Award Type and NFQ level : TAUGHT MASTERS (9)

CAO/PAC code : MHB62

CAO Points :

Closing Date : 11 February 2024

View FETAC details

The Master of Social Science (Social Work) (MSocSc Social Work) is a full time two year programme for suitable graduates who want to pursue a career in social work. The programme combines rigorous academic education with supervised field work practice towards the aim of developing competent, ethical and reflective social work practitioners who are committed to the promotion of human rights and social justice in social work.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this programme will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the necessary knowledge, skills and values to practise independently as professional social workers;
  • Engage in ethically informed social work practice, upholding principles of social justice, human rights and anti-oppressive practice;
  • Critically evaluate  the political, social, economic and technological issues encountered by social workers in their work and be competent to deliver creative responses to these issues;
  • Demonstrate an integrated understanding and proficiency in the core domains specified by the Social Work Registration Board, namely: professional autonomy and accountability, interpersonal and professional relationships, effective communication, personal and professional development, provision of quality services, knowledge, understanding and skills.


Why Study Social Work at Maynooth University?

The Department of Applied Social Studies (DAPPSS) at Maynooth University is the longest established provider of professional education and training in youth work and community work in the Republic of Ireland. Since 1981, building on a mission “to contribute to human rights, social justice and equality nationally and internationally”, it has earned an unrivalled reputation for teaching, research and public contributions in these areas (which, like social work, require external professional accreditation), as well as in the academic discipline of social policy.

The introduction of social work complements the Department’s existing suite of programmes in the social professions.

The MSocSc Social Work programme shares a focus on social justice and human rights with other programmes in the Department of Applied Social Studies (the MSocSc Community and Youth Work and the MSocSc Rights and Social Policy) and like them will include classroom and field visit opportunities to learn about and meet practitioners at the forefront of human rights activity both in Ireland and internationally. For example, in the current academic year, postgraduate students registered on courses in the DAPPSS have had the opportunity to visit national and international justice and rights institutions, including the United Nations in Geneva.

All modules on the MSocSc Social Work are led by experienced academics and social work practitioners with a focus on small group teaching and experiential learning.

Fieldwork placements will take place in each of the two academic years and there will be a range of placements available both in Ireland and internationally. The programme team will work with each individual student to identify with them the most appropriate placements available in each of the two years.   

CORU Programme Approval

Social work qualifications in the Republic of Ireland are approved by the Health and Social Care Professionals Council, CORU

Graduation from an approved programme is one of the entry criteria for application to join the Social Workers Register.

The Master of Social Science (Social Work) programme from Maynooth University was granted programme approval in 2021 as one of the qualifications recognised for entry to the Social Workers Register. In order to become approved the programme must demonstrate that it meets the Social Workers Registration Board's Criteria for Education and Training Programmes and the Standards of Proficiency for the profession.

Application for entry to the MSocSc Social Work programme is open to graduates who can demonstrate that they possess the following:

  1. A minimum Second Class Honours (2H2) primary degree (NFQ Level 8) in social science or equivalent, with social policy as a major component. Graduates with a Level 8 degree in other disciplines who have completed a relevant conversion programme e.g. Higher Diploma in Social Policy may also apply. A Higher Diploma in Social Policy is offered by Maynooth University PAC Code MHB 60/61
  2. A minimum of 420 hours of relevant and verified social work/social service experience, paid or voluntary, by the time they commence the programme
  3. Minimum English language requirements:

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study. For information about English language tests accepted and required scores, please see here. The requirements specified are applicable for both EU and International applicants.

Maynooth University's TOEFL code is 8850

  1. Suitability and readiness for entry to the social work degree programme. Applicants will be required to provide a minimum of two references including an academic reference and a practice experience-related reference which will be checked during the selection phase. In addition, admission to the programme will involve a routine police vetting procedure for all students. All students registered on the MSocSc Social Work will be required to confirm that they are adequately vaccinated before commencing field work placements. If any applicant has a query about any of these suitability checks, please contact Dr Brian Melaugh at
Applied Social Studies - Seamus Taylor - Maynooth University

Head of Department

Department of Applied Social Studies

Department of ALL Institute

The MSocSc Social Work programme is two years full-time and combines academic learning with fieldwork education and training. The programme reflects CORU Standards of Proficiency for Social Work Education.

Outlined modules are subject to change as the curriculum is revised and reviewed annually. Please check periodically for updates.

Course Duration: 2 years

Social workers are employed in a range of settings including child welfare and protection, criminal justice, mental health, addiction and health-related social work. The Department of Applied Social Studies offers opportunities for postgraduate study at doctoral level including the PhD - PAC code MHB02 (FT), MHB03 (PT) - and Doctor of Social Science (DSocSc) –PAC Code MHB06.

Information on social work at an Irish and international level can be gained by accessing the following:


Irish Association of Social Workers -

International Federation of Social Workers-

The application process for the MSocSc Social Work opens in November and closes on 1st  February 2023. Application is submitted online through the Postgraduate Applicants Centre –PAC- PAC Code MHB62.  

All applications will be considered by the MSocSc Social Work team and suitable applicants will be shortlisted for interview.

The following are required before an applicant can be considered for interview.

All applicants must submit:

(a) a personal statement outlining suitability for undertaking social work education and training;

(b) two references (one work-related and one academic);

(c) evidence of 420 hours of verified social work/social service work experience (candidates with less than 420 hours’ experience at the time of application must provide details as to how the shortfall will be addressed before the commencement of the programme).Please note placement hours can account for 50% of the 420 hours requirement. 

In addition to items (a) to (c) above, applicants who are not Maynooth University graduates must submit:             

(d) copy of their birth certificate or valid passport;

(e) certified copy of official transcripts of degree results.

In addition to items (a) to (e) above, non-EU students must:

(f) fulfil the PAC criteria for international applicants.


Tusla – Child and Family Agency: Sponsorship Programme 2024

Tusla has announced a new sponsorship programme for students undertaking a Masters in Social Work course.

Success applicants to our Maynooth University MSocSc (Social Work) course 2024, are eligible to apply to Tusla for sponsorship.

Tusla, as part of it’s commitment to the provision of sponsorship to the Student will pay €5,000 for each of the two academic years of the course (conditions apply).

For more information on the Tusla Social Work Sponsorship Programme 2024 and how to apply, please follow the link -  Tusla Social Work Sponsorship Programme 2024


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