B.A. and B.A. (Honours) in Applied Social Studies (Professional Social Care)

Code: PC404

Level: 7

Credits: 180 ECTS

Points: 220-420

Duration: 3 years (with a 4th year option)

Overview

The BA in Applied Social Studies (Professional Social Care) is a 3-year programme designed to engage students in a wide range of topics, social care approaches and decision making processes. The aim of the programme is to provide students with the knowledge, experience and skills to enable them to function as a competent, efficient, reflective and accountable practitioner. On successful completion of this programme you will be eligible to enter the Register for Social Care Work.

This degree is designed in such a way as to engage students in exploring theoretical concepts applied to social care practice, along with gaining practical skills in intensive training by experienced professionals during the two mandatory 13-week block placements in Year 2 and 3. The course was developed in response to the needs of the social care sector in the context of the professionalisation of social care work and includes both theoretical and practice components.

The skills you develop and the knowledge you’ll gain will give you the level of competence you’ll need to thrive as a social care worker. Successful social care workers are vital in our increasingly complex society, and you’ll be part of a valued and important profession.

Year 4 is an add-on honours year which broadens the scope of students’ understanding of Social Care Theory and Practice, and further develops their problem solving and analytical skills. On the successful completion of the fourth year, graduates are professionally qualified, competent, emotionally mature and capable of taking on leadership roles. Upon graduation from year 4 students are awarded with a B.A. (Honours) in Applied Social Studies (Professional Social Care).

Structure

Semester 1

Communication and People Skills

Creative Studies: Exploring Creativity

Introduction to Academic and Digital Skills

Introduction to Professional Social Care

Introduction to Psychology

Introduction to Sociology

Semester 2

Creative Studies: The Arts and Social Care

Introduction to Developmental Psychology

Introduction to Disability

Introduction to Government and Politics

Principles and Practice of Social Care 1

Sociology and Contemporary Society

Semester 1

Practice Placement 1

Semester 2

Ethics for Social Care

Group Dynamics and Facilitation

Interculturalism and Cultural Competence

Irish Social Policy

Legal Studies 1

Principles and Practice of Social Care 2

Social Psychology

Semester 1

Abnormal Psychology

Child and Family Perspectives

Communication and Counselling Skills

Contemporary Issues in Social Policy

Legal Studies 2

Principles and Practice of Social Care 3

Research Methods

Semester 2

Practice Placement 2

Semester 1

Approaches to Working with Children

Contemporary Sociological Theory

Dissertation and Seminar

Equality and Diversity

Leadership and Management: Theory and Practice

Semester 2

Dissertation and Seminar

Approaches to Working with Families

Professional Development and Employability Skills

Quality Management in Social Care

Elective (Pick 1) - Creative Interventions (Music)

Elective (Pick 1) - Community Mental Health and Well-Being

Elective (Pick 1) - Youth and Community Studies

Elective (Pick 1) - Working with Older People

Module Information

Year 1

Semester 1

Communication and People Skills

It is essential that learners qualifying for the social care profession have acquired competency in effective communication with service users, co-workers, multi-disciplinary team members and families of service users. They need to be broadly aware of the nature of communication, along with the possible cultural and contextual pitfalls.

ASSESSMENT:
100% CA

Creative Studies: Exploring Creativity

The arts and creative processes have been shown to be effective ways of building capacity and confidence. This module will utilise lectures and workshops to give the learner the opportunity to have that experiential encounter with the creative process and gain an understanding of the issues involved in such engagement.

ASSESSMENT:
EXAM 60%
CA 40%

Introduction to Academic and Digital Skills

This module develops the key academic and digital skills needed for your programme. The practical aspects of this module enables learners to explore effective learning strategies and improve their ability to use the library catalogue and digital resources to find, evaluate and use information appropriately.

ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Introduction to Professional Social Care

The rationale for this module is that learners need to start the programme with an introduction to the basic principles and practices of professional social care. They need to learn about the history and evolution of the profession and the values which underpin it.


ASSESSMENT EXAM 70% / CA 30%

Introduction to Psychology

The inclusion of the psychology module on a Social Care programme provides learners with insight into the science of the mind, brain, and behaviour of self and others. This module introduces concepts related to language acquisition and development, memory, intelligence and individual differences.

ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Introduction to Sociology

By studying sociology, learners gain an insight into why social problems exist, and can make sense of them. Sociology offers some important social theories which provide explanations and critiques of human behaviour, social actions and interactions, as well as the institutions and structures of society.

