From the uniformed services to Revenue and Customs, through work placements and disaster planning, our foundation degree will give you the first-hand experience of the public services that you need to move ahead in your chosen career.
Our course will equip you with skills and knowledge that are in great demand with public service employers like the police, the Prison Service, fire and ambulance services, HM Revenue & Customs and the Armed Forces.
Based on our Cambridge campus, with access to all of our university’s facilities, you’ll get first-hand experience of the UK’s uniformed public services through work-based learning as well as improving your academic knowledge in the classroom.
Work placements are a key feature of our degree*. Each year of the course you'll complete one placement, gaining a unique insight into the daily working life of public service professionals as well as valuable skills and experience.
In the first year you'll work with disadvantaged groups. We offer placements with homeless shelters and food banks, in prisons and care homes as well as with organisations that work with groups such as young offenders and people with drug and alcohol dependencies.
In the second year you'll complete a work placement with an emergency public service or related organization. We have schemes in place with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the County Council, amongst others. You'll have the chance to spend time on shift with police officers and fire fighters and experience first-hand what it is like to work in the emergency services.
Many of our students train with the Cambridge University Officers Training Corps, are members of St John Ambulance or are Special Constables, and are able to use these as the basis for their work-based learning in the second year.
Our modules will help you to develop important, transferable skills in leadership, interpersonal communication, financing, and presentation; and to learn about contemporary issues including equality and cultural diversity, disaster planning and political ideologies. You’ll also get the chance to focus on specific areas of interest in your work, like policing and crime control, the media and crime and sex offending.
Our degree has been developed, and continues to develop, through strong links with the fire, police, prison and ambulance services, HM Revenue & Customs, and the UK Armed Forces. Talks and classes given by serving professionals are a key feature of this course.
You'll also have the chance to take part in different trips and activities, including: a visit to Krakow with a tour of Auschwitz; an activity trip to the Lake District involving activities such as kayaking, ghyll-scrambling and abseiling; operational patrols with the police; visits to the Fire Service; taking part in large-scale simulated mass emergency situations as casualties for London Fire Brigade; taking part in the training of Public Order policing; a trip to Berlin, including a tour of a Stasi prison.
Once you’ve completed this FdA, you can choose to top-up your degree on our BA (Hons) Public Service.**
Course Leader: Julian Constable
*Some work placements will require you to pay for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Please contact the Course Leader if you'd like more information.
**Applications from qualified students will be considered on their individual merits.
You’ll develop skills and knowledge that can be used in many different careers. Our past students have gone on to work with the police (as analysts and researchers as well as constables), the fire service, all branches of the military, the Prison Service, HM Revenue & Customs, public and private sector organisations as managers, and primary, further or higher education.
Most of our students go on to top up their foundation degree to a BA (Hons) Public Service.
For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure.
We use a variety of ways for you to show your knowledge and understanding. These include presentations, essays, case studies and reports. You will focus on coursework, and will not need to sit any end-of-year exams.
The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences is an academic community of nearly 800 students and teaching staff. Our students are supported by leading practitioners, so you'll always have access to the latest theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as invaluable career advice. Subjects in the Humanities and Social Sciences lead to work in many roles you might not have considered, maybe as a politician, chief executive – or even an inventor.
We organise many activities to help our students prepare for their future, like work placements, study abroad opportunities, talks by acclaimed guest speakers, and research conferences.
We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.
You’ll undertake work placements in both years of the course. In the first year you’ll work with disadvantaged groups, such as homeless people, young offenders and people with drug and alcohol addictions. In your second year you’ll work with a public service or related organisation, like the Special Constables, Prison Service, Cambridge University Officer Training Corps, the City Council, the Probation Service, Cambridgeshire Emergency Management Team, Marshall Aerospace, Cambridge University Air Squadron and regional police forces, fire and rescue services and ambulance services.
You’ll also have the chance to take part in our annual public service presentation day, which is attended by representatives from regional public services, visit institutions like HMP Whitemoor, Cambridge Crown Court and the local fire services, or help with the training of riot police.
You can pay your fees in the following ways.
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.
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.
Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.
We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.
From September 2018, EU students starting an undergraduate degree with us can access an £800 bursary.
Meanwhile, our £400 Books Plus scheme helps with the costs of study. There's no need to apply for this: if you're eligible you can simply collect a Books Plus card when you start your course.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Read this institution's report