Health and social care is a vast service sector undergoing rapid change, with new government initiatives giving it a higher profile than ever. Priorities on the healthcare agenda include being more responsive to patient needs, and preventing illness by promoting a healthy lifestyle. The focus in frontline health and social care is on giving service-users more independence, choice and control. These developments mean there’s greater demand for well-trained and multi-skilled people across a range of rewarding employment opportunities.
Providing help and care for those in need or who are vulnerable offers a unique sense of personal and career fulfilment. Through OU study you can become part of this essential and worthwhile sector, or you can build on your existing professional experience and progress your career in a particular area of health and social care.
Our wide-ranging qualifications cover today’s topical and most important issues, and are expertly designed to inspire and challenge you. Some offer a broad-based background exploring principles and approaches to caring across the health and social care sector, while others offer specific policies and practices or focus on a particular aspect of provision, such as caring for those with mental health problems or palliative care. All draw on the latest research and the experience of practising professionals, to provide you with valuable insight and real-world skills and knowledge.
Undergraduate or bachelors degrees are nationally recognised qualifications consisting of academic study designed to help you gain a thorough understanding of a subject.
For a degree in a named subject, such as business studies or humanities, you'll study mainly in your chosen subject, although you may be able to include some modules from other subjects.
With The Open University you could also study an Open degree where you can combine a range of modules from similar or different subjects to suit either your particular career or personal interests.
You can use a degree to:
Foundation degrees are nationally recognised qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession; they combine work place learning with academic study. Designed and developed with external partners, you must be working either as a paid employee or as a volunteer in a related work setting.
A foundation degree is equivalent to two thirds of an honours degree. They aim to enhance the professional and technical skills of staff within a profession or those intending to go into that profession.
You can use a foundation degree to:
Most of our foundation degrees are also offered as diplomas of higher education for those living and working in Scotland.
A Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) is equivalent to two thirds of an honours degree. They are nationally recognised qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession, or academic study.
DipHEs are designed to increase the professional and technical skills of staff within a profession or extend your knowledge and understanding of a particular subject. A DipHE shows that you are capable of extended study at university level.
You can use a DipHE to:
The Diploma of Higher Education might be of particular interest to those living and working in Scotland.
A Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) is a nationally recognised qualification focusing on either a particular job or profession, or academic study. Equivalent to the first year of a full honours degree, they are the most basic level of qualification that can be gained in higher education and show that you are capable of studying successfully at university level.
You can use a CertHE to:
OU Certificates are specially designed Open University qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession, or academic study. For example The Open University's Certificate in Supporting Learning in Primary Schools is designed for teaching assistants and other kinds of classroom support staff, including volunteers. Not all OU Certificates are entry level qualifications.
You can use an OU Certificate to:
There are two ways to start a qualification. If you haven’t studied for a long time or need to build your confidence, beginning your studies with an Access module may be the right choice for you.
Choose a qualification to find out more.
You can study a single module on its own for personal interest or to improve your career prospects. See the list of all our individual courses in Health and Social Care.
If you already have a degree, you may want to see postgraduate courses and qualifications in Health and Social Care
If you live outside of the UK, Republic of Ireland and Europe, please visit our website for international students.
Try our frequently asked questions.
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