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Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

School of Health Sciences
Division of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work

Masters in Social Work

Postgraduate Diploma Social Work

Student Handbook 2022-2023           

The contents of this handbook may be subject to change throughout the academic year. Please check Blackboard regularly for any updates.

Welcome from the Director of Postgraduate Taught Education

I am delighted to welcome you to the School of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. We are extremely pleased you have chosen the University of Manchester to commence or continue your postgraduate study journey; whether you are progressing straight from your undergraduate studies, seeking to develop your knowledge/skills in your chosen career or, are bravely, taking a completely different direction in life.

In the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and humanity, we will place you at the centre of a transformational learning process to support you to achieve your individual goals and aspirations. Our challenge to you is to embrace all of the opportunities available to you; be bold, think differently and realise your potential. We want your postgraduate journey with us to be intellectually stretching, rewarding and fun.

We are aware that most of you will need to juggle a number of competing priorities during your postgraduate taught studies. Some of you will already be in full time employment, while others will need to secure part time employment to fund your studies. We know that many of you will have family and caring responsibilities that will have to be prioritised before your own learning. We hope the information detailed in this programme handbook will help you in managing these competing commitments. Whether you are joining us on campus, or studying at a distance, you are an integral part of our School and University, and we are here to support you.

We are extremely proud of our postgraduate student community and alumni who are making a difference, both locally and globally. We look forward to working with you, confident that you too will play a role in transforming the lives of people who use health and social care services, whether during your studies or upon graduation.

I wish you every success in your postgraduate studies here at the University of Manchester.

Mr Andrew Mawdsley
Director of Post Graduate Taught Education
School of Health Sciences



The University’s Vision for the Future:

We will be recognised globally for the excellence of our people, research, learning and innovation, and for the benefits we bring to society and the environment.

The foundation of this vision and strategic plan remains our three core goals of research and discovery, teaching and learning, and social responsibility, which are encapsulated in our motto: knowledge, wisdom and humanity. It builds on our strengths while taking the University in new directions.

Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work

The Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work is recognised for delivering world-class teaching and research across nursing, midwifery, social work and related disciplines. We currently provide undergraduate and postgraduate education to more than 2,000 students in close partnership with the NHS and are among the top ten universities in the world at which to study nursing (QS World University Rankings 2016).

Our research excellence was recognised by the results of REF 2014 and is underpinned by the production of collaborative, high-quality and impactful research which aims to improve health and social care at local, national and international levels.


Where to Find Further Information

In addition to this handbook you are required to familiarise yourself with the information contained within the A-Z of Student Services and IT Services handbook.  New students are given a copy of the appropriate handbooks at the beginning of their programme of study; alternatively the information is available on our website.

We will be happy to provide this handbook in large print if required.

Student Services Centre, Burlington Street or Sackville Street

Tel: +44(0)161 275 5000
The Student Services Centre can offer all sorts of help and advice about tuition fee assessments or payments, Council Tax, examinations, graduation ceremonies and all sorts of documents.


The A-Z of Student Services

The Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations that are applicable to all students across the University are referred to in the University A-Z of Services and detailed in full within the University Calendar.

Essential advice, information and guidance for students at The University of Manchester, packed with up-to-the-minute information.

The guide can also be viewed on the University student intranet at: A-Z of Student Services

The University website contains a comprehensive and definitive listing of University policies and procedures relevant to both students and members of staff. It covers the full-range of our activities and is continually updated to ensure that you have immediate access to the latest versions of documents as soon as they are approved. It is also equipped with a search engine that enables you to find relevant documents using key words or phrases.

Visit the website:


Staying Safe – Covid-19

Feeling prepared and equipped at the present time inevitably brings thoughts of health and safety. We have followed the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to make sure our campus is a safe and happy environment for you to start your studies.

We’re adjusting our COVID-19 guidance in line with the latest government recommendations.

We will continue to move forward with caution to protect ourselves, each other, and the most vulnerable in our society. For the latest advice, please refer to the UK government’s coronavirus information.

It’s important for everyone to follow the guidelines on campus to keep themselves and others safe. We have faith that all members of our University community will do the right thing.

Our ‘Staying Safe’ microsite outlines the safety measures that are in place as well as useful information regarding:-

 Student Frequently Asked Questions is regularly updated online but if you can’t find what you are looking for, please contact your school as soon as possible.



The Jean McFarlane Building has a central atrium which provides comfortable and flexible spaces for students to meet or work. Wi-Fi is available in the atrium. Additional flexible working spaces are available on the 2nd floor where PCs are provided for individual / group work.

Student Charter

One of the University’s three core goals is “To provide a superb higher education and learning experience to outstanding students, irrespective of their backgrounds, and to produce graduates distinguished by their intellectual capabilities, employability, leadership qualities, and their ability and ambition to contribute to society” (from the University of Manchester Strategic Vision 2020).


Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work | School of Health Sciences | University of Manchester | Jean McFarlane Building | Oxford Road | Manchester | M13 9PL

Tel 0161 306 0260

Head of Division | Professor Hilary Mairs | Tel 0161 306 7779

Head of Teaching Learning and Student Experience | Gabrielle Brennan | Tel 0161 306 7613

Division Website:

The Programme Team

All staff are located in the Jean McFarlane Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL. The best way to make contact with staff is to email, as emails are checked frequently.

Dr Samantha Freeman: Director of Post Graduate Studies | Room 5.341

Dr Patricia Cartney: Head of Social Work | Room 4.324b

Professor Alys Young: Professor of Social Work Education and Research | Room 4.327b

Anna Beddow: Lecturer in Approved Mental Health & Programme Director for Applied Mental Health | Room 4.328

Simon Burrow: Senior Lecturer in Dementia Care | Room 6.305

Mark Cooper: Lecturer in Approved Mental Health | Room 4.328

Claire Harnett: Lecturer in Social Work (Practice Learning) | Room 4.330

Dr Stephen Hicks: Senior Lecturer in Social Work | Room 4.324a

Andy Hall: Senior Lecturer in Education Technology | Room 5.316

Andrew Holt: Lecturer in Approved Mental Health | Room 4.329

Dr Dharman Jeyasingham: Lecturer in Social Work | Room 4.323

Gary Norton: Lecturer in Social Work | Room 4.329

Barbara Tisdall: Lecturer in Social Work (Practice Learning) | Room 4.330

Programme Support | | Room G.340

Examinations & Assessments Administrator | | Room G.313

Programme Structure

This postgraduate programme is full time over two years.

  • For the Postgraduate Diploma, you are required to complete eight academic course units at postgraduate level (four in year 1 and 4 in year 2, totalling 120 credits).
  • If you meet the criteria for completing a dissertation for the award of MA the dissertation will accrue a further 60 credits, totalling 180 credits in all for the Masters programme.
  • Additionally, for an award enabling registration with  Social Work England (SWE) as competent to practice social work, you must successfully complete all course units relating to Social Work practice.
  • All students must successfully complete 200 days of practice learning. This is divided up as follows: 30 days skills development across both years; 20 days in year 1 and 10 days in year 2. 70 days practice placement in year 1 and 100 days practice placement in year 2. All students must pass an Assessed Readiness for Direct Practice before commencing their first placement.
  • In order to progress into year 2 you must successfully complete your placement for year 1, failure to do so within the required timeframe may require you to interrupt the programme.
  • When you have achieved a pass in all your coursework (including practice learning) you may choose to exit the programme with a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work.
  • We very much hope that you will continue your studies on the programme and chose to submit your dissertation as this enables you to exit with a higher award. Meeting the criteria for submission of a dissertation and achieving a grade of at least 50%, enables you to exit the programme with an MA in Social Work.
  • All taught course units and practice learning are compulsory.
  • The pass mark for taught course units for all postgraduate students is 50%. However, you will only be able to progress to dissertation and the award of Master if you attain marks between 40% and 49% in no more than 30 credits. The pass mark for the dissertation is 50%.
  • Where there is more than one element to the assessment for any course unit, students must pass each element at the minimum requirement to register with Social Work England (SWE) – our regulatory body – to pass the course.
  • If you fail any assessed work you will have the right to one re-submission subject to agreement by the examination board in line with the University regulations.
  • Any further re-submissions are at the discretion of the examination board.
  • Because the Postgraduate Diploma/MA in Social Work is also a professional qualification, no compensation is allowed between elements of a course unit, all of which must be passed.
  • If you do not achieve a pass in practice learning you will not be eligible for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma or MA in Social Work.
  • However, if you meet the requirements of the Regulations you may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma or an MA in Applied Social Studies on the basis of course work attracting 120 credits and a dissertation respectively.
  • The award of a PG Diploma in Applied Social Studies or an MA in Applied Social Studies does not provide a qualification which will enable you to apply for registration with Social Work England or practice as a social worker. The title of ‘Social Worker’ is a protected title and you are not able to use this title, unless you have completed an approved qualification and registered with social Work England.

Please be aware that the MA Social Work Programme has some specific requirements to the University degree regulations, and details of these are outlined below. All course unit assessments must be passed with a minimum mark of at least 40% to meet professional requirements for registration for Social Work England (SWE). The pass mark for a Masters level is 50%, as stated in the University regulations.

An introduction to Postgraduate Taught Degree Regulations for Students

Postgraduate Taught degrees at the University of Manchester are based on the National Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ). This framework requires you to achieve credit at masters’ level in order to attain an award. For a standard postgraduate taught Masters programme this will normally mean passing 180 credits. A standard postgraduate diploma will normally have 120 credits and a postgraduate certificate 60 credits. The way in which you study these credits will be defined later in the programme handbook and the programme specification.

The University sets standards relating to your performance on every unit but also on your progression through the programme. Your programme and course unit specifications will set out the requirements for passing the credit on individual units.

Please be aware that the MA Social Work Programme has some specific requirements to the University degree regulations and details of these are outlined below. All course unit assessments must be passed with a minimum mark of at least 40% to meet professional requirements for registration with  Social Work England (SWE). The Pass mark for Masters level is 50% as stated in the University regulations.

What happens if I fail some units?

First do not panic, but the first thing to do is sit down with your academic adviser or Programme Director who will take you through your options. The regulations allow you further attempts of up to half the taught credits, for a standard master’s programme as defined by your programme specification, so you can still get back on track.

This is known as ‘referred assessment’ and these reassessments will normally take place in the same academic year as the original assessment. The Examination Board will then make decisions on your progress and advise you accordingly of the decisions and next steps.

If you pass most of your units but fail some of them (with a mark between 40-49%), there may be a possibility of the examination board compensating failed credits. This means if your mark was between 40-49% at Master’s level the examination board is able to compensate up to a maximum of 30 credits. Your transcript of results will show the actual mark achieved (e.g. 47C).

What happens if I fail my resits?

Upon taking the referred assessment, if you fail again the Examination Board will make a decision concerning your progress. The possible options available may, in exceptional circumstances, include repeating the unit or being awarded an exit award once you have exhausted all the opportunities to retrieve your failed assessment.

Referrals may also be compensated; so if you manage to achieve a mark at referral of between 40-49% at Masters Level, this may be compensated providing you have not already used your quota of compensatable credit. Compensated referrals will be capped at 40 and this is the mark (40R) that will show on your transcript of results and be used to calculate your final degree classification.

What happens is I fail my dissertation?

If you fail your dissertations at the first attempt, you will be given the opportunity to resubmit a revised version of the dissertation if you have achieved a mark of 30% or above. You will normally be given up to six months in which to make the requested revisions or undertake additional work. You will be provided with feedback from your examiners and guidance on the revisions required to bring the work to the appropriate standard for the Masters award.

How is my degree calculated?

To be considered for a Master’s Degree you must have achieved 180 credits at the appropriate level. Do not worry if you have had a referral or compensation, as these still count towards your credit total for a Pass or Merit. However, if you have undertaken any referred assessment or been compensated you will not be eligible for a Distinction.

The award of masters is based upon gaining the required number of credits, normally 180. Classifications for merit or distinctions will be calculated on the basis of an average mark, based on the weighted programme as a whole.

If you are completing a postgraduate diploma or certificate programme then these degrees are only awarded as a pass.

When and how are decisions made about my results and my progress?

It is expected that all your attempts at a referred assessment will take place in the same academic year in which the original assessment was first taken. After each assessment period there is an ‘Examination Board’.

Members of the Examination Board normally include your unit tutors, programme directors overseen by an external examiner from another university. It is the job of the Examination Board to review all the results anonymously and make decisions on the award of credit and who can resit exams/assessment(s) or gain compensation. It is also the role of the Examination Board to decide who cannot continue and will leave the University with an exit award.

What do I do if I disagree with the Examination Board’s decision?

The University has clear and fair procedures which set out the course of action should you wish to appeal against an Examination Board decision or make a complaint.   There are a number of grounds on which an appeal may be made, however an appeal which questions the academic or professional judgement of those charged with assessing your academic performance or professional competence is not permitted.  The relevant regulations and forms can be found at:

Academic Appeals (Regulation XIX)

Basic Guide to Academic Appeals

Student Complaints (Regulation XVIII)

Basic Guide to Student Complaints

In the first instance, we would urge you to contact your Programme Director/Examinations Officer who will be able to talk you through the decision making process.

Please be aware that the MA Social Work has some higher requirements to the University degree regulations and details of these are outlined in this handbook.

