Education and social services

BAEducation & Social Services

Why this course?

This innovative degree is a joint venture between the University of Strathclyde and three further education colleges - West College Scotland, Glasgow Clyde College and New College Lanarkshire.

The degree aims to prepare you for working in settings which combine health education and social work/social care. You’ll enter college at Diploma of Higher Education level, having first studied a relevant HNC. You’ll then go on to Year 3 at Strathclyde to study for the BA.

The Education & Social Services (BA) responds to the Scottish Government’s aspiration for different services to communicate more effectively and to work in a more integrated way to meet the service-user needs of children, young people and adults. A major aim of the degree is to develop the leadership qualities and skills required for this challenge.

We have work placements in Years 2, 3, and 4 of the course across a range of organisations in the fields of education and social services and the placements provide valuable experience. We have established links with agencies in Germany, Spain, and Malawi, creating opportunities for students to engage in international placements and exchanges.

What you’ll study

You’ll study six classes, including one option during your year at Strathclyde.

The five main areas of study are:

  • professional & personal development
  • contexts & policy
  • integration of services
  • understanding & meeting needs
  • understanding & developing practice (workplace practice)

Each of the following classes are compulsory in Year 3 and builds on those studied during the Diploma:

  • Management & Leadership in Integrated Services
  • Contexts, Policy & Joint Working
  • Education of Looked After Children
  • Understanding How People Behave
  • Workplace Learning & Practice 2
  • Research Methods

Work placement

We have work placements in Years 2, 3, and 4 of the course across a range of organisations in the fields of education and social services and the placements provide valuable experience. We have established links with agencies in Germany, Spain, and Malawi, creating opportunities for students to engage in international placements and exchanges.

Please read our important information about the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. This is for all applicants applying for courses which involve placement opportunities (working with children or vulnerable adults).

Major projects

Students undertake projects in placements which are designed to enhance the delivery of integrated services. In Year 3, students undertake a six-week project, and in Year 4 they undertake a 12-week project. These projects are valuable in developing skills for future careers in education and social services.

Postgraduate study

The BA (Hons) provides an excellent foundation for postgraduate study. Current students have been successful in applying for postgraduate study in social work and initial teacher education and have achieved professional qualifications.

Course content

The broad aims of the course are to: 

  • advance the level of understanding, knowledge and proficiency of those who will work with children, young people and adults within education and social services
  • develop professional attitudes, leadership and management skills, allowing graduates to contribute confidently to evidence based practice, informed by a value base of rights and respect for service users within integrated services

Course structure

In planning the programme, a learning strands approach has been adopted to ensure breadth, depth and balance and consistency across the partner colleges and the University. The learning strands are:

  • Strand 1 - Professional Development
  • Strand 2 - Contexts and Policy
  • Strand 3 - Integration of Services
  • Strand 4 - Understanding and Meeting Needs
  • Strand 5 - Understanding and Developing Practice
Workplace Learning & Practice 1

This module seeks to build upon students' practical knowledge and understanding gained at HNC level in a particular discipline and to extend their understanding of how practice is driven by the need to develop the concept of working collaboratively.  Auditing a range of services/settings will develop an insight and awareness of the complexities of professional practice in collaborative settings. Students will be introduced to the concept of analysing and evaluating material gathered from the audit.

Academic Literacy

This module aims to help students develop their professional and academic communication skills and give them confidence in academic research and writing. It develops professionals in education and social services who understand the knowledge, skills and values required to be successful in academic study and to work collaboratively.

This module is central to the aims of the degree, which seek to assist practitioners in developing best practice in working with users of services and fellow professionals. This module aims to assist students to begin the journey of effective academic reading and writing.

The Societal Context of Professional Working

Students intending to work within community health, education or social services should familiarise themselves with the societal context in which they'll work. The ‘societal context’ refers to social factors that may influence the needs for services, and may also impact on their effective delivery. This awareness envelops the individual’s social responsibilities and the responsibilities of the professional groups involved in service provision.

Students will explore the nature of the 'community,' how it develops and how it is defined. Students will also look at the professional codes that facilitate social interaction, reciprocity and cooperation. Social problems and the roles of professionals are also explored.

This module shall lay the basis for issues that shall be developed further in Level 9: Context, Policy and Joint Working.

How People Develop & Learn

Professionals working with people need to understand the dynamics of human development and learning and the contexts that influence this. In order to enhance the quality of life for people who use Education and Social Services, professionals need to understand how people develop and learn. The aim of the module is to build on earlier study and enhance students' understanding of how learning and development is influenced by social, environmental, biological, cultural and personal factors.

