BA (Hons) Public Services


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.

Top 30 in the UK for Social Policy. Complete University Guide 2022

2021/22 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

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

  • Citizens and Communities
  • Exploring Public Services
  • Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion
  • Public Affairs
  • Understanding Crime, Victims and Society
  • Working in Public Organisations

Year 2

  • Law, Equality and Diversity in Public Organisations
  • Public Services Placement
  • Risk, Emergencies and Resilience
  • Social Policy Issues

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:

  • Conflict, War and Peace
  • Critical Issues in Criminological Investigations
  • Family Youth and Community
  • Social Policy and Young People
  • Society and the Environment

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. 


  • Dr Katharina Sarter (Course Leader)
  • Dr Stuart Jones
  • Professor Howard Williamson
  • Simon Read
  • David Phillips
  • Mike Harrison
  • Vida Greaux
  • Dr Filippos Proedrou
  • Dr Elizabeth Bailey

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.

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level

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.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £13500 

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* 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 £53.20
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.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU 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 students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU

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.