Programme Aims

01 Produce professionally capable, reflective and analytical social work practitioners who are able to practice in a variety of settings and with a range of different service users in accordance with Social Work England (SWE) Professional Standards and the nine capabilities outlined in the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) (at qualifying ).
02 Ensure the employability of social work graduates and prepare them to enter the workforce to work safely and effectively with service users and carers according to Social Work England (SWE) Professional Standards and the qualifying level of the PCF.
03 Provide students with challenging academic and practice learning opportunities that will enable them to critically evaluate, apply and integrate knowledge, understanding and skills in core areas specified by QAA subject benchmarks, Social Work England (SWE) Professional Standards and the nine capabilities outlined in the PCF (at qualifying level.)
04 Equip students to understand critique and contribute to the political, social and moral debate about the contested nature, scope and purpose of social work while practising competently in the context of contested knowledge and uncertainty.
05 Equip students to think and work creatively in collaboration with other professionals and agencies and to negotiate different professional values, areas of knowledge and skills and critically evaluate how these may contribute to inter-disciplinary assessment, intervention and service provision.
06 Enable students to understand and critically reflect on the relationship between social work values, ethical and legal imperatives and their code of practice in responding positively to cultural diversity and the relationship between social inequality/discrimination, changes through the life course and social context as this impacts upon people’s lives.
07 Enable students to understand and critically reflect on the relationship between social work values, ethical and legal imperatives and their code of practice in responding positively to service users’ rights to (re)gain and maintain their autonomy, via a process of complex analysis and evaluation of the relative rights, needs, risks to self and others and respect for service users’ autonomy.
08 Produce social work practitioners who are able to understand and apply empirical research to practice, able to critically evaluate the reliability, validity and relevance of research evidence and who are intellectually inquisitive and motivated to pursue further learning and professional development throughout their career (in accordance with SWE Professional Standards and the Professional Capabilities Framework).
09 Enable students to develop and practice high level transferable skills in critical reasoning and complex problem-solving as well as more generic skills such as time-management, written and verbal communication, IT skills and collaborative problem-solving and planning.
10 Enable students to develop and refine their research, analytical and intellectual skills and their understanding of the relationship between methodological issues and the creation and interpretation of knowledge, through undertaking a limited piece of research with a focus on social work policy and/or practice.


Develop students’ abilities to organise and critically discuss complex information and argument and provide an opportunity for students to think in creative and original ways about their area of research, within the parameters of reasoned argument and relevant evidence sources.
12 Develop students’ confidence and ability to take responsibility for their learning and work-load management, while making appropriate use of supervision to support, challenge and debate their work using high developed critical reasoning and discursive skills.


Intended Learning Outcomes

A. Knowledge & Understanding

On completion of the programme students will have achieved knowledge and understanding in the following areas (required by Social Work England (SWE), QAA subject benchmarks for social work and the Professional Capabilities Framework) at level 7 in the Higher Education Qualifications Framework, such that they will be able to:

A1. Engage with people with lived experience of social work.

Demonstrate a critical understanding of the social processes and socio-economic features of society, including factors which promote – or militate against – the health and well- being of individuals, families and communities and impact upon the differential demand/need for social work services.

1.    Display a critical understanding of the importance of engaging with strengths- and assets- based approaches to working in partnership with individuals, families and communities and how individual and group characteristics can contribute to inter-personal, structural and institutional inequality in the context of anti – discriminatory and empowering social work practice.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 2, 3, 4, 5)

2.  Demonstrate an informed understanding of processes contributing to social differences and identities across diverse communities alongside the need to both promote social justice and challenge the impact of disadvantage /discrimination and confront intersectional issues of inequality and social inclusion.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 3)

3.    Demonstrate a practical, conceptual, intellectual and critically evaluative approach to examining the relationship between agency policies, legal requirements and different professional roles, knowledge and values and the ways in which they can be managed to facilitate inter-disciplinary assessment, planning and service delivery.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 2, 4, 5, 8)

4.    Demonstrate a practical and intellectual understanding of the need to develop professional trustworthy relationships with people who use services and to use power and authority legally, proportionately and with integrity.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 2)

5.    Demonstrate a critical understanding of the importance of user-led approaches in social work practice, acknowledging people as experts in their own lives, and evaluating the significant contribution made by people with lived experience of social work to the development of social work services and practice.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2 subject benchmarks and PCF 2)

A2 Demonstrate a comprehensive and critical understanding of the service delivery context.

1.    Recognize and critically evaluate social work’s role in an historical and international context.

(SWE Professional Standards 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5)

2.    Demonstrate a critical understanding of the complex and contested relationship between ideology, political issues, policy development and implementation and the role and operation of social work services.

(SWE Professional Standards 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5)

3.    Demonstrate knowledge of the formal and legal framework (statutory powers and duties, case law, human rights, regulations, procedures, guidance, codes of practice) and a critical understanding of the relationship between formal/legal imperatives, trends in contemporary social policy and current social work leadership and practice.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 4, 5)

4.    Apply a practical and conceptual understanding of the interrelationships existing between a range of statutory, voluntary, private and third sector agencies by evaluating their role in the context of policy development, service delivery and personalised services.

(SWE Professional Standards 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 5, 8)

5.  Demonstrate knowledge of different approaches to management, leadership and quality in public and independently provided human social service and apply a critical understanding to how these factors may impede or facilitate policy implementation, service delivery and best practice in relation to inter-disciplinary and inter-agency working.

(SWE Professional Standards 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5)

6.  Show practical up to date knowledge of modern communication methods and information technology and demonstrate a critical understanding about the need to use electronic, online and remote communication lawfully and ethically in line with data protection and governance regulation.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 7, 9)

A3 Demonstrate a comprehensive and critical understanding of the values and ethics underpinning social work: Apply social work ethical principles and values to guide professional practice.

1.    Demonstrate a critical understanding of the development and nature of social work values and their operation in relation to moral concepts and legal principles (rights, responsibility, autonomy, authority, power) by social workers as agents with statutory powers.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 2)

2.    Display a critical awareness of (contested) philosophical ethical frameworks and demonstrate in depth understanding of their relevance to clarifying value laden dilemmas, competing actions, and conflicts in order to be able to successfully contribute to their resolution.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 2)

3.    Demonstrate a critical understanding of the complex relationship between codes defining ethical practice, the moral nature of social work, the regulation of professional conduct and the way in which these inform or govern social work practice and influence the management of potential inter-disciplinary conflict.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 2)

4.    Demonstrate the ability to critically reflect on own values, including the recognition of bias, and be open to challenging the impact of personal values on professional practice in different contexts.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 2, 6)

5.    Display a critical awareness of the need to act safely, respectfully and with professional integrity at all times and to ensure that actions are in line with the requirements and expectations of the professional regulator.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 5, 6 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 2)

6.  Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the need to promote ethical practice at all times – in relation to self and others – and to challenge poor practice and/or raise concerns where professionally appropriate.

(SWE Professional Standards 5, 6 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 2)

A4 Demonstrate a critical and comprehensive understanding of Social Work Theory and its application to practice.

1.    Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate theory and research from relevant disciplines (primarily sociology, psychology and physiology), their epistemological foundations and their contribution to an understanding of individual development and change over the life course, (mal)adaptation, group dynamics and organisational behaviour in the context of social work practice.

(SWE Professional Standards 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5, 6)

2.    Apply knowledge of assessment models and frameworks to developing a critical and evaluative understanding of complex assessment activities in context- weighing risks, developing hypotheses and modifying hypotheses in the light of new and/or disconfirming evidence.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 5, 6)

3.    Apply knowledge of social work theories and interventions to address presenting social care needs, identify risk indicators, support risk analysis, consider the explicit balancing of rights and risks and facilitate ethical professional decision making.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 4, 5, 6)

A5 Demonstrate a critical and comprehensive understanding of the nature of social work practice

1.    Show how social work knowledge and skills contribute to effective practice and decision making in a range of settings, cultural-linguistic contexts and across different service user groups and communities.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 2, 3, 5, 6)

2.  Display a critical awareness of factors and changing processes that facilitate inter-disciplinary and inter-agency collaboration in planning services, assessment, service delivery and evaluation of effectiveness.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5, 8)

3.    Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationship between different approaches to evaluating social (policy and practice) interventions and their implications for social work practice and professional development.

(SWE Professional Standards 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5)

4.    Evaluate latest national and international research and theory development, which is relevant to social work assessment, decision making and intervention and show a critical understanding of the relationship between research, theory development and the way in which research and theory informs practice, including evaluation of its effectiveness.

(SWE Professional Standards 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5)

5.    Demonstrate a capacity for logical, systematic, critical and reflective reasoning and apply the theories and techniques of reflective practice when making professional judgements, seeking feedback from others – including from people with lived experience of social work – to improve practice.

(SWE Professional Standards 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 6, 7)

6.    Demonstrate and utilise a critical understanding of processes that facilitate and support people’s individuality, autonomy, dignity, privacy, choice, well-being and independence.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 2, 3, 4)

7.    Demonstrate an ability to identify and behave as a professional social worker, able to establish and maintain the trust and confidence of people whilst being committed to professional development and upholding the integrity of the profession.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 5, 6 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 9)

A6 Demonstrate their ability to critically utilise research evidence: the development of research mindedness 

1.    Demonstrate knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research methods and a critical understanding of epistemological issues and research design in relation to the subject under investigation.

(SWE Professional Standards 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5)

2.    Demonstrate in depth knowledge, critical understanding and conceptual integration of a topic related to social work policy and/or practice, including an understanding of methodological and epistemological issues that influence research design and the evaluation of data.

(SWE Professional Standards 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5)

3.    Demonstrate knowledge and critical appraisal of relevant social research and evaluation methodologies, and the evidence base for social work, recording how research and theory inform own practice.

(SWE Professional Standards 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5)


B. Intellectual Skills

On completion of the programme students will have achieved intellectual skills in the following areas (required by QAA subject benchmarks for social work and the Professional Capabilities Framework) at M level in the Higher Education Qualifications Framework, such that students will be able to:

B1 Analyse complex human situations by systematically identifying and evaluating relevant information, critically examining and weighing relevant evidence and identifying areas of uncertainty and unpredictability.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5, 6)

B2 Critically evaluate current developments in research, theory and knowledge that are relevant to social work theory and practice and think about and debate these developments at a high level of reasoning and argument.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5, 6)

B3 Think conceptually and analytically and make conceptual links across areas of knowledge and understanding (for example between law and regulation; between theories explaining human development and issues associated with social exclusion; between strengths-based approaches and well-being).

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5, 6)

B4 Critically evaluate research evidence with particular reference to methods, interpretation of data and epistemological debates that inform approaches to social investigation and apply this understanding to the student’s own research in the area of social policy/social work.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5, 6)

B5 Think originally and creatively in ways that extend knowledge and understanding and contribute to problem solving in a professional context.(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5, 6)
B6 Demonstrate a high level of critical reflection in all aspects of the social work process and their role within that i.e. become a reflective practitioner.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 5, 6)


C. Practical Skills

On completion of the programme students will have achieved practical skills in the following areas (required by Social Work England, QAA subject benchmarks for social work and the Professional Capabilities Framework) at level 7 in the Higher Education Qualifications Framework: These must be demonstrated at threshold levels of achievement. It should be noted that Social Work England and the PCF identify what social workers should be able to do in the workplace and this must necessarily involve the integration of knowledge, understanding, intellectual skills and their application to practice. Learning outcomes for practical skills are therefore identified in relation to their role in overall practice capability. Hence, students must be able to:

C1 Apply their practical skills to working with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities to assess their circumstances and needs by:

1.      Identifying, accessing, synthesising and evaluating complex information from a range of sources to inform initial and subsequent intervention accounting for new information as appropriate.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 5, 6)

2.    Communicating respectfully and effectively and collaborating with people with lived experience of social work and other professional practitioners to assess need and to plan, identify strengths, review and revise service provision and intervention as appropriate.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 5 subject benchmarks and PCF 2, 3, 4, 7, 8)

3.    Recognising differences across diverse communities and assessing the influence of cultural and social factors, loss, change and uncertainty in developing resilience and promoting well – being.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 5, 6 subject benchmarks and PCF 2, 3, 4, 7)

4.    Demonstrating effective, value-based communication skills which are relationship based and demonstrate empathy and professionalism.

(SWE Professional Standards 1-6 subject benchmarks and PCF 1-3, 7-9)

5.    Ensuring accessible and effective working relations, including assessment and service provision, in line with the Equality Act 2010 and Public Sector Service Duty 2011 especially in relation to those with specific access needs on grounds of language and/or disability.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 3, 5, 6 subject benchmarks and PCF 2-9)

C2 Apply their practical skills to developing working relationships with a range of people with lived experience of social work and other professional practitioners to plan and effect appropriate intervention by:

1.      Making decisions about the relative urgency of a referral, the level of danger involved and about appropriate action in the light of legal and procedural requirements, necessary protective action, information from supervision and professional ethical principles.

(SWE Professional Standards 2, 3, subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 2, 4-7)

2.      Communicating and interacting with a range of people with lived experience of social work to develop and maintain effective working partnerships within the context of appropriate personal and professional boundaries as the basis for planning, delivering and reviewing social work services and intervention based on evidence informed judgements.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 5 subject benchmarks and PCF 2-7)

3.      Working in partnership with people with lived experience of social work, recognising their right to be treated with respect and dignity, promoting autonomy and self-determination and enabling people to participate fully in discussions and decision making wherever possible.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 4, 6 subject benchmarks and PCF 2, 3, 7)

4.      Ensuring the cultural, linguistic and access needs, requirements and preferences of service users and carers are respected, prioritised and maintained at all times.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 2, 3)

5.      With supervision and support making justifiable decisions which account for the need to balance the rights of individual service users to choice and privacy and their strengths with evidential risks to self and/or others and the need to share information in order to safeguard vulnerable people and promote their well-being.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 3, subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 2, 4-7, 9)

C3 Apply organisational, presentational and written and verbal communication skills by:

1.    Advocating for people with lived experience of social work where appropriate and/or enabling access to advice, advocacy and support services.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, subject benchmarks and PCF 2, 4, 5, 7, 8)

2.    Assimilating complex information, formulating and testing hypothesis and disseminating the resultant evidence informed judgements in the form of verbal and/or written reports to formal professional forums and hearings.

