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Why choose the School of Applied Social Sciences


Over 95% of our Health and Social Care graduates are in employment or further study 15 months after graduating (HESA Graduate Outcomes, 2023)

Our Health and Social Care courses rank 1st in their subject table for graduation prospects – outcomes (CUG, 2024)

With our Change Maker programme we ask you to take an active role in bringing about change and working towards social justice

About the course

This flexible multidisciplinary degree prepares you to meet the demands of a rapidly changing community and housing landscape. It will give you the knowledge skills and practical experience to make a difference to communities and shape change while opening up a wide range of career paths.

The degree suits those already working in housing and looking to develop their role as well as anyone interested in pursuing a career in community work including housing. You study core topics such as the history and development of housing systems policy and practice; current housing policy in theory and practice; and work and welfare in the 21st century. You can also follow your interests with topics such as urban ethnography; international housing; gentrification and class distinction; and rural and urban communities.

The course’s flexible approach means you can choose a study path that fits your work and family commitments from the traditional full-time three-year degree to part-time; blended learning; and condensed days on campus.

Why choose this course?

  • Our partnerships with local social housing providers mean you gain experience in the housing and community sector through placements and engagement with community-based projects
  • Benefit from being part of a wider University of Bedfordshire community comprising both rural and urban areas
  • Learn from an academic team with wide research experience in this field and a proven track record of engaging with our communities in Bedfordshire
  • Gain first-hand knowledge through talks and workshops from experienced housing professionals community researchers ‘think tank’ representatives and professionals in the not-for-profit sector
  • Benefit from a course that offers an optional Professional Placement or Foundation Year (see below for more information)

with Professional Practice Year

This course has the option to be taken over four years which includes a year placement in industry. Undertaking a year in industry has many benefits. You gain practical experience and build your CV, as well as being a great opportunity to sample a profession and network with potential future employers.

There is no tuition fee for the placement year enabling you to gain an extra year of experience for free.

*Only available to UK/EU students.

with Foundation Year

A Degree with a Foundation Year gives you guaranteed entry to an Undergraduate course.

Whether you’re returning to learning and require additional help and support to up-skill, or if you didn’t quite meet the grades to pursue an Undergraduate course, our Degrees with Foundation Year provide a fantastic entry route for you to work towards a degree level qualification.

With our guidance and support you’ll get up to speed within one year, and will be ready to seamlessly progress on to undergraduate study at Bedfordshire.

The Foundation Year provides an opportunity to build up your academic writing skills and numeracy, and will also cover a range of subject specific content to fully prepare you for entry to an Undergraduate degree.

This is an integrated four-year degree, with the foundation year as a key part of the course. You will need to successfully complete the Foundation Year to progress on to the first year of your bachelor’s degree.

Why study a degree with a Foundation Year?

  • Broad-based yet enough depth to give you credible vocational skills
  • Coverage of a variety of areas typically delivered by an expert in this area
  • Gain an understanding of a subject before choosing which route you wish to specialise in
  • Great introduction to further study, and guaranteed progression on to one of our Undergraduate degrees

The degrees offering a Foundation Year provide excellent preparation for your future studies.

During your Foundation Year you will get the opportunity to talk to tutors about your degree study and future career aspirations, and receive guidance on the most appropriate Undergraduate course to help you achieve this; providing you meet the entry requirements and pass the Foundation Year.

 

What will you study?


Individuals And Society

The aim of this unit is to examine the particular perspective of sociology; how sociologists view the relationship between the individual and society. To do this we first need to establish what is meant by 'society' and how it affects and is affected by the construction of identity. This will help you to understand the relative influence of social, political, economic and cultural factors on the formation of social structures and social identities.

By studying this unit you will be able to understand the different social Issues, practices and institutions within society and the impact that they have on individuals. It will also build your knowledge and understanding of how sociologists explain, resolve and debate sociological issues within social practices and institutions.

Skills For Work And Personal Development

This unit will concentrate on the skills that develop your Graduate employment prospects, alongside developing the skills needed for success in the workplace. The unit offers you opportunities to learn these skills through a variety of workshop exercises that are linked to developing your employability and personal skills.

