Advance your understanding of the public services and the changing world in which they operate. Develop skills and knowledge not only for a public service career, but future leadership roles as well.
Our BA (Hons) Public Service will give you the potential to not just become a public service worker, but also to contribute to the development of the public services. You’ll become an independent and critical thinker, able to use a variety of research methods and continue your development long after you have moved on to a career.
The course is developed, and continues to develop, through strong links with the fire, police, prison and ambulance services, HM Revenue & Customs, and the UK Armed Forces, ensuring its content aligns closely with current practice. You’ll also benefit directly from their involvement, with talks and workshops led by public service professionals that allow you to experience real-life situations such as disaster planning.
Work placements are also a key feature of the course*. In the first two years, you'll complete two placements: in Year 1 with disadvantaged groups; in Year 2 with an emergency public service or related organization. These placements will give you a unique insight into the daily working life of public service professionals as well as helping you to develop valuable career-related skills and experience.
On our other core modules, you’ll discover the wider contexts that affect the public services, from social issues, such as the role of a citizen in society, to political ideologies such as Welfarism and ‘modernisation’, and the different, often conflicting, groups involved in policy-making.
Our optional modules, which include many from other social science courses, will allow you to experience different styles of learning and teaching, and build a degree that suits your own choice of future career.
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.
Our past students have gone on to work with uniformed services such as the police (as analysts and researchers as well as constables), the fire service, the Prison Service and all branches of the military, as well as in HM Revenue & Customs, public and private sector organisations as managers, and primary, further or higher education.
With employability at the heart of our course, you’ll also develop many transferable skills that can help you find success in a variety of other professional careers, including problem solving, critical and analytical thinking, research, data retrieval, persuasive writing techniques, rigorous scrutiny of evidence, creative thinking, computer skills, use of digital resources, team work, communication skills leadership skills, project planning/development.
You will show your progress on the course through many different forms of assessment, including essays, presentations, examinations, class tests, case studies, portfolios, work and laboratory books, reports, action plans, and progress files.
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 have the chance to visit institutions like HMP Whitemoor, Cambridge Crown Court and the local fire services, or help with the training of riot police.
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.
You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.Paying your fees
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:
We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.
We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.
If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.
If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.
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