(SWE Professional Standards 2, 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 6, 7, 8)

3.    Adjusting communication skills by register and encompassing media other than the written or verbal word to match requirements of information users and to promote inclusion e.g. children, those with limited capacity, issues of disability access (hearing/vision etc.).

(SWE Professional Standards 2, 3, subject benchmarks and PCF 3, 5, 7)

C4 Apply professional ethical considerations, communication, information gathering skills with people with lived experience of social work and other professional practitioners to identify, manage and modify factors that create and maintain risk to workers (including to self), people who use services and others and in so doing demonstrate effective use of supervision and critical reflection.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4, 6 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 2, 4-7)

C5 Apply written and verbal communication, workload management and relationship building skills in the workplace by:

1.     Prioritising and managing the workload, identifying accountability and responding to appropriate duties and taking responsibility for using supervision to inform practice and facilitate continuing professional development.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4, subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 7, 9)

2.  Maintaining accurate, complete, accessible and contemporaneous records that provide evidence for judgements and decisions and that can be shared with people with lived experience of social work and other professional practitioners in accessible formats and media.

(SWE Professional Standards 2, 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 2, 7)

C6 Apply research and information gathering skills, evaluation skills, personal presentational skills and communication/ relationship building skills by:

1.    Reviewing and identifying professional learning needs in the light of current research and developing knowledge and reflecting in supervision how current research and evidence informs practice, how practice is kept up to date and how to effectively meet the requirements of the professional regulator.

(SWE Professional Standards 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 5, 6, 9)

2.    Confidently and critically referring to research, theory and argument to support professional judgements and uphold social work values in working with people with lived experience of social work and other professional practitioners.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 5, 6, 9)

3.    Working collaboratively, accountably, imaginatively, creatively and with curiosity with both social workers and inter-disciplinary colleagues to share information, improve practice, professional decision making and service provision.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 6 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 5, 6, 8, 9)


D. Transferable Skills and Personal Qualities

On completion of the programme students will have achieved transferable skills and personal qualities in the following areas (required by Social Work England Professional Standards, QAA subject benchmarks for social work and the Professional Capabilities Framework) at level 7 in the Higher Education Qualifications Framework such that they are able to:

D1. Communicate verbally demonstrating a high level of clarity, coherence and effectiveness. In some settings, this will require active listening, using a range of appropriate communication methods, the demonstration of empathy, authority and professionalism. Knowledge and skills in how to use an interpreter where required is also encompassed.

(SWE Professional Standards 1, 2, 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 2, 3, 7)

D2 Communicate in writing demonstrating a high level of clarity and coherence, including evidencing an understanding about how to handle confidential and sensitive information in the presentation and analysis of evidential material. Written communication modified by register of language for specific audiences/readers is also required.

(SWE Professional Standards 2, 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 2, 3, 7)

D3 Verbally present evidence, analyse arguments and discuss alternative possibilities, either individually or as part of a group, across a range of audiences requiring modifications in vocabulary and register by audience/participators.

(SWE Professional Standards 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 2, 3, 6, 7)

D4 Manage and resolve complex problems, where knowledge (including others’ motives and actions) may be uncertain by thinking systematically and creatively, weighing and evaluating evidence, identifying alternative outcomes and planning and executing outcome strategies.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 5, 6, 7)

D5 Apply analysis, critical thinking and the ability to make conceptual links to problem solving, planning and action.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 6, 7)

D6 Work creatively and collaboratively with others and contribute to an open and creative learning culture through sharing good practice, seeking feedback, constructively challenging ideas and actions, debating and evaluating evidence and co-operatively planning and executing action.

(SWE Professional Standards 3, 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 2, 3, 7, 8)

D7 Engage in critical reflection to assess the impact of continuing professional development on the quality of practice as part of a lifelong learning strategy.

(SWE Professional Standards 4 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 6, 9)

D8 Organise and manage time and prioritise tasks by systematically thinking through and evaluating competing demands in the light of alternative outcomes.

(SWE Professional Standards 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 1, 6, 7)

D9 Use communication and IT skill effectively for a variety of purposes, including communication, research, and storing and retrieving information.

(SWE Professional Standards 3 subject benchmarks and PCF 7)


Teaching and Learning Processes

Teaching and learning methods

A range of teaching and learning methods, including on-line learning, are used to facilitate achievement of unit and programme learning outcomes.  Knowledge and understanding outcomes are facilitated through lectures and seminars (both online and face-to-face), small group tasks, individual student seminar presentations, self-assessment exercises and directed reading, including reading.

Intellectual skills are developed similarly through participation in a range of activities including directed and independent study associated with each unit. Individual and group exercises, student debates and formative presentations allow you to develop intellectual skills in a supportive environment. Preparation of assignments (formative and summative) including feedback and support from academic staff is also seen as an important component of facilitating the critical and analytic skills and abilities expected of postgraduate students.

Practical, experiential exercises are included in some units, both on-line and face-to-face. There is a key focus on enhancing communication skills in Assessed Readiness for Direct Practice Unit, which is delivered by people with lived experience, practitioners and academics. Students work with a range of scenarios and role plays, including interviewing in our simulation suites. Case studies, reflective exercises, group discussion and work in a mock court where students prepare and present evidence in front of a judge, are all additional ways you are provided with opportunities to develop critical reflection, problem solving and decision making skills, which can be put to practical use in your own areas of practice.

The programme is underpinned by a set of key transferable skills, which are developed through a broad range of teaching approaches.  For example formative and summative presentations, including written work and in some units seminars, encourage you to enhance your communication and presentation skills. Whilst it is acknowledged that postgraduate students who will have undertaken a first degree or equivalent, will probably have developed many of these skills already, within the context of this programme the aim is to enhance and develop these to a higher level and in the specific context of Social Work practice. There is a major focus on enhancing critical reflection and the ability to critically analyse and problem solve complex and unpredictable Social Work issues and situations where knowledge is imperfect or uncertain.

On-line learning

The University and Division have extensive experience and good practice in on-line learning with dedicated e-learning technologists and learning materials that include rich on-line audio/video/desk-top teleconference technologies; on-line problem/enquiry-based learning; interactive materials, exercises and self-assessment tools.  On-line units of learning employ a range of technologies and materials that allow the expertise of academic staff and your thoughts and experiences to combine and shape the learning process. This is achieved through the use of: short on-line lectures; video interviews and video clips; audio streams and podcasts; rich media presentations; collaborative text based environments e.g. discussion groups (facilitated and moderated by staff), wiki’s, and blogs; reflective tools e.g. learning journals; formative assessments and feedback e.g. on-line seminars, formative tests and MCQs.

Knowledge and understanding outcomes are facilitated through the use of a wide range of on-line materials; directed reading; participation in interactive on-line exercises and discussion board postings and responses (facilitated and moderated by staff).  Exercises for you to undertake, reflect on, document and then submit on-line postings and receive feedback are a key learning strategy used to develop practical skills relevant to the aims and outcomes of the course units and programmes.

Curriculum Content

The following table summarises the curriculum content of the programme:

Course unit Assessment type, length, weighting within course unit Credits
YEAR 1 – all course units are compulsory                                                                                       SEMESTER 1
Introduction to social work Case study/reflective analysis, 3,000 words. This will be linked to the first practice placement
NB there is a 1,000 word compulsory formative assessment
15 credits
Social Political and Organisational context for social work practice 3,500 word essay 15 credits
Law for social work practice 15 MCQs and two 1,500 word case studies 15 credits
Life-course and Social Relationships 3,000 – 3,500 word essay 15 credits
Practice learning and professional development:

  • 20 days professional skills development.
Students must pass an Assessed readiness for Direct Practice, conducted via an Observed Simulated


This is not credit rated but are requirements of Social Work England and must be passed.
YEAR 1- all course units are compulsory – SEMESTER 2
Practice learning and professional development:

  • 70 days practice placement
Practice Portfolio This is not credit rated but are requirements of Social Work England and must be passed.
Foundations of Research 3,500 word essay 15 credits
Safeguarding Children, Adults and their Families 15 MCQs and 2,500 word essay 15 credits
Contemporary Social Work Interventions in Practice
  • Student presentation
  • 800 word reflective account
  • 4000 word critical application of theory to practice
30 credits


Practice learning and professional development.

  • 10 days advanced skills training.


Practice portfolio This is not credit rated but is a requirement of Social Work England and must be passed.
Practice learning and professional development.

  • 90 days practice placement
Practice portfolio This is not credit rated but is a requirement of Social Work England and must be passed.
Dissertation 10,000 – 15,000 word dissertation 60 Credits


Course Unit Outlines can be found via your My Manchester Student Portal as part of the Course Unit Publishing (CUIP) project.


Welcome Week/Induction/Registration

During the first week of the programme the students are invited to take part in an induction or Welcome week programme whereby they are orientated to the university, Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, the programme, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health and the academic and administrative staff via a series of activities workshops and social events.

Semester Dates Click Here

Please note that the above dates are General University dates, the Social Work Programme runs on a bespoke timetable hence there may be variances on attendance and vacation periods. For the programme timetables, please see your Personalised Timetable on your My Manchester portal

Student’s responsibilities

Annual registration process

Student registration is valid for a year from the point of registration, e.g. if you register in September 2020, your registration will expire in August 2021. It is a requirement of the University of Manchester and your responsibility as a student of the university to complete the on-line registration each year via the Student Portal. You will be sent guidance notes prior to each registration period and you must register within four weeks of receiving the notification.

Changes in personal and/or contact details

During the on-line registration process you need to confirm/update your personal and/or contact details. If these details change at any time following registration, it is your responsibility to update your details via the Student Portal. Please note that the Division will only use the information on the Student Portal, no other source so that if your details are not changed important communication documents could be sent to the wrong address if this is the case the fact that information was sent to the incorrect address cannot be used as mitigation.

Checking Student e-mails

When you complete your IT registration you will receive a student e-mail account, from the point of registration onwards, all departments within the Division will use the student e-mail address exclusively, not personal or work e-mail addresses.

As a student you are required to check your student e-mails regularly  whilst you are active on the programme, as this is where the Division would contact you.

Checking Blackboard

The Division uses Blackboard as the central location for information about all student resources. You will be given training on how to access Blackboard in your induction.

As a student, you are required to check Blackboard at least weekly, as this is where the Division would post both generic and specific information relating to course units and programmes, e.g. Room changes or Assessment results.

Blackboard Student Community Area

The Blackboard student gateway has been devised to provide information that is generic to all course units within the programme. Each section has been structured to reflect your journey through the unit/programme;

Getting Started – includes the guide to using Blackboard, the programme handbook and course unit leaflets.

On Your Course – includes Study Skills information, Authorised Absence form, Missed Session form, Health & Safety information, etc.

Assessments & Examinations – includes Extension form, Mitigating Circumstances form, Academic Appeals form and information about Plagiarism and Academic Malpractice.

The On-line End of Programme Evaluation – is where you give your feedback at the end of the course unit.


Social Work England Guidance on Conduct and Ethics

All students should conduct themselves in accordance with this guidance throughout the master’s programme. This is as relevant within the university setting as it in during the practice placement. An electronic copy of the guidance will be available on Blackboard for reference. The guidance will be fully discussed using structured exercises in the preparatory practice learning sessions which take place in semester 1. Students will have the opportunity to revisit the guidance during recall days to promote, monitor and provide space to reflect upon professional development.

Introductory Courses

All students are automatically enrolled onto an introductory unit that provides information on health and safety, academic malpractice and academic literacy. Completion instructions for each of these sections are clearly defined within the course. Completion of the academic malpractice and health and safety sections is mandatory for all students. All assessments must be completed as soon as possible after the programme begins, with the academic malpractice assessment completed before the first piece of coursework is submitted. Completion of these assessments is monitored by the School. All students are also strongly advised to complete the academic literacy section.


Programme Director Role and Support

The role of the Programme Director is to ensure the smooth running of the programme. This includes chairing the Programme Committee, overseeing the student evaluation process, considering changes to the programme and ensuring adherence to the university’s guidelines for academic practice.

The Programme Director is Dr Pat Cartney, Room 4.324b, Jean McFarlane Building, 0161 306 7756

Unit Leader Role and Support

Each unit has a designated leader who is responsible for managing the teaching and assessment process for a specific unit.  This individual is also there to guide you regarding all issues relating to the specific unit.

Academic Advisors

Students have access to an academic advisor who is available for general guidance, non-academic problems or issues, practice placement support and who can refer you to other sources of assistance or support.

At the beginning of the course students are allocated an Academic Advisor who will normally be responsible for pastoral guidance during the course.  You can also seek advice from other quarters, for example, the Student Union Welfare Section, or the Student Health Care and Counselling Service.

Induction Programme

During the first week of the programme you are invited to take part in an induction or Welcome week programme whereby you are orientated to the University, Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, the programme, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health and the academic and administrative staff via a series of activities workshops and social events.

Mechanisms for Collecting and Reporting Back on Feedback to Students

Every course unit is evaluated via a questionnaire and the gathering of qualitative comments. We seek ongoing student feedback during teaching of the unit and see feedback as an ongoing dialogue with our students. At the end of each unit, post-course evaluations are undertaken via questionnaires and often supplemented with group discussions.  Overall comments and themes are fed back to the student group, once the evaluation comments have been collated and any necessary actions taken.  This latter process will normally occur in the semester following the evaluation process.


Student Representation on Committees

Role of a Student Representative

Student representation and feedback is vital to the continued development of the Division.  For this reason, you are invited to submit in writing or by email to the Programme Director at any time, your views or opinions on any aspect of the programme, and this will be presented at the appropriate committee.

