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Health Sciences Open Award

BSc (Hons) - single BSc

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

The BSc (Hons) Health Sciences Open Award is a top-up degree that allows students in health or social care to progress from a Diploma in Higher Education to a Bachelor of Science. You will build a bespoke honours degree pathway to suit your background and interests. This can involve work-based learning, and other opportunities for bringing professional expertise and academic knowledge into dialogue. The recognition of the workplace as a forum for learning and development enables you to link your studies to your professional practice.

The open award pathway was previously called Health and Social Care Student Designed Award.

Typical offers

Available start dates

January 2019 / September 2019 / January 2020 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus, Marston Road site / Distance learning

Course length

  • Full time: 12 months for BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons); Distance Learning 12 months
  • Part time: 2-5 years; Distance Learning 24 months

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Negotiate a bespoke programme with a unique name that suits your learning and development needs, if your field of practice or prior learning sit outside of the eight other pathways.
  • Gain academic credit for professional learning, for example through our Work-based Learning modules.
  • You will be working with staff at the cutting edge of professional development for health and social care.
  • We work with local, national and international partners to provide opportunities for the translation of world leading research into the teaching and delivery of health and social care.
  • Resources at your finger-tips include a world-class academic community and access to some invaluable resources, including the John Henry Brookes Building library.


The BSc (Hons) Health Sciences Open Award provides an integrated structure which offers optimum access and flexibility. You have the opportunity to combine modules from the Faculty’s total post-qualifying provision, and in some instances those of other faculties and institutions. By undertaking a combination of modules suited to your circumstances, you can direct your study towards those precise subjects which have particular relevance to your clinical or academic interests.

You have the option to agree a unique name for your programme of study. This award name should reflect the nature and content of the study and is subject to negotiation when your programme is planned and approved by the Open Award Programme Committee. A BSc (Hons) Health Sciences Open Award also allows you to use a variety of learning methods. It is possible to include work-based learning or taught modules in your open award pathway to gain a degree.

To be awarded a degree with honours you must have obtained at least 120 credits at level 4 and 240 credits at level 5/6, including at least 90 credits at level 6. A minimum of 120 credits must be gained at Oxford Brooked University. The minimum period of continuous enrolment at Oxford Brookes University immediately prior to the award being made is two semesters.

To be awarded a degree without honours you must have obtained at least 120 credits at level 4 and 180 credits at level 5/6, including at least 60 credits at level 6. If you have brought credit to the programme from other institutions, one third of the award - a minimum of 105 credits - must be gained at Oxford Brooked University. The minimum period of continuous enrolment at Oxford Brookes University immediately prior to the award being made is one semester.

Study modules

As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown below.

For a degree with Honours, you must take the following compulsory modules:

U43784 Research Design

U49799 Dissertation (double)

All other modules are a matter of negotiation, but you may wish to consider the following modules:

U44175 Facilitating Workplace Learning

U44180 Improving Quality of Health Care

U44171 Clinical and Professional Leadership

U44182 Maternity Care of Women with High Risk Conditions

U44183 Public Health in Midwifery

U44189 Independent Study 

U49770 Work Based Learning


Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Attendance pattern

Attendance depends on the modules you choose to include as part of your programme and could be class-based, online open-learning, self-directed or work-based.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Teaching and learning

The teaching team is committed to student-centred learning, with an emphasis on contracted learning activities and educational staff acting as facilitators. It is recognised that you are an experienced professional whose skills and knowledge have led you to seek further development through a top-up award. Your programme will build on existing knowledge and skills, and will provide opportunities for academic learning whilst further developing your professional practice. To draw on your experience and prior learning, and encourage innovation and development within the practice areas, a student-centred and facilitative approach is taken to teaching and learning.

Student-centred learning is achieved through a partnership approach. You either choose an appropriate pathway or design your own bespoke programme in discussion with the staff. It is acknowledged that you are best placed to identify own learning needs, so our tutors facilitate this process. They are available for guidance, to give feedback, and to allow you to test out ideas and develop your own plans and arguments.

