Students sat round a table taking notes for social work

Key features

This 20 credit masters-level module will enhance your use of critical reflection as an effective tool to improve your understanding of the complexity of risk and decision-making processes in practice. 

You will raise professional issues, procedures and standards to the level of (critical) reflection, practice wisdom and research.

You will critically examine and evaluate both the sources of knowledge and evidence used to inform your decision making and professional opinion which also contributes to the development of your practice, as well as critically reflecting on the management of risk, taking into account the current context and new insights in the field. 

You will extend your knowledge of the self as social and conceptualisations of power to assist you to evaluate the range of theoretical and practical issues affecting ‘vulnerable’ adult engagement with services and apply this understanding to your practice.

You will learn to implement critical reflection drawing from social theory rather than education and business models and further your understanding of critical social work within an age of complexity whilst enhancing your analytical abilities, for practice and research-in-practice and consolidating your understanding of risk. 

You will then be able to build upon this learning and gain confidence to undertake auto-ethnographic based research in the field.

This module will provide busy practitioners with structured opportunities for critical reflection within a well-resourced and research-informed learning community and give you the opportunity to work in a multi-modal manner.

Students sat round a table taking notes for social work

Course details

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:
  • critically analyse the changing contexts which shape current safeguarding practice
  • have awareness of self, biases and motivations as part of evaluating decision making and practice in increasingly complex practice arenas
  • critically apply knowledge of social sciences and practice theory to complex situations
  • analyse the legitimacy of methodologies currently utilised to intervene with individuals, families and communities to advance human rights, promote social justice, economic wellbeing and independence, and to provide support and prevent harm, neglect and abuse
  • apply critical reflection to inform and provide a rationale for professional decision making
  • devise approaches to support constructive decision making with service users, where possible.
This module can be studied as a standalone module or as an optional module towards some other MSc Advanced Professional Practice pathways – please contact the Professional Development Unit for further information. 


The assessment for this module is an essay which develops presentation work about the application of critical reflection to a case from students’ own practice.
(Please note that these assessment details are provisional – if you require further information please contact the Professional Development Unit)

Module dates
To be confirmed.  
(Occasionally delivery dates might be subject to change – always check with the Professional Development Unit).
Please be aware that all modules run to minimum numbers. 
In the event that there are low numbers, this module may be rescheduled to an alternative date. 
Some modules are also subject to maximum numbers – for further information please contact the Professional Development Unit. 

Admissions information 

Additional information and documentation required for the application process.
  • Application forms. 
  • Change of name forms.
  • Pre-course information.
  • Downloadable guides.
  • Student card.
Admissions information Additional information and documentation required for the application process.Access to application forms, download guides and confirmation information. Visit our admissions homepage.

Entry requirements

To be considered for a place on this module:
  • you must have previously studied to graduate level
  • you must be a registered health and social care professional or a health and social care worker.
You'll be considered and advised individually (where required) by the programme team and Professional Development Unit. Please contact the PDU or programme lead if you have any queries regarding your situation.