Essentially, the role of a student representative is to represent the views of students on a particular course to the academic staff at various meetings of the Division. This ensures that students can exert a measure of control over their own learning experience.

Responsibilities include:

  • Identifying student issues and needs. When necessary referring them on to the relevant people who can assist them.
  • Providing another layer of support for new and existing students.
  • Attending and participating in various meetings held at the University.
  • Consulting, involving and reporting to students.
  • When arranged, attending Student Representative training sessions.
  • Providing a link between the staff and students at the Division.
  • Keeping yourself informed of developments within your programme of study.
  • Promoting equal opportunities.
  • Contributing to the growth and development of the Student Council by providing ideas and suggestions.
  • Helping to organise and run the ‘Freshers’ Fair’ for new students at the main May and September intakes.
  • Helping to organise, run and promote social events such as ‘Freshers Welcome’ parties and ‘End of Unit’ parties.

Benefits of Being a Student Representative:

For your commitment, time and effort you will reap many benefits and develop transferable skills. These include:

  • Increased involvement in your educational experience at the Division. It gives other students a feeling of ownership over their education and the reassurance that their views and concerns are being heard within the Division.
  • Knowing that you are making a positive impact on the lives of present and future students.
  • Extra-curricular activity.
  • The opportunity to meet other students across the Division.
  • Representation and advocacy skills.
  • Listening and communication skills.
  • Meeting skills.
  • Organisation and time management skills.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • A certificate and letter of commendation that can go into your Portfolio, from the Division. This would recognise your commitment to the Council after six months of being a student representative, attending no less than three combined ‘Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, Student/Staff Liaison and Student Council Meetings’.
  • Active involvement in the council’s various activities.

The Division also benefits, as it is seen to:

  • Consult with students.
  • Have the opportunity to improve the quality of its courses and student satisfaction.
  • Enable students to understand the system and educate others.
  • Promote an increased sense of belonging to the Division amongst students.
  • Have an active staff-student dialogue outside of the realms of teaching.


Meetings to Attend

All representatives will be required to regularly attend the previously mentioned Staff Student Liaison Committee which discusses cross-programme issues and is held five times per academic year.

Provision has also been made for students to be represented at Programme Committee, a forum to meet with University staff and Programme Directors and other key stakeholders, to discuss programme specific academic issues.

Although you will receive an authorised letter of exemption (from lectures and placement areas) to attend them, it is understood that as students you cannot attend all meetings. Therefore, your apologies can be emailed a week in advance of the meeting, including any issues, ideas/suggestions that can be read to the meeting on your behalf.


You may have already gathered that due to our varying locations, timetables and sessions spent at the University, email is the main mode of communication between students and University staff. As a student representative it is important that you check your University email account regularly in order to be kept in the loop and keep the Chair informed of any contact detail changes.

Committee Involvement / Commitment

Student representation and feedback is vital to the continued development of the Division.

It can be difficult for students to find the time to contribute to all of the committees and working parties. For this reason, the Head of the Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work is willing to write letters of support for students to facilitate attendance.

How to become a Student Representative

Student representatives are elected at the beginning of the academic year for each programme and each year, and where possible, Field, within a programme. Their role is to represent the views of students on a particular course to the academic staff at various meetings of the Division. This ensures that students have a voice and are participating in developing learning and teaching within the Division.

In addition representatives attend their own Programme Committee. Programme Committees are responsible for the review procedures of their respective programmes. The Programme Committee manages programme development, assessment of individual units, student related matters and any other matter relating to the Programme. Each Programme Committee has student representatives from each year group.

Representatives may also be invited to participate in other committees, working groups, workshops and reviews related to academic programmes.

Although you will receive an authorised letter of exemption (from lectures and clinical areas) to attend meetings, it is understood that as students you cannot attend them all. Therefore, your apologies can be emailed a week in advance of the meeting, including any issues, ideas/suggestions that can be read to the meeting on your behalf.

More information can be found on student representation in the student support pages on Blackboard or by contacting


Equal Opportunities

The A-Z of Services provides information and advice on a range of topics including finance, examinations, accommodation and health; it also contains details about the University’s policy for students with additional support needs and its equal opportunity and race equality policy see the university student handbook for further details.  Copies of the Crucial Postgraduate Handbook are available from the Student Services Centre.

Health & Safety

As students you must each familiarise yourselves with the procedures for dealing with an emergency, including discovery of a fire and all fire exit points.  In the case of a fire or security alert you need to telephone the Emergency Services or Security.  In case of an emergency due to fire dial 999 from the nearest phone or break the nearest fire alarm glass.  In the event of an accident then dial 999 for either an ambulance or police related incident.  For all other emergencies, call security on 69966.  Similarly, you are each required to familiarize yourselves with what to do in an emergency of any type.  You are also required to familiarise yourself with the Health and Safety at Work regulations/requirements as instigated and or amended by the University of Manchester at all times.

The University of Manchester and all sites used by University of Manchester have NO SMOKING policies, which you must strictly adhere to.

For a full copy of the University of Manchester Health and Safety Policy, please see:

Looking after yourself and others during Ramadan

The Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health has produced guidance for healthcare students on fasting and caring: Fasting and Caring – Looking after yourself and your patients during Ramadan: guidance for health care students.


If you have needs relating to a disability, specific learning difficulty or long-term health condition, you could discuss these needs with the following:

Your Academic Advisor –

School Student Support Officer             Tel: 0161 – 306 7717

Disability Advisory and Support Service                   Tel: 0161 – 275 7512

A copy of the University’s Disability Statement, which sets out the policy and provision for students with a disability, is available on request or available from


The University seeks to create a study environment which is free of harassment and which protects the dignity of all students irrespective of sexual orientation, racial or ethnic background, religion or disabled status. It regards sexual, racial or personal harassment as most serious and requires all students to observe its policy in this area.  Personal harassment takes many forms. It is uninvited and unwanted actions, which cause offence and/or embarrassment, fear, stress or tension. It can be an isolated act such as a comment or wilful gesture, or it can take the form of repeated behaviour against a person.

In cases where a complaint of harassment is substantiated, the individual responsible may be subject to disciplinary action under General Regulation XVII (Conduct & Discipline of Students), in APPENDIX 1.

The University Policy Statement on Dignity and Work and Study for Students is available in the A-Z of Services.  This document contains details of the University Resources, policies and procedures and will be given to all students at registration.  If you prefer to access the full university policy on-line it is located at the following web address:


Tel: 0161 306 5806 | Monday – Friday between 9am – 1pm & 2pm – 5pm.

On-going support to all students is provided by the Occupational Health Department. The aim of this Service is to promote the health and well-being of all students and the prevention of illness and injuries at work.  This is achieved by ensuring all immunisations are kept up to date; managing mild illnesses at work; giving advice and assistance on all health matters arising from work and providing crisis Counselling where required.

In making decisions concerning medical fitness for the programme, the Occupational Health Department ensure that they comply with relevant legislation, e.g. The Disability Discrimination Act 1998.  The Occupational Health Physician and Occupational Health Nurses are all bound by the Code of Professional Conduct as set out by the BMA and NMC and complete confidentiality is maintained at all times.

Further information on the services provided by the Occupational Health Service can be found at their website:


5th Floor Crawford House, Precinct Centre, Booth Street East – Tel 275 2864

The Counselling Service offers confidential help with any personal issues affecting work, self-esteem, relationships, mental health or general well-being available to all University of Manchester students. The team have qualifications in counselling and psychotherapy and provide a range of therapeutic responses to all kinds of personal problems.

Further information on the services provided by the Counselling Service can be found at their website:


In addition to the support services provided through the Division, the University offers a wide range of services to Students. Most of these are based on the main campus on Oxford Road.  For full details of the following services, please refer to A-Z of Student Services

  • Student Guidance Service
  • University Counselling Service
  • Student Health Service
  • Nightline
  • Manchester Student Homes
  • Overseas Students
  • English Language Teaching Unit
  • Careers Service
  • Security
  • The Postgraduate and Mature Students Society
  • Disability Support Office
  • Computer Facilities Available in the University and the Guide to IT Services is located at:


The Student Support Office has a full time Student Support Officer, Sam Green.

Support is offered for academic or personal issues; preparation for Health and Conduct Committees, disciplinary hearings and appeals; and information on and referrals to specialised support within the Division, the University or outside agencies.

  • The Student Support Office also facilitates student representation and the peer mentor schemes. If you are interested in getting involved email for further information.

To arrange a meeting please contact

Telephone:  0161 306 7717

Room 3.335b,  Jean McFarlane Building



Student representatives are required to regularly attend the Staff Student Liaison Committee, held five times per academic year. The Staff Student Liaison Committee addresses issues of common concern across programmes.

To become involved in the Staff Student Liaison committee please contact



The Programme Committee is responsible for the review procedures of their respective programmes. Reports are reviewed by the PGT Consortium Board and include programme development, variety of programme options, assessment of individual units and any other matter relating to the Programme. Each programme committee invites student representatives from each year group. Student participation is very much welcomed.

The Postgraduate Social Work Programme Committee will be responsible for operational management and development issues in relation to the programme and its component course units. It will oversee admissions, teaching and learning (academic and practice), academic adviser arrangements, assessment and examining arrangements, student issues and curriculum development. The committee will review the programme annually in accordance with the Divisions Quality Policy, and make recommendations for curriculum development and any appropriate changes in response to student feedback/evaluation and external examiners’ comments. The committee will meet 3 times per semester.

Membership of the Programme Committee will comprise of all academic staff teaching on the programme, including the Programme Director, admissions manager, assessment and examination manager, year tutors and lecturers responsible for practice learning. In addition, the committee will have student and employer representatives, alongside people with lived experience of social work.

The Division Director of Post Graduate Education will be invited to attend where appropriate.

The Graduate Society

We’re a new society which formed in October of last year. Broadly, our “mission” is to act as a resource for postgraduates within the Faculty by organising opportunities for personal and professional development. We aim to do this by working towards three overarching goals:

  1. To organise high-quality academic-orientated events (such as our Lightning Lecture series, an MHS-wide conference we’re organising with the Graduate Division, and much more to come).
  2. To organise social events which facilitate interactions across Divisions and Institutes, increasing breadth of knowledge as it relates to medical and human sciences (such as our MHS Pub Quiz, and Spring Break BBQ).
  3. To organise opportunities for postgraduates within the Faculty to engage the public about science (such as the “Elevator Pitch” event we’re doing with the Graduate Division to travel to nearby Divisions and discuss postgraduates’ science).

Graduate Society Contacts:

Clifford Workman (

Natalie Cureton (



The University of Manchester Library provides you with the resources and support you need throughout your Social Work programme. The Main Library houses all of the essential text books whilst the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons provides a 24/7 learning environment in addition to study skills workshops. The Library also has an extensive collection of eBooks, databases and journals available online.

The My Library tab in My Manchester has quick links to all of the Library’s resources and services available to students.

Getting Started

You will need your student card to access all library sites around campus. Many of our services and resources also require you to confirm that you are a registered student. This authentication can be your student card, the ID number on the card, your Library PIN, the central username and password you use to log on, or a combination of these.

There is a library guide for Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work students giving all of the latest information on resources and learning and research services available. This is a good starting point if you are looking for any library resources or information related to your course.

Each course module in Blackboard includes an online reading list, so you can quickly check availability and directly access e-books, digitised chapters and e-journals or articles.

The Main Library

The Main Library holds the principal collection of Social Work books and journals. Social Work textbooks are located on Floor 2 of the Blue Area, together with books in other related subjects. Social Work journals held in print are on Floor 1 of the Green Area in the Clinical Sciences sequence; further relevant periodicals are shelved in other areas of the Main Library.  The library search facility will let you know what items are available and where to find them, including eBooks and online journals.

The Main Library offers group study rooms, individual study space options and computer clusters. Wi-Fi is available throughout the building and a cafe lounge can be found on the ground floor. The Library has long opening hours and extends these during exam periods. Please check Locations and Opening Hours for full details on opening hours and facilities.

The Leaning Commons

The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons

The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons is a state-of-the-art learning environment with 24/7 opening hours throughout term-time. The Learning Commons has flexible open learning spaces with multimedia facilities, computer clusters and 30 bookable group study rooms with whiteboards and media screens.

There is a series of training workshops covering a variety of academic and transferable skills hosted in the training room at the Learning Commons.  These workshops include training on revision/study skills, note-taking and other topics and have been developed by the Learning Commons staff in partnership with other teams across the University.  Full details of training sessions are available in the My Learning Essentials Calendar.



The University has one of the largest academic computing facilities in Europe, with a wide range of IT Services for students.

Hence, as students of the university you have access to a wealth of resources including research support services, PC clusters, email and Internet access, wireless access, Microsoft applications, printing facilities, network document storage, a student portal, an eLearning environment and extensive electronic resources managed by the University of Manchester Library.

As a new student, you will be introduced to the University’s IT facilities at your induction. In addition to your Faculty and Division IT provision, you will find IT facilities in areas of high student use, such as University Place (George Kenyon cluster), University of Manchester Library and the Joule Library. The latter two libraries also house the IT Service Desks where you can get help and information.

You will find the most up-to-date information about these services on the IT Services website: .

Packed full of information, the website provides details of the services available to users including useful information about day-to-day help and support and information about protection from the latest viruses etc. We recommend you visit the ‘Getting Started’ section of the site first.

Further support can be accessed via here


The University’s Public PC Clusters are available for any staff or student member to use. Operated on behalf of the University by the IT Services division, they are present at various locations on campus and in some Halls of Residence. Opening times for each cluster will vary but at least one cluster operates 24/7 and two clusters operate 23/5 and extended opening times at weekends.

