Welcome to the MA in Social Work (MSW) Programme

We are looking forward to welcoming our incoming social work students to the programme in September 2024. Please check your email for messages from either socialwork@universityofgalway.ie or Prof. Caroline McGregor (caroline.mcgregor@universityofgalway.ie), or contact us for further updates about the semester ahead at the emails provided for information about the programme.

Our intention is that incoming students will be in class on campus for the majority of their programme (Monday-Friday), including induction. Students will be sent full details of venues for teaching and related information in advance of the programme commencement  on  Monday 2nd September 2024.
Visit here for information on how to apply, entry requirements, career options and assessment through the Postgraduate Admissions. 
The closing date for 2024-25 entries to the programme was 27th January, 2024.
Admissions for 2025-26 opens 1st October 2024 to 31st January 2025.

Interviews will take place Feb 2025 for shortlisted candidates. The interviews will be in person.  Potential International Candidates can contact socialwork@universityofgalway.ie to arrange online interviews. 

The Master of Arts in Social Work (MSW) programme is an innovative and dynamic programme, committed in particular to the promotion of human rights and social justice. In high demand from its inception in 2004, the MA in Social Work programme provides accredited professional education and training in social work. It is a Postgraduate qualification (level 9) and professional training in social work.

Programme Strengths:

  • Accredited by the statutory regulatory agency, CORU
  • Small class size (25 maximum)
  • Delivered as part of the School of Political Science and Sociology and UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (which is part of the Institute for Life Course Studies)
  • Staff members active in research and publishing
  • Opportunities for students to engage with agencies around research
  • Opportunities for students to network with practitioners

Our programme focuses on the connection between academic learning and practice application. We do this through:

  • Organising joint training seminars
  • Offering International Practice Placements
  • Training with multidisciplinary groups
  • Excellent partnerships with practice teachers and statutory and voluntary organisations
  • Dedicated MA in Social Work Staff Group that works alongside School colleagues to provide students with a broad range of teaching and learning experiences
  • Access to knowledge and expertise from local, national and international perspectives.
  • Expectation that Social Work students adhere to both professional and university codes of conduct (see http://www.iasw.ie/ and http://www.coru.ie/ for codes of ethics and practice).
Listen to an Overview of MA in Social Work Programme.

Who teaches this course?

The current Director of Social Work is Prof. Caroline McGregor
The Practice Learning Co-ordinator is Ms. Eleanor Kelly
The Year One Co-ordinator is Dr. Paul Michael Garrett
The Year Two Co-ordinator is Dr. Declan Coogan

Other staff members of the School of Political Science & Sociology and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre staff are members of the programme board, module convenors and contributors. Many practice teachers and practitioners from a range of social work organisations also contribute to the programme through  teaching, practice education, tutoring and/or practice assessment.  Some members of the public and people supported by services also contribute to teaching on the social work programme.

International Students

This MSW programme can offer International students a new cultural opportunity to explore knowledge, skills and values for professional social work practice. Listen to what one of our International students has to say about the Programme by clicking Social Work Int student and what an Irish student thinks by clicking Social Work Irish Student.

Scholarship Opportunities

NUI Galway's Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme for full-time Taught Masters. For more details, click here.

Find out more

Academic curriculum queries:
Prof Caroline McGregor
E: caroline.mcgregor@universityofgalway.ie
T: +353 91 492 027

General Enquiries:
Ms Stephanie Quinn
E: stephanie.quinn@universityofgalway.ie
T: +353 91 492 290


Do you have an Admissions Checklist?

Yes we do. Please ensure you have:

  • Completed the full application form. 
  • Provided clear evidence that you have the required 6 months/960 hours experience.
  • Provided a 600 word statement on why you wish to study social work. 
  • Provided an academic and practice reference to support your application.

Please note that your application will NOT be accepted if all of the above requirements are not fulfilled.


Are there any hidden cost while on placement

There are costs associated with going on placement that can include travel to the agency. Also, while we aim to ensure that where possible, students get paid mileage/travelling allowance for travel within work, this is not always available.  Because students are on placement for a full working week, it is also difficult to maintain part-time work especially during this time.  Where students experience particular financial challenges, information about services including university welfare support and external funding opportunities will be provided by the programme.  

My 17 year old daughter wants to be a social worker and wants to study at NUI Galway. How can she plan her career?

Can I gain entry without a Level 8 Qualification?

What other degrees would the college deem appropriate other than those listed in the information?

If I have a qualification other than those listed and I still feel I have the desire and experience to train as a social worker what should I do?

What type of work is relevant when applying for the MA in Social Work?

Does teaching and/or nursing count as relevant experience?

Does placement learning count towards relevant experience?

Does work I did many years ago count as relevant experience?

Do you take into account international practice experience and qualifications?

Is the MA in Social Work programme keen to recruit international students?

How important is the personnel statement?

How important are my references?

If I am successful and not able to take my place, can I defer it?

If I am unsuccessful, will I be held on a 'Reserve List'?

I really want to be a social worker and I have been turned down twice already. What should I do?

I meet the criteria but have not been to College for a long time or have gone back to do an Access course as a mature student. Will I be able for the course?

When will I know if I have a place?

If I receive a place how soon might I have to pay the deposit or registration fee?

Does the University have accommodation?

Do you have an Admissions Checklist?

What is process around Garda Vetting?

If I have a past conviction will it inhibit where I can go on placement?

When and how long are the placements?

Where are the placements?

In what social work areas can I expect to have my placement?

Will I have a Child Protection placement while on the course?

I need to stay in Galway. Can I have my placements in Galway?

Can I set up my own placement?

Do I get paid while on placement?

Are there any hidden cost while on placement

What International placements are there?

Where is the MSW recognised?

Where can I get experience before applying the MSW course?

Does the programme recognise Prior Learning (RPL)