Public Service FdA

Full-time undergraduate (2 years)

University Centre Harlow

September 2016

code: L460

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Whether you want to get into public services or take your career to the next level, this is the course for you. We've developed this course with leading employers, who play an active part in teaching it.

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Full description


Our graduates have gone on to successful careers in the public services, as well as in the private sector.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Understanding Public Service
    This module will help you develop an understanding of the origins and nature of public service work in the broadest sense, including the social and political environment within which public services emerged and currently operate. You'll reflect on your current role or potential roles within the work sector. You’ll also look at how and why public services developed and explore the cultural and political ethos behind public services, the legal and ethical frameworks that inform the sector, the demands placed on public services and employees, and possible developments in the future. Your understanding will be grounded academically through an introduction to the meaning of work, identity and society.
  • Introduction to Social Science
    This module will introduce you to the ideas of some of the key thinkers in Sociology, including Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Goffman and Becker, and the continuing relevance of their ideas to the analysis of contemporary societies and to an understanding of public services. You'll explore the significance of the sociological study of aspects of society such as the individual, groups, inequality, conflict and social change to understanding the social context within which public services are delivered.
  • Basic Criminalistics
    Criminalistics is the core discipline of forensic science; in many uses, especially North America, it's synonymous with forensic science. The study is built on one basic premise: that every contact or action leaves some trace (Locard's Principle). As scientific methodologies have improved over the years, so the nature of what constitutes a trace has changed considerably. This module will introduce you to the main categories of trace evidence (finger and other body prints, fibres, hairs, glass and paint fragments, impressions of tools, gun discharge residues, and body fluids) and will emphasise the importance of rigorous crime scene management and proper methods of evidence recovery. You'll also learn about recent developments in enhanced evidence recovery, and evaluate the relative evidential value of various kinds of recovered trace material. This will lead on to a brief introduction to the statistical interpretation of such evidence.
  • Working in Public Service
    This module will introduce you to the work environments and current operation of a range of uniformed public services. Typically, examples will be chosen from the military, fire, police, prison and ambulance services, but this range may be adapted according to your needs. Building on the material studied in the module 'Understanding Public Services', you'll focus on the historical origins of these services and your current specific operation. You'll analyse the work environments (including entry, initial training, conditions of service, professional development, career development, occupational cultures and relevant wider issues) from a range of critical perspectives. In particular, you'll be asked to make some critical assessments of some of the dominant views of these services.
  • Work Based Learning 1
    Learning in the work place is an integral part of your foundation degree. The work environment provides a rich setting for you to discover and explore a range of knowledge, skills and understanding. You'll undertake three strands that form an integrated approach to your studies: learning about work (further developing your knowledge and understanding of the workplace), learning through work (examines the acquisition of practical skills in a real working environment), learning for work (your knowledge and skills will be developed in a way that is directly relevant to the workplace). You'll reflect on your work practice, critically appraise your own performance and report on the experience of learning at work. You'll be expected to demonstrate information gathering and descriptive skills, as well as an awareness of ethical issues relevant to your practice and studies.
  • Researching Social Issues
    This module will introduce you to the range of research instruments available to social scientists. Through sustained consideration of one issue - the policing of ethnic minorities - you'll learn the value of empirical research as a means to understanding social issues. You'll discover how police-minority relations can be analysed using a variety of methods, including observation, experiment, quantitative surveys, official statistics, qualitative interviewing, ethnography, archive research, case studies and life histories. By discussing these approaches, you'll develop an understanding of the potential strengths and limitations of each method, the practical issues around effective data gathering, sensitivity to cultural difference, and the ethical and political dimensions of the research process. Throughout the module, you'll develop skills and knowledge that will enable you to locate, use and evaluate research findings appropriately.

Year two, core modules

  • Work Based Learning 2
    Building on your experience in Work-Based Learning 1, you'll continue your exploration of professional/occupational practice as a source of learning along the strands developed previously. You'll need to demonstrate a greater degree of autonomy in the management of your learning, and more detailed knowledge of relevant theoretical underpinning. You'll also be required to analyse and evaluate both information and argument, and demonstrate the application of theory to practice.
  • Equality and Cultural Diversity at work
    This module will develop your knowledge of equality and cultural diversity issues. Through a series of lectures, seminars and workshops (or the equivalent for online delivery), you'll study equality legislation, and the social causes and outcomes of prejudice, bullying and harassment. You'll also consider the institutional practices that have reduced service delivery and led to internal bullying, as well as the public services' reaction to this.
  • Resilience and Emergency Management
    Bringing together all the skills you've learned on the Public Service Foundation Degree course, this module will task you with identifying and understanding how the emergency services prepare for and operate at major disasters. You'll look at the ways government and emergency services prepare for and react to major disasters, and consider the advantages and difficulties of the multi-agency approach. Working in teams, you'll solve problems and come up with innovative preparations for, and take part in, major disaster exercises. You'll need to take a reflexive and critical view on the work of government and the emergency services to identify strengths and weaknesses in the current preparation for disasters.
  • Leading Public Service
    This module will develop your critical view of public services in a broad sense, through an understanding of current perspectives on leadership and management in public service and how these relate to the ever-changing political, social and economic contexts in which they operate. You'll discuss the importance of effective management and leadership, along with the influence of the structures of public services and the impact of these on an organisation. You'll also evaluate different perspectives and styles of leadership, developing your understanding of the complexities and debates around this topic.
  • Project Preparation
    This module will provide you with the guidance, support and information to prepare for the major project (or part thereof) in your final year. The topics you cover will largely be built around your own academic needs and interests, and may vary from year to year. However, you'll also attend weekly sessions, which will include guidance on the following: appropriate use of supervisor; selecting a suitable topic and researching research problems; literature surveys and reviews on chosen topics; how to develop research aims and objectives; ethics and writing a research proposal.


We’ll assess your progress through exams, coursework and essay assignments, as well as your presentations and practical / work-based assignments.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

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Whether you aim to work in the creative industries or the social sciences, the legal profession or public service, the Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need for professional life.

Our lively, diverse community and ambitious academic environment will broaden your horizons and help you develop your full potential - many of our courses give you the chance to learn another language, study abroad or undertake work placements as you study.

If you’re interested in art, music, drama or film, check out our packed programme of events. Together with our partners in the creative and cultural industries, we’re always working to enrich the cultural life of the university and the wider community.

Our research is groundbreaking and internationally recognised, with real social impact. We support the Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute (CoDE), whose projects include interactive music apps and documenting lifesaving childbirth procedures, as well as nine international research clusters, such as the Centre for Children's Book Studies and the Labour History Research Unit.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, six of our subject areas were awarded world-leading status: Law; Art and Design; English Language and Literature, Communication, Cultural and Media Studies; History; Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts.

Where can I study?

University Centre Harlow

University Centre Harlow (UCH) is a bright, modern campus with a range of top-class facilities.

Explore UCH

Fees & funding

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

Entry requirements


Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

Entry requirements are for September 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01279 86 83 16

Email University Centre Harlow