Some clusters will be booked for teaching and learning purposes at various times, therefore you are advised to visit the website: or the Central IT Service Desk for the latest opening times and PC Cluster information.


Open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm | Tel: 0161 306 5544 | E-Mail:


Each of you will start the programme with a mix of different skills.  We have identified a number of Study Skills that are vital for you to master early in your study, in order to achieve your full potential on the programme.  These include academic writing, Harvard Referencing, Using IT software, Numeric and Literature skills.

The Study Skills Unit is available in your programme Gateway on Blackboard – select ‘On Your Programme’ section and the link to ‘Study Skills Support’  In addition you can visit the Palgrave publishers website as this also contains information regarding study skills and is freely available to all students. There is a specific section on plagiarism referencing and critical thinking skills, which can be accessed as an audio presentation by clicking onto the MP3’s icon button.

Each programme of study provides an introduction to relevant study skills during enrolment.  If you feel that you may have a learning disability further assistance may be available, please see your Academic Advisor or the Disability Support Officer at the Jean McFarlane Building.

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Online Skills Training Resource

The Faculty has developed a skills training resource to support you through your postgraduate taught programme. This online material should supplement the assessed learning material and activities undertaken in your taught programme.

Accessing the online skills resource

You can access Blackboard through the My Manchester portal ( The skills training resource is available in an academic community space available to all registered PGT students in the Faculty through Blackboard. If you cannot see these units in your Blackboard please contact Programme Support.


Full details of all these resources can be found in the introduction to each unit. These resources have been designed to give you formative feedback on your progress through them. If you experience any problems and would like to talk to someone please contact your Programme Director. If you have questions about referencing and how it applies to your own work, please contact your Programme Director or dissertation supervisor/module lead.


Academic Writing This is an excellent resource that supports you to write your assignments and dissertation. It is split into units that focus on key areas that previous students have found difficult and aims to enhance your academic writing style.
Research Methods* This course is spilt into 2 units that cover introductions to study design and dissertation skills. It has a number of online quizzes where you can test your knowledge.
Statistics* The course provides a valuable foundation for understanding and interpreting biostatistics. It aims to provide you with the fundamentals of quantitative analysis.
Presentation Skills This short interactive unit is designed to help you to enhance your presentation skills. Regardless of whether you are presenting in public, preparing for conferences, an oral examination or more informal settings this unit will give you the tops tips to improve your delivery.
Qualitative Research Methods* This unit has been designed to give you an introduction to Qualitative Research.
SPSS* This is an introduction to statistics, using SPSS, a popular and comprehensive data analysis software package containing a multitude of features designed to facilitate the execution of a wide range of statistical analyses.

* NOTE: the material in this online resource is for reference and formative learning purposes only. In some of your taught programme you may be required to undertake assessed course units for Research Methods, Qualitative Research or Statistics. If your programme involves taught units then you should refer to the Blackboard material relating to that course unit. Please contact Programme Support if you are unsure which material relates to your assessed work. You will still be able to refer to the online skills resource in later years.


The University of Manchester Regulations for Taught Masters Programme

The full University of Manchester Policy regarding the Regulations for Taught Masters Programme is located in the Student Community area of Blackboard and the University of Manchester intranet

Admissions and Registration Requirements

Admission to the University and registration on a programme takes place at the start of each academic year of a programme of study.  Admission and registration to the programme is subject to your agreement to comply with the University Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations and the payment of any required fees.

The University has a facility to allow you to carry out your academic and financial registration, including the payment of your tuition fees, via the web before you leave home.  This simple, straightforward process will only take a few minutes.  You will have to complete I.T. registration and academic registration before you will be allowed to proceed to financial registration.  Ideally, you should complete all parts of the registration process before you arrive at the University.  There may, however, be reasons why you are unable to complete financial registration online or you may prefer to use an alternative method for the payment of your tuition fees, e.g. via the University’s telephone hotline (+44 (0)161 272 2350) or in person when you arrive.  In either case, you are strongly advised to complete your academic registration before you leave home if possible.

At the end of the registration process, you will receive a University membership card (also known as a library card or swipe card) which lasts for the duration of the programme of study, subject to annual validation and payment of tuition fees.

Central registration is an essential process since it confirms your status as a student of the University of Manchester and ensures that personal and programme details are correctly recorded for University purposes and for statutory returns to the Higher Education Funding Council and other bodies. Central registration takes place on campus, at the start of the first semester of the academic year (September) and in the Student Services Centre on Burlington Street at other times of the year. Central registration is also available in some Halls of Residence around the campus.


Lateness Policy

It is our expectation that students will be punctual and prepared to start working promptly at the start of the session to maximise learning time and opportunities.

Understanding that sometimes delays do occur for unavoidable reasons students are able to enter the teaching session up to 15 mins after the session has started.

It is expected that if students arrive late they find a seat at the back of the room and enter quietly, causing as least disruption to the group as possible.

If students are registered as attending a session they are expected to remain for the full session. Attendance may be checked at the end as well as the start of a session to ensure that this is taking place.

Attendance guidelines

We are very aware of and experienced in delivering a professional programme of education to adult students who are also engaged in professional practice. Course units are therefore arranged to take this into consideration, so far as is possible. Course units are not usually delivered over the main holiday periods at Christmas, Easter and the main summer holiday period, and many course units will make an effort to accommodate Division half terms (this is slightly more problematic as different Local Education Authorities have different half term dates). Monitoring student engagement is part of the University’s commitment to providing a supported learning environment in which students are encouraged to develop knowledge, understanding and the range of skills and attributes expected of a Manchester Graduate. It encourages active participation in all learning activities through regular engagement. It is expected that all students will attend all taught sessions; however, you are required to attend at least 80% of taught sessions for each programme unit.

Procedure for reporting sickness and absence

Regulation XX – Monitoring Attendance and Wellbeing of Students Definitions of Sickness, Absence and Unauthorised Absence Sickness: Absence from the programme due to personal ill-health or whilst attending for healthcare treatment. Even if you are sick for only one day, a self-certification form needs to be returned to the Division within seven days. Authorised Absence – It is your responsibility to discuss these requirements and seek authorisation from your Academic Advisor. Authorised absence will be documented and includes Compassionate Leave, Carer’s Leave or leave for personal reasons – to be determined by your Academic Advisor. Authorised absence forms should be returned within seven days of the absence. Unauthorised Absence – Absence from the clinical placement area or University without permission or explanation. Holidays in term-time will be recorded as unauthorised absence. Failure to adhere to the attendance regulations stipulated above:

Monitoring Engagement

  • Warning point 1 – Once a trigger point has been reached the student must be sent correspondence (normally via email)  inviting them to attend a meeting with their Programme Director (and/or nominee). At the meeting, the Student is invited to explain the reason for poor engagement. It is also outlined what the student must do to retrieve their engagement record.

Where the student fails to attend or respond to the Review Meeting letter:

  • Warning point 2 – A formal written warning letter will be sent from the Programme Director/nominee. If the student does not respond to the formal written warning letter after a further 10-working days, a Withdrawal letter  should be sent.

Where the student attends the meeting but fails to provide a satisfactory explanation for not complying with the engagement requirements:

  • Warning point 2 – A formal written warning should be issued. The formal warning must explain the steps required to affect necessary improvement in attendance and the consequences of further poor engagement.
  • Warning point 3 – Failure to comply with steps taken to improve engagement will result in the Examination Board being notified and the student may be refused permission to continue with their programme of study. A further formal letter should be sent, outlining the final Exam Board decision.


Attendance and Engagement

Each programme of study has specific compulsory requirements for the work and attendance of students.  The work and attendance of students is monitored throughout the academic year, and if it is found that you are not meeting the relevant requirements, you will be given an opportunity for improvement.  If there is then no improvement, you may not be permitted to take the examinations relating to your selected academic programme.  For a copy of the full policy:

If you have been refused permission to take examinations for reasons of unsatisfactory work or attendance, or excluded from the University for failure to meet the academic or professional requirements of the programme, you may appeal against such decisions.

It is expected that you will attend all taught sessions; however, you are required to attend at least 80% of taught sessions for each course unit. If at any time your work or attendance is unsatisfactory, you will be sent notice in writing that, unless there is an improvement, you will not be permitted to take the examination or present coursework for the programme unit(s) concerned.  In addition you will be sent warning letters should your attendance fall short of that expected as part of your programme of study.

Should concerns be raised regarding a students attendance and/or engagement with the programme, this matter may be referred for consideration via the Fitness to Practise Procedure.

A student who has been refused permission to take an examination or other form of assessment on the grounds of unsatisfactory work and attendance may submit an appeal against that decision within ten working days of the notification of the decision in accordance with the provisions of Regulation XIX [Academic Appeals].

In order to allow sufficient time for completion of the procedure described in paragraph 11 above, the latest date upon which notification of a refusal may be issued is the last teaching day of the second semester prior to the Easter vacation.

Attendance System 

Your programme will use a new online student attendance system, ‘My Attendance’.

From 20th September 2021 you will have to ‘check in’ at the start of each timetabled activity to confirm your attendance – you can do this via My Manchester on a mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop. There is also a simple dashboard showing your attendance record, so you can see how you’re doing.

This short video shows how to check in and view your attendance record. It is your responsibility to ensure you confirm your attendance, so you may want to write yourself a note or set reminders until you get used to checking in. Check-in will close after each activity has ended, so don’t forget! If you have a planned absence, or there is an error in your attendance record, you should contact Programme Support.

This new system does not change attendance requirements for your programme or course units as detailed above.

My Attendance is much more effective than older systems like paper registers. Recording attendance consistently will help us see when you might need support, and save resource to better support you elsewhere.

You can find out more about My Attendance here. If you have any questions at all about the system then please contact the Programme Support.

Academic Appeals (Regulation XIX)

The purpose of the Appeals Procedure is to safeguard the interests of all students. It may be used only when there are adequate grounds for doing so and may not be used simply because you may be dissatisfied with the outcome of your assessment or other decision concerning your academic position or progress.

The appeals process may be used by students who wish to appeal against a decision of a board of examiners, or a progress committee, or a graduate committee or equivalent body which affects a students’ academic status or progress in the University.

The full procedures can be found at:

Academic Appeals (Regulation XIX)

Basic Guide to Academic Appeals

The Faculty contact for Academic Appeals and Student Complaints is

Room 3.21, Simon Building, University of Manchester, M13 9PL (e-mail:


You should always consult your GP (or for emergencies the Accident and Emergency Department of a hospital) if your illness is severe, if it persists or if you are in any doubt about your health. You should also consult your GP if illness keeps you absent from the University for more than 7 days including weekends.

If you do consult a GP and they consider that you are not fit for attendance at the University, then you should obtain a note from the doctor to that effect or ask them to complete Part III of the University form ‘Certification of Student Ill Health’ copies of which are available at local GP surgeries.

You should hand this certificate to your programme secretary at the earliest opportunity but within seven days of your return to work/university.

If your condition is not sufficiently serious to cause you to seek medical help, then the University will not require you to supply a doctor’s medical certificate unless you are absent from the University due to illness for more than 7 days (in which case see above). You must however contact the department as soon as possible and self-certify your illness (that is complete and sign the “Certification of Student Ill Health” form to state that you have been ill) as soon as you are able to attend the department. You should do this if your illness means you are absent from the University for any period up to 7 days (see i below) or if you are able to attend the University but your illness is affecting your studies (see ii and iii below).

The following sub-paragraphs explain what you should do if your illness affects your attendance at compulsory classes or if you consider that your performance in your studies/examinations has been impaired.

i) If you are unwell and feel unable to attend the University to take a compulsory class, assessment or examination then you must seek advice by contacting your department immediately, in person, through a friend or family member, by telephone or by email. This is to ensure that you understand the implications of being absent and the consequences for your academic progress, which might be quite serious. You must do this as soon as possible so that all options can be considered and certainly no later than the day of your compulsory class, assessment or examination. If you do not do this then you will normally be considered have been absent from the class without good reason, or not to have taken the assessment or examination in which case you will be given a mark of zero. You must also complete and hand in a “Certification of Student Ill Health” form on your return.

ii) You may be unwell but are able to proceed with an assessment or examination and yet you feel that your performance will have been impaired. If you wish this to be taken into account as an extenuating circumstance, you must inform your department about this on the day of the assessment or examination and hand in to your department a completed “Certification of Student Ill Health” form. If you leave this until later, it will not normally be possible to consider your illness when assessing your performance.

iii)  If, as a consequence of your illness, you wish to seek an extension to a deadline for submitting assessed coursework, you must complete a “Certification of Student Ill Health” form and discuss it with the appropriate person in your department. The application for extension must be made BEFORE the deadline and not retrospectively.

iv) You may be under occasional and ongoing medical attention, which affects your studies. If so, you should obtain a letter from your physician, which should be given to your department before the end of the January, May/June or August/September examination period, as appropriate, if you wish your condition to be taken into account as an extenuating circumstance.


  1. Certification of Student Ill Health forms are available in all departments and halls of residence, and a copy of this form can be found in the Student Gateway area on Blackboard..
  2. Your department will give you guidance on the effect of any absence from your studies or if you consider your illness has affected your studies. If you have repeated episodes of ill health which is affecting your studies, your department may refer you to the Student Health Centre.

iii.         If you are found to have been deceitful or dishonest in completing the ‘Certification of Student Ill Health’ form you could be liable to disciplinary action under the University’s General Regulation XX: Conduct and Discipline of Students.

  1. The use of the ‘Certification of Student Ill Health’ forms by GPs as described above has been agreed by the Manchester Local Medical Committee. A GP may make a charge for completing the form.



Whilst on Practice Placement, students must attend 100% of their Placement working days Placement days and hours are agreed between the placement provider/ agency, Practice Educator, student and Academic Advisor at the start of each placement.

