University of Chester

Programme Specification
Health and Social Care BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2014 - 2015

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)

Health and Social Care

Health and Social Care

University of Chester

University of Chester

Southport College - NM6301, NM6302, NM6306, NM6307 and NM6308 only

Riverside Campus, Chester

Southport College, Mornington Road, Southport, PR9 0TT

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

Quality Assurance Agency - Health Studies subject benchmark statements as appropriate. 

Faculty of Health and Social Care - Undergraduate Module Assessment Board. BA/BSc University AAB.

Sunday 1st June 2014

The key themes in this curriculum are:

  1. Applied social sciences in health and social care (sociology, psychology and biology).
  2. Inequality and disadvantage in health and social care services and provision.
  3. Diversity and difference in the context of contemporary health and social problems (drug and alcohol, mental health, domestic violence, disability and ageing).

The specific programme aims are:

  • To enable students to understand the inter-professional and disciplinary nature of health and social care sectors and to gain knowledge, skills and expertise in different subject disciplines in the assessment of human need and care/health services.
  • To evaluate the ways in which inter-professional teams and roles operate in the context of health and social organisations and policies in order to demonstrate wider knowledge of the legal and socio-political context.
  • To foster critical thinking and knowledge of different disciplines in order for students to apply the core values and inter-disciplinary skills that are required to promote equality and diversity when working with service users/patients, families and carers (anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice).
  • To foster graduates to work in a critical, analytical and reflective manner when identifying the inter-relationship between health and social well-being when working with different patients/services users, carers and families.

Knowledge and Understanding
Students should develop:

  • A broad understanding of the way in which health and social care professionals embrace and apply Codes of Practice, values and inter-disciplinary ethics when working with patients/service users, carers and families in the context of sociology and philosophy;
  • A broad understanding of the relationship between psychological, sociological and biological theories which influence stages of development from birth to death;
  • A broad understanding and application of law, social policy and public health when working in health and social care contexts and marginalised groups in society;
  • A broad understanding of health and social care agencies and of working with a variety of professionals and service user/patient groups.

Thinking or Cognitive Skills
The ability to:
  • Integrate both simple and complex ideas and research (empirical) findings;
  • Comprehend and apply knowledge within the areas of health and social care ethics, values and Codes of Practice;
  • Display reflective thinking skills from work based opportunities;
  • Gather, process and present information in a logical and coherent manner;
  • Define problems in the context of service users/patients and identify potential solutions (including anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice).

Practical Skills

The ability to:
  • Achieve a range of appropriate skills relevant to health and social care practice;
  • Apply safely a range of relevant assessment, intervention and evaluation strategies used in health and social care;
  • Communicate effectively with individuals, groups and communities;
  • Demonstrate evidence-based practice;
  • Demonstrate collaborative, interdisciplinary working practices and partnerships;
  • Demonstrate effective profiling skills.

Key Skills
Students should be able to:
  • Manage time effectively;
  • Communicate effectively at both individual and organisational levels;
  • Engage in learning processes to effectively manage self-development;
  • Demonstrate effective use of information technology, health informatics, literacy and numeracy skills;
  • Demonstrate collaborative learning and partnership working in the occupational environment;
  • Demonstrate the application of evidence-based practice.

Transferable Professional Skills

Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments;
  • Communicate effectively at both individual and organisational levels;
  • Utilise IT effectively;
  • Work autonomously and collaboratively;
  • Demonstrate literacy and numeracy skills;
  • Apply the research process and evidence-based practice.

This three year full-time, or seven year part-time, programme is modular, with students studying 360 credits over three years. Credit is awarded for the achievement of the learning outcomes of each of the modules. Modules are closely linked to areas of expertise and research interests of the staff delivering them. There is a commitment to the development of transferable skills and inter-disciplinarity within the curriculum, particularly in the context of personal and professional development (i.e. reflection). The learning outcomes at each level are differentiated to ensure progression and are aligned with national frameworks. Key skills are incorporated at each level in keeping with national expectations of graduate capabilities. This curriculum follows a thematic and spiral model of planning content, and applies the QAA standards of undergraduate provision in health studies, public health and social work/care.

The spiral curriculum planning of this programme has ensured that the different areas, or topics, making up the curriculum are studied more than once throughout the three years. At first, they are covered at a relatively brief level, and then are returned to so that they can be explored more critically, over a longer period of time. This sequence allows students to gain an overall sense or picture of the course being undertaken, thereby allowing them to learn in a deeper manner. In the thematic sequence of this honours programme, modules that make up the curriculum include core or key themes that naturally interrelate and build upon previous knowledge at different stages, and outline key themes of health and social care knowledge and practice. One key feature is inter-disciplinarity.

