How can we as a society respond to the increasing demands for health and social care services at a time of financial austerity? Who should be responsible for the health care costs of people with drug, alcohol dependencies or eating disorders? How do we protect the vulnerable in our society whilst upholding their right to have control over their lives? Health and Social Care issues currently have a very high profile across a range of key political and public agendas, various forms of media, and within a wide range of agency settings and professional arenas. These and a wide range of closely related issues form the substance of the day to day work of a wide range of public, voluntary and private agencies and professions.
Our Social Policy Health and Social Care Pathway Degree will provide you with the opportunity to actively engage in the analysis of these and further cutting edge issues and debates and therefore your degree will comprise a highly contemporary, dynamic and grounded programme of study.
Download the BA Social Policy, Health and Social Care brochure (PDF)
Social Policy lectures take many different forms, some may be talks followed by a workshop, others are combined with small group exercises, group discussions, seminars, project or placement work.
As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.
Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).
To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we’ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.
Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions, to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.
Employers value our graduates on the basis of our reputation for academic excellence and our student's considerable suite of skills and experiences gained over the course of their degree programme and therefore our graduates are highly employable. Supporting our students in acquiring skills and experiences to enhance their employability is a key priority for us and is reflected in the way that we structure our academic programmes.
Health and Social Care Policy Pathway students will undertake a specialist placement during their degree programme. However, it is possible for you to gain further experiences if you wish, and there are many opportunities to do so. Some students also choose to undertake placements linked to their dissertation work.
Your specialist placement
Your specialist observational placement forms an integral part of your Health and Social Care Pathway degree programme, and there are a range of interesting opportunities available to you. Your internship will provide you with the opportunity to spend a dedicated block of time with an organisation or agency and so will provide you with an excellent means of developing a vivid and tangible sense of the connections between your academic studies and the world of employment. In addition to your placement, there are further options through which you can develop and broaden your experiences, helping you to build an excellent portfolio over the course of your degree programme. In addition, your various experiences will also provide you with opportunities to network and develop contacts, which can form valuable resources both during and upon completion of your degree. Systematic assessment and review of your progress is firmly built into your Health and Social Care Pathway degree programme through our tutoring systems.
Graduate Internship case study: Amy Davenport, Health Exchange (2014)
Progress and tutoring
Your skill-set, talents and experiences which you bring with you to your Health and Social Care Pathway degree programme are valuable resources and a baseline upon which we will build over the duration of your degree. A key source of support in that process is the tutoring system, which offers one-to-one tutoring across all three years of your programme, providing you with a personal and systematic approach to reviewing your progress, achievements and aspirations. You can also access the Academic Skills Centre that do focussed one-to-one and group workshop sessions to enable you to develop your wider academic skills. Over the course of your degree programme a wide range of opportunities for developing and enhancing your skill-set, experiences and so your employability will be available to you, examples of which are given below.
Agency placement experiences
You may wish to complement or build upon the experiences gained during your specialist observational internship, by undertaking further optional agency placements. Agency placement experiences are systematically integrated into the broader structure of an academic module, thus providing you with critically informed and animated insights into the links between your academic work and the work of employers. Placements can be valuable in that they can provide you with a further gateway through which you can gain a wide range of employment relevant experiences such as developing insights into what happens when an issue emerges within an agency and how the issue unfolds, is negotiated and managed. Undertaking an agency placement in addition to an internship can also further contribute to developing your sense of self-confidence and competencies in an agency-setting.
Further internship experiences?
You may be interested in gaining further, perhaps complementary internship experience over the course of your Health and Social Care Pathway Degree. If you think that this option could be of interest to you, then there are a range of resources and support available which can facilitate you. For example, in addition to our dedicated Careers Advisor, we also have a specialist Internship Officer located in the School of Social Policy, who works with and supports students in securing internship opportunities. In addition to structured inputs into the programme, our Internship Officer also has an active relationship with our student Social Policy Society, arranging events, workshops and talks in collaboration with our students.
If you are interested in gaining work experience over the course of your Health and Social Care Pathway Degree, our specialist careers and employability advisor who holds regular surgeries, several days each week in the building in which we are based, will be able to provide you with support, advice and information about the many employers who are keen to offer opportunities to our undergraduates. The Guild also has a facility called Jobzone which provides a wide and interesting range of opportunities for students. In addition, if you want to gain work experience in an area which is interesting or inspires you, but perhaps is low paid or unpaid, the University has a range of bursaries available which can enable you to do this.
