Postgraduate Prospectus: Health and Social Care


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Quality Ratings and Research Traditions

The School of Health and Social Care has an established reputation for providing high quality education. Evidence of this was demonstrated when the health and nursing team was awarded a maximum score of 24, representing excellence in all assessed areas, in its latest Teaching Quality Assessment.

Research is perceived as a priority and evolving partnerships with local health care trusts, social services departments, schools and colleges will guarantee growth and development.

Distinctive Features

An over-riding feature of the School is its focus upon the development and well -being of individuals within the community. This is reflected in studies in health and nursing, social work, counselling and careers. The integration of the academic within the real world of human experience is exemplified by professional practice elements in the majority of programmes, a number of which attract both professional and academic awards.

Facilities and Study Environment

The School is located on the Bulmershe Court site and provides a supportive learning environment. The University has a well-equipped IT centre and a library to support postgraduate study. Access to a number of professional postgraduate libraries is also available. There is a fast developing social and research culture that provides support of both an academic and personal nature.

Funding Opportunities

Funding is available from a number of sources, including the NHS Strategic Health Authority via the Health Care Trusts for health-focused programmes. The Thames Valley PQ Consortium provides Bursaries for the MA Advanced Social Work and the MA in Therapeutic Child Care.

There are a limited number of awards available for the PG Diploma in Careers Guidance.

Research Degrees

Supervision for research degrees (MPhil or PhD) is available in all the main areas of research within the School. The University has a formal code of practice for research students, which ensures that adequate supervision and appropriate training are provided.

Student progress is assessed in line with the University code. If you would like further information on a particular area of research please contact the relevant person.

Further Professional Studies
Management of Minor Illnesses
Postgraduate Certificate in Child Care Social Work

These study programmes offer nurses specific professional development opportunities. Further Professional Studies credits awarded at Masters level may be transferred to the MA/PGDip Health Care Leadership and Practice.

Research Degrees

PhD/MPhil by Research

The School has a number of active research staff. The main areas of research include:

Careers Education and Guidance

Dr Bill Gothard, Dr Phil Mignot

Drug and Alcohol Misuse; Public Health and Health Promotion

Professor Jan Keene

Health and Social Care of the Elderly and Palliative Care

Professor Christina Victor, Dr David Oliver, Dr Sally Richards, Ann Quinn

Learning Disabilities

John Turnbull, Paul Williams

Mentally Disordered Offenders

Doug Badger, Paul Williams

Non-Medical Prescribing & Medicine Management

Dr Molly Courtenay

Play Therapy; Therapeutic Work in Family Centres

Dr Linnet McMahon, Dr Steve Farnfield

Psycho-dynamic Therapy; Work with Suicidal Patients; Psychosomatic Health

Barbara Richards

Social Inclusion

Dr Nick Ashwell, Dr Phil Mignot, Horace Lashley

Taught Programmes

MA Therapeutic Child Care

Duration: Part-time 24 months (1 day per week in term time)

This unique, advanced multidisciplinary programme is based in psycho-dynamic thinking and the therapeutic community approach. There is an emphasis on the connection between personal, professional and academic learning as well as themes of empowerment and anti-oppressive practice. It includes work on a range of methods in therapeutic child care, including milieu therapy and opportunity-led work in daily living, play therapy, focused work, group work, as well as on management and ethical issues. The programme aims to match the mode of training to the mode of practice; thus there is an emphasis on working and deciding together as a group of staff and students in all aspects of the programme including management and decision making.

The Peper Harow Foundation, The Charterhouse Group of Therapeutic Communities, The Mulberry Bush School and the Planned Environment Therapy Trust actively support the programme. It is approved by the General social Care Council for the Advanced Award in Social Work.

Programme Content: In Year 1, modules will include: Advanced Child Care Practice 1; Philosophical and Ethical Issues; a Professional Workshop; Observing and Understanding Organisational Life; and a weekly Experiential Group.

In Year 2, you will study: Advanced Child Care Practice 2; Management Issues in Therapeutic Child Care; Research in Therapeutic Child Care, with a Dissertation Workshop.

Fact File

Entry Requirements: You should have experience working with emotionally troubled children and young people, and their families. You should also have either a relevant professional qualification (e.g. social work, teaching, nursing, play therapy) or a degree, or show evidence of ability to work at an advanced academic level.


contact Linnet McMahon

MA/PGDip Advanced Social Work Studies

Duration: Full-time 12 months
Part time flexible programme (max 5 years)

This programme is designed for qualified social workers, normally with a minimum of two years experience, and for other experienced social care workers. It aims to develop research minded students and to enable shared learning alongside other health and social care professionals.

The programme has been credit-rated by the Thames Valley Post- Qualifying Consortium for the full Advanced Award in Social Work so it is also possible for qualified social workers to gain a professional qualification alongside the academic award of an MA.