Students who are unable to attend the placement are governed by the same regulations as Programme attendance regulations for definition of sickness, absence, unauthorised absence and punctuality as outlined in the student Programme Handbook (regarding sickness, absence, unauthorised absence, un-scheduled breaks/leave). In addition students must follow the placement agency’s procedures for reporting as sick.

Students are required to complete 100% of  their days on placement and must keep a record of the days completed on placement. The proforma provided in this handbook should be used and included in the portfolio. Students are expected to make up missed time (for sickness and absence) in agreement with the placement provider.

If the student is required to attend the University for recall days, any other form of scheduled teaching or student conferences, these days are not included in the 70 or 100 placement days.

A prolonged absence from placement may result in the student having to interrupt the course.


FREQUENTLY asked Questions

What to do if you are sick for more than seven consecutive days?

University self-certification forms only cover up to seven days of continuous illness. If you are ill for longer, you should consult with your GP or other appropriate health professional. In any case, you should consult your GP if your illness is severe, if it persists or if you are in any doubt about your health.

Repeated bouts of self-certificated short-term illness

The Division and the University has the right to investigate repeated bouts of self-certificated short-term illness. The outcome of such an investigation might include, for example, referral to Occupational Health or to a Health and Conduct Committee.

What to do if you are absent through illness?

If you are ill/absent during theory (Division) weeks, on the first day of absence you should inform the programme secretary of the reason.  You can telephone or e-mail to report this illness or you can ask someone else to report it on your behalf.

If you are ill/absent during practice (placements), on the first day of absence you should inform the person-in-charge of the placement area (or a designated deputy) of your reason for being absent.  You should also inform your programme secretary of your absence and the reason why on the same day. You can telephone or e-mail to report this illness or you can ask someone else to report it on your behalf.

What to do if you are ill when an examination or assessment is due?

See the examination guidelines covered in this handbook

What to do after a period of absence through illness?

Within seven days following the end of a period of absence through illness, you must submit to your programme secretary a University self-certification form (Certification of Student Ill Health) explaining your absence through illness. Part 1 of this form needs to be completed and signed.

If returning from being absent for other reasons you must complete the absence form and hand this in to the programme secretary. This will ensure that you are recorded as having returned from sickness/absence.


For all forms and the flowchart relating to this policy, please see the Student Gateway area on Blackboard.

Principles for Granting Interruptions to an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Taught Programme of Study


It is the expectation of the University that as postgraduate taught students you will pursue your studies on a continuous basis for the stipulated duration of your programme. It is understood, however, that you may encounter personal difficulties or situations, which may seriously disrupt you studies.

If you encounter such difficulties, which may result in the prolonged interruption of normal activity and where it becomes clear that continuation of your studies is not possible, you may be granted a temporary interruption to you studies at the discretion of the Division.

The decision to approve, either in full or in part, or to reject an application for a leave of absence would normally be taken by people who are remote from the process of giving advice to you and counselling you on any alternatives.


All applications for interruptions should be made in writing on the Division or Faculty pro forma with attachments as relevant.  The outcome of the application will be relayed to you in writing.

Divisions will report quarterly to the Faculty the outcomes of all applications received.

Criteria to be applied

Any application to interrupt a programme must be made before the beginning of the proposed leave of absence with the support of your Programme Director. The Programme Director (or equivalent) will be responsible for discussing with you any circumstances that may result in you requesting an interruption to your studies. The application for interruption should be made on the relevant Division or Faculty pro forma with the Programme Director responsible for submitting the request to these designated by the Division for considering such requests.

The Division Administrator has overall responsibility for handling the administrative arrangements resulting from any interruption that is approved.

The administrator will notify any relevant parties of your interruption and update any systems as required, following the current procedures at that time.

Both you and your Programme Director should note that retrospective applications for a leave of absence will only be considered in the most exceptional circumstances.

Each request for a leave of absence will be considered on an individual, case-by-case basis and any decision made will be at the discretion of the University.

The duration of your period of absence may have to be determined by your status in the course. For example, if you interrupt during the taught element of the course, your return may be dictated by the availability of the course modules that you have missed. A period of interruption would not normally be for more than a complete year.

Where you are granted an interruption to your programme of study for medical reasons, the administrator will ensure, prior to your re-registration, that you provides the Division with a note from your healthcare professional, which states you are fit to resume your studies.

NB In the case of non-EU students in the UK on a student visa or residence permit, the University is legally required to report to the government (check embassy/sponsor) any interruption of studies. International students should be referred to the International Advice Team in the Student Services Centre to discuss the consequences of taking an interruption. International students in the UK on a student visa are not normally permitted to study part-time and it is essential that they seek impartial immigration advice from the International Advice Team in the Student Services Centre before considering this option.


Please note that students stepping off for maternity leave should not interrupt before they have submitted their MATB1 form. Students who are ill and need to step off before they can submit their MATB1 form should go off sick first and produce sick notes accordingly.

During the interruption

During the period of interruption, your registration status will be classified as ‘leave of absence’ (LOA) and no tuition fees are payable. Where tuition fees have already been paid, they will be refunded or held over by the University. However if you are refunded in one year and you return in another year, you will have to pay the higher rate of fee. If the University holds the money for you, you will not have to pay the higher fee.

Note: In Campus Solutions, an interruption is recorded as a ‘leave of absence’ (LOA). The program action reason for the LOA will be defined as ‘interruption’ or ‘maternity leave’ as appropriate. During the leave of absence period, you will not be entitled to supervision and will have limited access to University facilities: you will not be able to use swipe cards or the library but will have access to you student IT account, the student portal, email and Campus Solutions.

Return from interruption

Upon return from a period of interruption, you must inform your Programme Director (or equivalent) and the appropriate Programme Support / Division Administrator. You may be required to register on your return from a leave of absence; this is dependent on your registration cycle and the date of your return to studies. The Division administrator will notifying your funding organisation (if applicable, in cases of PGT students) once you have returned from interruption and re-registered for your programme of study.

Where the leave of absence was permitted for serious medical problems, you must provide a note from your healthcare professional that states you are fit to return to studies. You can be withdrawn from the programme if you do not return to your studies at the appointed time or if you do not notify the appropriate administrative contact on their return as specified in the interruption letter. Failure to return from a period of interruption if you fail to return and re-register after 30 days of your expected date of return following an interruption, and there has been no response to the Division’s efforts to contact you, then you can be deregistered from the student system.

The majority of students complete their studies within five years of initial registration in order to ensure currency of their knowledge. Where students have highly exceptional circumstances it may be possible to consider extending this completion period.

Students’ right to appeal

If the Division declines your application for interruption, you have the right to appeal against this decision. In this instance, you are advised to refer to the University’s Academic Appeals regulation (General Regulation XIX)

Maternity leave – you may interrupt your studies for the purpose of maternity leave at any time from 28 weeks of the pregnancy for a maximum period of 12 months during your degree. The period of leave must be taken in one consecutive block.[1]

Adoption leave – if you are adopting a child may interrupt you studies for a maximum 12 month period during your degree. The period of leave must be taken in one consecutive block.

Supporting documentation

Medical evidence – a doctor’s note or note from another medical professional should be submitted in support of an interruption based on a prolonged or acute medical condition

Other documentary evidence – appropriate third party independent supporting or collaborative documentation is required. Where there is considerable personal or family difficulties that have led you seek leave of absence, these circumstances should be fully explained. The Division will determine, on an individual case-by-case basis, if the documentary evidence supplied is satisfactory.

The Division reserves the right to contact any person named in a submission to seek further clarification or further information. Please note: this will not be done to remedy omissions in the completion of the documentation by you the student/Programme Director, or to seek supporting evidence when not supplied

In the case of PGT students, where requests for an interruption after the taught component of your programme has been completed, you must produce a document detailing where you are up to in your dissertation and how you will complete your project within the time frame on return from your leave of absence. This time plan must be approved by the Programme Director or your dissertation supervisor.

A supporting letter from your sponsor/funding body may be also required.

All information on the form is treated as STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

Before requesting an interruption to your programme of study, it is important that you consider the implications of interrupting. Help and advice can be obtained from your Division or from the Academic Advisory Service, the University Counselling Service or the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

More guidance can be found here



If pregnant, at pre registration medical, the Fitness Form should specify that time off and restricted duties may be necessary.  A certificate from your GP or Midwife certifying that you are pregnant will need to be given to your programme director.

Current students ideally you should see your Programme Director early in your pregnancy so that you can be referred to Occupational Health. You will need to access the general advice leaflet from the HSE, ‘A guide to new and expectant Mothers who work’

If on placement as well as being in the university, you will need to inform the placement manager, practice education lecturer and your Academic Advisor that you are pregnant so that the manager can undertake a risk assessment using the HSE leaflet as a guide (see page 3 of the HSE Leaflet for more information see link above or below).

If you wish to preserve your bursary payments, you should not interrupt before you have submitted your MATB1 form.

Two weeks leave following birth is compulsory by HSE law.

On return the Programme Director should discuss the following areas with you

  • Shifts
  • Infectious diseases; blood-born viruses
  • Rest area
  • If you are a non-responder to Hepatitis B are unlikely to be fit to practice.

You will also be asked to self-refer to the Occupational Health Department if you have any problem with either your pregnancy or your placement.

Review prior to return, taking into account mode of delivery and pre/post partum medical/mental health problems. 6-week postnatal check with GP is generally no longer performed.

NB: You are entitled to maternity pay for 45 weeks commencing from 11th week prior to confinement.



If you fail to satisfy the Examiners in any assessment of your taught units, you may be permitted a reassessment on one further occasion. You must present your work for reassessment in the next available University examination period.

If you are undertaking a Master’s degree, you will not be permitted to proceed to, or present your dissertation until you have satisfied the examiners that you have successfully completed all assessments for the taught part of the programme.

If you do not achieve the required pass mark in the taught element for a Masters award, but achieve the required pass mark for a Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate, you may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate, as appropriate, provided you have completed the requisite number of credits.

Dealing with problems on practice placement

Where problems arise on your practice placement, please consult the following documents:

Fitness to Practise

The University is required to ensure that students on any programme, which includes practical training in a professional role and leads to the right on completion to practice as a registered professional, are of good health and good character. It is a requirement of Social Work England that when a University places the names of students on a pass list to graduate for the pre-registration diplomas/degrees, the University is confirming that these students are of good health, good character and fit to practice.

The University has a duty to safeguard present or future patients, clients and/or service-users, staff, the student, other students and/or members of the public; protect the health and wellbeing of the student; comply with the requirements of SWE and uphold the reputation of the profession. If during the programme there are concerns about a student’s character or health, that give rise to concerns about the student’s fitness to practise, professional behaviour and/or suitability for the programme and/or registration with SWE  a referral may be made to the School of Health Sciences Fitness to Practice Committee or the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Fitness to Practice Committee. The Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Fitness to Practise Procedure can be found at


At times we do appreciate that students may struggle with the commitments of the programme, especially if unexpected circumstances arise that create problems. In many circumstances this does not mean that you need to withdraw from the programme. It may be that you can ask for an extension on your work or that a temporary interruption would give you the space that you need to get back on track. We would strongly advise you to talk with your Academic Advisor and/or your Programme Director if you are experiencing difficulties. There may be other ways forward that would benefit you.

If you do decide that you would like to withdraw from the programme, a discussion with us about future career options and an explanation of how appropriate closure can happen, would hopefully be beneficial for you. If you do decide to withdraw, please inform the both the Programme Director and Programme Secretary in writing at the earliest opportunity, stating clearly the date you wish to withdraw from. This may have implications for your fees and possibly your bursary.

Failure to engage with the course without any communication with us may lead to the Programme Director requesting you to clarify your status. You will be given 2 weeks to respond (this must be in writing) upon which time if no response has been received the Programme will assume you have withdrawn yourself and update its records to reflect this decision.


By the nature of practise, you will be exposed to confidential information about people with lived experience of social work and others.  Breaching confidentiality may only be appropriate in exceptional circumstances e.g. where there are safeguarding issues that need to take precedence.  Inappropriate breaching of confidentiality is a betrayal of trust, a serious matter and as such may lead to disciplinary action by the employer or university.

You are reminded that information you are exposed to, may fall into two categories: i) that for use within the Public Domain which is open and accessible, and ii) that which falls within the Private Domain and is confidential.  There is also information that is deemed to be in the public’s interest but not necessarily readily available.  Care should be taken to ensure that these aspects of information/confidentiality are properly addressed within your work.  If you are unclear on this subject, you should seek clarification from your Course Unit Leader.

 You must not give information to the Press regarding events, which take place in the Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work or any of the placement areas.  Any enquiries from the Press must be directed to the Head of Division or the Senior Officer (if in a practice placement). If you are requested to make a statement, help and advice should be sought from your Academic Advisor.

Although you are free to publish your own work, you are strongly advised to seek tutorial guidance first, since any work submitted for examination/assessment purposes remains the copyright of the Division.


If you are seconded to the University from your employer to undertake your chosen Programme of study should note the following:

  • The university will not routinely share information about your progress and attendance with your seconding employers or professional bodies.
  • However, circumstances may arise where it is appropriate for information held by the University or the employer, which may affect your progression and continuation on the programme of study or your employer support; to be shared between these parties.
  • The University will respond to reasonable requests by employers or professional bodies for such information and may on occasion seek information from employers or professional bodies.
  • Agreement to the sharing of such information if you are a seconded student is a pre-requisite for entry and continuation on programmes of study.
  • If you who wish to be excluded from this agreement you should formally notify the Programme Director in writing, who will relay this information to your seconding employer.


If you go beyond the standard programme length and we stop getting funding for your study, you may be charged extension tuition fees.

