School of Applied Social Studies

Academic Schools

School of Applied Social Studies

We’re a multi-disciplinary school offering undergraduate, postgraduate and continuous professional development courses in a stimulating and supportive environment. Core areas of CSR, psychology, social sciences and social work all aim to empower you to change tomorrow.

Often part of multidisciplinary teams, Social Workers support society's most vulnerable, from families through to those with disabilities, while applied Social Scientists study the way people live and its impact.

Our courses are designed to provide you with a stimulating and enjoyable education as you gain a range of skills required to add value to society in a wide-range of career possibilities. Our module delivery is backed-up by an expanding social science research portfolio; leading to industry-relevant teaching and practice.

Future-ready Graduates

We consult with a range of relevant industry stakeholders which means that our courses are topical, relevant and applicable to the needs of the people who will need your services, and the organisations who may employ you. 95% of graduates of our school’s full-time undergraduate courses are in work or study six months after completing their course (Unistats, 2017). Our courses will equip you for a wide-range of employment options in the private and public sectors including health and social care, child care, child protection, criminal justice and community care, human resources, public relations, police and criminal justice, and community development. Our courses can also lead you to higher or further qualification, research, or a teaching qualification.

Teaching Track-record

Our school is the largest provider of social work education in Scotland, and this year we’re proud to be celebrating a milestone of having delivered social work education in Scotland for more than 50 years. Our team of Lecturers have strong practice and research backgrounds, and a passion for helping you to achieve your best – whether that’s in class, supervising your dissertation, or providing pastoral support. With small class sizes we get to know you as an individual throughout your course. This means that you can have one-to-one feedback with Lecturers who know how to help you. You’ll find RGU an ideal choice for you to help you achieve your career goals, whether starting out, or continuing your professional development.

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Both social work and social science students enjoy access to state-of-the-art facilities including extensive library and IT resources.

There's a and test library, plus computer facilities and laboratory space for experiments and studies.

All courses use the best in contemporary IT developments to maximise student learning opportunities. 



Placements provide a valuable advantage when it is time to start your career. For undergraduate social work students, your three placement opportunities will give you the opportunity to put into practice the skills and knowledge from your course, as you gain experience in the workplace. We provide placements for our social work students at the forefront of practice and in a wide range of settings.

Both the BA (Hons) Applied Social Sciences and BA (Hons) Social Work courses offer a Study Abroad option as part of our exchange programme with our partner institutions in Poland, Cyprus, Malta, Germany, Vienna and Belgium. There is also the opportunity to study at the University of Tennessee for one term. This allows you to enhance your personal development and confidence and benefit from studying your subject in a different culture.

For more details on the placement or study abroad opportunities specific to your course of interest, check out the course page. 

Affiliations and Industry Links

Our working partnerships include social work agencies, service users, and carers who you will meet throughout our teaching and placement programmes. Together they will help you to enter the workplace better-equipped to manage the opportunities you are presented with.

We are proud to be associated with the following leading organisations, institutions and professional bodies.

NESCOL is Scotland's largest provider of further/higher education. Upon completing an HNC or HND, many students go on to complete a degree at Robert Gordon University.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) was created under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 by the then Scottish Executive to protect people who use services, raise standards of practice and strengthen and support the professionalism of the workforce.

The British Psychological Society is the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK.

The British Sociological Association promotes sociology, supports sociologists, and is the public face of sociology in Britain.

The mission of IRISS is to promote positive outcomes for the people who use Scotland's social services. This is done by enhancing the capacity and capability of the social services workforce to access and make use of knowledge and research for service innovation and improvement.

The Care Inspectorate aims to deliver rigorous inspections that will drive up standards and improve the quality of social work services across Scotland.


If you undertake a research degree, you will join an active and vibrant research community, working alongside and being supported by experienced researchers and academics.

Our policy-based and theoretically-informed empirical research reflects our engagement with academic and public sector stakeholders in local, national and international issues. Innovative research is undertaken within our academic disciplines and in interdisciplinary collaborations within the School and University, and with other institutions.

We encourage specialised expertise in research-led teaching within an inclusive research culture that extends to postgraduates and undergraduates. The success of this can be measured by our burgeoning research activities and the extent that research underpins our highly regarded teaching programmes.


  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Personal and Social Identity
  • Language
  • Psychology of Memory


  • Collective Violence and Terrorism
  • Historical Sociology
  • Cultural Sociology
  • Social Exclusion and Homelessness
  • Drugs and Substance Misuse
  • Sociology of the Body
  • Sociology of Health
  • Gender
  • Theoretical Sociology
  • Development and Post-conflict Societies
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Energy and Environmental Change

Social Work

  • Adoption and Fostering
  • Housing Policy and Urban Issues
  • Ageing and Older People
  • Migration
  • Child Protection, Residential
  • Organisational Change, Child Care, Youth Justice
  • Social Care and Social Welfare
  • Disability
  • Social Work Education
  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Evaluation
  • Family and Kinship
  • Substance Abuse
  • Homelessness

Our Research Staff


Our staff have a breadth of experience in teaching and professional practice, most staff also have research expertise in their subject area. 



Latest News and Events for the School of Applied Social Studies


Published: Wednesday 08 June 2022

Sustainability at the heart of Gray's Degree Show ‘Welcome to the real world'

Final preparations are underway for Gray’s Degree Show, ‘Welcome to the real world’, opening on Saturday 11 June, with many graduates drawing inspiration from environmental issues and sustainability.

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Published: Monday 30 May 2022

No Place Like Home exhibition explores ‘What does home mean in 2022?'

Artworks created as part of a Robert Gordon University (RGU) research project into the impact of Brexit on EU nationals living in the UK, goes on display at a new exhibition called, ‘No Place Like Home’, at Fittie Community Hall on Sunday 5 June.

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Published: Wednesday 27 April 2022

RGU researchers win support to improve access to support for female veterans

Cabinet Office invests in improvement and access of charitable services for women.

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