Universitat de Barcelona

Social Work

What you will learn

Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing (International Federation of Social Workers, 2014).

The Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Barcelona (UB) takes four years to complete, and requires 240 ECTS credits divided between core, compulsory and optional modules, extra-curricular work placements and a final project (TFG). It is part of the branch of knowledge related to legal and social sciences, together with other degrees. 

Extra-curricular work placements, undertaken in two academic years (third and fourth year), are key to the training of future social workers. Said placements enjoy the support of institutions and professionals external to the UB from different fields of action wherein social work is executed. Students thereby learn how to relate theory and practice in order to build and adapt their own conceptual framework and to acquire their own professional identity on an on-going basis. 

The Social Work Academic Council is the professional body that features the same number of representatives of the departments’ teaching staff as of students enrolled in the degree, thereby ensuring the consistency and interlinkage of the various subjects and the quality of teaching. 


Number of ECTS credits: 240
Branch of knowledge: Social Sciences
Faculty or school: Faculty of Education

What you will need

  • Interpersonal and communication skills: capacity for empathy, reflection, analysis and response to social changes and dynamics.
  • Interest in projects or programmes in the social arena, both in terms of active participation in social volunteering, and in the job that is carried out.


Distribution of credits

Subject area typeECTS credits
Basic training60
Compulsory placements33
Compulsory final project9

Subjects (information available in Catalan)

Admission for students with studies completed outside Spain

Admission for students with studies completed outside Spain.

Applicants holding higher educational qualifications from a university outside Spain should consult the page Admission with foreign qualifications to find out about specific admission requirements.

Fields in which you can work

You could work in the following fields:

  • Social services: social care, home care, social programmes and regional social action.
  • Health: health care in health centres, hospitals, mental health centres, centres for drug addicts, patient associations.
  • Education: psychoeducational assessment, school mediation, special education, support for families, workshops for education in society.
  • Justice: psychosocial assessment in courts, mediation with victims, monitoring programmes, detention centres for minors, integration into society and the job market, family mediation, prison social care, treatment of crimes and assaults, monitoring of prisoners on conditional release, reintegration services.
  • Business: social care and provisions for workers in certain companies that offer this service.
  • Housing: social housing programmes, promotion of newly constructed and renovated neighbourhoods, community development, urban social planning.
  • Service sector: non-profit organisations and entities that work against social exclusion and to promote social and civil rights.
  • Emerging areas of social work: assistance at catastrophes or social emergencies, defence of human rights, cooperation and international solidarity, social surveys, consultancy and advice on social projects.

Social work is aimed at all people who encounter situations of risk, conflict, and violation of social and civil rights. It promotes improvement in social situations (individual, family or group) and in the personal capacities of citizens, and facilitates access to social services and resources. Social workers assist people with disabilities, dependent people, the elderly, children, adolescents and young people in situations of risk, women, immigrants and refugees, homeless people, drug addicts and criminals, among others.