child protection and mandatory reporting and develop key skills required to apply knowledge in practice,
    • develop skills for assessing and intervening with children and families,
    • develop an critical understanding of theory and be able to apply that theory when working with children and families,
    • explore separation and loss and how that loss impacts on children and families,
    • critically evaluate theoretical approaches that support families.
  • Sociology and Social Policy

    Credits: 5

    The module aims to provide students with the conceptual frameworks to use sociology to critique the effects of social policy in areas of social care practice.

  • Applied Research Project

    Credits: 10

    The module aims to teach the student how to conduct ethical research in the social care area, explore a particular theme and produce new cutting edge knowledge and insight in social care theory and practice. The course constitutes the process of initiating, administering, managing and completing a research project in Social Care. It facilitates acquisition of the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to plan, conduct and evaluate a research proposal, draft an appropriately justified literature review, conduct fieldwork, present, analyse and discuss findings on a topic relevant to social care. Independent thought and analytical investigation are encouraged through in-depth exploration of a topic selected from another Social Care discipline. The research project modules draw on analytical and evaluative capabilities based upon knowledge and skills developed during the preceding years of the programme. The exercise also provides an opportunity for students to develop their interests in a particular area, and to demonstrate an ability to undertake individual research. While not essential, it is anticipated that the theme of the research project will usually reflect the student’s area of expertise.

  • Rights Based Law

    Credits: 5

    This module exposes students to the legal rights which are recognised as attaching to vulnerable individuals and groups that the students may encounter in their work as Social Care Professionals. In particular, the rights under international and domestic law relating to children, trafficked persons, asylum seekers and persons with disabilities will be critiqued.

  • Introduction to Addiction Studies (Elective)

    Credits: 5

    The module will focus on introducing students to the area of addiction in relation to substance use and behavioural addictions. The module will give students a grounding in the major theoretical frameworks/models of addiction. Students will engage in practice based learning that will equip them with basic skills and approaches to work with individuals who experience addiction. The social policy context of addiction in Irish society will be examined.

  • Managing Social Care Environments (Elective)

    Credits: 5

    This module provides a detailed knowledge of the practices of modern management, and addresses the diverse factors which influence the effective management of a social care environment. It includes such areas as management style, persuasion and influence, individual behaviour, change, employment law, culture, teams, HRM and employee relations. It intends to foster an ability to exercise appropriate judgement in managerial contexts, and assess organisational environments in a critical and analytical fashion.

  • Professional Social Care Practice 4.2

    Credits: 5

    The module aims to:

    • practice advanced professional skills in social care,
    • critically discuss issues pertinent to advanced child protection and mandatory reporting and develop key skills required to apply knowledge in practice,
    • develop skills for assessing and intervening with children and families,
    • develop an understanding theory and skills when working with children and families,
    • explore separation and loss and how the impact of that loss of children and family,
    • critically evaluate theoretical approaches that support families.
  • Therapeutic Theories and Skills for Social Care Practice

    Credits: 10

    This module provides students with the theoretical knowledge of the models of counselling and psychotherapy most relevant to the field of social care. It supports students to develop their therapeutic skills as professional social care workers to enable them to work more effectively with clients/service users in social care settings. Students will be required to reflect on their practice and engage in self, peer and lecturer feedback throughout this module.

  • Social Care Practice Law

    Credits: 5

    The purpose of this module is to develop the students’ understanding of the law pertaining to children and child protection and to further familiarise students with the circumstances in which Social Care Professionals may be subject to liability in their professional capacity.

  • Disability: Promoting Citizenship

    Credits: 5

    The module aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills to critically appraise and adopt person centred and rights based approaches in their work to promote the quality of life of people with disabilities in a transitory legal and policy environment.

  • Introduction to International Development and Global Justice (Elective)

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to equip students with a critical understanding of the causes of global inequalities, and the concepts, theories and practice of ‘development’. This module also aims to enable the student to explore, reflect and research issues in development including strategies for sustainable development and global justice.

  • Professional Practice with Older People (Elective)

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide students with a broad and practical understanding of old age. The module will fulfil a social perspective of old age, enable students to be aware and identify the changing needs of older people in a variety of care settings and in society. Students will be equipped with the skills, values and an ethical approach to work with older people as social care practitioners. Students will be introduced to therapeutic approaches to working with older people.

What can you do after this programme?

As a graduate of this honours degree, you may decide to pursue postgraduate training and research leading to Master’s and PhD (level 9/10) qualifications. TUS’s MA in Advanced Social Care Practice and MA in Child & Youth Studies are popular level 9 options.

Social care graduates find employment with a diverse range of employers including:

  • The Statutory Sector: the HSE, Tusla (Child & Family Agency), Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth, Education or Justice,
  • The non-govermental sector, for example Brothers of Charity, St Hilda’s
  • Community based organisations
  • private sector such as private residential and foster care services

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