Social work, which can be defined as community-based response to social need, is a vital area for social science, especially in the light of fundamental ‘demand side’ shifts (e.g. age profile and other demographic changes) and ‘supply side’ re-conceptualisations (e.g. in regulation and provision). This pathway offers doctoral training with an emphasis on quantitative and outcome-focused research, which is particularly needed in the UK.
At Cardiff we have one of the largest groups of social work/social care doctoral students of any UK university and the School of Social Sciences is one of the largest such schools in the UK and a recognised centre of research excellence, scoring in the top three within the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. The School provides a diverse and challenging intellectual environment in which disciplines and fields of study benefit from continued exchange and interaction. Interdisciplinary combinations across a variety of funded projects, research centres and study groups are a hallmark of the School, as are impact and innovation.
The School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University has a vibrant research culture, and research students are a vital part of it. The School has a strong track record of international, peer-reviewed publication; it hosts several major disciplinary and methods-focused social science journals. Students on the Social Work and Social Care pathway routinely engage with staff and students from other disciplines and engage with the wide range of research centres, research groups and other forums hosted by the School.
The School supports and organises a number of doctoral cohort events including an annual PGR dinner (a social event and celebration of doctoral accomplishment); an annual doctoral student conference (including paper sessions and poster competition); the student-run Postgraduate Café, and various reading groups, which meet once a month to discuss a range of topics related to social research, politics and culture. In addition, the pathway has run an annual student-led doctoral social work and social care conference for several years. This event is led and run by the students themselves, and designed around their wants and needs.
Students on the ‘1+3’ route complete the specialist module Public Sector Management as part of the Social Science Research Methods programme, whilst also developing a breadth of knowledge, understanding and skills on this inter-disciplinary Masters. Subject-specific training and student development continues throughout the doctorate with a wide range of reading and discussion groups, roundtable sessions, seminar series, and data analysis workshops.