ASSESSMENT
EXAM 60%
CA 40%

Semester 2

Creative Studies: The Arts and Social Care

Building on the experiential and theoretical understanding gained in Creative Studies: Exploring Creativity this module addresses the specifics of using the creative arts (drama, music, writing, movement and/or visual art) in social care settings and with marginalised groups and communities.

ASSESSMENT 100%

Introduction to Developmental Psychology

The inclusion of developmental psychology modules in a Social Studies programme provides learners with insight into lifespan development from conception to death. This module introduces concepts related to nature and nurture, early versus late experiences and continuity versus discontinuity when discussing factors of human development.


ASSESSMENT
EXAM 70%
CA 30%

Introduction to Disability Studies

The rationale for locating this module in Stage 1 is linked to experience in recent years whereby more than half of the learners have done placements within the disability sector (Gahan, 2017). It is important that learners are aware of disability-specific policies prior to placement in Stage 2. The module contributes to the overall programme by providing a theoretical and ethical base for social care work in the disability sector. It also addresses practice issues for workers in this sector.


ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Introduction to Irish Government and Politics

This module sets Social Care and Community Work in the wider context of the Public Administration system in Ireland. It explores connections between political ideology, policy and service provision and in doing so aims to enhance learners' sense of citizenship and develop their understanding of the structure and function of politics in Ireland.


ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Principles and Practices of Social Care 1

This module builds on the material covered in Introduction to Professional Social Care. The module is focused more specifically on preparing learners for practice placement.


ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Sociology and Contemporary Society

This module builds on the macro level of sociology taught in the previous semester by examining the more micro level sociological areas such as social institutions, social stratification, social change and the environment. Learners should develop the ability to see the link between the macro level aspects of society and the micro level.


ASSESSMENT
EXAM 60%
CA 40%

Year 2

Semester 1

Practice Placement and Portfolio 1

This module is a key component of the programme in that it will allow learners to experience professional working situations in a supported learning environment. Learners will develop professional social care skills, reflect and draw on theoretical knowledge and academic coursework and apply the learning to practice. Engaging in supervision with a qualified supervisor will facilitate critical reflective practice. Learners are expected to work within the framework of the Health and Care Professions Council (CORU) Standards of Proficiency and to the standards of the Irish Association of Social Care Educations (IASCE) Code of Ethics.


ASSESSMENT 100%

Semester 2

Introduction to Disability Studies

The module contributes to the overall programme by providing a theoretical and ethical base for social care work in the disability sector. It also addresses practice issues for workers in this sector.


ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Group Dynamics and Facilitation

An understanding of and capacity to facilitate group work is important for the community work profession and for the social care professional and group has its own challenges. This module is intended to introduce learners to the skills and knowledge needed for group work.


ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Interculturalism and Communication

Interculturalism is essentially about interaction, understanding and respect. As learners preparing to work with individuals and communities in an increasingly diverse society, the intention is that they will become more knowledgeable and aware of cultural diversity, cultural imperialism and cultural bias in a bid to increase tolerance, social justice and equality.


ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Irish Social Policy

This module encourages learners to develop a knowledge base of the services that they will utilise in their professional practice. It will enable learners to identify the origins of policy and policy choices and how they connect with the range of social services that people can access in Ireland. It promotes an awareness of the policy challenges that drive changes for the improvement of social services into the future.


ASSESSMENT
EXAM 60%
CA 40%

Legal Studies 1 Principles and Practices of Social Care 2

This module aims to build on the importance of self in care work as identified on placement. It will enable the learner to evaluate the effect of their own characteristics, values and practice during interactions with service users and be able to critically reflect on this to improve practice.


ASSESSMENT
EXAM 70%
CA 30%

Social Psychology

The rationale of this module in the programme is to present the learner with an overview of the key themes and perspectives in social psychology, which will equip learners to effectively work with a variety of vulnerable groups. Following an overview of the historical roots of this subject, learners are introduced to a wide range of topics such as social influence, aggression, self and identity, attitudes, prejudice, and social cognition.


ASSESSMENT
EXAM 70%
CA 30%

Year 3

Semester 1

Abnormal and Clinical Psychology

The rationale for this module is to present the learner with an in-depth knowledge of the conceptual models of mental health problems and their treatment. Learners will be introduced to eleven specific disorders with each of these considered from psychological, social and biological perspectives.


ASSESSMENT
EXAM 70%
CA 30%

Disability Studies

The module contributes to the overall programme by providing a theoretical and ethical base for social care work in the disability sector. It also addresses practice issues for workers in this sector.


ASSESSMENT
ESSAY 60%
CA 40%

Communication and Counselling Skills

This module will prepare learners for professional practice in social care settings. Learners will expand their fluency and competency across a spectrum of counselling and psychotherapy theories specific to understanding human behaviours. These theories will help learners to achieve a greater sense of self awareness, integral to working with individuals in an ethical, client centred, and empowering manner.

