Professional Studies in Health and Social Care (Online Top-Up Degree) - BSc (Hons)

Distance Learning
September 2016
Online Learning  Online
£600 per 15-credit module for UK/EU Distance Learning 2016 entry (view all fees)

This online course is for health and social care practitioners working in the UK, EU and Overseas. It offers an exciting opportunity for practitioners from diverse health and social care settings such as nurses, assistant practitioners, operating department practitioners, paramedics and administrators to learn together, while at the same time topping up to a degree.

The programme comprises a suite of eight non-competency-based modules which are relevant to all practitioners working within a health and social care setting.

The flexibility of the online programme enables you to meet your Continuous Professional Development requirements while maintaining a balance between work and home life at a pace and place that suits you.

The programme is delivered entirely online via Moodle Virtual Learning Environment using a wide range of interactive learning materials and resources. Student engagement is a central part of the teaching and learning experience and contributes to extensive networking, collaboration and peer support. Access to tutors, library, support staff, services and departments can be via a range of methods including email, forums, telephone, Live Chat and Skype.

Supporting our students is central to the quality delivery of this programme, which is why you can expect plenty of personal and professional support and guidance from the programme team and departmental staff.

What are the aims of the course?
  1. Provide a technology-enhanced learning environment that promotes a flexible learning experience, while informing the standard of services across health and social care.
  2. Provide opportunities for practitioners working within the health and social care sector to develop analytical and reflective approaches to their knowledge base.
  3. Provide opportunities for inter-professional approaches to education that contributes to the collaborative nature of health and social care delivery and the quality of the patient/client experience.

What's covered in the course?

  • A degree offered entirely online – no need to attend campus
  • Welcomes home/EU and international applicants
  • For registered and non-registered practitioners working across a range of health and social care disciplines who wish to top-up to a degree
  • Learn and share practice within an e-community
  • Study part-time – complete 15 months minimum to three years maximum
  • Annual intake - September start
  • Modules are taught and facilitated by a team of multi-professional experts

Why Choose Us?

  • One of a few UK universities offering degree level online study to registered and non-registered health and social care practitioners working in the UK, EU and Overseas.
  • Home and international students will feel supported through access to academic and administrative staff at reasonable times through use of Skype, email, online discussion forums and telephone.
  • Support for programme and IT issues available at specified times during weekends.
  • A rich learning experience to be gained from an e-learning community seeks to ‘improve the working culture’ and the ‘ways professionals work together’.
  • Enables practitioners holding a diploma/equivalent to gain degree status in their workplace without the need to specialise.
  • A ‘virtual’ university experience is enhanced through open and easy access to our resources and services or departments.
  • Graduates from this programme have opportunities to get involved in extra-curricular, developmental opportunities such as joining the mentorship programme to support future online students.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 26 April 2017, between 3pm and 8pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities. You can't book your place just yet, but register your interest and we'll send you an email when you can book.

Register your interest

This course is open to International students

School of Allied and Public Health Professions

Discover the School of Allied and Public Health Professions

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
UK Qualification Requirements 2016/17
Diploma-level study/appropriate equivalent. These must be in a health/health and social care related subject. 120 level 4 credits and 120 level 5 credits Candidates may be able to demonstrate appropriate APL equivalent (assessed on an individual basis). Appropriate qualifications may include Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care, Dip HE Operating Department Practice, Dip HE Paramedic Science, Dip HE (Nursing), Higher National Diploma etc
Work experience Must be currently working in a health/health and social care related setting.
EU/International students


For candidates whose first language is not English/above qualifications were not taught in English, proof of fluency in English is required.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2016/17
IELTS a minimum overall score of 6.5 (must include written component at a minimum score of 6.0)
TOEFL a minimum score of 550 or other (assessed on an individual case basis)
International students

A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. If you do not currently have a score of 6.5, our Personal Development Department will be able to help. We offer a preparation programme that may be suitable.

See the How to Apply section for details on how we confirm your qualifications.

More information

For more information, please contact the Programme Director Cathy Kitchen on +44(0)121 331 7088, email: or Skype: CathyKitch and state the nature of your enquiry with any relevant attachments.

For academic careers and APL advice there are dedicated Professional Navigators who can help with choices of future study. Please call Adele Millington or Nicola Clarke on +44 (0)121 331 6162 or email:

International Students

Entry requirements here

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2016 DL 15 months minimum, 3 years maximum £600 per 15-credit module

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

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2016 DL 15 months minimum, 3 years maximum £600 per 15-credit module

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

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

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

You will only be asked to select your modules and provide the following documents if your application has been successful.

Sending supporting documents

When you have been offered a place on the course you will be required to send scanned copies of the following supportive documents to You must also state your full name in the email.

