Social Studies

B.S.S. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
4 Years Full-Time
45 Places
CAO Points 462 (2023)
CAO Code TR084


What is Social Studies?

Social Studies 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. 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…

  • Helping others?
  • Communicating with people and listening to them?
  • Learning to cope with stressful situations?

    Social Studies: The course for you?

    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.

    Social Studies at Trinity

    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 approved 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.

    Graduate skills and career opportunities

    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.

    Your degree and what you’ll study

    This course introduces you to a 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 and second years

    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, three to four 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 (around two 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.

    In second year, core subjects are Social Work Theory and Practice, Law for Social Workers, Social Policy, Psychology and Social Research. 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 years

    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.

    Practice placements are an integral part of the programme. 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 around 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.

    Click here for further information on modules/subject.

    Study abroad

    Overseas placements are possible (but not obligatory) within the course structure for those who are interested in experience in another country (such as the UK, Canada, and Australia). Further information on student exchanges can be found at: study/study-abroad/outbound/options

    Study Social Studies (Social Work) at Trinity

    This is a presentation by Dr. Susan Flynn giving an outline of the Social Studies (Social Work) course at Trinity College Dublin.

    Course Details


    B.S.S. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)

    CAO Information

    CAO Points 462 (2023) CAO Code TR084

    Number of Places

    45 Places
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    Admission Requirements

    Students will be required to pass Trinity's health screening requirements. To learn more, visit:

    Students will be required to undergo Garda Vetting, for further details see:

    On successful completion of this programme, graduates will also be eligible to apply for registration as professional social workers with CORU. To learn more about the code of conduct and ethics for social workers, consult:

    Course Fees

    Click here for a full list of undergraduate fees.


    To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

    EU Applicants

    Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO.

      Non-EU Applicants

      Advanced Entry Applications

      Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.

        Get in Touch


        Register Your Interest

        Register your interest in studying at Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

        Register Your Interest

        A passion for improving people's wellbeing alongside personal characteristics such as being energetic and talkative are the main reasons I chose to study social work at Trinity.

        Ronan Freeney

        Current student

        The degree was a fantastic experience for me from a professional and personal level. From an academic perspective, four years spent in the heart of Dublin studying in one of the most prestigious colleges in the world is an opportunity not every student gets to experience. The degree has a wide variety of modules in the first and second years, and while the focus is very much on the core social work modules in Yes 3 and 4. Expert guidance and support is provided from lecturers, the Social Work department, college tutors and placement tutors throughout your four years at Trinity. On completion, the degree leaves you in a very strong position to find the social work job of your dreams.

        Ciaran Carroll