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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

If you are already working or volunteering in the health and social care sector, this foundation degree will build on your experience to expand your career horizons.

Designed to give you a thorough grounding in key aspects of health and social care, the course has a strong vocational focus.

The two-year course includes units on practice skills; the law and contemporary social issues; the human services; global health and welfare systems; mental health; and multi-agency working. Active learning is encouraged and you’ll apply theory to practice tackling real-life work problems.

Why choose this course

  • Develop your understanding and skills, and learn to use critical reflection for personal and professional development
  • Study with an experienced academic team
  • Interact with potential employers through guest lectures
  • Take up opportunities to visit health and social care workplaces
  • Enjoy guided learning via our Virtual Learning Environment which includes directed reading and research, podcasts and interactive activities such as quizzes and discussion boards
  • Benefit from opportunities offered by the University of Bedfordshire’s new Health & Social Care Academy, run in partnership with local councils and NHS Trusts, to recruit, train and develop health and social care workers

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.


Course Leader - Dr Joy White

I have taught on a number of Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses including: Research Methods and Media and Social Change: Race, Class and Ethnicity, Internet, Democracy and Society and Creative Entrepreneurship.

What will you study?

Law, Society And Controversy

The unit has a principle aim to provide a broad introduction and foundational knowledge to the legal system, its institutions and practices, in the UK and internationally. The learning on the unit will consider the relevance of the law and how it impacts on society and orders social life. These frameworks will enable a range of current controversies to be examined and integrate controversy with regards to key issues and legal cases into the syllabus of the unit.

The syllabus is based on research addressing many of the key issues and debates at the centre of the law and society both within the UK and internationally. These lie at the heart of all the undergraduate courses taking this unit. The relevance of the unit is also evident in the many links between the law and the human services; the unit explores these links in terms of the practical application of knowledge and research by different
practitioners in the human services with regards to children and families, the police, health care professionals and social workers.

Introduction To Health And Social Care

This unit is designed to provide you with an introduction to the history of health and social care services in the UK and the different models of health and social care. Additionally, it will provide you with a foundation knowledge and understanding of a range of different skills, values and ethical issues involved in working with vulnerable service-users in the health and social care sector. The first part of the unit begins by tracing the development of health and social care in the UK and introduces conceptual frameworks relating to the provision of health and social care.  In the second part of the unit the focus will be on the skills needed for working in the health and/or social care sector. For example, one-to-one work, group work and planning of work, professional ethics and boundaries, professionalism, etc. The main themes and issues discussed within this unit will be explored in greater detail at level five and six and so should be considered as a starting point to your study of health and social care.

Health And Social Care Practice Skills

he unit is designed to provide you with a knowledge and understanding of a range of different skills, values and ethical issues involved in working with people in the health and social care sector and in particular, with vulnerable people and those from diverse backgrounds.  

Working with vulnerable people today requires the knowledge and understanding of a range of different skills and appropriate models of intervention, firmly set within the context of an organisational and ethical framework. It is important to understand organisational cultures: learning and hierarchal structures and learn about managing yourself, your role, boundaries and responsibilities.   

The value base underpinning employment in health and social care and its implications for front-line practice is fundamental and your personal and professional values.  This includes acquiring knowledge and understanding of safe and effective delivery of care regardless of the setting and promotion of healthy lifestyles.  

Being able to communicate effectively is not only an essential part of everyday life but critical within health and social care settings. We need to understand the effects on self and others of ‘what we say’ and ‘how we say it’ being an empowering process.  An aim of the unit is not only to develop your ability to think critically about use of self in relationships with other people but to be exploring relationships in the workplace in general including leadership and managing others in the workplace. You will be expected to apply learning in the unit to your own workplace/placement.

