Course Overview

If you are currently working in social care or have one year's full-time (or equivalent) social care experience, then the BA Social Care may be the course for you!

The Bachelor of Arts (Social Care) provides teaching of theoretical concepts applied to social care practice. It was developed in response to the continuing educational needs of social care workers in the context of the professionalisation of social care work and includes both theoretical and practice components.

The BA Social Care reflects the depth and breadth of social care work both in terms of service users groups, such as children, individuals with disabilities, adults or older people and in terms of service diversity, such as residential, community or independent living services. Current students and graduates of the BA Social Care work in a vast array of statutory, voluntary and private services and settings including independent and residential services for individuals with disabilities, residential and aftercare services for children, homeless services, services for older people and community support services.

This BA (Hons) Social Care course is approved by CORU - the Health and Social Care Regulator.

Applications and Selections

 Online applications open for this course on the 1st June, 2022.

Applications are made online via the University of Galway Applications System. This course is listed under Adult Learning & CPD Courses Application.

Please visit our How to Apply page for Application tips and Supporting Documents information.

Applications will be assessed solely on the information provided within the online application form and interviews do not form part of the selection process. Applicants are therefore advised to complete the application form fully and thoroughly, as incomplete applications cannot be considered. Please contact the course administrator for further information.

Practice Placement
Practice placement is an integral component of the BA Social Care and provides the opportunity for learners to integrate theory and practice. In line with current CORU guidance, the practice placement component of this course is comprised of 800hrs of placement in a variety of settings over the 4 years of the course. All students must complete 200 hours of practice placement per year of the BA (Hons) Social Care course. The practice placement is undertaken in a setting outside of your normal workplace and this is the case for all students, regardless of previous social care experience. As this course has been designed to meet the needs of adult learners, students are expected to source appropriate practice placements themselves, with the support and guidance of the practice placement team. Additional support and guidance will be offered to 1st year students in sourcing their practice placement. Practice placements commonly operate on a continuous rather than ‘block’ basis, nonetheless, block placements can be accommodated where preferred and possible.

The HSE, the School of Health Sciences and the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, require students to produce evidence that they have received the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) and the Hepatitis B (Hep B) vaccinations. In line with this requirement, University of Galway Social Care Programme recommends that student’s evidence both the MMR and Hepatitis B before the commencement of placement. Evidence of these vaccinations must be provided in the first year of the course.

Applicants with existing academic qualifications can apply for exemptions from modules (post-registration only), where direct comparability can be demonstrated. An exemption can only be applied for in relation to an academic module or modules in year one and/or year two of the BA (Hons) Social Care course.

Please note, applications for academic module exemptions will be assessed solely on the information provided in the application documentation and applicants are therefore advised to complete the documentation fully and thoroughly. Late or incomplete applications cannot be considered. Please contact the course administrator for further information.

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Assessment of course modules, seminars and work placements is based on a combination of written assignments, practical work, work placement supervisor’s reports, online work, project work and examination (or any combination of these) in each year of the course.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Formal academic qualifications are not required to commence this BA. Candidates are expected to have good reading and writing skills, as well as basic IT skills, as independent home study is required. Candidates must also have a minimum of one year’s experience in care work, which has been gained in either a formal (i.e. employed as a care assistant) or informal capacity (i.e. caring for a family member, voluntary work in a caring capacity). The age requirement for those wishing to commence this BA is 21 years of age on the 1st of January in the year that a candidate is applying (i.e. someone applying for September 2021 would have to have been 21 years old on the 31st of December 2020 at the latest). The matriculation requirements for University of Galway for those under 21 years of age do not apply for the Social Care course.

Additional Requirements

Students must satisfy Garda/Police clearance requirements. Garda clearance must be applied for through University of Galway, regardless of whether an individual currently hold Garda clearance with another organisation.

4 years, part-time

Next start date


A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date
NFQ level


Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code

Course Outline

Year 1: The first year of the course provides a general introduction to the field of social and health studies through three course components: course modules, a seminar and work placement. Students receive interactive materials for home study and attend a workshop for each module. Students also attend one weekend seminar, which normally takes place in mid-November. In addition, students complete supervised work placement in a social care setting. Students who successfully complete these course components may leave the programme at the end of this first year and be awarded a Certificate in Social Care or they may continue to the second year of the programme.

Year 2: This second year develops the skills and understanding gained in year 1 as well as developing on the theoretical ideas that underpin social care practice and service provision. On successful completion of year 2 students may leave the course and graduate with a Diploma in Arts (Social Care).