To achieve this you will build on and develop further your knowledge and understanding of the skills and abilities required for study at Higher Education and those required in the work place. You will draw upon the learning and development of essential academic skills learnt in the semester one unit Skills for Higher education. To demonstrate your skills development you will build a portfolio of evidence which will allow you to transition into level 4 with both the knowledge and evidence of those areas for improvement and those of success. 

The unit will help you to develop those soft employability skills and to begin to build your aspirations for graduate employment once you have completed your degree. It will help you to develop self-confidence and you will have the chance to work on practical skills that relate to the world of work.

Skills For Higher Education

Good study skills can increase your confidence, competence, and self-esteem. Study skills are skills all students use to study effectively, whatever their subject area. All students have them; it’s really about recognising them, developing them, refining them and using them more effectively.

This unit is designed to provide you with an array of practical skills in order to support your journey through the degree. 

The Unit aims to:

  • Support students in identifying what skills, attributes and experiences they are bringing to higher education and what skills are required when taking a social sciences degree 
  • It will introduce you to a range of practical skills that will enable you to produce a portfolio of work which will provide evidence of your skills development and preparations for level 4 study. 

Contemporary Society

This unit aims to highlight contemporary social issues which impact communities and the wider society.  A contemporary issue refers to an issue that is currently affecting people or places and that is unresolved.

 

The unit builds on the sociological theories learnt in semester one unit Individuals and Society. You will be studying topics that are current and topical and will gain a good grounding in identifying and understanding those issues that those in society. These issues will reflect both national and international social issues. This unit will provide a foundation of knowledge for those students doing social studies degrees at level 4.

Social Change With Communities: The Un Sustainable Development Goals

There have been significant shifts in the 21st century in the ways in which we live, work, and think, and in our values, moral identities and in ethical relationships between individuals and societies. These shifts have been driven by an increasingly ambiguous and uncertain world, characterised by a number of pressing challenges and opportunities that are facing humanity and the natural world and impacting global and local communities. On the one hand the world is facing profound existential, social, cultural, economic and ecological challenges, known as global mega- trends. These include trends such as the climate emergency and environmental exploitation and injustices, the rise of fascism and authoritarian nationalism, xenophobia, racial injustice, othering and hate crime, war, threats to peace and mass displacement, poverty, inequality and ‘profit before people’ economies, food insecurity, precarious work and exploitation in supply chains, slavery and trafficking, global violence towards women and girls, and the human rights violations of indigenous peoples, to name but a few.  On the other hand, we see positive community, national and global action towards change and system accountability and challenges in the form of protest and demand for platforms,,in the work of charities, social and community purpose organisations, and in policy and governance at international, national and local levels.  

Moreover, whilst still inequitable, we see increasing diversity and inclusion in responses to and ownership of many global and local challenges, such as in the Black Lives Matters, Metoo, youth climate and indigenous movements, amongst others, and this is happening alongside hope for transformative change through problem focused collective action, community solutions,and the power of voice. It is within this context that this unit will be delivered. The unit aims to equip students to live a more examined and empowered life, supporting them towards civic engagement, and civic and value-based leadership. It aims to provide students with the knowledge, theory, skills, tools, ideas and networks necessary to identify and design areas for social action that are responsive to global challenges,  and at the same time, are tailored to the needs and interests of the community in Luton, the communities where students live, and emphasising the value of place-based knowledge.  

The United Nation’s 2030 Agenda identifies the key global challenges that are facing local communities in the form of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). As such, the SDG’s will form the framework of social action for this unit.  Whilst these are an international framework for action, much of their emphasis is on the need for a plurality of knowledges, and on the significance of local knowledge in addressing the challenges the world faces. 

In keeping with the ‘local solutions’ approach of the UN’s 2030 agenda,  this unit will ensure that its content and approach reflects the diversity of the histories, narratives and experiences of our students, the community of Luton, and the community’s in which students live in. 