Additional fees will be charged based on the proportion of the Bench Mark Price, effective at the date when the extension is required. The full policy and details of fees will be posted on the Student Community Area on Blackboard during Semester one.



This section reflects the assessment regulations of the University of Manchester.  The standard of the University’s awards and your confidence in the equity and parity of the assessment of your work depends crucially on the scrupulous conduct of all matters relating to the assessment process.

All programmes of study need to be assessed and on this programme you will be assessed in both theory and Practice elements.

The purpose of assessment is to form a judgement on the quality of your work, to ascertain and certify levels of achievement, and to enable examiners’ to report on the standard of performance you achieve.

Assessments are either formative or summative.  Formative work is designed to help you meet the requirements of your summative assessments.  Summative assessments must be passed in order for an award to be conferred.  Failure to pass all summative assessments will affect your progression through the course and may result in the discontinuation of your studies.

Appropriate referencing is an important part of academic work. Please familiarise yourself with the following guidance and refer to this as you are completing your assessments.



Accurate referencing of all written work is essential as it enables readers to (i) assess the accuracy of the writer’s interpretation of source material; (ii) check the writer’s integrity; and (iii) easily seek out material that may be of interest to their own studies.  All assignments completed for this programme of study are expected to have a reference list.

Though there are many referencing/bibliographical systems around, the Harvard system is the system adopted by many of the prestigious nursing journals.  More importantly, it is the system, which the Division of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work has adopted.  This means that it is the only system, which is acceptable for any work submitted by students within the Division.

The Harvard system is a standardised system.  This means that certain conventions must be adhered to (though there is some room for flexibility).  The Harvard system works on the principle that every text/article/book mentioned (“cited”) in an assignment must have a matching full reference in the final reference list.  Likewise, every full reference in the reference list must have been mentioned in the main body of the assignment.  An additional “bibliography” (which in this context means a list of texts/articles/books used, but not mentioned in the main body of an assignment) is not required.

A guide to referencing is located in the Exams & Assessments section of the Student Gateway area on Blackboard.

For any student who has cited throughout their summative assessment submission but failed to provide a reference list, the assessment will be marked, following which and a 10% reduction will be applied by the marker. A comment will be provided by the marker, in the feedback, noting the lack of a reference list.


Guidance on Plagiarism and Other Forms of Academic Malpractice

As a student, you are expected to co-operate in the learning process throughout your programme of study by completing assignments of various kinds that are the product of your own study or research. For most students this does not present a problem, but occasionally, whether unwittingly or otherwise, a student may commit what is known as plagiarism or some other form of academic malpractice when carrying out an assignment. This may come about because you may have been used to different conventions in your prior educational experience or through general ignorance of what is expected.

The University uses electronic systems for the purposes of detecting plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice and for marking.  Such systems include TurnitinUK, the plagiarism detection service used by the University.

As part of the formative and/or summative assessment process, you may be asked to submit electronic versions of your work to TurnitinUK and/or other electronic systems used by the University (this requirement may be in addition to a requirement to submit a paper copy of your work).  If you are asked to do this, you must do so within the required timescales.

The School also reserves the right to submit work handed in by you for formative or summative assessment to TurnitinUK and/or other electronic systems used by the University.

Please note that when work is submitted to the relevant electronic systems, it may be copied and then stored in a database to allow appropriate checks to be made.

The University Library has produced online resources to help students in avoiding plagiarism and academic malpractice at:

An Introduction to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism is provided by the Student Guidance Service at:
An Introduction to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism (Student Guidance Service)

The Student Support website provides guidance on Good Study Skills at:

The Student Support website also provides guidance on avoiding academic malpractice:

For more information see the Divisions policy on Plagiarism and Academic malpractice including the potential Fitness to Practice implications student who hold a registration with a professional body.

Understanding Academic Malpractice

As further support for students, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health has developed a module entitled “Understanding Academic Malpractice”. This unit should be completed by all postgraduate taught students and will allow you to test your understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and academic malpractice.  You can access the resource via Blackboard.  Log in to My Manchester and click on the Blackboard tab.  The online skills training resource will be listed under the My Communities heading (below your course units). The module should be completed as soon as possible after you begin your programme, but must be completed before you submit your first piece of academic writing for assessment.


When submitting work for summative (formal) assessment you need to ensure you meet the following requirements:

  1. Submit work before the submission deadline date/time has elapsed as failure to do so can result in imposition of severe penalties.
  2. Submit each course unit assignment via online submission through Blackboard. Where online submission is not available an alternative method of submission will be provided.
  3. When submitting assignments electronically you must complete the submission page and when asked to enter the submission title, must enter your 7 digit University ID Number (this can be found on your student I.D./library/photo card). Failure to follow this explicit instruction will result in a ‘Fail to submit’.
  4. When submitting your assignment online, this must include your reference list as part of the same document.
  5. Do not write any candidate name on any part of the assignment as the assessment process is intended to be anonymous.
  6.  Submit all assignment work by 12 noon on the submission date.
  7. Each course unit assessment submitted via hardcopy should be accompanied by an ‘Assessed Coursework Cover Sheet’ ensuring that Parts A, B and C are completed. Only one cover sheet needs to be completed for each assessment.  However, Part B the ‘Plagiarism statement’ needs to be read understood and signed.
  8. Gain a receipt for the work to prove that you submitted the work on time. For work submitted online print out and keep the e-receipt for your records.
  9. If posting work into the department, make sure it reaches the department by the submission date so make sure sufficient time is allowed for any work to reach the department. (It is also advisable to send it by recorded delivery so that you have a receipt and proof of posting).
  10. Confirm in writing that the work being submitted is your own work that it has not plagiarised and has not been submitted for any other form of assessment anywhere else.

Policy on Submission of Work for Summative Assessment on Taught Programmes

The policy refers to what is generally regarded as coursework for summative assessment, i.e. work such as essays, project reports and portfolios that contribute to a final mark. It does not refer to purely formative assessment that does not contribute to a final mark, nor to work that students must attend to complete, such as practical tests and written examinations. It is primarily concerned with deadlines, i.e. the dates and times by which work should be submitted, and with penalties for late submission.

Late Submission Penalty (Including Dissertation)

Work submitted after the deadline without prior approval will be subject to a late penalty in accordance with the University Policy on Submission of Work for Summative Assessment on Taught Programmes.  The penalty applied is 10% of available marks deducted per day/24 hours (from the time of the original or extended deadline), until the assignment is submitted or no marks remain.

Penalties for late submission relate to 24 hours/calendar days, so include weekends and weekdays, as well as bank holidays and University closure days.

The mark awarded for the piece of work will be reduced by:
10% of the available marks deducted if up to 24 hours (1 day) late
20% of the available marks deducted if up to 48 hours (2 days) late
30% of the available marks deducted if up to 72 hours (3 days) late
40% of the available marks deducted if up to 96 hours (4 days) late
50% of the available marks deducted if up to 120 hours (5 days) late
60% of the available marks deducted if up to 144 hours (6 days) late
70% of the available marks deducted if up to 168 hours (7 days) late
80% of the available marks deducted if up to 192 hours (8 days) late
90% of the available marks deducted if up to 216 hours (9 days) late
100% of the available marks deducted if up to 240 hours (10 days) late

If the assessment is submitted within 10 days of the deadline the assessment should be marked and feedback to the student provided. If this mark before the penalty is applied reaches the appropriate pass mark but the applied penalty results in a fail of the assessment, the student should not be required to resit the assessment as the original mark can be taken as the resit mark. Further information and examples can be found in the Policy and associated Guidance documents.

For work submitted more than 10 days late, it is regarded as a non-submission and need not be marked. In this case a mark of zero will be awarded and normal resit regulations will apply.

The sliding scale should only be applied to first-sit submissions. For all referred (resit) assessment, any late submission will automatically receive a mark of zero.

For further information:

Guidance on Late Submission

Policy on the Submission of Work for Summative Assessment on Taught Programmes


A mark of zero will be awarded to illegible scripts.

For every 100 words over the word limit (plus or minus 10%) the student will lose 1% mark.  This equates to 10% per 1000-words.  The references and appendices should not be included in the word count.  All coursework should have a word count on the title page as outlined above.

Assignment Word Count (including the dissertation)

In accordance with the University Policy on Marking:

Each written assignment has a word limit which you must state at the top of your first page. It is acceptable, without penalty, for you to submit an assignment within a range that is plus 10% of this limit. If you present an assignment with a word limit substantially exceeding the upper banding, the assignment will be marked but 1% will be deducted from this mark for every 100 words over the limit given.

In accordance with accepted academic practice, when submitting any written assignment for summative assessment, the notion of a word count includes the following without exception:

  • All titles or headings that form part of the actual text. This does not include the fly page or reference list.
  • All words that form the actual essay.
  • All words forming the titles for figures, tables and boxes, are included but this does not include boxes or tables or figures themselves.
  • All in-text (that is bracketed) references.
  • All directly quoted material.

Certain assessments may require different penalties for word limits to be applied. For example, if part of the requirement for the assessment is conciseness of presentation of facts and arguments. In such cases it may be that no 10% leeway is allowed and penalties applied may be stricter than described above. In such cases the rules for word count limits and the penalties to be applied will be clearly stated in the assessment brief and in the submission details for that assessment.

Where assessment is via pre-recorded presentation

It is acceptable, without penalty, for you to submit an assignment via pre-recorded presentation within a range that is plus 10% of the set time limit.

If you present an assignment via pre-recorded presentation with a time  exceeding the specified time  limit+10%, the assignment will be marked but 1% will be deducted from this mark for every minute over the limit.


For any student who has cited throughout their summative assessment submission but failed to provide a reference list, the assessment will be marked, following which and a 10% reduction will be applied by the marker. A comment will be provided by the marker, in the feedback, noting the lack of a reference list. 


The University has a generic policy regarding mitigating circumstances with can be found at the following

Mitigating Circumstances Procedures to be followed in the Division of Nursing Midwifery and Social Work

Students can only make requests for extensions and mitigating circumstances if the requests are accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation and using the correct form. Requests must also be made within the following timeframes:

  • extension requests: more than 1 working day (by 12pm, midday) prior to the submission deadline
  • mitigating circumstances: within 5 working days of the assessment affected

To request an extension or mitigating circumstances, the link to the online form can be found on the front page of any online submission area, within Blackboard.

Please make sure you complete the correct form as these are 2 different processes.

If you have any issues accessing the online forms, please make sure that your Microsoft Office account is connected to your university email account and NOT a work email address or personal email address. If you try to access the form from a work computer, the firewall may not allow the form to download. If there are still issues, please contact IT on 0161 3065544.

Requesting an Extension

Students need to be aware that extensions for reasons other than medical or major domestic problems will be granted only in the most exceptional of cases.

Requests for extensions should always be made through the Exams and Assessment office by completing an online form. Students should complete and submit an extension request form with any supporting evidence within the School’s timeframe (at least 1 working day prior to the original deadline). There is 1 extension point available which is 4 weeks following the original summative submission deadline.  If you are unable to meet the agreed extension deadline, no further extension can be granted, however you can complete a mitigating circumstances application if there have been circumstances affecting you following your request for an extension.

The link for the extension request form can be found on the front page of any online submission area on the course units on blackboard. Extensions cannot be granted on exams.

Provisional extensions can be granted in exceptional circumstances where evidence cannot be sought initially. However if the requested evidence is not submitted before the provisional extension submission date, the extension will become null and void.

Once an extension is confirmed the student will be notified by email to their student email account. It is therefore important that students regularly check their account for important programme and assessment-related information.

All extensions will be added to the course unit submission / mark sheet so that each marker is aware after the original deadline of how many and when extensions are due for submission. The exams office will also email markers after extension deadlines to remind them that the work has been submitted and is available for marking.

Please note that as extensions fall outside the original marking period this may result in a longer marking period.

Mitigating Circumstances

Students may suffer from some unforeseen illness or misfortune that adversely affects either:
• their ability to complete an assessment on time, or
• the result they obtain for an assessment (it does not reflect their full potential)

The University has robust procedures to ensure that such misfortunes are dealt with systematically and that students are treated equitably across all Programmes.

The link for the Mitigating Circumstances form can be found on the front page of any online submission area on the course units on blackboard. Forms must be submitted within 5 working days of the assessment deadline. Supporting evidence must also be submitted with your form. If you don’t have access to supporting evidence at the time of completing the form, complete the form within the required deadline and evidence can be emailed separately to the Exams Team.

Requests for mitigation submitted after the above deadline will not be considered without a credible and compelling explanation as to why the circumstances were not known or could not have been shown beforehand. Please complete the section of the form explaining why the form has been submitted late. Once results have been ratified through an exam board, mitigating circumstances for that assessment cannot be considered.

Grounds for mitigation are unforeseeable or unpreventable circumstances that could have a significant adverse effect on the academic performance of a student.

Possible mitigating circumstances include:

• significant illness or injury;
• the death or critical / significant illness of a close family member / dependant;
• family crises or major financial problems leading to acute stress;
• absence for jury service or maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

Circumstances that will not normally be regarded as grounds for mitigation include:

• Holidays, moving house and events that were planned or could reasonably have been expected;
• assessments that are scheduled close together;
• misreading the timetable or misunderstanding the requirements for assessments;
• inadequate planning and time management;
• failure, loss or theft of a computer or printer that prevents submission of work on time: students should back up work regularly and not leave completion so late that they cannot find another computer or printer; There are some exceptions to IT issues. Please check the current assessment pledge for details.
• consequences of paid employment (except in some special cases for part-time students);exam stress or panic attacks not diagnosed as illness.
** These lists are examples, other circumstances can also be considered **

Absence from the University during the semester for any period less than five working days will not normally be regarded as grounds for mitigation unless the absence occurred for good cause within a two-week period immediately preceding a formal university examination or the deadline for submitting a piece of assessed course work or delivering an assessed presentation.