ASSESSMENT
EXAM 60%
CA 40%

Contemporary Issues in Irish Social Policy

The module facilitates learners in developing critical thinking about the policy context in which social care work takes place, and promotes learner engagement with contemporary social issues that frame social policy. It will also promote and encourage social engagement. Connections will be made with prior learning in the Irish Social Policy module completed in Stage 2.

ASSESSMENT
EXAM 60%
CA 40%

Legal Studies 2 Principles and Practices of Social Care 3

This module, together with P&P 1 and 2, is closely linked with Practice Placement in the professional development of the learner. The Programme Learning Outcomes are informed by the Standards of Proficiency for Social Care Workers - CORU 2017.

ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Research Methods

This module prepares social care learners to think in terms of evidence-based practice by involving them in relevant, contemporary approaches to research, and by providing them with the tools to evaluate their own practice. Research is useful in determining the needs of an individual, group or community, and also contributes greatly to overall best-practice. The module also prepares learners to undertake dissertations in Stage 4.

ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Semester 2

Practice Placement and Portfolio 2

This module is a key component in the achievement of the IPLOs (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7) in that it will facilitate progressive development of knowledge and skills through a second structured placement within a social care setting. Learners will refine, expand and consolidate the competency achieved in Placement 1. Learners will, under supervision, implement a planned activity to achieve agreed outcomes with a service user or a group of service users.

ASSESSMENT 100%

Year 4

Semester 1

Approaches to Working with Children

This module offers learners the opportunity to focus in greater depth on understanding and working with children and families. In keeping with the Tusla Framework for Service Delivery (2015), Professional Social Care Workers will, in the future, be required to work closely with Child Protection Teams and will be involved in providing support for children and families with increasingly complex needs.


ASSESSMENT
EXAM 60%
CA 40%

Dissertation and Seminar

Learners complete an 8,000-10,000 word dissertation.
This promotes learners' skills in the following; identify a research topic of their own choice in social care and related fields; locate it within the relevant literature; develop an appropriate ethically sound methodological approach; and to analyse empirical data in their chosen dissertation topic.

ASSESSMENT
DISSERTATION 80%
CA 20%

Leadership and Management: Theory and Practice

This module develops knowledge of theory, practice and Principles for the effective management of social care professionals. For new graduates, entering the professional workplace can be demanding at both a practice and organisational level. This module offers learners the opportunity to develop an understanding of how organisations work and how management and leadership impacts on the workplace.

ASSESSMENT

EXAM 70%
CA 30%

Equality & Diversity

The module will provide learners with knowledge of equality and diversity issues and will examine empowerment, equality and participation as prerequisites for effective Social Care work.

ASSESSMENT

CA 100%

Contemporary Sociological Theory

Learners are facilitated to engage with contemporary sociological theory and to demonstrate the relevance of these theories to understanding the nature of contemporary society.

ASSESSMENT

EXAM 60%
CA 40%

Electives (Choose 1)

Working with older people

This module aims to develop skills, knowledge and information in relation to ageing in society. It provides a policy context for services that respond to the health and social care needs of older people.

ASSESSMENT

EXAM 70%
CA 30%

Creative Interventions (Music)

This module introduces learners to advanced creativity theory and familiarisation of a variety of creative intervention strategies. The module builds on current academic scholarship that regards social care work as multi-modal and client-focused, and recognises creativity as an effective agent in enhancing therapeutic strategies.

ASSESSMENT

EXAM 60%
CA 40%

Semester 2

Approaches to Working with Families

The aim of this module is to provide learners with a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding and analysing the needs of families. Also, learners should begin to develop skills in working with parents, as well as in working directly with children.

ASSESSMENT
EXAM 70%
CA 30%

Dissertation and Seminar

Learners complete an 8,000-10,000 word dissertation.
This promotes learners' skills in the following; identify a research topic of their own choice in social care and related fields; locate it within the relevant literature; develop an appropriate ethically sound methodological approach; and to analyse empirical data in their chosen dissertation topic.

ASSESSMENT
DISSERTATION 80%
CA 20%

Quality Management in Social Care

This module develops the capacity of the learner to think critically, analyse, and solve problems in the development and management of the provision of social care.
The aim of this module is to prepare learners for professional work in the context of quality assurance and management.