The unit aims to focus on ideas and innovation and on systemic, community, human level insight and a pedagogy of validation and transformation, rather than on the actual delivery of the ideas or on project management / skills. It aims to empower students through self –awareness, self- development and leadership activities, nurturing their personal and social confidence, courage and purpose as agents of co-creation and change. To support an understanding of community based learning and change, students will be supported through the Sustainability Forum, to be linked in with community mentors and community organisations and these relationships will form an integral part of the learning for this unit.  

Introduction To Research And Social Enquiry

The unit will prepare you for degree level study by promoting your understanding of how and why we carry out research in the social sciences. The unit seeks to introduce you to some of the methodological debates and social theories which inform and underpin social investigation and to link those debates to different approaches in social research. You will consider topics such as ‘the nature of society’, its essential characteristics, and on that basis how best to go about investigating social life. Firstly, we will consider the issue of social investigation and science Secondly, we will examine specific areas of social life, such as crime/education/immigration/health status- in order to illustrate how answers to the questions raised in part one will tend to shape approaches to social research. We will also discuss relevant research procedures, in particular those associated with "positivism" and with "anti-positivism" or ethnography.  We will introduce alternative views - those of critical theory and post-modernism - which have a bearing on social enquiry. Thirdly you will gain an understanding of quantitative and qualitative research procedures and their methodological implications.

Whilst studying the above topics you will be developing your academic writing skills, learning how to construct your written work and learn how to source and correctly reference relevant research/academic material such as; journal articles, policy papers, official statistics and books. This will be excellent preparatory work for all your assessments and especially the level 5 Research Approaches unit.

The assessment strategies are designed to help you to develop the academic skills required of higher education and to further develop your understanding of what it means to ‘study society’.

Introducing Academic Skills

Constructive oral and written communication, and the effective and ethical management and presentation of knowledge and information, are essential for both academic work at degree level and your professional practice. This unit will enable you to develop your understanding of the skills and conventions of academic study in higher education and within your discipline, and recognise their transferability to and relevance for your work with service users and professional colleagues. You will be encouraged to identify your own academic strengths, areas for development, and strategies to support your academic growth.

By the end of the unit the students will have gained an understanding of key academic skills such as assessment planning, how to effectively use BREO, searching for and sourcing academic material, learning to reference and how to construct essays, presentations and consideration of the differences between academic work and professional report writing.

Community Studies And Housing: Work Based Learning And Career Development

This is a work based learning unit that has students engaging across a variety of sectors in the areas of community studies and housing. The students will bring knowledge and experience from their university studies, and their own life experiences to think through, engage in practice and eventually imagine spaces of community and the administration and understanding of housing issues to promote people's health, happiness, and well-being. In year one students will focus on thinking through the idea of the service user or customer and how needs can be met in the sector with a particular focus on equality and diversity, fairness, social justice and respect.    
The work based learning units spans the three years of the degree, each year building on the previous to ensure students build up their social networks and capital, to understand how relevant institutions, organisations and individuals work for the social good of society.   
The course will feed into other core modules in a practical and theoretical sense, giving students an opportunity to apply learning from their work based learning experience into their course. 
This unit also recognises the investment made by SASS students in coming to university to study a degree and is designed to begin the conversation about possible graduate destinations. It will also provide a lens through which the opportunities within your degree can contribute to your aspiration and the achievement of your graduate goal and by embedding Personal Development Planning as integral  to your future success.

Housing And Urban Social Sciences

Housing and Urban Social Sciences starts with the person or

household's fundamental need for a home within which they can live well and flourish. This introductory module links the notions of home, residential buildings and neighbourhoods, and the many activities, institutions and stakeholders involved in the provision of housing and

housing-related services including how housing is consumed, exchanged, and its affordability which can mean some citizens are severely disadvantaged by where they live and how they can secure somewhere to live. The course will focus on understanding the lived experience of housing includes the notions of housing rights, housing exclusion and homelessness as well as the importance of housing as an individual and/or community asset and its potential as a financial investment and store of wealth. The intersections between housing, health, wellbeing and social care are primary concerns.  

