University of Birmingham BA Social policy

Last Updated on January 17, 2023

On our BA Social Policy degree you will be studying at one of the best universities for social policy, ranked 3rd in the UK by the 2021 Complete University Guide.

Food banks, zero hours contracts, unaffordable housing. We see these terms in the news, but what do they actually mean? A Social Policy degree is ideal for students who want to challenge the status quo and ‘make important things happen’.

Studying Social Policy at Birmingham equips you with the theoretical knowledge and research skills to understand and address a range of contemporary social issues such as homelessness, overcrowding in prisons, problem debt, and caring for our ageing population. 

Our BA Social Policy degree will enable you to understand the nature of social issues in the UK and beyond. It will encourage you to not only develop an understanding of contemporary social issues, but investigate potential solutions and how to promote change to tackle social problems. Unique to Birmingham, our Social Policy degree provides the opportunity to experience Social Policy in practice, with a work-based placement module in the second year, as well as a further opportunity to undertake a final year work placement via the ‘Professional Development’ module.

You will study in one of the most attractive and heritage-rich campuses in the country only a few minutes from the centre of Birmingham. In the latest Complete University Guide league table for 2021, Birmingham is ranked 13th out of 130 institutions surveyed. We are ranked number one for being targeted by the top UK employers (High Fliers Research 2021).

As someone who is passionate about helping people, Social Policy is the ideal degree for me. The range of teaching styles is fantastic as it keeps things fresh, and the staff go above and beyond to make sure you get any help you need.Laura Kite, Student, BA Social Policy

This Joint Honours degree will provide you with the knowledge and skills to critically engage with key issues facing contemporary societies including globalisation; the changing nature of work and the family; gender roles and sexuality; multiculturalism; the impact of the media and information technologies; and new forms of politics. In addition to these ‘big picture’ social theories we place a strong emphasis on developing social science research skills – so valued by employers – with research methods training in each year.

On the Social Policy and Sociology BA, you will get the chance to take part in a range of in-house activities that vary by year. Examples of activities include:

  • An annual Student Conference
  • The Research Assistance Scheme, where students are paired with a member of staff to help them in specific research tasks 
  • Simulation exercises using real case examples 

The University of Birmingham Social Work BA degree will give you a fascinating and dynamic experience.  This is a tailor-made course driven by excellence in teaching and research. In addition to our world-leading academics, we offer first-hand learning from service users, carers and practitioners.


for Social Work (The Complete University Guide 2021)


of students were in a professional or managerial job six months after completing the course (UNISTATS 2016-17)


of Social Work students were satisfied with the teaching on the course (NSS 2019)

In these recent challenging times, the role of social work has taken centre stage.  A career in social work is incredibly rewarding and plays a vital role within society, working in communities with vulnerable individuals and families to help improve their life outcomes, by protecting them from harm and abuse. 

A social work degree from our university can offer you a variety of opportunities for practising social work overseas. Social workers are in demand in a number of countries and our degrees are recognised in places such as Australia, Canada and Hong Kong. 

Why study BA Social Work at Birmingham?

  • We are a leading Research Centre for children’s and adults social work.
  • We are embedded within a diverse, multicultural and thriving city and region, with strong civic connections.
  • We are renowned for the inclusion of lived experience in our teaching, research and impact.
  • We are part of a multi-disciplinary and multi-professional university, with a clear focus on inter-disciplinary collaborations.
  • Our well-established links with local, regional and national employers support students into a range of rewarding careers.

Throughout the Social Work degree there will be an emphasis on the fundamental professional principles, including a commitment to human rights, social justice, relationship based practice and inclusion such as communication, relationship-based practice. As a student on our BA Social Work degree, you will become part of social work history, by studying in the oldest social work department in the country.  Two professional placements will be completed as a core part of the programme.

How to apply to study the BA in Social Work in 9 easy steps

“I am now Team Manager for two adult social work teams in Birmingham. I manage 30 staff across both teams and we provide assessment and support planning for adults with complex care needs in our constituencies. We work with students from the University of Birmingham and provide quality placements for them and provide a range of shadowing and mentoring opportunities.”Joanne Lowe, BA Social Work graduate

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