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SCHOOL OF applied social studies UNDERGRADUATE COURSE GUIDE 2014

Top UNIVERSITY for graduate employment 97.7% of students graduating from RGU with their first degree in 2011/12 were in employment or undertaking further study within 6 months. HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency), 2013

Robert Gordon University is committed to the accessibility of its publications. An alternative, electronic format of this course guide is available. If you have any questions or additional requirements please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0)1224 262728 or email


makE the right choice In this School we offer undergraduate courses in Social Work and Social Science. The School is the largest provider of social work education in Scotland. Our working partnerships with various social work agencies ensure that our BA (Hons) Social Work course is kept in line with current developments in social work practice and that our graduates enter the workplace better equipped to meet the challenges they find there. In Applied Social Sciences we have developed a strong reputation and research profile in psychology and sociology. Staff expertise and publications in these disciplines underpin the BA (Hons) Applied Social Sciences degree and enable our modules to be timely, absorbing and at the cutting edge of issues that matter today.


We have a reputation amongst our students for providing a friendly and supportive learning environment to give you the best start on your chosen career path. We look forward to welcoming you to the School of Applied Social Studies.

Professor Stephen Vertigans Head of School

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why study applied social sciences? Applied Social Sciences involves the study of society and the relationships people have within that society. Social scientists study all aspects of society including human behaviour, relationships among different groups of people and past events and achievements. They set out to understand and explain why humans make certain decisions, how and why we exercise power and our responses to change. Based on their studies, they suggest solutions to social, business, personal, governmental and environmental issues.

Why Study applied social sciences at Robert gordon university? Our class sizes are small and this, along with a high level of contact time with staff, enables us to provide a friendly and supportive learning environment. Our team of academic staff is actively engaged in applied research which underpins the teaching in areas such as drug abuse, homelessness, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, forensic psychology and terrorism. Such research activity ensures that our course is kept current and relevant.


This course is built around the core disciplines of psychology and sociology, providing the best possible launching pad for a career in these fascinating areas. Innovative elective modules in the final years allow you to tailor your degree around your own areas of interest. We will encourage and enable you to become a reflective and independent learner, developing skills of analysis, interpretation, problem solving, team-working, communication and research – all of which will be invaluable when entering the workplace.

career options It will provide you with a broad range of transferable skills which are highly sought after by employers, such as information gathering, critical evaluation and research methods. This flexible degree offers a stepping stone to many people-centred occupations, opening up a career in areas as diverse as the police, business or working with young or vulnerable people. Our graduates have also successfully pursued careers in health /social care management, human resources, marketing and PR. Many graduates have also chosen to progress onto postgraduate study and specialise in a number of areas including social work, psychology, research, management and teaching.




We encourage you to be an independent learner from the start of your course.

During your second and third year, you will have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner institutions in Poland, Cyprus, Malta and Belgium as part of our Erasmus Exchange Programme. There is also the opportunity to study at the University of Tennessee for one semester. This allows you to enhance your personal development and confidence and benefit from studying your subject in a different culture.

Each module involves 2-3 hours timetabled teaching each week, but you’ll have considerably more follow-up work beyond this. You’ll be taught through a wide variety of teaching methods including formal lectures, seminar activities, group work, project work and directed reading. In first year you’ll share some lectures with Social Work students. However, as most of the course is specialised, you’ll find that you become a distinctive, cohesive and mutually supporting peer group. Assessment is through a combination of exams and coursework which may be a mix of essays, reports and presentations. In years 1 and 2 everyone studies the same modules. In years 3 and 4 you are given the opportunity to specialise in Psychology or Sociology and Politics by electing to study specific modules. Some of our students choose to specialise, whilst many others prefer to continue with all three disciplines. Work undertaken in your third year contributes to your Honours classification. You will then produce a major piece of work in the final year in the form of a dissertation on a related topic of your choice.

1st year students usually spell 'Psychology' in 7 different ways.

By 2nd year they spell it correctly! 6 | SYMBOL SYMBOL OF OF SUCCESS SUCCESS

“I found the course very enjoyable, due to the wide variety of modules and the great support given by the staff. Together these two aspects have equipped me with the key skills and knowledge which have allowed me to enter the oil industry in areas of HR and management.�

Samantha Cairns BA (Hons) Applied Social Sciences Graduate 2012





Introductory Psychology: Social Sciences Social Sciences and Society Understanding the Past, Informing the Future Research Methods and Study Skills Gender Culture and Society Cognitive and Social Psychology Sociology of Identity, Difference and Deviance Governing the UK Ethics, Personal Relationships and Social Life