Programme Content: This is a modular programme with two compulsory modules and offering a choice for the remaining four modules. It is possible to develop pathways that have a specific focus, e.g. Children; Forensic Social Work; Vulnerable Adults; Social Policy, etc.

Fact File

Entry Requirements: A first degree or equivalent professional qualification (e.g. CQSW, CSS, DipSW); those without a degree but who can demonstrate their ability to work at postgraduate level may be offered a place.


contact Anne Quinn

MA/PGDip Careers Guidance

Duration: Diploma stage 1 year, full-time or 2 years part-time
Dissertation stage 1 year, part-time (within 3 years of gaining Diploma)

This programme provides an education and training programme to prepare you for work as a guidance practitioner within the statutory sector of guidance provision (i.e. the Connexions Service), and with organisations and agencies such as University Careers Services and adult guidance networks. A further aim is to promote careers guidance as a research based profession.

Programme Content: Six of the following modules must be completed prior to the dissertation phase. They include: Guidance Theory and Practice 1 (One-to-one Interactions); Guidance Theory and Practice 2 (Working with Groups); The Opportunity Structure; The Management and Delivery of Guidance; Education and Careers Education; Career Development and Guidance Theory; and Supporting Young People.

Route to Professional Qualification
The curriculum and assessment procedures of the PGDip are designed to take fully into account the learning outcomes and assessment requirements of the Qualification in Careers Guidance (QCG).

Fact File

Entry Requirements: Applicants will normally have a first degree. Applications from candidates who have relevant experience and can demonstrate ability to study at the appropriate level will be considered.

MA/PGDip Counselling

Duration: Part-time 3 years: Part 1- two years training to become a clinical practitioner; Part 2 - one year focusing upon research in counselling practice and associated issues.

This is a part-time programme that prepares you to work formally as counsellors, whether in designated counselling posts or within related fields of work. Part 1 of the programme is a British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Accredited Course. The counselling training aspects of the programme are based upon a psycho-dynamic theory of counselling. In addition to theoretical and clinical practice, the programme uses experiential techniques to promote an examination of the group processes operating within the programme. There are also opportunities to explore other theories of counselling.

Personal development is an integral part of the learning process. Students are required to be in psychodynamic therapy throughout Years 1 and 2.

Programme Content: Part 1 of the programme includes: The Counselling Relationship; Clinical Practice; Theory - Human Development; Theory - Counselling Concepts; Theory - Applications; and Personal Development.
Part 2 consists of a research methods course and a research project leading to a research dissertation.

Fact File

Entry Requirements: The programme is open to applicants who:

Applicants who have a Diploma in Counselling, awarded by a recognised academic or training organisation, may apply to undertake Part 2 only to obtain the MA Counselling.

MA/PGDip Education (Health and Social Care)

Duration: Full-time 12 months
Part-time 24 months

Our Education in Health and Social Care programme allows you to choose between three levels of qualification as well as to opt for the mode of study most appropriate to your needs and circumstances. Opportunities for professionals include: MA study; PGDiploma study, or short course study. Any one or all of these elements can be taken as a step towards the full MA qualification.

The MA in Education (Health and Social Care) programme is available to all health and social care professionals and aims to develop informed, critical and effective practice educators/lecturers in health and social care. It is ENB validated and provides you with a teaching qualification in health and social care. For nurses, midwives and health visitors, this is recordable with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) register. The programme structure is modular and flexible and offers the following opportunities.

PGDiploma, MA or short course?
Firstly, you can opt to take the PgDiploma in Education consisting of six modules, five taught plus one consisting of teaching practice and compilation of a portfolio. Nurses will also be awarded a Practice Educator/Lecturer qualification on successful completion. This may be taken either full time over one academic year or part time over two years. Following successful completion of the PG Dip, you can 'top up' your studies by taking the Dissertation Phase leading to the full MA qualification. For the full MA award, you will take six modules and the dissertation.

Finally, you can take anoy of the taught modules as a stand alone module. There is also the option to undertake Teaching and Assessing in Clinical Practice, a distance learning module which will provide you with the ENB validated mentorship programme qualification.

Programme Content: Modules consist of: Assessment and Evaluation, Curriculum Planning and Application, research Methods, methods and Styles of Teaching, Adult Learning and Teaching Practice.

Fact File

Entry Requirements: Evidence of registration on a professional register and usually a first degree in your own professional discipline are required.

MA/PGDip Health Care Leadership and Practice

Duration: Full-time 12 months
Part-time Flexible (max 5 years)
All modules may be taken stand-alone as a short course.