Introduction To Community Studies

Community studies is an interdisciplinary and applied subject that pays particular attention to analysing the distribution and delivery of resources in response to social needs, preferences and expectations. As such community studies is concerned with the circumstances of individuals, groups and societies. The subject draws on ideas and methods from social policy, economics, political science and sociology, and also uses insights from a range of other subjects including criminology, development studies, human geography, social anthropology, social psychology and social work. It draws upon theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence to study the ways in which societies provide for the social needs of their members through structures and systems of distribution, redistribution, regulation, provision and empowerment. It makes use of a wide range of research methods and evaluation, and emphasises the ethical, rigorous collection and analysis of data, whatever its form. It is also highly comparative across time and place.

This is the introduction to community studies that will be the foundation for the next 2 years of study and practice which will pull in ideas, concepts, theory and research practice in what we know as community studies. Community studies are the foundation for any community development work which enables working collectively to bring about positive social change. Community studies starts from people's own experience and can enable communities to work together to:

  • identify their own needs and actions 
  •  take collective action using their strengths and resources 
  • develop their confidence, skills and knowledge
  • challenge unequal power relationships
  • promote social justice, equality and inclusion in order to improve the quality of their own lives, the communities in which they live and societies of which they are a part. 

The values that underpin community studies are:

  • social justice and equality
  • anti-discrimination
  • community empowerment
  • collective action
  • working and learning together.

Research 1: Collecting Data

The unit will equip you with the key skills to be an independent researcher in the social sciences. You will develop an understanding of qualitative and quantitative data, different methods of collecting data and sources of collected data. This unit builds on the Level 4 Introduction to Research and Social Inquiry, which introduced some methodological debates and social theories, which inform and underpin social investigation.

You will learn about the different methods of collecting data and the importance of choosing a suitable method for data collection in social research. These aspects will be covered during lectures and workshops where you will have the opportunity to practice this knowledge.

The skills you will acquire from this unit are transferable and will be a useful asset to have for another Level 5 research unit, Research: Exploring data.

This unit will prepare you for the final year independent project unit at Level 6 as it allows you to familiarise yourself with the different methods for collecting data using both qualitative and quantitative research approaches.

Research 2: Exploring Data

The unit will equip you with the key research skills for social scientists relating to data interpretation and analysis. You will learn about different ways of exploring and analysing both quantitative and qualitative data during the lectures and gain practical experience of carrying out data analysis during the workshops.

  Building on the level four unit ‘Introduction to Research and Social Inquiry’, you will also enhance your knowledge and understanding of the entire process of a research project and individual steps involved in conducting research. You will be encouraged to consider why and how we analyse data and how the stage of data analysis fits within the whole research process. This unit is designed also to help you understand the use of theory in research and gives the opportunity to be involved in the exercise of identifying appropriate theories that can be utilised when creating your own research project.

This unit will prepare you for the final year project unit at level six. You will have developed the skills and knowledge required for you to confidently take forward your research idea, develop your proposal, carry out your chosen research methodology and create a worthwhile, structured and academically sound final year project.

Community Studies And Housing: Work Based Learning And Career Planning

Having completed an in-house work based learning at level 4, this unit will expand student’s understanding of work and the opportunities in the sector. The 35 hours work based learning aims to engage students across a variety of sectors in the planning, design and reinvention of the public spaces at the heart of every community. The students will bring knowledge and experience from their level 4 unit and their university studies, and reflect upon their own life experiences to think through and eventually imagine spaces of community and the administration and understanding of housing issues to promote people's health, happiness, and well-being. In year two students will especially focus on planning and structuring and prioritising their own time effectively.  Working on their communication skills, writing, talking and listening.  

The graduate job market is a highly competitive arena. As such, it is essential for students preparing for graduate employment to have a realistic awareness of, the ways in which the professional work place operates and the skills, knowledge and experiences that are expected and desirable for their passport and successful transition into graduate level employment. This unit builds upon the Level 4 unit which requires students to have begun their thinking about their intended graduate destination and undertaken a level of career development planning at the end of their first year.