Year 3: This year builds on years 1 and 2 with further theoretical exploration of social care work and service provision through interactive distance education materials, workshops and work placement. The core competencies required for working in the social care field are further developed and linked to their application in a workplace setting. Years 3 and 4 form the degree cycle of the course.

Year 4: This final year of the BA in Social Care is comprised of workshops, work placement and self-directed study components. In addition, learners complete a dissertation on a particular area of social care work, with the support of a named individual supervisor.

Classes days and times
Workshops normally take place on Fridays and/or Saturdays (or a combination of both) and, will run generally from 10am to 4pm. The Seminar in years one and two normally runs from approximately 9:30am to 5pm. All workshops will be held at University of Galway, unless otherwise advised. Provisional timetables for year one will be available from 31st May 2020  and can be requested from the course administrator.

Mandatory induction for 1st years for 2020/21 will be held over two consecutive days (i.e. a Friday and a Saturday) in early September 2020 (exact dates to be confirmed).


Year One: Certificate in Social Care

  • Introduction to integrated and experiential learning
  • Introduction to social care practice and care skills
  • Seminar 1 (at University of Galway)
  • Introduction to legal, ethical and professional practice in social care
  • Health and health promotion in the social care context
  • Introduction to communication skills for social care
  • Social and health services: history, systems and context
  • Practice Placement

Year Two: Diploma in Arts (Social Care)

  • Sociology: social care in context
  • Psychology across the lifespan in the social care context
  • Seminar 2 (at University of Galway)
  • Health promotion model of social care
  • Introduction to care planning for social care
  • Communication and relationship skills for social care
  • Legal, ethical and professional practice in social care
  • Introduction to research for social care
  • Practice Placement

Year 3: Bachelor of Arts Social Care

  • Experiential learning and evidenced based practice in social care
  • Working with People with Disabilities - a Social Care Perspective
  • Professional autonomy and accountability in social care practice
  • Social care across the lifespan - working with children and young people
  • Health promotion strategies and approaches in social care
  • Research methods and methodology for social care
  • Practice Placement

Year 4: Bachelor of Arts Social Care

  • Social care across the lifespan - working with adults and older people
  • Management and leadership in social care settings
  • Research project
  • Social care and health promotion - national and international professional perspectives
  • Practice Placement

Please note that this outline is for guidance only and alterations may be made as required.


Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the course are employed by statutory, private and voluntary bodies and work with a variety of groups including young children, young people, older people and individuals with disabilities. In addition, graduates of the course have gone on to pursue study on both taught and research postgraduate courses.

Who’s Suited to This Course

It is designed to meet the needs of adult students returning to education and to enable those working in the social care field to further develop and enhance their understanding, knowledge and skills. The course aim is to provide students with a professional education and training in the principles and practice of social care.

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€2,905 p.a. 2022/23

Fees: Tuition

€2,800 p.a. 2022/23

Fees: Student levy

€105 p.a. 2022/23

Fees: Non EU

€3,405 p.a. 2022/23


Occupational Health Service Fee

In year one students are required to pay a €200 fee towards a subsidised Occupational Health Service provided to students of the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences in compliance with all relevant legislation and standards. 




Find out More

Social Care Course Administrator
Room 204 Aras Moyola
University of Galway
Tel: 091 493874

What Our Students Say


Rob Partridge |   Current Student

I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge, not just from the lectures I attend, but from speaking with the other students on the course who come from different personal and professional backgrounds, and share their experience during class discussions. The learning from the course is transferable and interchangeable with my personal and professional life, and will be invaluable in my current role at work, and in any future positions.

Yvonne McCarthy |   Current Student

I struggled making the decision to apply for the course - I had self-doubts and thought that I wouldn’t be good enough or that I would be a failure (I have never been the best at academic work) - but I am learning so much. I know I am developing my skills and my confidence has grown.

Angela Rooney |   Graduate

I had completed some FETAC Level 5 and 6 childcare courses and I wanted to do something more. I found this Social Care Degree and decided to do it. It was the best decision of my life! I can definitely say that without this degree I would not have had the confidence or knowledge to change careers. After graduating I was offered a position as a social care leader working in a residential setting with adults who have intellectual disabilities. I would advise anyone thinking of doing this course to go ahead and apply - don’t leave it till "next year" - do it now and start a journey that will benefit you in numerous ways!


  • Social Care Programmes

    Social Care Programmes PDF (163 KB)

  • Adult Learning Prospectus

    Adult Learning Prospectus PDF (2.7 MB)

  • Postgraduate Prospectus 2023

    Postgraduate Prospectus 2023 PDF (20.6MB)