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Health and Social Care Foundation Degree - University of Sunderland

Course overview

Our foundation degree in Health and Social Care has been developed in recognition of the multi-disciplinary nature of current and future occupational destinations within the health and social care fields.

The programme aims to develop a comprehensive curriculum that includes a range of academic knowledge and generic skills across the subject areas of social work, social policy, health studies and also practical appreciation of the health and social care sector. Within this framework, students are able to understand organisational dynamics and are also encouraged to specialise in particular pathways, areas and topics of interest.

The course is specifically aimed at those who already have experience in the field of health and social care either in a paid, or voluntary, capacity. The content of the course will build on your knowledge and add to your skills.

Foundation degrees usually take two years to complete, after which successful students graduate with a Diploma in Health and Social Care. All students then have the option to ‘top-up’ this diploma by joining the final year of BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care based on the University campus, which is the designated top-up route.

You can apply to join the foundation degree if you have around 80 UCAS points or equivalent qualifications or experience. The course is based at our partner colleges: Bishop Auckland, City of Sunderland, and Gateshead.

Examples of employers in health and social care include the NHS, drug and alcohol agencies, mental health organisations, hospices, social care agencies and charities. There are many opportunities for rewarding roles where you will be helping others to achieve a better standard of life.

Course content

Modules on this course include:

Year 1 (national level 4)

  • Assessment, Care Planning and Identification of Risk (20 Credits)
  • Working in Health Social Care Settings I (20 Credits)
  • Understanding Health and Social Care (20 Credits)
  • Dimensions of Health (20 Credits)
  • Applied Qualitative Research in the Social Sciences (20 Credits)
  • Exploring Psycho-Social Theory (20 Credits)      

Final Year (national level 5)

  • Advocacy and Empowerment (20 Credits)
  • Working in Health Social Care Settings II (20 Credits)
  • Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences (20 Credits)
  • Health Improvement and Healthy Lifestyles (20 Credits)
  • Life Course Approaches to the Health of Children, Young People and Families (20 Credits)
  • Working with Adults (20 Credits)

Teaching and assessment

Work-based learning is an integral part of the programme as well as academic study. Students study two placement modules, ‘Working in Health and Social Care Settings I’ and ‘Working in Health and Social Care Settings II'.

Teaching methods include lectures, discussions, case studies, workshops and practical sessions. We also encourage you to develop independent study skills. Assessment methods include evaluation of work experience, essays, reports, presentations and time-constrained tests.

To find out more about modules, credits, and how you will be assessed, please see the page how courses are taught. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Facilities & location

Details of facilities at each of our partner colleges are available via the web links given below:

Sunderland College (full-time)

Sunderland College is a world-class provider of education, with five campuses located across the city.

Find more information about the course on the Sunderland College website.

Please contact Sunderland College for more information about facilities and location.

Sunderland College
Washington Campus
Stone Cellar Road
NE37 2NH

Gateshead College (full-time or part-time)

Courses at Gateshead College are delivered in the state-of-the-art industry standard facilities.

Find more information about the course on the Gateshead College website.

Please contact Gateshead College for more information about facilities and location.

Gateshead College
Quarryfield Road
Baltic Business Quarter

Bishop Auckland College (part-time)

Bishop Auckland College has over 1,200 students enroled on full-time courses and provides a quality learning experience for all students.

Find more information about the course on the Bishop Auckland College website.

Please contact Bishop Auckland College for more information about facilities and location.

Bishop Auckland College
Woodhouse Lane
Bishop Auckland
County Durham
DL14 6JZ

Entry requirements

Usually, we require one of the following qualifications in a relevant subject area:

  • 56 UCAS points from a minimum of one A Level/AVCE or equivalent
  • Modern Apprenticeship (NVQ Level 3 plus Key Skills)
  • NVQ Level 3
  • BTEC National Diploma at Level 3

In addition, we require GCSE Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. We accept equivalent qualifications such as a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in communication. 

We will consider applications from people who do not have the formal qualifications but who do have relevant experience (a minimum of two years) and ability to benefit from the course. 

We expect applicants to already have experience in the field of health and social care, either in a paid capacity or on a voluntary basis.

Additional requirements 

Applicants are required to complete a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check prior to the start of the course.

For applicants wishing to study the part time work based FdA Health and Social Care programme route, an enhanced DBS check should have an issue date that is within the last 3 years at the point of enrolment.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

The fees for this course are:

Full-time route £7,965 per annum.

Part-time route £4,880 per annum.

Employment & careers

The course equips you for entry level roles in organisations such as:

  • NHS
  • Drug and alcohol agencies (public, private and voluntary sectors)
  • Mental health agencies
  • Hospices
  • Charities (e.g. Age UK, MIND)
  • Social Care (e.g. Turning Point)

Some roles, such as Social Worker, Nurse or Occupational Therapist, require additional professional qualifications.

Foundation degrees are designed to be highly relevant to the needs of potential employers. Three modules incorporate work experience and are particularly useful in enhancing your employability. 

If you wish to continue your studies after the end of the course, the designated route is to the final year of our BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care.

Graduate Rebecca talks about her experience studying Health and Social Care at the University of Sunderland:

Graduates from the University of Sunderland talk about their experiences studying Health and Social Care:


Your chosen college will offer support in areas such as study skills.

More details are available from the college.

Sunderland College

Gateshead College

Bishop Auckland College

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student at a partner college, please see the Partnerships Office web pages.

Apply for this course

Interested in this course? Apply direct to the college of your choice below.

Sunderland College

Gateshead College

Bishop Auckland College

Want to know more about this course or the University of Sunderland? Order a prospectus or come to our next Open Day to see the facilities and talk to academic staff:

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Thursday 23rd February 2017
  • Time: 3:00pm-8:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Science Complex, City Campus, Sunderland SR1 3SD

Contact Sunderland

Programme Leader:
Dr Lesley Deacon

Contact the recruitment team for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Recruitment Team
Telephone: 0191 515 3000 

The details

Course Name Health and Social Care
Classification Foundation Degree
Course Mode Full-time/Part-time
Course Level Undergraduate
Duration 2 Years
Study Location Off-campus
Starting 18 September 2017
UK/EU Fee £See entry requirements page
Intl Fee £Unavailable

Entry requirements

56 points

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