Housing Policy And Practice

Housing policy and practice acknowledges and promotes the spirit of the 2010 Equality Act with respect to all protected characteristics and mutual respect across groups with diverse life experiences. The course centres social justice therefore, its teaching and learning practice will have at its heart an inclusive curriculum that recognises the plurality of contemporary learners' experiences and characteristics, for example, recognising that learners may have experienced housing precarity themselves. The course uniquely engages with a multitude of policy-making networks, collaborative and intersectional spaces, within which students are encouraged to challenge decision making across both policy and practice. We focus on the co-production of knowledge within collaborative learning spaces, recognising the potential link between content studied and lived experience of students. As such, we aim to facilitate psychologically informed learning environments, which facilitate mutual respect and nurture belonging. This ensures that the delivery of teaching reflects the plurality of students' learning requirements, with a focus on a diverse and mixed set of learning mechanisms to enable interactivity to welcome all learning approaches.

Community Studies In Action

Community Studies in action has community and people at its heart. The course focuses on the belief that involving communities leads to better decision-making on the issues that most affect them. Community studies in action aims to encourage students to understand and analyse practices which engenders a more equal relationships between institutions and communities, challenging traditional models of research. The assessment a personal Photo-voice is connected to course in that it is a participatory method that is used by many institutions that work with vulnerable communities in ‘action research’. The assessment and the workshops work in sync as a methodology which teaches students to think as a subject as ‘live’   

Work And Welfare In The 21St Century

Why do we have to work? What is the relationship between the work we do and the social benefits we receive? Who is included in welfare systems and who is excluded? Why? How will work and welfare change in the 21st Century? 

 

These questions inform the key themes of this unit which explores the relationship between work, welfare and our daily lives. Covering all of the main areas of welfare: health and social care, education, housing and pensions, students are asked to think about the relationship between the (global) economy and their own lives. The unit draws together themes which students will be familiar with from Levels 4 and 5, especially welfare, migration and inequality, but asks students to think about these in new and different ways with a particular emphasis on identifying and explaining structural causes.

Walking The Urban

Despite its importance to how humans inhabit their environments, walking has rarely received the attention of ethnographers, community studies scholars, or housing activists. Ways of Walking combines discussions of embodiment, place and materiality to address this significant and largely ignored 'technique of the body'. This course presents studies of walking in a range of regional and cultural contexts, exploring the diversity of walking behaviours and the variety of meanings these can embody. Walking the Urban is interdisciplinary and has an international appeal, Ways of Walking as methodology and activism is a new form of teaching and learning method in regards to community and housing, and one which I have practiced and written about in my forthcoming book ‘Grieving For London- class cleansing’. It will be of interest to scholars across a range of social sciences, as well as to policy makers on both local and national levels.

Community Studies And Housing: Work Based Learning And Graduate Employability

This unit builds on the level 4 and 5 units already studied. This final year of work based learning it is designed to give students advanced knowledge of working in community based/Housing settings and to take on a more active role within them. 

The students will bring the knowledge and experience from their previous 2 years of study and engage in practice where they will show a critical understanding of  ‘spaces of community’ and the administration and understanding of housing issues to promote people's health, happiness, and well-being. In year three students will take personal responsibility for making things happen, problem solving and motivation in overcoming obstacles and achieving results.

Students will engage with personal development planning, to reflect on their own development as a professional and to gain insight into the breadth and complexity of graduate professional roles. They will be encouraged to complete the Bedfordshire for Success award as they progress through the unit by engaging with the Careers and Employability Service in the development of their individual career readiness. 

International Built Environments

How do built environments differ around the world? How does the built environment create and shape communities and the lives of people who live in them? What causes built environments to change? How do people find new uses for existing environments? How do built environments and the ways that communities inhabit them promote or diminish social justice? This unit will consider the nature of built environments all over the world from the Global North and South drawing on knowledge from both Housing and Community Studies units that has been developed at Levels 4 and 5. It will develop and extend your knowledge and ask you to draw on a range of theoretical frameworks and empirical data to get a sense of how the built environments shape wellbeing and welfare of communities in different places. 

