Public Services Top-Up BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (1 year)

University Centre Peterborough


code: N147

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Top-up your existing foundation degree in Public Service to a full honours degree in just one year. Open up career opportunities in a range of public services, such as the Police, fire service and local government.

Full description


We have strong links with the fire, police, prison and ambulance services, HM Revenue & Customs, and the armed forces. They continually advise us on how to develop the course and help us teach and train our students.

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

Modules & assessment

  • Policing Policy
    On this module, you'll concentrate on how national, local and internal politics operate in the organisation of the police service in England and Wales. The police service exhibits a wide range of groups that represent competing ways of seeing the development of this service. You'll seek to identify these groups, to identify their roles and to assess their relative importance in relation to the internal and external political environment of the public services. In this respect, conflicts in public services will be a theme of the module. In particular the focus is on up-to-date reporting on the police service by government, interested parties, key stake holders and representative bodies and how these reports follow a pattern that leads to public service development. The module will be taught by lectures, seminars and workshops throughout the semester. You will be required to give an oral presentation to the whole class group based on the materials used in preparation for the written assessment. Where possible and appropriate, guests from the public service will be invited to attend oral presentations to create a realistic conference environment. Students will also be required to submit a written case study of the operation of public services policy in relation to the police service. This case study will make reference to the various groups studied in the module and to some selected examples of issues or conflicts that have arisen or are currently taking place in the police service.
  • Politics and Public Service
    On this module, you'll address the ideas that lie behind political approaches to public services and explore the relationship between these ideas and policy. You'll also examine the development of ideological approaches to public services, focusing on some broad approaches, namely, Welfarism, Neoliberalism and 'modernisation', each of which results in the eventual application of political ideology.
  • Invisible Crimes
    The crimes committed by corporate entities, or those individuals within them, often have a more profound economic, physical and social cost on individuals than those associated with 'conventional' criminal behaviour. The way corporate entities experience the process of criminal justice differs from the experience of individuals and despite increasing media interest, it's often difficult to obtain convictions against businesses that break the law. On this module, you'll explore the difficulty in defining corporate, white-collar and organised crime, and how they have been addressed by criminologists. You'll consider the links in the crime-power-media relationship, examining them through case studies, as well as texts and theories to understand the broader context. For your assignment, you'll select a case related to the subject and critically evaluate its development.
  • Race, Racism and Cultural Identity
    On this module, you'll explore the sociology of 'race', racism and ethnic divisions. You'll consider three related themes: the social origins and significance of racial and ethnic divisions, the varied causes, contexts and consequences of racism and antiracism, and the cultural consequences of migration. Although your primary substantive focus will be on race relations in contemporary Britain, you will also draw insights from historical and international comparisons. You'll also attend a series of student-led workshops, in which you'll apply sociological knowledge and understanding to current questions of 'race' politics and policy. The topics of these workshop will relate to key module themes, such as: the collection and use of racialised data in the criminal justice system, debates about the usefulness of the concept of institutional racism, and globalised Islam.
  • Sexuality and Social Control
    On this module, you'll explore the range of discursive practices used to explain sex and sexuality in Western culture. You'll examine long-standing claims about the 'naturalness' of heterosexuality as a reproductive drive linked to the survival and reproduction of the human 'species', and the implications of this for the gendered sexual order, various non-conventional sexualities and particular social groups. Drawing on a 'social constructionist' approach, you'll examine religious, biological, psychological and sociological explanations of sexuality. You'll uncover how sex and sexuality are understood, practised and regulated, and in doing so, expose the ideological and discursive foundations of ideas about sex and sexuality in relation to gender, ethnicity, age and disability. You’ll look at how ideas about sex and sexuality are shaped historically, how they vary cross-culturally and how they impact on us as individuals and members of particular social groups. You'll be assessed through a 3,000 word essay.
  • Youth Justice Controversies
    The Criminal Justice System incorporates a range of functions and agencies that are required to protect the public, uphold justice and the law, maintain public order, exact punishments and censures, recognise and accommodate victims and sustain public confidence. The system is guided by important principles, of which a central aspect is that every individual has rights, whether as suspect, defendant, convict, enforcer, employee, victim, witness or ordinary citizen. On this module, you'll uncover the complexities of the criminal justice system, notably around the issue of youth justice, and discuss theories explaining youth crime and youth culture. You'll analyse competing strategies in youth justice and their outcomes, discussing recent developments in youth justice legislation, policy and practice. You'll reflect on the issue of race, gender and drug abuse, and explore the recent youth justice innovations that have arguably changed the face of young offenders and issues of accountability. Your assessment will comprise a group presentation and a portfolio of patchwork texts.


We use a range of assessment methods, including reports, essays, poster presentations, reflective assessments, case studies and a major academic project.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

Using our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond, we nurture creativity and critical thinking to educate, entertain, inspire and understand people, as well as improving their lives.

In the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, we nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking, and encourage critical thinking to educate, entertain, inspire and understand people, as well as improving their lives.

Where can I study?

University Centre Peterborough
University Centre Peterborough

University Centre Peterborough (or UCP) is our modern campus in the heart of an historic city.

Explore UCP

Fees & funding

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

You can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

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.

Entry requirements

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A foundation degree in Public Services, or an equivalent qualification.

If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency (IELTS 6.0 or higher) or and equivalent English Language qualification.

You may also be accepted with an IELTS 5.5 or equivalent, but will be required to undertake an English qualification.

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.

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