Inter-disciplinarity is not drawn upon in the usual sense of the word, understood as selecting and combining approaches (or practitioners), but is used in this context as an approach where two disciplines or frameworks (Health and Social Care) are committed to the development of both subjects becoming a resource for innovative curriculum development and delivery. For example, a module such as ‘Domestic Violence in a Multi-agency Context' has links with core subjects in criminal justice, social policy, social work, health studies, nursing, mental health and public health studies.

Health and social care (HSC) programmes in the UK are becoming increasingly important as a number of new and diverse roles are being introduced. In order to meet a variety of community-based needs, roles which include community care officers, social care assistants and health care assistants are increasingly in demand. Building on the Health white paper Our Health, Our Care, Our Say: A New Direction for Community Services (DH 2007), the Health and Social Care Act 2010 supports the development of such roles, based on the premise that the state has the responsibility to promote comprehensive HSC services in the UK. The programme acknowledges the valuable contribution which individuals (as learners) can make to the vision and policy objectives underpinning the range of UK HSC provision.

Following a review of the social care workforce undertaken in England and reported in Options for Excellence - Building the Social Care Workforce of the Future (DH 2006), priorities were outlined for increasing the supply of all workers within the sector. This course fully supports this vision, is committed to improving the quality of social care practice in the community, and meets the needs of the HSC workforce.

The programme not only provides learners with access to diverse employment options in the HSC sector, but will directly provide access to existing master's provision at the University of Chester. These include Social Work; Psychology and Counselling; Art Therapy; Management Studies; Professional Education; Public Health; and Applied Sciences.

Level 4

The modules at level 4 provide a coherent and challenging learning experience, as well as a sound basis for building on curriculum themes at levels 5 and 6 and the inter-professional context.

Level 5

Emphasis at this level is placed on building on prior learning gained from level 4 modules and provides more depth to different subject disciplines and knowledge gained of human growth, development throughout the life span, working in health and social care, diversity and difference, law and policy, alongside a work based learning module.

Level 6

This level focuses on inter-disciplinarity in the delivery of services to service user groups and patients, focusing on contemporary health and social problems related to a wider variety of health and social care related problems. This year builds on the level 4 and 5 modules specifically in the areas of health and social care provision and services, diversity and difference, working and practice in health and social care, and organisational theory (management and leadership).

Level six includes core and option modules; the rationale is based on the learning needs and profile of previous learners who have enrolled on the BA (Hons) in Health and Social Care where they can choose a health or social care route towards the end of their studies. In addition, it provides more of a diverse range of contemporary subjects, preparing the learner for post-graduate routes of their choice following the successful completion of this programme. This will aid group interaction (dialogue) in larger classes, and provide peer learning and formative assessment.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM4103 4 Law and Policy in Health and Social Care 20 Comp
NM4104 4 Society and Welfare 20 Comp
NM4105 4 Human Growth: Development Throughout the Life Span 20 Comp
NM4106 4 Introduction to Health and Social Care: Values and Ethics 20 Comp
NM4107 4 Developing Study Skills, Communication and Professional Practice 40 Comp
NM5100 5 Health and Social Care Research Methodologies 20 Comp
NM5102 5 Interdisciplinary and Partnership Working 20 Comp
NM5104 5 Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups in Health and Social Care 20 Comp
NM5105 5 Equality and Diversity in Health and Social Care 20 Comp
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Comp
NM6301 6 Health and Social Care Dissertation 40 Comp
NM6302 6 Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care 20 Comp
NM6304 6 Public Health for Health and Social Care 20 Optional
NM6306 6 Domestic Violence in a Multi-agency Context 20 Comp
NM6307 6 Critical Perspectives in Mental Health 20 Comp
NM6308 6 Addictions, Themes and Critical Debates 20 Comp

Students will graduate with BA Honours on successful completion of levels 4, 5 & 6, having obtained 360 credits (120 per year).
Students may obtain an exit award of Dip HE on successful completion of levels 4 & 5, having obtained 240 credits (120 per year).
Students may obtain an exit award of Cert HE on successful completion of level 4, having obtained 120 credits.

The BA Health and Social Care will be suitable for people from traditional and non-traditional backgrounds who have achieved the following:

  • A minimum of 240-280 UCAS points, of which 260 points must be obtained from GCE and/or VCE A Levels (12 or 6 unit awards), including a grade C in one subject. The remaining points may be achieved from GCE and/or VCE A/AS Levels, VCE double award, or from Level 3 Key Skills certification.
  • BTEC National Diploma/Certificate: merit/distinction profile.
  • Irish Highers/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects.
  • International Baccalaureate: 26 points
  • QAA approved Access course, Open College Units or Open University Credits.
  • To undertake the programme at Southport students must demonstrate successful completion of a programme such as an HND in an appropriate subject which maps to level 4 and 5 of the BA (Hons) Health and Social Care.