Capstone Project – Community Studies And Housing Degree

This capstone project will draw together the learning and the practice students have achieved in their programmes, reflecting on their achievements, passions, and experiences which point towards their future by operationalising the elements of a three-year undergraduate degree in community studies and Housing. The project will be connected to the three years of study but also their future goals and aims for either further study or for employment in the sectors they have been trained and educated towards. We will provide fully educated, critical and pro-socially conscious students ready to make changes in their communities and in wider society, In order to complete this unit successfully, students will need to present a workable project which draws on their experiences of working in organisations and produce a piece of research or other agreed output which develops knowledge about their chosen aspect of community studies and housing and/or furthers the mission of their chosen organisations. 

How will you be assessed?


A range of appropriate assessments will enable the student to grow in confidence and demonstrate acquisition of knowledge and
skills. The assessment methods used across the course include:

  • Written assignments – these vary from essays and reports to more in-depth research work on broader topics.
  • Oral presentations and Poster presentations that demonstrate verbal and presentational skills in communicating information
    to others.
  • Group work allowing you to demonstrate skills of group research while allowing you to submit a piece of assessed individual
    work at the same time as your contribution to the group

Careers


On completion of the degree graduates will be able to enter or develop their careers in the housing sector or work in a range of community-focused roles in local government; private-sector companies; the not-for-profit sector; and the research and development area of local government charities and think tanks. It prepares students to take up careers within housing management; housing strategy regeneration development and asset management; homelessness services and supported housing; social enterprise companies; community development; tenancy sustainability and support. It also opens up career opportunities in customer care; finance HR and IT.

You may also wish to progress on to a Master’s or degree by research in a social sciences-related subject.

Entry Requirements

48 UCAS tariff points including 32 from at least 1 A-level or equivalent GCSE grade 4/Functional Skills Level 2 English. GCSE grade 4/Functional Skills Level 2 Maths.

Entry Requirements

96 UCAS tariff points including 80 from at least 3 A-levels or equivalent GCSE grade 4/Functional Skills Level 2 Maths. GCSE grade 4/Functional Skills Level 2 English.

Fees for this course

UK 2024/25

The full-time standard undergraduate tuition fee for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £9,250 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees. You can also apply for a maintenance loan from the Government to help cover your living costs. See www.gov.uk/student-finance

Merit Scholarship

We offer a Merit Scholarship to UK students, worth £2,400* over three academic years, which is awarded to those who can demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, through scoring 120 UCAS tariff points or more.

Bedfordshire Bursary

If you aren’t eligible for the Merit Scholarship, this Bursary is there to help UK students with aspects of student living such as course costs. The Bursary will give you £1,000* over three academic years, or £1,300* if you are taking your course over four academic years (including those with a Foundation Year).

Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding please email admission@beds.ac.uk

International

The full-time standard undergraduate tuition fee for the academic year 2024/25 is £15,500 per year.

There are range of Scholarships available to help support you through your studies with us.

A full list of scholarships can be found here.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email admission@beds.ac.uk

Fees for this course

UK 2024/25

The full-time standard undergraduate tuition fee for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £9,250 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees. You can also apply for a maintenance loan from the Government to help cover your living costs. See www.gov.uk/student-finance

Merit Scholarship

We offer a Merit Scholarship to UK students, worth £2,400* over three academic years, which is awarded to those who can demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, through scoring 120 UCAS tariff points or more.

Bedfordshire Bursary

If you aren’t eligible for the Merit Scholarship, this Bursary is there to help UK students with aspects of student living such as course costs. The Bursary will give you £1,000* over three academic years, or £1,300* if you are taking your course over four academic years (including those with a Foundation Year).

Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding please email admission@beds.ac.uk

International

The full-time standard undergraduate tuition fee for the academic year 2024/25 is £15,500 per year.

There are range of Scholarships available to help support you through your studies with us.

A full list of scholarships can be found here.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email admission@beds.ac.uk

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