Qualitative Research Methods (Core) Elective subjects include: Health Psychology Health, Self and Society Organisational and Management Psychology Sports Psychology Sociology of Consumer Culture Political Participation and Pressure Groups in   an Age of Global Politics Developmental Psychology Cognitive Psychology Counselling Urban Sociology Violence Crime and Conflict

YEAR 2 Children, Youth and Society Research: Statistics and Data Analysis European Union The Sociological Problem of Crime Psychology: Personality and   Individual Differences Discovering Psychology: Classic Studies   and Debates Theorising Social Life Exploring research


Contemporary Issues in Politics

YEAR 4 Dissertation (Core) Elective subjects include: Social Psychology Biological Foundations of Behaviour Developments in Counselling Media, Culture and Society Terrorism, People and Places The Body in Society Abnormal Psychology Forensic Psychology Crime, Criminology and the Justice System Risk, Fear and Uncertainty




BBCC to include a subject requiring the use of English.

A relevant HNC from one of our partner colleges may be considered for year 2 entry. A relevant HND from one of our partner FE colleges may be considered for year 3 entry.

GCE A LEVEL CCC to include a subject requiring the use of English. Advanced entry may be considered for applicants with appropriate A Level subjects and grades. Discuss with Admissions Tutor.

IRISH LEAVING CERTIFICATE HIGHER B2B2C1C1 to include a subject requiring the use of English.

IB DIPLOMA 26 to include a Higher Level subject to include a subject requiring the use of English.

ADVANCED ENTRY Entry to year 2 or 3 will be considered for candidates with appropriate HNC/HND/ A Level/IB qualifications in Social Sciences or related areas. Candidates are advised to contact the Admissions tutor to discuss prior to application.

INTERVIEW You may be required to attend an interview.

STUDY OPTIONS Full-time: 4 years


Social Work students will spend around



hours in discussion groups in their first year

social work

ba (hons) ucas L500 (SSSC APPROVED)

WHAT IS SOCIAL WORK? Social work is all about people. It is about empowering, supporting, caring for and protecting vulnerable people living in their own homes, in residential care, in prisons and in hospital settings. Social workers focus on helping individuals achieve change in their lives and support people through difficult circumstances. As a result, it can be extremely demanding and challenging, yet rewarding too. As a social worker you may work with individuals, families, groups, organisations and communities. Your role may involve working closely with other organisations including the police, local authority departments, schools and the health service. You may take part in multidisciplinary team meetings, and liaise with and make referrals to other agencies. To be a social worker, you will need a wide breadth of interpersonal skills as you will working in potentially highly emotional and stressful situations. You will need to be able to balance this with a clear understanding of the needs, rights, responsibilities and risks of everyone involved and be able to articulate your cases in written reports. Much is made in the media of cases where social work has been thought to have let people down. However, social workers provide a professional service to a wide range of individuals, families and groups. The very many positive outcomes go largely unreported. Our course will equip you with the skills you need to become a confident and highly effective social worker.

why study social work at robert gordon university? We are the largest provider of social work education in Scotland and have a proven track record in producing confident, capable, professional graduates who are much sought after by employers. Our close working partnerships with a variety of social work agencies, employers and practitioners ensure that our course is kept in line with changes in social work practice and remains up-to-date and relevant to the needs of the workplace. The majority of our academic staff are themselves qualified and experienced social workers who have specialist knowledge of a wide range of social work settings which include childcare, adult services, disability, social work law, social work methods, substance misuse, criminal justice, residential and community care. Our class sizes are small and this, along with a high level of contact time with staff, enables us to provide a friendly and supportive learning environment. For those interested in progressing onto further study, the School offers a number of short courses and post-qualifying courses.


Professional Accreditation Successful completion of the degree confers eligibility to practise as a social worker within the UK, and to register with the SSSC and the other Social Care Councils in the UK.

career options Following successful completion of the course, students find employment across the social work sector. In the past our students have been in great demand throughout the UK. The international focus of the course also provides employment opportunities in a range of european countries, the USA and Australia. Our graduates have also found employment in Criminal Justice, Child Care/Child Protection as well as working with people with mental health issues, substance misuse problems, physical disabilities or old age. Our recent graduates have taken up posts as social workers in local authorities and in the voluntary sector throughout the UK and Ireland.

how will you be taught? You will be invited to attend an induction programme just prior to the start of term in year 1 which will help you settle into University, allow you to meet staff and students and find out more about your course. You will be taught through a variety of methods including lectures, seminars, tutorials and projects. Assessment in year 1 is by coursework and three exams. After this, assessment is by coursework with no formal examinations. You will have around 12-16 hours a week of class contact and be expected to carry out additional self-directed study. 12 | SYMBOL OF SUCCESS