This programme offers experienced health care professionals a stimulating programme, designed with maximum flexibility. The content addresses a wide range of health care and associated themes that are all relevant to current health care provision. The multi-professional approach provides an ideal context in which to develop evaluative and leadership skills.

Programme Content: Modules include: Leadership in Health Care Practice; Public Health; Ethical Issues in Health and Social Care; Policy and Practice in Health Care Trusts; Research Methods; and Legal Rights and Responsibilities in Health Care.

Fact File

Entry Requirements: Nurses, Doctors and professionals supplementary to medicine working in either the community or hospital. Candidates must hold registerable or recordable qualifications and normally have three years post qualifying experience. You should also demonstrate evidence of being able to work at postgraduate diploma level.


contactDr Molly Courtenay

MA/PGDip Primary Care

Duration: Full-time 11 months
Part-time available

The PGDip is of 11 months duration and is normally undertaken as a full-time programme. It is ENB validated and consists of 50% theory and 50% practice.

Programme Content: The programme offers specialist options in:

Following successful completion, you will spend one year consolidating your practice and identifying the area of research that will provide the focus for the dissertation element of the MA award. This will be undertaken over 12 calendar months on a part-time basis.

The programme aims to develop informed, critical and effective community nursing specialists. Further, it will promote the continuing personal and professional development of nurses through the acquisition of higher level skills and knowledge, and the cultivation of the leadership qualities needed to provide quality care of individuals, families and communities.

This may be obtained from Primary Health Care Trusts, to whom direct application should be made at the same time as applying to the University.

Fact File

Entry Requirements: Students will be registered nurses with at least two years practice experience and registration at first level on the nursing register appropriate to the chosen specialist option. You should also have a first degree in nursing or a related discipline.

Flexible Programmes

PGDip/MA Careers Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education - Distance Learning

Distance learning, part-time modular programme to be completed within five years

This programme is intended for experienced careers staff working with students contemplating higher education, in higher education or with graduates. It aims to help you complete the series of qualifications offered by AGCAS and the University of Reading. It will also enable you to undertake a substantial piece of research by offering Research Methods training by distance learning as well as individual supervision during the dissertation phase of the programme.

The structure of the MA will vary and depend upon your particular qualifications and research preference.

contact Bill Gothard

PG Certificate Child Care Social Work - Further Professional Studies

A part-time, 1-year programme that includes an integrated practice module

This programme provides a qualification for child care social workers from residential, field or day care settings. To be eligible to register for the award, you must be working with children or young people, hold a CSS, CQSW or a DipSW, and hold Part 1 of the Post Qualifying Award in Social Work through work with children and young people.

On successful completion, you will receive the academic award of Postgraduate Certificate (60 FPS credits). Your credits may be transferred to the MA/PGDip in Advanced Social Work programme.

contact Carol Richardson
tel +44 (0) 118 378 6813

MA/PGDip Health & Social Care - Flexible Modular Masters Programme

A new modular Masters programme will commence in October 2006, subject to validation. It is a flexible course designed to meet continuing professional development needs of doctors, nurses and professions allied to health. The focus will be on critical evaluation and research skills.

There are four core modules:

There are two optional modules from:
. These six modules form the postgraduate diploma and the completion of a dissertation, which may be clinically focused, is required for the Master of Arts award.

contact Ann Quinni
tel +44 (0) 118 378 5843

Introduction to Psychodynamic Counselling - Theory and Practice - Short Course

Starting in October 2004 and taking place on a Wednesday morning, this 20 - week, part-time course offers a varied programme aimed at introducing the student to the principles of psychodynamic theory and practice. It would be an ideal course for those wishing to learn new skills and to understand more about human development and the ways in which people relate to themselves and others. It would also provide an excellent ground for anyone intending to pursue a higher level counselling training.

For further information and an application form, please contact:

The Course Secretary, The University of Reading, School of Health and Social Care, Bulmershe Court, Earley, Reading RG6 1HY.
Tel 0118 378 8848

Management of Minor Illnesses - Further Professional Studies

Part-time (Sept-March) including 10 study days and 100 hours of clinical practice

This programme offers experienced nurses with first level NMC registration, the skills to diagnose and manage the care for patients who present with minor illnesses. This could include general practice nurses, nurses working in NHS ‘Walk-in’ Centres, district nurses, health visitors or school nurses.
On successful completion, you will receive the academic award of Certificate in Further Professional Studies (40 FPS credits). Your credits may be transferred to the MA/PGDip in Healthcare Leadership and Practice.

contact Sue Topper
tel +44 (0)118 378 8853

Postgraduate Enquiries

Research degrees:

contact Professor Jan Keene

Taught programmes:

Health and Nursing
contact Anne Smith

Social and Community Care
contact Ann Quinn

Careers Guidance
contact Dr Phil Mignot

contact Barbara Richards

Page last updated June 14, 2005