University of the Year


Durham University

AWARD(S): University of the Year

Durham University offers an academically acclaimed Masters in Social Work (MSW), teaching 50 students across 21 months, including core subjects and specialist lectures from experts by experience and sector-wide professionals. The MSW focuses on the importance of covering a broad curriculum to enable students to fully explore the nature of social work and their placements in a meaningful way.


Durham displayed an exceptional response to the pandemic, working to ensure the support needs of North East communities were met, while ensuring staff and students were kept as safe as possible. Recognising the extraordinary circumstances, students assisted with supporting parents engaging with family court online, the increase in numbers of women exposed to violence and abuse in lockdown, and developing community links to assist isolated older people.


Durham also collaborated with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) in a funded project aimed to empower social workers and learn from best practice during Covid-19, based on evidence from surveys carried out with social workers across the UK.


Learn more about Durham University below.




Durham University evidences some really creative work during Covid to support students in supporting wider community and gaining valuable learning opportunities. The university demonstrates a clear emphasis on research for broader learning and benefit.

Louise Walker MBE, Head of Social Work, Redcar and Cleveland Council

The Department has a strong values base that underpins its ambition to give its student social workers the best of foundations so they can be they can be effective, compassionate, and well-rounded practitioners. The range of different experiences and types of practice placements gives the students the opportunity to really explore the profession and develop their skills.

Jane Wistow, Masters in Social Work Co-Director, Durham University

My experience of completing the MSW at Durham was not just life changing, but life enhancing. I joined the course as my family's 'social justice warrior' but was unprepared for the level of self-awareness and compassion that would emerge through my learning. The teaching helped embed reflexivity and patience in my actions that I use now in my everyday life. The staff supported me through very difficult personal circumstances and celebrated and supported my successes.

Feedback from a Masters in Social Work student at Durham University

Student feedback from a variety of levels provides clear indication that the university have responded quickly to the pandemic whilst still still delivering a high quality service that provides the student with a breadth of knowledge and learning. In addition, the university evidences a real impact into feeding into the wider development of social workers and policy. The introduction of the contextualised safeguarding hub is amazing and the international links demonstrate a wide reaching ambition to improve social work globally.

Darren Shaw, Director of Service, Innovate CYPS


Silver Award

Bournemouth University

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