BA (Hons) Public Services

Social Policy at USW is rated top in Wales for learning community NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY 2022

Public services affect our day-to-day lives in many ways; from the collection of refuse to community regeneration, and the protection provided by the emergency services and the health service. On this public services course, you’ll explore how these services operate and the challenges they face in the 21st century, preparing you for a career in this important and diverse sector.

A key feature of your public services degree is the link between theory and practice. Learning is often based on real-life data, as well as examples and case studies from public, voluntary and community organisations. This ensures that what you learn is relevant to the workplace and situations you may encounter when you graduate.

You’ll also be encouraged to undertake a short-term placement during your studies. You could get the chance to work with public sector organisations such as the NHS. This valuable opportunity will ensure you’re equipped with the skills needed by employers when you graduate.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
L430 Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
L430 Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A

Year 1

  • Public Affairs
  • Exploring Public Services
  • Citizens & Communities
  • Poverty, Inequality, and Social Exclusion
  • Perspectives in Criminology: Power and Society (Criminology)
  • People, Work, and Society (Professional Development)

Year 2

  • Risk, Emergencies, and Resilience
  • Law, Equality, and Diversity for Public Services
  • Social Policy Issues
  • Public Services Placement (includes a 10-week internment)

Year 3

  • Dissertation—Social Policy
  • Leadership, Innovation, and Change in Public Services
  • Managing Public Services

You will also study two modules from the following options:

  • Family, Youth, and Community
  • Conflict, War, and Peace
  • Social Policy and Young People
  • Society and the Environment
  • Contemporary Issues in Youth and Crime (Criminology)

Foundation Year

The BA (Hons) Public Services is also available as a four year course including an integrated foundation year, and is designed for students who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry onto the public services degree. You will start by completing a foundation year, which provides well structured support, allowing you to develop your skills and knowledge before continuing onto the three year degree programme. For more information please email [email protected] 


The public services degree is delivered through lectures, seminars and workshops, which are interactive and involve group work and presentations. Learning is often based around real-life data, examples and case studies from public, voluntary and community organisations, to ensure that your study remains relevant to the workplace.

Research-informed teaching

Our academic staff are actively involved in research and consultancy work via the Centre for Social Policy Research. The Centre conducts research in a range of areas of social and public policy including wellbeing; citizen involvement and participation; governance and scrutiny; equality and outcome assessments. 

Their research feeds directly into what you will learn, keeping the course fresh and up-to-date. You will also benefit from guest speakers who work in the sector, as well as visits to public organisations.

We often invite speakers who can relate what you learn to the reality of public services and give you an idea of the many careers available when you graduate. You can also attend events where you can network and keep up-to-date with public sector developments. Our Global Choices series offers inspiring public lectures that address some of the most complex and pressing challenges facing the world today, delivered by people who have witnessed and been participants in major world events. Recent speakers include Lord Hain of Neath, former cabinet minister; Rt Hon Jack Straw, former cabinet minister; Sir Richard Dearlove, former Head of MI6; and Steven Frank, child holocaust survivor.

You’ll be able to develop your leadership and team working skills, and put them to the test in the Brecon Beacons National Park. You can also undertake work experience and career planning modules.



Assessment methods include case studies, essays, projects and examinations.


Including a 10-week placement in the second year, this course gives you the opportunity to transfer new knowledge into practice and advance essential skills. In your placement, you will have the opportunity to develop your employability skills, enhance your CV, and make contacts that could be useful to you in the future. Our students undertake placements with a wide range of public sector bodies and public service organisations.

Field Trips

There are activities and trips as part of the course. These include team building exercises with organisations such as the armed forces, and visits to the Houses of Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales.

There may be additional costs associated with this course

Featured Lecturer:
Professor Howard Williamson

Professor Howard Williamson

Professor Howard Williamson is Professor of European Youth Policy and a member of the Centre for Social Policy Research. 

In 2016, Professor Williamson was honoured with a CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) for his contribution to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award charity, for whom he served as a UK Trustee for 12 years. He recently became one of its international trustees. He has also served on the Council of the Prince’s Trust Cymru for 10 years, and was a Founder of the Diana Princess of Wales Award for Young People.

Professor Williamson has managed and conducted research projects for local, national and European organisations. His research work has been predominantly on youth issues, notably concerning youth work and youth training, but it has also addressed juvenile justice and youth crime, drug misuse, special needs housing, inter-agency partnerships, mini-enterprise in schools, local economic development and training for enterprise in Europe.

His latest has included action research with schools around alternative key stage 4 curricula, an evaluation of the Home Office On Track initiative, and a formative evaluation of a police-led schools curriculum on drugs, crime and personal safety. 


Colleagues in Criminology and Professional Development provide additional teaching.

We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

Contextual offers

We may make you a lower offer based on a range of factors, including your background (where you live and the school or college that you attended for example), your experiences and individual circumstances (as a care leaver, for example). This is referred to as a contextual offer and we receive data from UCAS to support us in making these decisions. USW prides itself on its student experience and we support our students to achieve their goals and become a successful graduate. This approach helps us to support students who have the potential to succeed and who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Here is a link to our Contextual Admissions Policy.  

Other qualifications and experience

We can also consider combinations of qualifications and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable. We can sometimes consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or advanced entry to year two or three of a course where this is possible.

To find out which qualifications have tariff points, please refer to the UCAS tariff calculator.

If you need more help or information or would like to speak to our friendly admissions team, please contact us here

Typical A-Level Offer

CDD (this is equivalent to 80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and DD - CC at A Level (this is equivalent to 80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma and obtain a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances. 

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course


August 2024 - July 2025 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £14950 

August 2025 - July 2026 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £20 - £40
We go on an outdoor expedition in one of the options and if you choose this, you will need suitable clothes and walking boots.
DBS £55.42
In some cases your placement will require a DBS check.
Placement expenses: WORK PLACEMENT * £0 - £200
Students are required to undertake a period of work placement in year 2 and may choose to do one in year 3. Students undertaking placement may incur costs associated with travel and expected workplace attire will vary according to the placement.


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.

UK students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK residing applicant, applying for year 1 of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International and EU students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK

Apply now 

Admissions statement

Public organisations are the largest employers in many parts of the UK, and this public services qualification will prepare you for a career in this exciting and diverse sector. Graduates of our public services degree go on to work in a range of public service fields. Recent graduates have entered careers that include prison officer, trainee paramedic, retained fire fighter, police call handler, housing officer, youth work, and teaching.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW public services student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.