Students in higher education need to understand the processes of learning and development in order to enhance their skills and maximise their own capacity for lifelong learning.

Introduction to Integrated Services

The integration of services through joint planning and delivery of services across health, education, community education, social work and related services has been identified as a key mechanism for supporting families, facilitating learning, protecting children, promoting health and wellbeing and empowering communities socially and economically. There is growing recognition that practitioners need to be competent in working with others in disciplines other than their own. This is, in part, recognition of a history of service failure arising from ineffective collaboration across disciplines.

Developing professionals in educational and social services are required to understand the knowledge, skills and values required to work collaboratively and the challenges to services themselves as they respond to the integrated services agenda.

Being Professional Working Collaboratively

This model provides a structured and supported introduction to quality frameworks and to how quality is evaluated. It is put into context by looking at students' placement experiences as well as exploring national contexts through consideration of policy, literature and e-learning sources.

The module also helps the development of a critical, evidence-based and reflective approach to professional development and professional action.

Contexts Policy & Joint Working

Particular emphasis is placed on students' ability to appreciate the theory of effective inter-agency and collaborative practice, including issues of individual and community empowerment, accountability and leadership.

Students will learn about the relationship of theory of community, family and human development to the development of social policy, with particular emphasis on effective inter-agency and collaborative practice and its implementation within students' practice placement.

Management & Leadership in Integrated Services

This module aims to develop students' knowledge and understanding of issues affecting the leadership and management of self and others, the change process, management of conflict and a consideration of the skills required to successfully lead and manage in a social services establishment. This module is aimed at all professionals whether or not they hold posts of responsibility.

The module is mapped to the SSSC NOS for health and social service workers, the NHS Leadership Framework and the Standard for Childhood Practice.

Understanding How People Behave

Students builds on and use the learning they have gained from the first module of this strand, How People Develop and Learn. A central theme throughout the module is developing understanding and awareness of the operation of discrimination and disadvantage at personal, cultural and structural levels.

Students will also develop their understanding of observation, assessment, recording, analysis and approaches to the management of behaviour as well as ways to support service users.

Research Methods

Students are prepared for undertaking a small-scale research project in this module. Students require a knowledge and understanding of contemporary literature, methods of data gathering and ethical issues related to conducting research.

The knowledge and skills gained will be transferable to further study and/or the workplace as there is increasing demand for enquiry-based practice. The module will support the development of a research proposal and consider the component parts required to write a dissertation. Successful completion of this module will allow students to progress to honours year.

Workplace Learning & Practice 2

Students further develop the professional knowledge, values and skills relevant for integrated practice and for managing a specific development project.

The placement will consolidate the student’s learning from across the course, particularly building on the key theories that have been introduced in the Management and Leadership in Integrated Services module. The module will have two phases: a project planning phase and a project implementation phase.

In order to further develop professional competences students will also continue to engage in the range of activities undertaken in Workplace Learning and Practice 1.

Workplace Learning & Practice 3

This class provides an extended work-based learning experience, which will enable students to apply knowledge and theory to integrated services. It'll offer opportunities for students to consider how integrated services meet the needs of service users, and understand the role of evidence informed practice in the delivery of services.

Specialist Pathway

This class aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of contemporary practice issues in relation to specific service user groups. The class develops knowledge and skills in meeting the needs of people in a range of targeted services across the lifespan.

Personal & Professional Development

The aim of the class is to provide a formal and structured opportunity for consolidation of learning and planning for future learning and employment. Students will formally record and capture their learning and use this knowledge to gain relevant employment following graduation.

Professional Inquiry & Evidence Informed Practice - Dissertation

Students undertake a small-scale project for their honours dissertation in social work. It directly addresses the growing recognition that practitioners in Education and Social Care must be competent in reviewing using and conducting research.

Education of Looked After Children

This module contributes to an understanding of the lived experiences of children who are in alternative care arrangements and critically explores the challenges to integrated and partnership working in meeting the educational needs of looked after children.


Assessment has been designed to provide evidence of personal and professional development. Some assessments require practical application in the workplace. Forms of assessment include:

  • seminar presentation
  • investigative reports
  • case studies
  • preparation of resources
  • reflective diaries
  • profiling essays

You’ll mainly be assessed individually but there will also be group-based assessments. This allows you to benefit from shared experiences.

Learning & teaching

Faculty-based learning is combined with a six-week work placement with private, public or voluntary sector agencies.

We draw on practitioners and policy-makers to inform the curriculum and invite guest lecturers form a diverse range of posts in education and social services. Students also engage directly in the policy-making process with an annual visit to Parliament and an opportunity to meet MSPs and observe committee business.