  • Photographic proof of ID - one of the following: current passport, national identity card (for non-UK students); UK/other driving licence (full or provisional)
  • Current passport-sized photograph.
    The photograph should be jpeg file for emailing, be in colour (not black and white), recent - within the last month and be clear (no sunglasses, hats, etc).
  • Certificates of all qualifications needed for entry to the programme (minimum Diploma Higher Education level/equivalent.
  • English language certificates or IELTS or other (EU/international applicants only)
    Qualification certificates (includes IELTS where relevant) - should originate from the appropriate examination board.
    A transcript will be required in English.
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate, if relevant
  • At least one written reference

    You are required to supply one written reference plus the name of a further referee who may be asked to supply a further reference for your application. The initial reference must be from your current employer or from your last education establishment or preferably both. The academic reference should be from an academic who has knowledge of your academic ability through having taught or supervised you. The other reference should be from your current employer and who preferably has known you for the last two years.
    All scanned copies of references must either have an official stamp or be written on the organisations' headed paper and signed by the referee.
    References that do not include a signature, official stamp or identify the organisation by headed paper will result in the delay of your application

Note - it is important that you have completed all aspects of your online application and enrolment a week prior to the module start dates.

We strongly advise that any applications for third-party financial sponsorship should be made 2-3 months before the start of your course.

Your 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

Indicate your current field of work. You must be in part-time/full-time employment to undertake this course.

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

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

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

Core modules

To gain a full BSc (Hons) degree you will need to successfully complete eight modules including four core modules (includes a double module) and four optional modules, to total 120 credits at Level 6.

View module dates for 2016/17

Essential Academic Skills for Study
15 credits
Evidence Based Practice
15 credits
Independent Study
30 credits

Optional modules

There are currently six modules in the menu of options: you are required to select four:

Communication in Health and Social Care
15 credits
Transformational Leadership in Health and Social Care
15 credits
Principles of Teaching and Education in Health and Social Care
15 credits
Applied Physiology for Health and Social Care
15 credits
Applied Pharmacology for Health and Social Care
15 credits
Developing Specialist Practice in Health and Social Care
15 credits

Course structure

The online top-up degree programme is part-time and comprises of eight modules (core and optional modules). The full degree can be completed in a minimum of 15 months or maximum three years. Most modules are scheduled to run once in the academic year: they run in a specific sequence. It is important to seek advice when planning to complete the full degree over a greater period than 15 months.

You are strongly advised to study the module Essential Academic Skills for Study prior to the other modules, in order to facilitate the transition of academic skills from diploma level to degree. This module offers a highly supportive learning environment to induct you into the University's academic and electronic learning environment.

You can choose to study:

  • The whole BSc (Hons) degree
  • Single module(s) only to suit your aspirations and your organisation's needs

Assessment methods

You will be assessed through a variety of methods which include: essays, patchwork assessment, written analysis of a practice guideline, virtual viva and use of e-portfolios for personal development and reflection; all of which will allow you the opportunity to creatively demonstrate your role and development as a practitioner.

Module dates

The following spreadsheet gives 2016/17 dates for all Health-related modules:

Post graduate modules 2016/17

The flexibility of the online programme enables you to meet your Continuous Professional Development requirements while maintaining a balance between work and home life at a pace and place that suits you.


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.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

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

We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that medical staff may come across.

These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice. Much of our teaching is carried out within our state-of-the-art, £30m Seacole Building, which houses some of the best learning facilities in the UK.

Take a virtual tour of our skills suites at Seacole

In a sector where new techniques are constantly being discovered, we work hard to ensure that students learn using the most up-to-date equipment available. These include the only mock operating theatre in an English university and a cutting-edge radiography virtual clinical training facility, virtual ward and virtual case creator.

Virtual Case Creator

For pre-registration midwives, Virtual Case Creator software contains a range of scenarios to let you experience birthing situations and decide on appropriate interventions in a safe environment.

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.

Part of the package is our SIM baby, SIM man and Mega code kid. There are also nursing manikins for fundamental skills teaching and various equipment to support essential skills teaching, such as blood pressure monitoring venepuncture and cannulation equipment.

Skills Practice and Clinical Enhancement facility

The SPACE (Skills Practice And Clinical Enhancement) learning facility lets you further practice the skills taught in class, at your own pace and convenience.

It is fully stocked with the specialist items and equipment needed for procedures such as taking blood pressure, giving an injection, abdominal examination of a pregnant woman and caring for ill babies in an incubator.

Biomedical Laboratories

We have recently installed new laboratory facilities to help you explore understand the scientific principles underpinning many of our courses. The physiology laboratory is equipped to help you learn about the way the human body works by performing investigative experiments. The biomedical science laboratory is undergoing an upgrade over the summer and will allow you to learn about anatomy, cellular processes, immunology and enzymology in a hands-on way that links directly to day-to-day health care.

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.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The state-of-the art facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

You will have access to all of the University’s libraries, including the main Kenrick Library on the City North Campus, which is open for almost 90 hours a week and holds more than 320,000 books, 2,000 print journals and carries more than 4,000 electronic journals online.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, full colour printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Cathy Kitchen

Senior Lecturer, Course Leader

Cathy's professional interests include chronic kidney disease, patient education for LTCs, aspects of urology and urogynaecology/continence, T&L, e-learning pedagogy and research methods.

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