A smooth transition? Students’ experiences of credit transfer into a social work degree in Scotland

Gordon, Jean; Miller, Christina; Dumbleton, Sue; Kelly, Timothy B. and Aldgate, Jane (2010). A smooth transition? Students’ experiences of credit transfer into a social work degree in Scotland. Social Work Education, 30(1) pp. 55–69.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02615471003682594


From April 2004 until March 2008 a project examining the ways in which the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework could be embedded in the social services sector was carried out by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). As part of this project, a pilot study examining credit transfer to a degree in social work was commissioned. Universities are developing different arrangements for the development of advanced entry to the degree programme either through credit transfer from courses such as the HNC in Social Care, SVQ3 or through informal experiential learning. This pilot study explored students’ preparedness for a social work honours degree course when they were admitted to the programme with advanced entry. This group was compared with those completing the full programme. The study also considered what supports these students might need and makes some recommendations about where such supports might be located. It found that, although students entered with a range of qualifications, there were more similarities than differences in their experiences of the programme. While students valued the study skills they had acquired from achieving their previous qualifications, they also thought that life and work experience had been crucial in preparing them for further study. Students also had similar views about the supports they needed to succeed. These included knowledgeable and sympathetic tutors, good quality materials and support from family and friends.

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