The following standards have informed programme development:

Public Health Skills and Career Development Framework - Multi-disciplinary/Multi-agency/Multi-professional (2007). Available from:

Quality Assurance Agency Health Studies Subject Benchmark statements (as appropriate) (2008). Available from:

NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (NHS KSF) and the development review process (2004). Available from:

Quality Assurance Agency Social Work Studies Benchmark Statements (as appropriate) (2008). Available from:

Module descriptors were developed with full recognition of the national benchmark of 100 hours of student effort per 10 credits. The programme outcomes are commensurate with those expressed for the levels of study in the HE Qualifications Framework (HEQF), i.e.

Level HE 4 (Certificate Level)

In undertaking studies at this credit level, students are able to:

  • Have a sound knowledge of the basic concepts of the subject, and will have learned how to take different approaches to solving problems.

Students who successfully complete this level, but do not progress beyond level 5, will be awarded a Certificate of Higher Education.

Level HE 5 (Intermediate I level)

In undertaking studies at this credit level, students are able to:

  • Generate ideas through the analysis of concepts at an abstract level with a command of specialised skills and the formulation of responses to well defined and abstract problems.

Level HE 6 (Honours H level)

In undertaking studies at this credit level, students are able to:

  • Critically review, consolidate and extend a systematic and coherent body of knowledge.
  • Critically evaluate new concepts and evidence from a range of sources.
  • Transfer and apply diagnostic and creative skills and exercise significant judgement in a range of situations.

The level of the module outcomes demonstrates appropriate levels of taxonomy for the level of study, as do the contact and study hours.

The composition of the planning team ensured that there were members with experience of external research, consultancy and external examining. These are considered as key in quality assuring the programme against national benchmarks and expectations. Service users, existing learners on the BA, and stakeholders from NHS and social care organisations are involved in the planning and delivery of individual sessions to ensure that not only is the programme quality assured against social work national benchmarks (2008) (as one example), but commitment is shown to principles of partnership working in a service user/patient context. The validation process also ensures that experts from other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) were fully involved in the scrutiny and validation process, further assuring the comparability of the programme with other HEIs.

The learning and teaching philosophy on this programme is in line with the University's framework: the focus will be primarily upon constructivist principles of learning. What this means is that the learner is viewed as an active ‘maker of meaning' whereby teaching and learning methods promote effective student learning in the context of learning that has taken place in previous modules and life experiences (reflection). This is considered in the context of how this can be connected to new and developing knowledge (reconstruction). Based on facilitating critical dialogue with learners, the teaching and learning strategies foster self-development, autonomy, critical reflection and self-awareness. In effect, learners are enabled to become independent, autonomous and reflective, whilst also developing collaborative and professional competencies that will enhance their communication, analytical and organisational skills. With the key principle of lifelong learning, inter-professional learning and widening participation underpinning the programme, the interactive teaching methods foster inclusion, self-motivation, autonomy and the ability to work collectively (through problem-solving) with peers. Provision includes a mixture of face to face lectures and access to online facilities (module discussion, lectures). In summary, this programme fosters the integration of contextual, analytic, critical, explanatory and practical understanding of Health and Social Care.

The learning processes can be expressed in terms of four inter-related themes:

  1. Awareness raising and knowledge acquisition - a process in which a student becomes more aware of aspects of knowledge and expertise, engages with and acquires new areas of knowledge, recognises their potential and becomes motivated to engage in new ways of thinking and acting;
  2. Conceptual understanding - a process in which a student acquires, examines critically and deepens understanding (measured and tested against existing knowledge and adjustments made in attitudes and goals);
  3. Practice skills and experience - processes in which a student applies theoretical models together with new understanding and skills to relevant activities and receives feedback on performance enhancing openness to critical self-evaluation;
  4. Reflection on personal and professional performance - a process in which a student reflects on past experience, recent performance, and feedback, and applies this information to the process of integrating awareness (including awareness of the impact of self on others) and new understanding, leading to improved performance.

(adapted from QAA Social Work and Health Studies).

Students will have access to a variety of teaching and learning methods designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes within a student-centred approach. Each module will utilise a mix of teaching strategies, which take account of the different learning preferences of learners by considering the subject matter which is being taught. Students' previous experience in health and social care settings or life experiences will be built on through constructivist teaching methods; these will include formal lectures, case studies, one-to-one tutorials, seminars, presentations, debates, reflection, directed study, private study sessions, and e-learning packages.