Entry requirements

You'll apply for this course to our participating colleges.

You'll enter college at Diploma of Higher Education level, having first studied a relevant HNC such as:

  • Early Education & Childcare or Childhood Practice
  • Health Care or Care & Administrative Practice
  • Social Care or Social Services
  • Additional Support Needs or Supporting Learning Needs
  • Occupational Therapy Support
  • Working with Communities

You'll then go on to study Year 3 of the BA and Year 4 of the BA Honours here at the University of Strathclyde. 

You'll need two additional supporting documents when you come to Strathclyde:

  • confirmation from the Board of Examiners that you've met the requirements to progress to the final years of the degree
  • a Personal Statement outlining your commitment to continuing the course


All enquiries regarding entry to the HE Diploma should be made to the relevant college contact. The Diploma of Higher Education in Education and Social Services runs at the following colleges:

West College Scotland (James Watt Campus)

Glasgow Clyde College (Langside Campus) 

New College Lanarkshire (Motherwell Campus) 

Widening access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

International students

Find out entry requirements for your country.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?


All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

  • £1,820
Rest of UK
  • £9,250

Assuming no change in Rest of UK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2017/18, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and Integrated Masters courses); MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on Integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.

  • £14,650

Dean's International Undergraduate Scholarship

The Dean’s International Undergraduate Scholarship is open to new international students who will begin a full-time undergraduate course in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in September 2019. The award is a £3,500 scholarship per year for the duration of your degree. All offer holders are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

University preparation programme fees

International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Additional fees 

Placement & field trips 

£40 cost for residential trip - subsidised.  

PVG scheme (Protection of Vulnerable Groups)

£59 membership fee.  

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

Students from Scotland and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

International Students (Non UK, EEA)

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Available scholarships

We have a wide range of scholarships available. Have a look at our scholarship search to find a scholarship.


The BA is recognised by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) for registration in supervisory roles in adult social care. Our graduates are well-equipped to work within, and eventually lead, integrated services across the education, health and social care sector. The degree also gives you eligibility to apply for postgraduate training in areas such as social work, community education, childhood practice and primary teaching.

Where are they now?

Recent job titles include:**

  • Advocacy Worker
  • Deputy Head – Nursery
  • Education Support Worker
  • Facilitation Worker
  • Housing Support Worker
  • Nursery Manager
  • Project Worker
  • Senior Social Care Worker

Recent employers include:

  • Assist
  • Crossreach
  • Quarriers
  • Scottish Association for Mental Health
  • Turning Point

**Based on the results of the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education.

Contact us


How to apply – 10 things you need to know

  1. All undergraduate applications are made through UCAS
    Go to the UCAS website to apply – you can apply for up to five courses.
  2. It costs £12 to apply for a course
    The cost is £23 for two to five courses.
  3. The deadline is 15 January each year
    This is the application deadline for most courses. However, please check the details for your particular course. View a full list of UCAS key dates.

    Applications are still welcome from international students (non-EU) and those living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  4. You might be asked to attend an interview
    Most of our courses make offers based on the UCAS application. However some might ask you to attend an interview or for a portfolio of work. If this is the case, this will be stated in the prospectus entry requirements.
  5. It’s possible to apply directly to Year 2
    Depending on your qualifications, you might be able to apply directly to Year 2 - or even Year 3 - of a course. Speak to the named contact for your course if you want to discuss this.
  6. There’s three types of decision
    • unconditional – you’ve already met our entry requirements
    • conditional – we’ll offer you a place if you meet certain conditions, usually based on your exams
    • unsuccessful – we’ve decided not to offer you a place
  7. You need to contact UCAS to accept your offer
    Once you’ve decided which course you’d like to accept, you must let UCAS know. You don’t need to decide until you’ve received all offers. UCAS will give you a deadline you must respond by.

    You’ll choose one as your firm choice. If the offer is unconditional or if you meet the conditions, this is the course you’ll study.

    You’ll also have an insurance choice. This is a back-up option if you don’t meet the conditions of your first choice.
  8. You don’t need to send us your exam results (Scotland, England & Wales)
    If you’re studying in Scotland, England or Wales, we receive a copy of your Higher/Advanced Higher/A Level results directly from the awarding body. However, if you are studying a different qualification, then please contact us to arrange to send your results directly.
  9. We welcome applications from international students

    Find out further information about our entry and English language requirements.

    International students who don’t meet the entry requirements, can apply for our pre-undergraduate programmes.

    There’s also an online application form.

    For further information:
  10. Here’s a really useful video to help you apply

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