Supportive / collaborative documentation Requests should normally be accompanied by appropriate independent third-party supporting or collaborative documentation which should normally include time periods of when the circumstances affected the student. If the information is highly confidential, students should discuss this with their Academic Advisor who will advocate on their behalf. All mitigation submitted will be stored on the student’s file in a confidential folder.

Whilst Academic advisors statements alone cannot be considered, if they are used in support of some less tangible third party evidence the committee can take this into account, for example if a student has built up a relationship with their advisor and shared their situation over a period of time this could be used in support of less substantial third party evidence.

If a student has already applied for and received an extension, to be considered for mitigating circumstances they would need to provide additional evidence stating that the circumstances were ongoing throughout the extension period.

Students are responsible for submitting their own requests for consideration of mitigating circumstances.

What evidence do I need?

You should provide as much supporting information as possible with your mitigating circumstances request. This helps us to understand the severity of the situation and assess the best solution. All evidence will be treated confidentially.

Evidence you might include:

You may include any evidence that supports your request, such as:

  • Extracts from your medical notes (you can request these from your GP practice)
  • Copy of prescription or photo of name label on prescribed medication
  • Photo of labelled positive COVID-19 test result
  • Appointment cards from medical unit or hospital admissions letter
  • Confirmation text of medical appointment
  • Communications from a school or care facility confirming that they are closed or the person you care for is unable to attend
  • An obituary or letter from a family member, in the case of bereavement
  • Police, security or insurance report
  • Press or media report
  • Internal confirmation of existing engagement with our counselling / Advice and Response service

For medical conditions we do not require a specific letter from your GP or healthcare provider, and in cases of bereavement we do not require a death certificate. However you can still include either of these as supporting evidence if you wish.

If you are registered with DASS, they will confirm with your School directly – you do not have to seek this evidence from them.

Mitigating Circumstances Committee’s take place prior to an exam board to consider submitted applications. There are currently 2 meetings scheduled before each exam board.

The purpose of the committee is to establish the severity of the mitigating circumstances and to determine if they might have a negligible or significant effect on the outcomes of the assessment.

Please note that Mitigation will not result in the changing of any marks, unless penalties for late submission are waived after an assignment has already been marked. Instead, mitigation may result in some marks being disregarded and the assessment being voided because it was adversely affected.


  • All work has to be assessed by at least one internal examiner
  • A selection of work is scrutinised by the external examiner (Please Note: all work can be made available for the external examiner if required)
  • All examiners receive a copy of the assessment schedule, for the programme in September of each academic year. The schedule provides information on:
  • The name of the person allocated as the first and second internal examiners for each of the course units.
  • Submission dates – this is the date when first markers will be sent the work for scrutiny
  • Moderator Date – this is the date when the moderator should be sent the scripts for second marking
  • The date when the work will be sent to the external examiner
  • Dates of the examinations boards

Please note that the assessment schedule, containing dates and deadlines, are provided on the Exams & Assessments area of the student community area on Blackboard, so that the assessed work can be presented at the examinations boards identified on the schedule. Assessment dates are subject to change, it is therefore important to check the schedule for updates on a regular basis.

All examiners receive a copy of the marking criteria.  This provides a guide as to how work should be graded; please see the Exams & Assessments section of the Student Community area on Blackboard for a copy of this document.

Marking Units: All marks for credit-bearing assessment must be given as percentages.

Double Marking/Moderation: The University has a policy for marking the details of which are found in the anual of Academic Procedures  In the Division of Nursing Midwifery and Social Work where there are large groups, we operate a system of moderation this where one person marks all scripts and a second person marks a sample of the scripts. For the MA Social Work programme, the SOWK63010 Research Dissertation is double marked this is where two markers mark every text independently before being sent to the external examiner.

Resolution of Marks: Programme Committees have procedures whereby differences in marks can be resolved internally by the two markers or by the use of a third marker. In exceptional cases, the External Examiner may be asked to adjudicate and award an agreed mark.

Anonymous Marking: The University has a policy of anonymous marking and anonymity of students at examination boards. It is appreciated that some types of assessment employed on taught masters programmes cannot be undertaken anonymously but programme management teams and examination boards follow this policy wherever possible. The board of examiners, in consultation with the external examiner will examine the assessment methods for a programme and where they are unable to comply with the policy, an application must be made to the Graduate Division to ratify any deviation.


You will be provided with dates for submission of your assignments, practice documents and examinations, by the unit leader on commencing the unit.

You will normally receive provisional feedback, based on the internal markers comments, three weeks after submission (six weeks for dissertations).  This feedback is provisional and subject to confirmation of/by the External Examiner and ratification by the Examination Board.  This information will either be posted or emailed to you at your University student account, or uploaded to the Divisions online results system for you to access through Blackboard.

  • Following external examiners approval and ratification you will receive the final feedback by post or e-mail to your University student account.
  • Any student who has failed will be notified in writing of the resubmission date following the ratification of results by the Examiners Board.
  • Any student, having failed a part or all of the assessment process for the second time, will automatically be referred to the Progress Committee.
  • Results cannot be given over the telephone and no tutor / lecturer is permitted to divulge results to you or others.
  • Teachers/lecturers are the only people who are entitled on request to remove examination scripts from relevant Examination Office. The scripts need to be signed in and signed out by a tutor / lecturer.


  1. Working days are Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays excluding Bank Holidays.

External Examiners

External Examiners are individuals from another institution or organisation who monitor the assessment processes of the University to ensure fairness and academic standards. They ensure that assessment and examination procedures have been fairly and properly implemented and that decisions have been made after appropriate deliberation. They also ensure that standards of awards and levels of student performance are at least comparable with those in equivalent higher education institutions.

External Examiners’ reports relating to this programme will be shared with student representatives at the Staff Student Liaison Committee (SSLC)/programme committee/other appropriate forum (specify), where details of any actions carried out by the programme team/School in response to the External Examiners’ comments will be discussed. Students should contact their student representatives if they require any further information about External Examiners’ reports or the process for considering them. 

The External Examiners for this programme are:

Name: Amanda Fitchett
Name of Institution:  University of Coventry
Position at current Institution:  Social Work Tutor

Course Units: MA Social Work Year 1

Name: Cath Holstrom
Name of Institution:   Keele University
Position at current Institution:  Head of Social Work

Course Units: MA Social Work Year 2

Please note that it is inappropriate for students to make direct contact with External Examiners under any circumstances, in particular with regards to a student’s individual performance in assessments.  Other appropriate mechanisms are available for students, including the University’s appeals or complaints procedures and the UMSU Advice Centre. In cases where a student does contact an External Examiner directly, External Examiners have been requested not to respond to direct queries. Instead, External Examiners should report the matter to their Division contact who will then contact the student to remind them of the other methods available for students. If students have any queries concerning this, they should contact their Programme Office (or equivalent) 


If you fail to satisfy the Examiners in any assessment of your taught units, you may be permitted to resubmit the assessment or retake the examination on one further occasion, up to a maximum of 60 credits. You will be offered this opportunity during the next available University examination period or within a period as published in the programme handbook.

Full copy of PGT regulations available at:


As of September 2011 all students needing to undertake a resit Assessment at second attempt may be charged a fee. The full policy and details of fees will be posted on Blackboard prior to the first submission period.


As part of the examination process you may be awarded a compensated pass for a Master’s degree when you fail no more than 30 credits and receive a mark between 40 and 49% for those failed credits. Compensation is not permitted on the PGDip programme.

Ratification of Results at an Examination Board

At designated points in the academic year, each assessment including practice is considered by the Board of Examiners, which consists of lecturers, including markers and moderators, External Examiners and at times, representatives from practice areas. The meetings are chaired by the Dean (or nominee). No mark or grade is finalised until it has been considered by this committee. You normally receive marks and grades before they have been returned from the External Examiner and before a meeting of the Board of Examiners; therefore you should be aware that marks could change after consideration by the Board of Examiners. Any change of marks is exceedingly rare and if it does occur, all the students involved will be informed immediately. If the mark has been changed from a pass grade to a fail grade, and if you are eligible for a further attempt, an appropriate date for resubmission of the assessment will be given.


  • Students have a right of appeal against a final decision of an Examination Board, or a graduate committee or equivalent body which affects their academic status or progress in the University.
  • Students thinking of appealing should first discuss the matter informally with an appropriate member of staff, in order to better understand the reason for the result or decision, and to determine whether the matter can be resolved informally by the School prior to making a formal appeal.
  • Should you wish to proceed to a formal appeal, this must be submitted within the timeframe outlined in the Academic Appeals Procedure to the Faculty Appeals and Complaints Team, Room 3.21, Simon Building, University of Manchester, M13 9PL (e-mail:

Complaints procedure

As part of its commitment to ensuring the standard and quality of its programmes of study, services, and facilities, the University has established a procedure to deal with complaints from students. Complaints provide useful feedback information from students and, where appropriate, will be used to improve services and facilities.

The procedure comprises a number of stages, both informal and formal. Students who have a complaint to make should raise it directly with the staff concerned at the earliest opportunity, as matters that are dealt with informally at an early stage have the best chance of being resolved effectively. Only where the informal procedures have been completed and the complainant remains dissatisfied should the formal stage be instituted.

  • Students thinking of submitting a formal complaint should, in most instances, attempt informal resolution first (see the procedure).
  • Formal complaints should be submitted on the relevant form to Faculty Appeals and Complaints Team, Room 3.21, Simon Building, University of Manchester, M13 9PL


Conduct and Discipline of Students


Students may, in exceptional circumstances, and with prior permission of the Faculty, be allowed to re-take the entire programme. In such circumstances, you may re-register only if all outstanding fees have been paid. Fees are payable for the new period of registration.


Following a report from the Examiners, the Faculty shall recommend to Senate the award of the degree of Masters or Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate, for those candidates who have completed all requirements of the regulations and satisfied the Examiners. 

  • MA Social Work
  • PG Diploma Social Work
  • PG Diploma Applied Social Studies (exit award only)
  • MA Applied Social Studies (exit award only)
  • For students who accrue 60 credits (or more but less than 120), if they meet the requirements of the University Regulations, they are eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Social Studies. This award does not provide a qualification that will enable students to apply for registration as a social worker with Social Work England and it does not entitle the student to practice as a social worker or to use this protected title.

NB In conforming to Social Work England’s requirements for a qualifying award in social work, which will allow students successfully completing the programme to apply to register as ready to practice at qualifying level, the programme title(s) are designed to signify both the level of learning outcomes and the achievement of a professional qualification. The titles clearly indicate to potential applicants the level and academic and professional nature of the award. Students may successfully achieve 120 credits (PG Diploma) or 180 credits (MA) for learning outcomes at level 7, while failing to successfully complete the remaining elements of the programme that are required to demonstrate capability in practice and to enable registration with  Social Work England (SWE). Under these circumstances, students may be awarded a PG Diploma or MA in Applied Social Studies. This title reflects the academic learning outcomes of the programme, while differentiating the award from a qualification to practise social work.


If you have passed the examination for your degree, you shall be deemed a graduate of the University from the date of the meeting of Senate at which the relevant examination result was confirmed. As a successful candidate, you may be presented for conferment of your degree at an appropriate ceremony following confirmation of your result.

Please Note: The names that are printed on the degree certificate will be your name as recorded in the University student record system and which is printed each year on the registration form. It is important therefore that you to check the registration form to ensure that your name(s) is/are correctly recorded. The name printed on the degree certificate cannot subsequently be amended without valid proof of your correct name (i.e. birth certificate, passport, etc) and this service may incur a charge.

Students eligible for graduation are encouraged to check the online student system normally 6-8 weeks prior to their ceremony taking place to register their attendance at the ceremony and to request tickets for family/friends.


Masters students complete a 60-credit dissertation the guidelines for which are outlined below.

Each of you undertaking the MA Social Work will be allocated an individual supervisor for your dissertation; the supervisor will be a recognised University Teacher experienced in graduate supervision. You will receive the equivalent of up to 10 hours of individual supervision, which includes time spent reading drafts. It is your responsibility to maintain contact with your supervisor. If you cannot attend an arranged meeting, you must inform your supervisor as soon as possible.  If this procedure is not followed, you will be written to and asked to contact your supervisor.  It is then your responsibility to make contact with your supervisor and continue with the supervision.

The dissertation will be assessed according to University requirements by two internal examiners and a sample will be reviewed by the external examiner for the programme.


You will be given permission to submit a dissertation (to achieve an MA) by the examination board when you have accumulated 120 credits of course work. This will normally be at the June examination board in the second year of the programme in accordance with University Regulations for taught postgraduate programmes.


You are expected to submit your dissertation online.


You may exceptionally be required, at the discretion of the Examiners, to present yourself for a viva voce (oral examination), in the subject of your dissertation or project report or on any matter immediately connected therewith.


Students are expected to behave in a professional manner when within the University premises.  Any student demonstrating inappropriate behaviour may be asked to leave the premises. The student may be referred to the Occupational Health Department or to the Progress Committee.

Students are expected to behave in a professional manner when on placement.  Any student demonstrating inappropriate behaviour may fail their placement report, may be asked to leave the placement and will be reported to the University.

 Inappropriate behaviours include being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, being rude or aggressive to fellow students or staff, smoking in restricted areas or  putting students’ or staff member’s health and safety at risk.

In addition, the University’s A-Z of Student Services states that:

“The University expects its members to treat one another with respect.  There are established procedures to use if you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the University’s facilities and services, and you are encouraged to use these procedures to bring such matters to the University’s attention.  Inappropriate or defamatory comments about either the University or its members in any media (print, broadcast, electronic) contravene the University’s regulations and offenders may be liable to disciplinary action.”