Through critical dialogue, the student experience will be enhanced by the use of reflection in action, particularly following the practice placement opportunity in year two. Individual learning plans through personal tutoring will foster and enhance the academic and practice skills of each learner addressing areas of time management, gathering evidence, problem solving and academic writing. The work based learning opportunity will focus on the further development of the students' reflective skills with specific sessions devoted to models of reflection in health and social care professions. Students will thus be placed at the centre of the learning experience as an equal, but are assumed to be responsible for their own educational development. The student will be allocated a relevant tutor from the existing programme team.

The future aim is for all modules to be taught as a mixed mode, where students have access to e-learning materials in varying proportions, from fully taught with supporting materials to full use of electronic materials with minimal taught content.

Inter-professional learning is a key feature within the programme, and it is recognised that this will present challenges to teaching staff to ensure that the needs of learners are met. Visiting lecturers and expert professionals will be required in order to facilitate this process, and to ensure that examples and scenarios are drawn from a range of health and social care areas. Students will also be afforded the opportunity of inter-professional learning through shared learning with different programmes such as FdSc Health and Social Care (Assistant Practitioner), BSc (Hons) Professional Practice, and programmes in other faculties.

The approach to assessment within this programme has been guided by the QAA Code of Practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in Higher Education. The programme has designed assessment tasks so that learning is develops and tests cognitive skills, promotes self-evaluation/appraisal, and enhances students' abilities to conceptualise, compare and analyse issues in a variety of contexts of practice (QAA SW, 2013).

Throughout all three years of this programme assessments encourage critical and reflective analysis in a personal and professional context. Each 20 credit module adopts assessment tasks equivalent to 4000 words. Assessments are designed with the dual aims of supporting a student's professional development and his/her academic understanding. Throughout the programme, and within individual modules, a variety of assessment methods are employed which seek to demonstrate equity with respect to individual needs, learning preferences and the interests of students. The forms of assessment are selected to ensure that they characterise the academic level of the modules and are designed to enable students to explore the values, concepts and theories underpinning social care and health studies. Students will engage in a broad range of assessment methods and strategies, including with other professionals, service users and carers. In the endeavour to foster critical reflection, these assessment strategies include self-directed study alongside a variety of forms of writing (book reviews, article commentaries, case studies, narrative accounts, study skills, presentations and reports).

Each assessment strategy has been carefully chosen by module leaders to enhance students' abilities to conceptualise, compare and analyse key Health and Social Care topics. It is clear that this programme's assessment methods reflect the QAA Social Work and Health Studies, which are outlined as case-based assessments; presentations and analyses; practice-focused assignments; essays; project reports; examinations; and independent study as either a dissertation or project based upon systematic enquiry and investigation. A detailed marking schedule is used for all summative assessments which contain specific feedback on all aspects of the assignment, including how students embed the themes of values, ethics and diversity/differences. These provide a means whereby students receive feedback regularly on their achievements and developmental needs.

The value of formative assessment in higher education is well documented and evidenced to date. Primarily, formative assessment methods empower learners and encourage self-regulated learning and reflection. Generating feedback to improve performance is not just viewed as a transmission process solely facilitated by the teacher. The personal and professional development components of Health and Social Care, alongside ILPs (Individual Learning Plans), outline how the programme is committed to constructivist theories of adult learning.

Peer-assisted learning is a well-established concept in higher education, and student mentors at higher levels in the course will be encouraged to offer support to learners in lower years in terms of advice, guidance and student issues. Peer assessment in this programme is adopted as a formative assessment method in activities such as presentations and task based activities, in lectures as well as integrated seminars discussing particular topics throughout the academic year. All aspects of the assessment strategy will be used to evaluate transferable/key skills and, where relevant, mapped against national benchmarks.

The programme offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a graduate, and it is assessment criteria based upon QAA and University of Chester documents which define these characteristics (see below).

Demonstrate reasoning with regard to complex issues, which shows an ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.

Apply the methods, techniques and modes of practice that they have learned and review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding.

Theory/practice link
Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques enabling them to take initiatives and accept significant responsibility within health and social care.

Demonstrate critical analysis and be able to deal with complex issues.

Consider abstract data, concepts and/or raw materials and frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions to a problem.

Evaluating evidence and argument
Ability to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry.

Reaching sound judgements
Ability to critically evaluate current research, methodology and scholarship.

Ability to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions, in a variety of formats appropriate to health and social care working.

On completion, graduates will be equipped to deliver the highest quality evidence-based practice appropriate to their work-based setting including, for example, drug and alcohol services, housing and welfare, and voluntary services.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

Notwithstanding the content of section 18 a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be required if the student chooses a Health & Social Care work-based placement at level 5 or 6.

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