Health and Social Care - CertHE / FdSc

UCAS Code:
Not available through UCAS − apply direct to the University. Course Code: UF0304
CertHE - Full Time (1 year)
FdSc - Full Time (2 years)
March 2017, September 2017

Our flexible Health and Social Care course is designed for those employed in the sector, and will provide you with the work-based skills you need to further your career.

Delivered via work-based learning, this course will give you knowledge in a range of fields, such as mental health, maternity and social work, with previous students progressing into roles as patient experience advisors at institutions such as Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

What's covered in the course?

This full-time, two-year foundation degree has been designed to teach you the skills you need to progress academically. You’ll be equipped to work in a range of health care roles, whether that be in local authorities, the voluntary sector or private care settings.

The course offers an introduction to anatomy and physiology, and examines social, psychological and cultural influences relevant to your area of work. It covers professional issues relating to the boundaries of practice, patient and client assessment. It also provides a thorough understanding of standard operating procedures and relevant national service frameworks.

Throughout the course, you will be advised and encouraged by our personal tutors, and you will showcase your development by completing a portfolio.

Why Choose Us?

  • The School of Allied and Public Health Professions is based in the £30 million award-winning Seacole Building, with mock hospital wards, mock operating theatre, home environment room and laboratory.
  • The School’s collaborative work with employers and trust colleagues means your studies reflect the hands-on operations of contemporary practice.
  • By joining us, you’ll be enrolling in the region’s largest provider of qualified health and social care professionals to the NHS.
  • We are one of the largest and most diverse providers of health and social care education in the country.
  • You can move your career forward if you hold suitable employment in the following areas: acute care, children, diagnostic radiography, end-of-life care, long-term conditions, mammography, mental health and radiotherapy.
  • This course is delivered via work-based learning, supported by one day of university study each week.
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Days - Autumn 2017

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 4 November. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now - 4 November

To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2017 or 2018, we're giving at least £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials. Even better, it doesn’t have to be repaid.

Find out more
This course is not open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to further study and training in areas such as:

  • Nursing
  • Radiography

Entry Requirements

This full-time work based learning programme is aimed at people who are currently working in a health and social care setting, and to be eligible for the programme you must be working for a minimum of 30 hours per week. 

You must have:
GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics.
(Equivalent qualifications such as Key Skills Level 2, Adult Numeracy Level 2, Adult Literacy Level 2, Functional Skills English and Maths Level 2 or CSE Grade 1 will be accepted).
Irish Leaving Certificate - Mathematics and English Ordinary Level passes at Grade B3 or above.
Scottish qualifications – Mathematics and English passes at Intermediate Standard 2 or above.
In addition to the above you must have one of the following:
GCE A/A2 level
Minimum of one A/A2 Level pass at Grade D or above. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded.
GCE AS/A1 level
Minimum of two AS/A1 Level passes at Grade D or above. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded.
GCE/AVCE Double Award
GCE/AVCE Double Award minimum pass at Grade DD. General Studies and Critical Thinking excluded.
BTEC National Award
Minimum pass Grade M required.
BTEC National Certificate
Minimum pass Grade PP required.
BTEC National Diploma
Minimum pass Grade PPP required.
International Baccalaureate Diploma
Minimum pass Grade 24 required.
Cache Award, Certificate or Diploma
Full award.
Access to HE Diploma in Health and Social Care
Full award (60 credits) must include 12 Level 2 Mathematics credits + 12 Level 2 English Language credits if not already achieved at GCSE or equivalent.
NVQ Level 2
Full award plus a written paper – details of the content will be provided by the admissions tutor post application.
NVQ Level 3
Full award, plus GCSE Mathematics at Grade C or above or equivalent.
14 –19 Progression Diploma in Society, Health and Development
Full award.
14-19 Advanced Diploma in Society, Health and Development
Full award.

Other qualifications:

Applicants’ qualifications that are not listed will be considered on an individual basis.

Portfolio route

A Portfolio route has been devised for those applicants who are already working in a social care setting and who do not meet the formal entry requirements. To follow this route you are still expected to possess GCSE Mathematics or equivalent.

The Portfolio should include:

  • Two written testimonies (one of which must be from your employer) supporting your application.
  • 1 reflective piece that draws on your current practice (1,500 words).
  • All pieces of work should be endorsed by your line manager.

The portfolio is to be submitted within 4 weeks post application, following discussion with the Admissions Tutor.

This course has been designed to allow for intermission ('stepping back') at the end of year one at which point a Certificate in Higher Education (Cert HE Health and Social Care) will be awarded on successful completion of 120 credits at level 4. 'Stepping back' on to the course can only occur with the agreement of the programme director. Advanced Diplomas and Progression Diplomas are acceptable as all or part of the required tariff points.

In addition:

  • All applicants will be invited to attend one of two applicant’s days to be held at the University. Applicants seconded from local Trusts may also be required to attend an interview as part of their Trust's selection process. If you are unable to attend, please make an appointment to meet with the Admissions Tutor on a one-to-one basis to discuss your application and to visit the university campus.
  • Applicants must be employed in a Heath or Social Care support worker role (or equivalent) and have support from their Line Manager in order to apply for this course.
  • Places are subject to declaration of satisfactory enhanced DBS clearance 
  • Applicants should be aware that qualifications, personal statement, interview, references, written exercise and where appropriate portfolio all form part of the selection criteria for this course.


One of the requirements of the programme is that you must be employed in an appropriate post within the Health Care and Social care sector. You are therefore subject to your employer’s policies and procedures regarding attendance at work. A further requirement is that you attend all university-led sessions that are timetabled.