Introduction To Academic Study And Work-Based Learning In Health And Social Care

In this unit you will be introduced to: the nature of academic study in Higher Education; workplace research and problem solving; and, theory within health and social care practice. Understanding how knowledge is socially created and, particularly, how our everyday and often unquestioned knowledge is achieved is key if we are to question how and why particular ‘ways of knowing’ have come about. The unit will be exploring relationships between thought and society in order to examine how human beings, as a society, construct, interpret, and view "reality”. The unit will provide valuable grounding for the work-based project you will be completing in Level Five. 

The aims of the unit are to enable you to: 

- develop the essential academic skills required for university level study, such as accessing and evaluating existing literature and writing for a range of audiences 

- recognise and understand a range of theories associated with health and social care and investigating social life  

-recognise and understand a range of research approaches related to investigating social life  

-demonstrate and enhance the connection between theory and practice within a work environment 

-reflect on your learning to date and identify where you may have scope to develop skills and abilities 

-plan for your on-going personal development and future employability through Personal Development Planning (PDP) within a health and social care practice-related area of employment 

-gain an understanding of the nature and complexities of work-based investigations and associated research skills including project management skills 

-gain experience of designing a proposal for a work-based project that includes the negotiation and presentation of project outcomes

Global Public Health

At a global level, there are significant health inequalities across different population groups. Different countries have adopted a range of 'mixed economies of health systems', depending on historical growth and contemporary political and economic imperatives, with consequent variations in what a ‘complete state of health’ means globally.

It is crucial that students taking this unit come away with an awareness of a sense of social justice around why such variations persist and how best to advocate for an ethos of ‘good health for all and not some’. This unit therefore particularly explores how wide ranging determinants of health at a global level inform the quality of life and overall health outcomes of different population groups; including children, adolescents and young people, women, LGBT groups and a range of vulnerable and marginalised population groups across the world. Determinants including but not limited to national, political and economic histories, social determinants of health, environmental factors, war and conflict, human rights violations and ideological influences as they influence the health of populations and health systems, will be explored throughout the unit. 

The unit content provides a foundation of theories and perspectives informing how global health policy have been shaped by a variety of international  organisations (such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), bilateral organisations, multilateral organisations, non-Governmental organisations, private and public partnerships, foundations and other advocacy groups who play a role in determining the  health of regional populations. 

A wide range of international case studies on a nation-theme basis; connecting theoretical positions, historical developments and recent global events are used throughout the unit to engage students in understanding the nature of the contemporary and varied burden of global health issues 

The content of the unit aims to equip students wanting to work in public health and related careers area both with an understanding of  the nature of current policies both nationally and internationally as well as an introduction to exploring and interpreting health data sets that inform global public health.  There is also a strong focus on equipping students with social marketing skills relevant to promoting public health messages and students will learn how to use digital tools to create a poster that persuades a group to  change a relevant health behaviour. All of this  will also aid in preparing students on this unit for the Level Six Independent Project; its issues and case studies providing sound foundations and drivers for individual research and the Health Services planning and management unit. 

Managing And Applied Experience Within A Work Based Learning Environment

The aims of this unit are:

To provide opportunity for you to utilise your current work experience to make theoretical links and place your practice in a wider contextual legal and policy framework. This will afford you scope to enhance your overall skills and understanding in working with users of education, health and social care.

To enable you to reflect on and enhance your insight into the field of health and social care provision for children and adults, remit, policies and procedures and how these impact on service delivery and working with other agencies.

The recruitment of personnel will be covered and related to your current employment setting and will be followed by the theoretical context of career development learning and career management skills. In class discussions and activities will include communication, conflict, team work, and through exploring management styles.  

This unit aligns to Model 1 of the Universities Foundation Degree Framework and incorporates subject specific placement learning. It also takes into consideration the Foundation Degree Characteristics 2015.

Evidence-Based Health And Social Care Practice

The unit enables you to develop an understanding of the relationship between research, and evidence based practice in the workplace, with particular emphasis on health and social care settings. To give context, you will learn about how organisations change practice including using: evidence-based approaches, how to create practical outcomes in real life settings, and practitioner research.

