The B.S.S. is a professional degree designed for students who wish to become social workers and who believe they have the personal attributes and motivation for social work.
This degree combines an academic social science degree with professional social work training. B.S.S. degree graduates are eligible to apply for registration with CORU (Irish Social Work Registration Board) and once registered can access employment in a wide range of social work posts in Ireland. Graduates can also apply for registration in the UK and internationally.
Social work is a profession concerned with supporting and helping people in a variety of situations and settings. People who use social work services include young and adult offenders, children, families, older people, people with mental and physical illness and disability, homeless people, unemployed people, ethnic groups, Travellers and people with drug and alcohol problems. Ultimately, social work aims to support people to live more successfully, within their communities, by helping them to find solutions to their problems.
Do you enjoy…
Social Studies could be the right course for you if you wish to work in a caring and challenging profession. Most importantly, it is the right course for you if you have the ability to problem solve, a willingness to make challenging decisions alongside a strong desire to effect positive change.
This is one of only two undergraduate programmes in Ireland which qualifies students to a professional level in social work. A qualification in the area of social work has been taught in Trinity since 1934, making it Ireland’s oldest and most internationally renowned social work programme.
The small class size ensures that there is a friendly relationship between staff and students that is based on mutual respect. The degree programme which is accredited by CORU combines teaching on a range of social science subjects alongside work placements. The Social Studies degree is an interesting and intensive programme which aims to help you become a reflective and proactive professional social worker who will make a significant contribution to society.
As a Social Studies graduate of Trinity, you are eligible to apply to register as a professionally qualified social worker with CORU. Your qualification will be recognised in many other countries. You also have a good Social Science degree that allows you to move into policy, media, research or NGO project work. As a social worker, you can continue your professional development through postgraduate courses and can move into management, research or training.
This course introduces you to a wide range of social science subjects in the first year, and then increases the number of social work subjects in the following three years. Teaching methods are varied, interactive and draw on your personal and practical experience. Assessment includes written examinations, essays, case studies, projects, and placement reports.
First year subjects include Introduction to Social Work, Psychology, Social Policy, Sociology, Economic Policy and Political Science. Optional courses in either French or German are also available. In first year, there are approximately 13-15 hours in lectures, 3-4 hours in tutorial classes and several hours in the library each week. If you have had no relevant practical experience before starting the degree, we ask you to do 30 hours (2-3 hours per week) volunteer work during first year to build your practical experience and help you to apply what you are learning to a real-world situation. First year students are also provided with the opportunity to undertake a six-week placement related to the course (see below for further details).
In second year, core subjects are Social Work Theory and Practice, Law for Social Workers, Social Policy, Psychology and Social Research. In addition, you can either continue your language studies or choose one elective course from additional Social Policy subjects or an Economic subject. Second year students can also avail of the opportunity to take a Trinity Elective. The social work modules involve field trips to relevant organisations and services. In addition, students undertake a ten-week placement during this academic year.
Third and fourth year subjects include: Family and Child Care Studies; Social Policy; Sociology; Mental Health; Equality Issues; Group Work; Human Rights Law as well as Social Work Theory and Practice, including counselling skills and practice workshops.
In each of the four years you will have a placement in a different social service agency, under the supervision of an experienced practitioner. These placements provide you with practical experience and an opportunity to apply and develop the skills and knowledge that you have acquired at Trinity.
Placements are arranged in settings such as child and family welfare teams, hospital social work departments, child and family centres, probation service and community development projects. They account for approximately 30% of your course time (220 days) over the four years and take place at the end of each of the first and second years and mostly in term time in the third and fourth years. You are supported in your professional development by an individual social work tutor who meets you regularly and visits you on placement from third year onwards.
Overseas placements are possible (but not obligatory) within the course structure for those who are interested in experience in another country (e.g. the UK, North America, Australia).