Social Work Courses by Distance Learning Open University United Kingdom

Social Work courses

Social workers support and protect some of society’s most deprived and vulnerable people. If you’re looking to work with those in need, from children and the elderly, to individuals or families, our social work courses have much to offer you.

Young man speaking with female social worker

Social Work


Stage 1120 credits
Stage 2120 credits
Stage 3120 credits
Total of 360 credits

How long will it take?

Part time: 16–18 hours per week for 6 years
Full time: 32–36 hours per week for 3 years

Social Work


Stage 1120 credits
Stage 2120 credits
Total of 240 credits

How long will it take?
Part time: 16–18 hours per week for 4 years
Full time: 32–36 hours per week for 2 years

Social Work


Stage 1120 credits
Total of 120 credits

How long will it take?
Part time: 16–18 hours per week for 2 years
Full time: 32–36 hours per week for 1 year

Why study with Social Work The Open University?

For over 30 years, we’ve been delivering supported and open distance learning preparing students for the challenging, yet rewarding, experience of becoming social workers. You’ll study a curriculum developed by leading academics and professionals actively engaged in the field, so you know our teaching reflects the priorities of today’s employers.

The benefits of studying social work with us are:

  • The OU is the UK’s largest provider of a part-time qualifying degree in social work.
  • We work in partnership with employers including the NHS, social services and the voluntary sector.
  • Earn while you learn. Our flexible study fits in with your work and home life, so you don’t have to give up the day job. You can also progress at different speeds to suit your needs and those of your employer.
  • We have courses suited for all levels and stages of your career. Perfect if you’re starting out or changing profession, developing your career in care, or simply seeking to develop your understanding of social care.

Careers in Social Work

Studying for an Open University qualification in social work is ideal preparation for personal development and career progression, whatever your level of experience. We offer a wide range of practice-related courses including single modules for professional development, qualifying and post-qualifying programmes, vocational training, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and research opportunities.

Our range of courses in social work can help you start or progress your career as a:

  • Social or Youth Worker
  • Counsellor
  • Probation Officer
  • Community Development Worker

Looking for something other than a qualification?

The majority of our modules can be studied by themselves, on a stand-alone basis. If you later choose to work towards a qualification, you may be able to count your study towards it.

See our full list of Social Work modules

All Social Work courses

Browse all the Social Work courses we offer – certificates, diplomas and degrees.

See our full list of Social Work courses

Email us

From exploring the right course for you to helping you register, our advisers can help.

Email enquiry


Call us

As part of the OU’s response to Coronavirus, we have temporarily removed this option.

Please use the ‘Email us’ option to contact us.

Write to us at:

Student Recruitment
The Open University
PO Box 197
Milton Keynes