The unit also equips you with the research skills and practices needed to become familiar with researching the workplace and you will study different methodologies and methods typically used in health and social care settings.

Multi-Agency Working In Mental Health

This unit explores multi-agency arrangements and interdisciplinary team working in the delivery of human services to individuals and communities. In this context the unit supports students in identifying and developing professional skills required by different human services employers such as resilience and the ability to challenge decisions and advocate for service-users’ needs.

The role of the mental health professions and the changing role of psychiatry will be studied. You will also study the social patterning of mental health and illness, and consider variations according to age, gender, social class and ethnicity. Attention will also be paid to those experiencing mental illness, and the role and influence of representative user groups.

The unit will include a focus on treatment and recovery and mental illness and differing social groups, for example, people with a serious mental illness, young people, prisoners, and people with a dual diagnosis. In addition, the unit aims to show how our knowledge and understanding of mental illness have changed over time, as well as indicate the problematic nature of the definition of mental illness. Attention will also be paid to the experiences of sufferers of mental illness.

Professionals working within health and social care contexts have traditionally worked with professionals from other disciplines to provide services but some research has questioned the effectiveness of such arrangements. Nevertheless, recent legislation and policy initiatives prioritise joined up working and partnership practice. This unit considers the historical roots of multi-agency working alongside current and emerging initiatives. Furthermore, participation and evaluation processes remain central to successful service delivery.

How will you be assessed?

The assessments are closely aligned to the course learning outcomes and graduate impact statements with a range of assessment methods, for example, action plans, reports, case studies, posters, portfolios, self-reviews, oral presentations, and closed book examinations. Assessments will also develop key skills needed for working in health and social care settings, such as the ability to communicate clearly, self-appraise practice and be a team player.

Most units include elements of individual and group activity to reflect the type of work undertaken in an organisation though if group work is used as part of the unit's assessment strategy, it is primarily individually assessed often with a requirement for reflection on the process and learning from collaborative work.

You will also be assessed in your ability to become an independent learner, to reflect and to self-appraise your skills development and evaluate your learning and its relevance to professional and vocational practice using evidence from your course work and workplace. You will be required to ensure that the work you submit for assessment is your own. All coursework submitted is subject to university procedures for the detection of plagiarism.


This Foundation degree prepares you for a variety of roles within the wider Health and Social Care sectors including the not-for-profit (voluntary), private sector and public sectors.

Roles include:

Direct work with service users in areas such as:

  • children and families
  • drug and alcohol misuse
  • mental health
  • services for older and disabled people, young people

Work in other areas of the human services such as:

  • health promotion/public health
  • welfare
  • community development

If you are already in employment you will be encouraged to engage with career development and progression opportunities with your employer.

f you are undertaking voluntary work, you will be encouraged and supported to grow your work experience with a view to seeking employment opportunities in the future.

In terms of further study, an opportunity exists for a final year top-up to the University of Bedfordshire’s BA (Hons) Health and Social Care Practice or BA (Hons) Health and Social Care awards.

Entry Requirements

48 UCAS tariff points including 32 from at least 1 A-level or equivalent

Virtual Tour


Bedfordshire is a small county with lots to offer.

However you enjoy spending your free time, you won’t have to look far in Bedfordshire to find somewhere to relax, socialise or explore the great outdoors. 

We are also conveniently located around 30 minutes by train from London, offering you the city experience with a homely feel.

Bedfordshire offers:

  • A range of pubs, clubs and restaurants
  • High street and independent shopping
  • Museums, galleries and theatres - and our own University Theatre
  • Entertainment centres
  • Stunning countryside
  • Professional sport and world-class facilities
  • Headquarters of a number of notable UK and international companies
  • Luton International Carnival and Bedford River Festival

Campuses in Buckinghamshire

We also have campuses in Aylesbury and Milton Keynes