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At University of Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
Social Care (Degree)
If you are currently working in social care or have one year's full-time (or equivalent) social care experience, then the BA in 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.
Completion of the programme leads to the qualification of the Honours Bachelor of Arts (Social Care). This qualification is approved by CORU - the Health and Social Care Regulator.
The BA in 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 this BA 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.
Applications and Selections
Online applications open for this course on the 1st May, 2024.
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 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 in 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 in 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 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.
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. The matriculation requirements for University of Galway for those under 21 years of age do not apply for the Social Care course.
Vaccinations: 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.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
4 years, part-time
Next start date
A Level Grades ()
QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes
Mode of study
Year 1: The first year of the course provides a general introduction to the field of social and health studies through two course components: course modules and work placement. Students attend a workshop for each module. In addition, students complete supervised work placement in a social care setting. Students who successfully complete these course components 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 continue to the third year of the programme.
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.
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 take place on Fridays and will run generally from 10am to 4pm. All workshops will be held at University of Galway, unless otherwise advised. Provisional timetables for year one will be available from in due course and can be requested from the course administrator.
Mandatory induction for 1st years for 2023/24 will be held over the first two Fridays of the timetable in early September 2023 (exact dates to be confirmed).
Year One: Honours Bachelor of Arts (Social Care) Programme
- Introduction to integrated and experiential learning
- Introduction to social care practice and care skills
- 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
- Sociology: social care in context
- Practice Placement
Year Two: Honours Bachelor of Arts (Social Care) Programme
- Sociology: social care in context (2023-24 only)
- Psychology across the lifespan in the social care context
- 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 Three: Honours Bachelor of Arts (Social Care) Programme
- 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 Four: Honours Bachelor of Arts (Social Care) Programme
- 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?
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.
Transferable Skills Employers Value
Related Student Organisations
Fees: Student levy
Fees: Non EU
What Our Students Say
Emmanuel Nana | Graduate
My decision to pursue a career in social care is a very personal one and one that brings me a lot of fulfilment, especially working with vulnerable & marginalised individuals in our society. To explore this career path, I chose University of Galway because it is an accredited, renowned, and prestigious University with lively, friendly, and excellent amenities. In addition, it offers one of the most flexible learning courses for social care in Ireland. While completing the course I was still able to work and take care of a family of five due to the flexible nature of the course. The course involved a mixture of theoretical & practical experience. Work placements formed an integral part of the course, this helped me to develop practical skills & reflective capacity while also gaining invaluable work experience in the social care profession and the opportunity to network with other social care professionals & organisations. The supportive nature of the lecturers, the culture of the University and the flexible learning approach has inspired me to further pursue a master’s with the University of Galway. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in a career in social care.
Jennifer Carpenter | Graduate
Completing the BA Social Care changed the trajectory of my career completely. The support and feedback from my tutors and the shared ideas and experiences of my peers on the course were invaluable. During my practice placement, I worked within a residential service for adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. Before the degree was completed, I was offered a permanent role with the organisation where I continue to work happily today. I was already in my 50's when starting the course so it is never too late to learn or to start afresh in your career.
Rob Partridge | Graduate
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.
Dearbhla Ní Dhroighneáin | Graduate
Returning to full-time education to study social care was always a dream of mine, but the cost of full-time education had always been a major obstacle. Thankfully, I discovered this course that allowed me to continue working full-time as a community link worker while also progressing in my career. The modules were incredibly beneficial to my day-to-day role, and the lecturers were always supportive and accommodating. In my final year, I secured employment as a social care worker and then decided to continue my education by pursuing an MA in Social Work at the University of Galway. The BA course was an excellent foundation that allowed me to gain relevant experience while completing placements and working in various sectors. To my surprise, it also developed my passion for academia. Today, I am a Clinical Researcher and a PhD candidate at the University of Galway's Psychiatry department. I am working on developing an educational support intervention to enhance the care of people admitted involuntarily with psychosis. Completing the BA course has opened many doors and opportunities that I never thought possible, and I am truly grateful for it!
Ruth Morvin | Graduate
The combination of interactive teaching methods and frequent practice placement make this course both enjoyable and practical. Much of the theory and learnings are directly applicable to my current role in homeless services. I would highly recommend this degree to any student interested in social care.