Public Services BA (Hons) - Top-up

Public Services BA (Hons) - Top-up

School of Humanities and Social Sciences




Under- graduate



Contact UCLan

University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full-time: One Year

  • Level:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time

  • UCAS Code:

    L491; Short form: BA/PS3

  • Campus:

    Preston (Campus code: U)

  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:

    BA (Hons) - Top-up

Why study this course?

If you’re looking for practical and applied skills to equip you for future employment in public services, then our top-up degree offers you the chance to improve on your foundation or HND qualification in just one year and engage academically with current contemporary issues and the main challenges facing central and local government. You’ll be able develop your own views about a range of social sciences including politics, education, criminology and public services, and take advantage of volunteer based learning and the chance to go on field trips as part of your student experience.

Entry Requirements

FD / HND Public Services

For changes to 2017 UCAS tariff entry requirements please see our important information. UCLan requires all undergraduate applicants to have a minimum attainment of five GCSEs at grade C and above, or equivalent, (including Maths and English). In 2017 and beyond we will view the new Grade 4 as being equivalent to a C grade and will therefore require students to achieve GCSE Grade 4 or above. However, if the subject is relevant to our degree programme and requires a higher GCSE grade (e.g. GCSE B grade), and/or includes a Professional body that governs the entry requirements, Grade 5 or above may be required.

Open Day (Saturday 18 November 2017) - Register Now

Course at a Glance

There are three compulsory modules:

  • Policy Interpretations in The UK Dilemmas and Controversies – Putting Policy Into Practice Within Multidisciplinary Environments. The module aims are to critically analyse how governmental policy is interpreted, negotiated, translated, reviewed and implemented within different multidisciplinary environments within the UK. The assessment is one essay of 2,500 words and a report of 2,500 words.

  • Investigating Public Administration : Central and Local Government: Public Services Policy and Front Line Delivery

  • Public Services dissertation. This is an extended piece of work (10,000 words in length) on your chosen topic of interest in the public services field. It will normally be related to your core module or one of the pathways.

Students can choose one year two module or choose just from year three modules: 

Module Title

Controversial Issues in Prisons
Understanding Policing
Understanding Interpersonal Violence
Diversity & Inclusive Practice
Volunteering in the EU

Students choose either two year three modules or three year three modules:

Module Title

Optional Modules

Understanding Security and Policing in the twenty-first Century
The Sociology of Childhood
Human Trafficking and ‘Modern Day’ Slavery
Crime and New Technologies
Understanding State Crime and Genocide
Sex, Violence and Strategies
The Education of Vulnerable Young People
Learning from Work in Children’s Services
Terrorism and Security
Why Prison?
Student Initiated Module
Global Community Exchange

Further Information

Public services impact on our everyday lives in many and various ways and the role of the public service provider is constantly evolving. There is a demand, therefore, for public service employees to be imaginative, resourceful, critical and to have the ability to work collaboratively with other professionals. Studying for the Public Services degree helps you meet this demand and provides personal enrichment, intellectual training, breadth of vision and the knowledge and skills necessary for employment in delivering, managing and evaluating public services. This innovative programme of study will ensure that you engage academically with current contemporary issues and the main challenges facing central and local government within today’s society.

All teaching is underpinned by research and real-world experience, ensuring you are prepared for a career in your chosen field. Approachable, friendly staff create an informal learning environment which is highly valued by our students. You will become part of a lively and diverse academic community. The Public Services student body is just the right size – big enough to provide a stimulating learning environment and small enough for us to know our students individually.

Strong links with the public services has been developed over time and excellent connections exist between Public Services at UCLan and the wider public sector organisations. This impressive level of employer engagement has been fostered by the use of guest speakers, visits to both the public service area and various community projects.

All the members of the Public Service’s team are research-active scholars who offer a dynamic range of topics for study within the area of education, children and young people’s services, criminal justice, citizenship and human rights issues.

The course in Public Services provides and prepares you with both academic and practical knowledge, skills and understanding for working in areas such as international organisations, non-governmental organisations, Criminal Justice, Police Service, Armed Services , Youth Justice, Education environments and the National Health Service.

This is an innovative and cutting edge programme designed to ensure you develop and enhance the skills, knowledge, understanding and professionalism necessary for moving into the ‘real world of work’ within modern public services. The programme has been designed to prepare you with a sound background knowledge of public services at a local, national and global level and to empower you to cultivate, acquire and demonstrate the skills required for graduate level employment in the services or related areas of professional environments and practice.

The programme interrelates theory, policy and applied practice. It aims particularly to develop your intellectual identity, personal identity, critical awareness and enhance the skills needed for employment. Whilst studying on this innovative programme, you will gain an understanding of contemporary issues relating to international relations, human rights, citizenship, social justice, social issues, political issues, economic issues, education, community engagement and diversity. A key element of this course is that it seeks to provide a supportive and inclusive environment which benefits you and encourages a culture of supportive and inclusive practice, teamwork, motivation, confidence and respect of each other’s identity, essentially promoting a positive student experience and learning environment. In addition, a placement is an optional component of Public Services offered to third year undergraduates.


The stark reality of today's job market is that there are often hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of applicants competing for the best career opportunities in the public and private sector. It's therefore essential that students give themselves the best chance of competing within that market, by choosing further educational courses that future potential employers consider are relevant to their own workplace. The public services top up degree programme is specifically designed to provide students with an in depth understanding of the wide ranging role of public services and the challenges that they face.