Volunteering is a fantastic way to demonstrate your commitment to civic engagement, develop your employability skills, gain crucial work experience, network and meet new people. We actively encourage our students to gain experiences in voluntary agencies, both through our modules as well as through our links to the Student Volunteering Service, who provide our students with access to a wide range of experiences both here in the UK and abroad.
Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.
You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams.
During your first year you will undergo a formal ‘transition’ review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.
At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You’ll be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.
Teaching and assessment
We use a wide range of teaching methods and assessments, including a range of eLearning mediums such as Canvas, Wikis and podcasting; workshops, presentations, seminars, classes, briefing papers, policy reports, project work and essays. A typical assessment for modules is 50% coursework and 50% examination. Some modules are 100% coursework. Students are able to choose some modules according to their personal strengths and preferences both in relation to subject matter and assessment methods. Your third-year dissertation, which is research-based, is supervised by an academic tutor. All students have the support of their own personal tutor throughout their degree, and access to welfare tutors if they have specific learning support needs.
Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.
Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline, all of which can be transferred into your studies.
Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
With an emphasis on examining contemporary health and social care policy issues and debates, as well as exploring the range of ways in which responses to those isues are and could be formed, the work that you undertake on your Health and Social Care Pathway Degree makes strong connections with the concerns of a very wide range of employers and key professions. This means that the programme is a positive choice for students who are interested in enhancing their employment prospects through their choice of degree programme. Whilst the Health and Social Care Pathway Degree will enable you to specialise, it is also a degree programme which has flexibility too. This means that it is possible for the students who undertake this degree to craft their degree in a way such that it reflects their developing personal interests, skills, experiences and career aspirations.
There are a wide range of agencies which have both a direct and indirect focus upon health and social care policies, a number of whom run excellent graduate management training schemes, some examples would include:
- The National Health Service
- Voluntary Organisations such as ‘Cancer Research’ and ‘Age Concern’
- Education and Welfare
- Local Government
- Journalism, for specialist professional journals and more broadly
- Social Enterprises
- Local government
- Public and Environmental Health
- Agencies who deal with issues such as victim support and domestic violence
Your Health and Social Care Pathway Degree and Employability
Experiences you can gain as a Health and Social Care Pathway degree student, through your specialist observational placement, modules, placements, work experiences and volunteering, are an excellent way of enriching your CV so that it includes that all important 'experience' that employers so often look for. When interviewed for your first job, you will often find that employers have a keen interest in how far you have developed your appreciation of the connections between your academic subject and the work of their organisations – through your specialist internship and experiences of placements, voluntary work, work experience and beyond, Health and Social Care Pathway degree students are very well placed to respond with confidence and competence. Opportunities to secure a career that is right for you, can be enhanced not only through the wide range of experiences that are available to you through your degree programme, but also through the wealth of resources and support that is available through our specialist Careers Network.
Graduate Internship case study: Amy Davenport, Health Exchange
Amy Davenport, BA Social Policy (2013) "Overall, I feel that my internship has served me well and has given me a lot of confidence and a better skill set for my career. My view on social enterprises has changed enormously, as I now have a new understanding of its fast-paced nature and the importance it has in delivering to communities that may find it difficult to get help and support from other, more traditional access points. Looking beyond my internship, I now find myself looking for what social enterprises there are and what opportunities they have."
Richard took the single honours social policy degree. He decided to study social policy as it allowed him to study a wide range of subjects and issues. Over the course of his studies, Richard enjoyed the criminal justice and diversity modules. Read more...
I found the Social Policy Department to be very supportive; personal tutors prioritise the welfare of students and ensure that they are on task with their academic work. I particularly enjoyed the Crime and Justice Modules as they provided me with really good insights into the way that public issues can influence the way that the law develops. Read more...
I gained a place at the University of Birmingham through the Access to Birmingham (A2B) Scheme and chose the Social Policy programme due to its highly contemporary and interdisciplinary nature. I enjoyed the fact that a wide range of topics were covered over the course of the programme and became particularly interested in the themes of housing and globalisation and focussed my third year research dissertation on exploring the implications and impacts of globalisation on social policy. Read more...
George took the single honours social policy degree. Over the course of his studies, George enjoyed the criminal justice modules and developed a particular interest in British Security Policy and Counter Terrorism, a topic which he choose to form the focus of his final year dissertation in which explored the impacts of Security Policies upon British Muslims. Read more...