Hours of attendance

Your hours of attendance will be as per your contract with your employer. You are entitled to one day protected study time per week. This day may be spent in group tutorials, individual tutorials or personal study time. Work-based learning is supported through a portfolio, workbooks, CD ROM video lectures and on-line conferences.

Support on how to use all these technologies will be provided within the first few weeks of your course. Throughout the programme you will be expected to maintain a portfolio that will not only contain work and assessments throughout the course, but will form an assessment in its own right. The portfolio will enable you to develop lifelong learning and reflective skills.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
CertHE Sep 2017 FT 1 year TBC
FdSc Mar 2017 FT 2 years £6,000 Per year
Sep 2017 FT 2 years £6,000 Per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Application notes

Please indicate on your personal statement which pathway you would like to apply for. See course structure for details on pathways.

All prospective students will be invited to a Foundation degree applicant's day.

Personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Sorry, this course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Course structure

The programme is delivered via work-based learning. As a work-based learner, students will receive continuous support from both their personal tutors based in the university and within the workplace. The team will provide support both academically and practically through direct contact and online learning.

You will spend an intensive one day a week on campus, and the rest of the time in your current workplace. You’ll study 16 modules throughout the programme, which will include group tutorials, individual tutorials and self-directed study time.

Students studying the Foundation Degree will study the equivalent of 16 modules throughout the programme. Each student will require one day protected learning time per week, which will include University attendance, group tutorials, individual tutorials or self directed study time.

Pathway booklets to download:

In order to complete the programme the student will have successfully achieved the academic assignment requirements and the clinically based competencies. Students are also expected to complete module workbooks and engage with the universities online virtual learning environment (Moodle).

Additional support

If you are dyslexic, have a specific learning difference or a disability, we have a Disability Tutor who can help and support you. 

More on our disability tutor >>

We offer extra technical and learning support.

Course breakdown

The modules on the programme are either core or role-related. You may also have a choice of optional modules. A single module has a credit rating of 15 credits and a double module has a credit rating of 30 credits. Each 15 credits in a module equates with 150 hours and this is broken down into teaching and learning activities, self directed study and work book learning.

Teaching breakdown

24 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
28 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
48 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

3 Written exams DarkOrange
78 Coursework FireBrick
19 Practical exams #fece5a

Student stories

The course is aimed at people who are employed in a health or social care setting. Once accepted onto the course, you will benefit from high levels of support from a friendly and approachable team. You will also benefit from our flexible approach to learning and teaching and the in-built versatility of the course.

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further study

Some students use this course as the basis for a move either into other degrees or different forms of study. Successful completion can see you progress onto a BSc Honours programme, or programmes that lead to registration as a health care professional.

Studying other courses with us
  • Students who complete the course can gain entry to the BSc Midwifery degree.
  • Students who complete the Transition to Studies in Healthcare (year 2) module and successfully complete the Foundation degree may apply to commence the BSc (Hons) Nursing via an entry point in the second year of the programme.

Employment opportunities

The course’s flexible, work-based nature means you’ll become competent as an assistant practitioner in one of a number of areas, such as:

  • Adult Care
  • Child
  • Mental Health
  • Learning Disability 
  • Diagnostic Radiography
  • Mammography
  • Maternity
  • Surgical Care Support

If you wish to undertake further study, you can apply to transfer your foundation degree into the second year of a professional practice degree at Birmingham City University such as BSc (Hons) Nursing or BSc (Hons) Radiography, With the completion of additional modules you may also be able to apply for the BSc (Hons) or Dip (HE) Operating Department Practice. 


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

Our students progress into roles as social workers and healthcare professionals, working in both the private and public sector.


We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

Specifically, you will be based in the £30 million award-winning Seacole Building, with mock hospital wards, mock Operating Theatre, Home Environment and laboratory.

Hospital Ward

Our mock wards enable you to get a feel of what a ward is really like before you head out for your first placement. They contain ‘Sim Men’, which are demonstration dummies that develop ailments, allowing you to treat them as you would a real patient and build your confidence in reacting to the changing needs of patients.

The Hospital Ward can be adapted from a low care to high dependency care environment with the necessary monitoring equipment.

Simulation Mannequins

We have several Simulation men (SIM men) and Simulation babies (SIM babies) which are leading edge, anatomically correct mannequins used for teaching specific techniques such as advanced adult and paediatric life support skills, acute and high dependency clinical skills, first aid and communication skills.

The SIM men and SIM baby mannequins are complete with software, which is used to replicate real symptoms, and are enhanced by the manipulation of for example blood pressure, pulse and heart rate for extra realism. SIM Man can also “talk” to the students which adds another dimension to their use in teaching clinical skills and in simulation exercises.

Other facilities

  • We have been commended by the NMC for our Virtual Home Environment, where live simulations bring the practical realities of the profession directly to your studies.
  • Virtual Case Creator software creates a range of virtual scenarios to let you experience the practicalities of patient operations, assessment and care.
  • Purpose-built Radiography Skills Suite allows you to improve your skills through simulation in a safe and protected environment, and includes the VERT (Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training) suite – the UK’s first University-based system.
  • SPACE (Skills Practice And Clinical Enhancement) learning facility lets you further practice the skills taught in class, at your own pace and convenience.
  • The SPACE facility is fully stocked with the specialist items and equipment needed for procedures such as taking blood pressure, giving an injection, and caring for ill babies in an incubator.
  • Moodle – the University’s virtual learning environment – complements your classroom learning, allowing you to build confidence and skills before you work with real clients and service users on your placement.

Janet Ebanks

Senior Lecturer, Programme Director FDSc

Janet is Programme Director for the FDSc - Foundation Degree Health and Social Care

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295