This diploma of higher education has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- At each stage you will study one 60-credit compulsory module focusing on current issues across the health and social care sector.
- For the remaining 60 credits of each stage, you will choose between option modules exploring particular issues or client groups in more depth, for example, mental health, older adults, children and young people or health and wellbeing.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
At Stage 1, everyone begins with a broad introduction to the experience of giving and receiving care in hospitals, clinics or GP surgeries; within the family and community; and in residential settings. You will also have the opportunity to develop your study skills to enable you to achieve your study goals. For your second module at Stage 1, you can choose between several options, depending on your particular interests.
At Stage 2, you will explore in more depth some critical issues in health and social care. You will further develop your study skills and the skills that help you in employment, if that is one of your study goals. To complete Stage 2, you can choose between modules focusing on more specific areas of health and social care practice, depending on your interests, aspirations and experience.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 20 March 2019.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Diploma of Higher Education in Health and Social Care uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- working in a group with other students
- using and producing diagrams and screenshots
- finding external/third party material online.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you’ve already completed some study at another university, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. Just tell us what you studied, where and when, and we’ll compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen course.
For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Diploma of Higher Education in Health and Social Care.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.
At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.
Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you'll need to succeed. If you're not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.
Answer a few quick questions to check whether you're ready for study success
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Counting previous study
You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification, if you have:
- already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
- other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
Find out more about credit transfer
Preparing for study with an Access module
If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:
- a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:
People, work and society Access module
Skills for career development
The Diploma of Higher Education in Health and Social Care emphasises crossing professional boundaries and the service user’s perspective, and is closely attuned to care sector priorities. You’ll acquire a strong set of highly-valued transferable skills, including skills in written communication; finding and using research and other sources of information; problem-solving; and time management. You’ll learn to work independently and as part of a team, and gain a good understanding of the role of information technology in care.
This diploma is applicable to a wide range of health and social care careers in the statutory, voluntary or private sectors.
The wide range of transferable skills you’ll develop during your studies will be applicable to many roles outside health and social care.
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):
- Care home advocate
- Grants officer
- Health educator
- Substance abuse outreach worker
- Volunteer co-ordinator
- Youth worker.