What is Social Studies?
The B.S.S. 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. B.S.S. degree 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?
- Discovering issues in the social justice area?
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 accredited 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 wide 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, 3-4 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 (2-3 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 (see below for further details).
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.
Click here for further information on modules/subject.
Placements in Ireland
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 approximately 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
Overseas placements are possible (but not obligatory) within the course structure for those who are interested in experience in another country (e.g. the UK, North America, Australia).
Study Social Studies (Social Work) at Trinity College Dublin
This is a presentation by Dr. Susan Flynn giving an outline of the Social Studies (Social Work) course at Trinity College Dublin.
CAO InformationCAO Points 484 (2021) CAO Code TR084
Number of Places45 Places
See health screening.
Students will be required to undergo Garda vetting.
On successful completion of this programme, students will have acquired and demonstrated the necessary knowledge, skills and ethical base for professional social work and will have satisfied the requirements for an honours social science degree. Graduates will also be eligible to apply for registration as professional social workers with CORU.
Click here for a full list of undergraduate fees.
To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below
Advanced Entry Applications
Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.
What our current students say
To those looking for a comprehensive, challenging, diverse and relevant degree, this may be the one for you. The small class sizes allow for a more personable experience. They have given me the opportunity to build good working relationships with my course-mates and professors, providing a solid support network throughout the four years. The reputable and professional nature of the degree provides many career opportunities, often stemming from the 4 compulsory placements. Placements also allow for travel opportunities. For my first placement I worked at a summer camp with the disadvantaged youth of New York City in upstate New York. This was an incredible experience and a great introduction to social work practice.
What our graduates say
The BSS 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 City studying in one of the most prestigious colleges in the world is an opportunity not every student gets to experience. The BSS degree has a wide variety of modules in years 1 and 2, and focuses very much on the core social work modules in years 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 BSS degree leaves you in a very strong position to find the social work job of your dreams. I would highly recommend the BSS degree at Trinity College Dublin.