Public Services

Public Services BA (Hons) - Top-up

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 contemporary issues and the main challenges facing central and local government. You will develop your critical thinking and be able to apply this to a variety of issues that impact the public services.  For example, you will critically interrogate policy and legislation in relation to issues that you may encounter as both public service workers and leaders including forced marriage, hate crime and gender violence. 

Key Information

  • Duration:

    Full-time: One Year

  • Level:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time

  • Award Type:

    BA (Hons) - Top-up

  • Institution Code:

    CLANC C30

  • UCAS Code:


  • Campus:

    Preston (Campus code: U)

  • Start Date:


  • We have excellent links with a range of contacts from both governmental and non-governmental organisations.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to take part in field trips relating to your course
  • You will have the opportunity to attend conferences or symposiums relevant to your course of study.

Course Overview

Compulsory Public Service Modules:

  • PL3001 Policy Interpretations in the UK
  • PL3003 Work Experience Module
  • PL3993 Dissertation

Optional modules incorporate a number of disciplines including:

  • Children, Schools and Families: CI2008 Diversity and Inclusive Practice
  • Criminology: CJ3027 Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery, CJ3024 Why Prison?, CJ3026 Crime and New Technologies, CJ3018 Understanding State Crime and Genocide
  • Deaf Studies: DF2015 Families, Deafness and Disability
  • Education studies: ED3215 The Education of Vulnerable Young People
  • Politics: PO3004 Terrorism and Security
  • Sociology: SO3020 The Sociology of Childhood
  • Volunteering: VO3004 Empowering and Engaging Marginalised Groups and VO3007 Global Community Exchange

More information about programme specifications and module information is available in the course handbook.

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Fees 2020/21

Full-time: £9,250* per year (UK/EU)

Fees for international students

Entry Requirements

FD / HND Public Services or a related subject.

International Students

View our entry requirements for your country

Scholarships and Bursaries

The University offers a range of scholarships and bursaries to support you through your studies.

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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.

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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, criminal justice, human rights and sociology.

The course in Public Services provides and prepares you with both academic and practical knowledge, skills and understanding for working in areas including Criminal Justice, the Police Service, Armed Services, the Education sector and the National Health Service.  The degree also provides you with the skills to work for non-governmental organisations, which is supported by the work experience module.

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.

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"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.

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Public services eventOne 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.  These include Stephen Brookes (Rail Sector Lead for Minister for Disabled People), Steph Holmes (Founder and facilitator of Chyrsalis- a charity that supports transgender people) and Sameem Ali, author of the book Belonging who speaks about forced marriage. Past speakers include Mick Gradwell, former Detective Superintendent with Lancashire Constabulary who gave an insight into the Morecambe Bay tragedy and the Sophie Lancaster case and Colin Parry.

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

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Disability hate crime project presentation

The Public Services Course leader Jessica Marshall is a former member of the Lancashire Hate Crime Community and Cohesion Group. Jessica was successful in securing a graduate student intern to help organise a hate crime conference to take place at UCLan.  The hate crime conference was hugely successful and was widely attended by professionals including representatives from the legal community, social workers, teachers, community leaders and faith leaders.

The conference enabled UCLan students to learn about the impact that hate crime has on diverse communities and to discuss with industry specialists the way forward.  Many students felt that the conference was an excellent opportunity to network and to learn more about employment opportunities following on from their degree.  In fact, UCLan students were ambassadors on the day and were fully involved in the running of the conference. Sana Chari the intern who helped to organise the conference now works for victim support.

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Berlin trip

Berlin trip

Berlin trip

Berlin trip

Berlin trip

Berlin trip

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Case study: Guest Lecturer on the public service programme Stephen Brookes

Stephen BrookesAfter gaining a civilian MBE in the 1990/91 Gulf War ‘Ops Granby’ awards Stephen Brookes became disabled in an accident in 1997 and in 1999 undertook a course at Coventry University gaining a BA First Class Honours in Communications in 2002.

Until ‘retiring’ from voluntary work in supporting hate victims Stephen was involved in many areas of the Criminal Justice system on Hate Crime matters, having been a member of the CPS and various police force strategy groups for over 10 years.

He is currently the Rail Sector Champion for the Minister for Disabled People and has been involved in the much work involving disabled people in his home town of Blackpool where Stephen closely works with Blackpool Transport particularly with interests of access.

He also established a User Group for Avanti, Northern rail and Transpennine all of which fits with the fact of being a regular user of bus and rail services locally and nationally.

Stephen is an Ambassador for the Disability Rights UK charity.

As a nationally recognised researcher on disability equality and diversity, Stephen creates training and research projects and gives regular disability awareness sessions at UCLan.

He says ‘I feel it is vitally important that students who are looking to work in the public and social services sectors see that disability is a complex matters involving not just mobility but sensory and mental health conditions.’

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"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

Learning Environment and Assessment

A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits and each 20 credit (a standard module) equates to 200 hours of study, which comprises of a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and independent study. Independent study is an important aspect of your degree course. The exact combination of study time will be detailed within your module descriptors, and will depend on your option choices.

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.

University Library

Links in the sector

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).


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.

Course Enquiries

Telephone us: +44(0)1772 892400
Email us or Book a visit

Important Information

This course is based in the School of Law and Social Science

Course Handbook

For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry: 2019 Entry | 2020 Entry
For information on possible changes to course information, see our Essential and Important Course Information.

Tuition Fees & Finance

*Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated.
For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

Further Information for students

You can find regulations and policies relating to student life at The University of Central Lancashire on our Student Contract page.

Entry Requirements

For changes to 2017 UCAS tariff entry requirements please see our Essential and Important Course 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.