ASSESSMENT

CA 100%

Professional Development and Employability Skills

The module aims to engage learners in a process of reflective learning and skills development that will enable them to make, and follow through on, well informed professional care choices. By focusing on developing an employability skillset and enhancing their professional qualification with tailored training and professional development achievements, learners will be more on the job ready, self-aware and open to engaging in lifelong learning.

ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Electives (Choose 1)

Youth and Community Studies

The aims of this module are to provide the learners with the theoretical and practical skills required to guide the practice of Youth and Community work. This in turn will enable them to become reflective, efficient and competent practitioners.

ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Community Mental-Health and Well-Being

The Health Promotion Strategic Framework (HSE, 2012) acknowledges the community as one of the key settings for promoting positive mental health and well-being. It is imperative as learners preparing to work with vulnerable people in various settings, that they have an awareness of the challenges and also be aware of the tools, strategies and supports available to vulnerable communities

ASSESSMENT
CA 100%

Careers

The BA in Applied Social Studies (Professional Social Care) equips students with the knowledge and skills for work in a variety of social care contexts. Both the private sector and government have shown high levels of demand for graduates trained in applied social care. With the intorduction of the CORU guidelines, there will be a greater need for social care practitioners to be qualified to Level 7. Graduates may take up employment by the state or private sector and in community-based organisations and work with various client groups such as:

  • Children in care
  • People with disabilities
  • Minority groups
  • Addiction and homeless services
  • Family support

With the addition of the BA (Honours) in Applied Social Studies (Professional Social Care) Level 8, graduates may work in management positions in these areas.

Stories - Graduate Profiles

800

Amy Fitzgerald

Domestic Violence Support Worker, Teach Tearmainn Women's Refuge

Why Social Care?

I had been made redundant in 2010, and following a period of short-term jobs, I realised that I would have to re-train in order to secure a career. As I was unsure about how to do this, I met with the Adult Guidance Service in Kilkenny.  Through meeting with them I was able to identify the areas of my previous work that I enjoyed and identify the areas I would like to increase my involvement with.  I realised that I really wanted to work in an area where I could feel that I was “giving something back”.  The vast choices of career within Social Care really appealed to me!

 

Why did you choose Carlow College over other institutions?

It was one of the colleges recommended to me by the Adult Guidance Service. I liked that it was a small college that specialises in Social Care. Knowing that I would have increased support from lecturers appealed to me, as did the relatively high volume of mature students.

 

How would you describe Carlow College? What are the benefits of attending a smaller third level institution?

 If you want to learn, and you want to work hard, the lecturers are there to ensure that you meet your potential!  I felt that I was guided and encouraged at every step of my college journey. As I was entering college as a mature student, my priorities were perhaps slightly different for those in their late teens and twenties, so the fact that it was smaller was an advantage to me.  I liked that the lecturers knew my name!

 

What did you enjoy most about the programme?

Weirdly, I loved writing my dissertation!  However, I do acknowledge that I would not have found it enjoyable if I had not been taught the skills and discipline to complete it. The placements are incredibly beneficial, even just for highlighting what areas you don’t want to go into.

 

Why should people pursue a degree in Social Care?

Social Care is an ideal career if you have an interest in providing support to people in disadvantaged situations.  A social care degree will challenge you and in turn you will learn a lot about yourself. It is a hugely interesting programme that offers insights into an array of social topics including how politics and policy shape our society.  Anyone who is interested in challenging themselves.  Anyone who has an interest in trying to improve society, even on a small scale.  Anyone who has an interest in learning about themselves!

 

What was the highlight of your time at Carlow College?

It has to be being awarded the award for academic achievement at graduation!  I have never felt prouder of myself.

 

What advice would you offer to people considering to study at Carlow College?

Do it and make the most of it!  Only when leaving college and supporting students from other institutions did I truly recognise the calibre of lecturers at Carlow College.  The work that we did, and the way that we were taught is, in my opinion, leagues ahead of some other colleges.  It’s small but perfectly formed!

 

What are you doing now?

I am a Domestic Violence Support Worker at Teach Tearmainn Women’s Refuge. I provide support to women experiencing domestic abuse.  This includes providing one-to-one support, court accompaniment, advocacy, outreach and everything beyond and in between!

 

What would a typical day look like for you?

I work on an appointment basis for clients who are not resident in refuge.  I also meet my refuge clients on a daily basis.  Other than that, there is no typical day!  Each day brings new challenges.  Every day is busy.

Have you worked on any exciting projects since you began working?

I developed and facilitated the training programme around domestic violence for the staff of Focus Ireland whilst working at the refuge in Waterford. This focused on the barriers and issues faced by women who are homeless due to domestic violence. The MEND Programme has just launched in Kildare, and I have been asked to provide the partner support piece.

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