This degree has three 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 can 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.
At Stage 1, you'll begin with a broad module introducing you to the experience of giving and receiving care in a variety of clinical and care settings; within the family and the community; and in residential settings. For your second module at Stage 1, you can choose between several options, depending on your particular interests.
You'll begin Stage 2 by reflecting upon critical issues in health and wellbeing, and consider how 21st century health and social care provision can respond to these challenges. To complete Stage 2, you can choose between modules that focus on more specific areas of health and social care practice, depending on your interests, aspirations and experience.
Stage 3 starts with a module which will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the significance of leadership and management in the field of health and social care. You'll complete Stage 3 with a module chosen from a list of options.
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 17 March 2021.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) 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
- face-to-face tutorials/day schools/workshops and/or online tutorials
- using and producing diagrams and screenshots
- finding external/third party material online
- using technology for research purposes involving access to catalogues and databases online
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
- using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
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; elearning 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.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Health and Social Care degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
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.
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You’ll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:
People, work and society Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.
View full details of People, work and society Access module
Skills for career development
The BA (Honours) Health and Social Care (R26) emphasises crossing professional boundaries and the service user’s perspective, and it closely follows care sector priorities. You’ll acquire a strong set of highly valued transferable skills, including skills in written communication; finding, evaluating and presenting research and other sources of information; problem-solving; leadership and management skills; and time management. You’ll learn to work independently and as part of a team, and gain a good understanding of the role of IT in care settings.
This degree is applicable to a wide range of health and social care careers in the statutory, voluntary or private sectors, though some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree. Some of our students include:
- care managers
- healthcare assistants and healthcare support workers
- health educators
- health scientists
- welfare and housing associate professionals
- practice managers
- social work assistants
- specialist practitioners
- youth workers and youth justice workers
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public and voluntary sectors. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
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. This includes 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. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree:
- Care home advocate
- Management of voluntary sector organisations
- Grants officer
- Health promotion worker
- Health educator
- Policy maker in the field
- Registered care home manager
- Social researcher
- Substance abuse outreach worker
- Community support worker
- Volunteer co-ordinator
- Care manager
- Practice manager
- Specialist practitioner
- Youth worker.