PLACEMENTS You will undertake three placements during the course, allowing you to apply theory to practice in real-life situations and preparing you for entering the workplace. Placements take place in a wide variety of social work settings including child and family care, criminal justice, mental health, learning disability, hospital social work, community care, prison social work, community support projects, substance misuse, advocacy and advice projects, residential care and juvenile justice. You will be supervised throughout your time on placement by a Practice Teacher. Your Personal Tutor will also maintain links with you while you are out of the University. You may apply to undertake one of your placements in another European country – we currently have placements in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland and Denmark. We also have placement opportunities in Tennessee, USA. This will allow you to experience first hand social work provision in a different social care system as well as provide a fantastic cultural experience.

“I think the placement opportunities on this course have to be the best in Scotland. The course work you learn from university is one thing, but being able to implement it into real-life situations is something else. I feel that all three placements I’ve had have been great in enhancing my knowledge.”

Martin Ross Social Work Graduate 2012






Study and Research Skills Individual Psychology and the Lifespan Introductory Sociology Social Work Values, Roles and Tasks Cognitive and Social Psychology Sociology of Identity, Difference and Deviance An Introduction to Law and Politics in Social Work Social Work in Society

YEAR 2 Law and Social Work Human Growth and Behaviour Social Policy and Social Work Practice Social Work Methods Social Work Practice 1 Practice Learning 1/Contexts Disability and Mental Health: A Life Course Approach Social Work with Older People Social Work with People with Substance Problems Group Care/Managing Life Transitions

YEAR 3 Social Work Practice 2 Practice Learning 2/Contexts Personal and Professional Development 1 Social Work in Child Care/Child Protection Research Methods and Social Work Practice Social Work in Criminal Justice Counselling within Social Work Practice

YEAR 4 Social Work Practice 3 Practice Learning – risk assessment/ risk management Evidence-based Practice Dissertation Study Interdisciplinary Practice Comparative Health and Social Work or Management in Social Work Settings or Therapeutic Practice with Children


GCE A LEVEL CCC IRISH LEAVING CERTIFICATE HIGHER B2B2C1C1 IB DIPLOMA 26 ADVANCED ENTRY Entry into year 2 will be considered for candidates with appropriate qualifications. If interested in this possibility, please contact the Admissions Tutor to discuss this further. INTERVIEW You will be required to attend an interview. Overseas applicants may be interviewed via Skype. Applicants who do not have appropriate certificated learning (Standard Grade Maths Credit level or equivalent) will be expected to demonstrate an appropriate level of numeracy at interview. STUDY OPTIONS Full-time: 4 years


once you’ve applied

To be a social worker, it is vital that you not only meet the academic requirements for your chosen course, but that you have the right personal qualities too – such as a genuine interest in people, good listening skills and a commitment to the job. Without these personal attributes, you may find the course very challenging. As part of our selection process, you will be invited to attend a morning or afternoon selection visit. This typically involves an opportunity to tour the facilities, meet staff and a short group interview. There will also be a short written test and for those applicants who require it, a numeracy test. We want you to see this as a two way process – giving you the opportunity to ask us any questions you might still have about the course and for us to assess whether you are ideally suited to a career as a social worker. It is only after you are offered and firmly accept a place on one of our courses that PVG checks, previously Disclosure checks, required by the Scottish Services Council (SSSC) are carried out. For further information on PVG checks, please go to

DISCLAIMER This publication is intended as a guide for applicants for courses delivered by Robert Gordon University. In compiling it, the University has taken every care to be as accurate as possible, and the information in this brochure is correct at the time of going to print, but this publication must be read as subject to change at any time and without notice. The University undertakes to make every reasonable effort to provide the teaching and academic facilities necessary for applicants’ programmes of study. However, the University reserves the right, if such action is considered to be necessary, to make variations to fees and/or to vary the content or delivery method of any course at any time. In addition, the University may, at its sole discretion, discontinue or amalgamate any course(s). In these rare cases, the University will notify applicants as soon as possible and reasonable steps will be taken to provide a suitable alternative to a discontinued course.



We can answer any questions you may have. Simply call us on 01224 262728 or email We also provide a range of opportunities to visit us – so you can see what we can offer you, first-hand. OPEN DAYS For full information and to register, please go to VISIT AFTERNOONS If you are unable to attend an Open Day, come along to one of our monthly Visit Afternoons. To register go to: Have you seen our current prospectus? This gives valuable additional information about student life in Aberdeen and the wider University. Request a prospectus or download it at:


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