The programme prepares the student for employment within the public service arena, focusing on the management and leadership skills that will enable the student to evaluate, deliver and manage high quality public services. The content of the programme has been created following extensive consultation with UCLan's impressive network of public sector connections. This ensures that the learning is relevant, of exceptional quality and maximises the future employability of students.

I have no hesitation in highly recommending this programme to people wishing to pursue a career within the public sector.


Mick Gradwell

Michael Gradwell
Former Detective Superintendent, Lancashire Constabulary, consultant, columnist and regular contributor to national and regional news.

One of the excellent features of the Public Services degree for students is the wide range of activities and academic events they can participate in.

We have, for instance, had the pleasure to host some truly fascinating key note speakers. We aim to provide students with a wide range of speakers from broadcaster Robin Ross to motivational speaker Colin Parry. Bob Eastwood, Chief Superintendent/Divisional Commander of Lancashire Constabulary has presented on hate crime. Mick Gradwell, former Detective Superintendent with Lancashire Constabulary gave insight into the Morecambe Bay tragedy and the Sophie Lancaster case.

Public services event

Public services event

You'll have the opportunity to attend guest lectures, many of which make clear the employment opportunities available. 

We have organised many international conferences, often in collaboration with our industry partners and you'll be given the opportunity to not just attend but also play key organisational roles. The Navajo conferences on the importance of sexualities training represent just one example.

The various workshops also provide key opportunities for you to develop knowledge around areas of particular interest. We have delivered workshops on cyber bullying, identity-based bullying and Traveller community cohesion, for example.

Cyber-bullying image

Identity-based bullying image

Traveller community cohesion image


Berlin trip

Berlin trip

Berlin trip

Berlin trip

Berlin trip

Berlin trip



For me the University of Central Lancashire is not just an institution to attend in order to attain a certain qualification, it is a community of people who all share a common interest in the future development of students who undertake a degree course with them. The level of support offered by lecturers and support staff is invaluable to the success of each student regardless of their level of knowledge, current skills or academic abilities. For me, UCLan has become a part of my identity, each bit of knowledge I have taken whilst being here will become vital for success in my chosen career as a teacher.

Stuart Wade
Trainee teacher and former Public Services student



For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.

Apply Now

You should apply through UCAS to start September 2018 by the UCAS deadline of 15 January 2018

Contact Us

+44(0)1772 892400

Fees 2018/19

Full-time: £9,250* per year (UK/EU)

*Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated.

Further information:

For 2017/18 fees please refer to our fees page.

Scholarships and bursaries

Industry Links

We have excellent links with a range of contacts including the NHS, Police Service, Recycling Lives, Mersey Care, Multi Faith Centres, Save the Children, Hospice Centres, Peace Centre, Armed Services, Schools and Colleges across the North West, Isaac Hitchin Project (funded by the National Lottery).

Learning Environment and Assessment

We believe that learning should be an applied practice, so you are encouraged to become reflective, independent learners. In order to best meet your learning requirements, modules which contribute to Public Services use a variety of instructional methods including: lectures; seminars; workshops; fictional public service scenarios and related role plays; audio-visual teaching, podcasts, and subject-related blogs. You will also have the opportunity to attend presentations by guest lecturers / professionals. You will, on average, attend twelve hours of lectures and/or seminars per week and may participate in both workshops and tutorials. Personal study also forms an integral part of the programme

As a team, we are committed to offering excellent student support. When you arrive, you will be allocated a tutor who will oversee your progress and support you throughout your degree. With support from expert and enthusiastic staff, you can:

  • Gain a solid grounding in academic theories
  • Use this knowledge in an applied way to unpack policy documents
  • Develop expertise in areas of interest to you
  • Develop transferable skills including critical thinking, analysing complex data, and oral and written presentation skills.

The student body is an increasingly diverse one and in recognition of this, we employ a range of innovative assessment methods, including: essays; reports; case studies and reflective logs; presentations; literature reviews; seen and unseen exams and dissertations or portfolios.

The Public Services Team span wide interdisciplinary fields including, Politics, Sociology, Religion, Culture and Society, Education, Childhood Studies, Youth Studies. Our academic team expertise is informed by research and practice.


You will have the opportunity to be involved in local Conferences held by the Public Services team and will help with design, planning and delivery.

You’ll have the opportunity to take part in national, international and local field trips – for example Istanbul, Berlin and New York. The aims of the field trips are to ensure that the curriculum becomes ‘live’ and you have the opportunity to link academic , practical and personal – all enhancing your study and individual growth and development.

The course will equip you to work in areas such as international organisations, non-governmental organisations, Criminal Justice, Police Service, Armed Services ,Youth Justice, Education environments and the National Health Service.

For students wishing to continue to postgraduate study at UCLan, we offer an MA in Religion, Culture and Society and an MA in Social Work.

Our graduates are working in a range of settings including the police service, the NHS and charities. Many students are working as teachers, support workers and researchers.

This study course will give students a full insight into the entire public sector and will give them real advantage in their chosen career whether that is in the public or private sector, as the subject matter is interesting, challenging and thought provoking. Would be employers will undoubtedly be impressed by the range of knowledge successful students will gain from a range of subjects which matter most to people and communities across the UK.

Bob Eastwood
Chief Superintendent/Divisional Commander, Lancashire Constabulary. Independent consultant at international and national level.

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