Approach to assessment

The assessment methods will, to a large extent, depend upon the modules you select for inclusion in your programme. Modules are assessed either by coursework or examination or both, and full details are given in module guides. University processes ensure that assessment is rigorous, of an appropriate standard and fair. Key to this is the role of the external examiner, who ensures that the assessment standards used are comparable with other universities. You will have the opportunity to engage in tutorial discussions with your academic advisor, to focus on identifying module content and activities leading to your professional and academic development.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £885 per single module 219/20: £900 per single module

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £885 per single module 2019/20: £900 per single module

Home/EU - open learning fee: 2018/19: £885 per single module 2019/20: £900 per single module

International - full time: 2018/19: £1,670 per single module 2019/20: £1,700 per single module

International - part time fee: 2018/19: £1,670 per single module 2019/20: £1,700 per single module

International - open learning fee: 2018/19: £1,670 per single module 2019/20: £1,700 per single module

Where part time fees are quoted there will be approximately a 2% increase on fees each year.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

You may be eligible for sponsorship to undertake this course through your Clinical Commissioning Group, your employer, or another source.

Self-funding students are also welcome to apply. Details of your funding arrangements will be needed when you apply.

Student Finance England is currently NOT supporting this course.

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

Offers are made on an individual basis. The course is only available to applicants already working within a health- or social care-related profession. Offers will depend on prior experience and/or previously obtained academic credit.

Specific entry requirements

The following entry criteria apply:

  • Applicants must hold a Dip HE or equivalent qualification in a health or social care subject, or they must undertake the APL module U49721 as a pre-requisite to commence the course. No applicant shall be given AP(E)L equivalent to more than two-thirds of their target award.
  • Applicants must be working in the fields of health or social care
  • For applicants whose first award is not in English and for whom English is not a native language you must have IELTS 6.5 or above (with 6.0 or above in reading and writing, 5, 5, or above in listening and speaking) or PTE 58 or above (with 51 or above in all skills).
  • Applicants for full-time study must demonstrate a meaningful connection to the health or social care field, either by reference to their previous study or most recent employment.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

How to apply

Application for HL11 BSc Health Sciences Open Award is via our portal.

Prior to applying, you may wish to discuss your programme of study with the Programme Lead Dr Jan Davison-Fischer.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Programme Administrator Lucy Crilly with all other queries.


Along with your application you will be required to submit:

  • two references (professional/academic)
  • copies of certificates of previous qualifications
  • NMC PIN if registered
  • English language qualifications if your first language is not English
  • confirmation of funding.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

One of the world's great academic cities, Oxford is a key centre of debate, with conferences, seminars and forums taking place across education, science, the arts and many other subjects. It is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions for its large student population, from theatres and cinemas to museums, art galleries and music venues. A bustling and stunning cosmopolitan city, Oxford has excellent shopping, restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs.

Situated in the heart of rural England and home to around 150,000 people, Oxford offers students a clean and safe environment less than an hour from London and international airports.

Support for students studying Health Sciences Open Award

We offer a very friendly and supportive environment in which to learn and, in student surveys, we consistently receive very high satisfaction ratings for student support and learning resources. All our courses adopt a student-centred approach to teaching and learning. They are strongly focused on encouraging you to achieve your full potential as a lifelong learner.

There is a good range of support mechanisms for students. For instance, there are academic advisors, who will facilitate your academic development, and student support co-ordinators, who provide a drop-in service for queries about any aspect of student life, covering both academic and personal welfare.

The University’s support services include Upgrade, which provides advice on study skills such as planning and writing essays, assignments and dissertations, research and preparing for an exam. They also give advice on statistics and maths.

There is a dedicated Student Disability and Dyslexia Service, which provides support for students with disabilities including sensory and mobility impairments, dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties, mental health problems and medical conditions. Here, staff offer advice and support on a range of issues, including physical access, funding, alternative assessment arrangements and liaison with teaching staff to ensure that they are aware of your requirements.

Specialist facilities

Oxford Brookes has excellent teaching facilities including classrooms, a 280-seat lecture theatre, fully networked computer rooms and dedicated clinical skills suites. Our simulation resources include a very well-equipped movement laboratory; a family of computerised simulation manikins, including a sim-man, sim-babies (a newborn and an older baby under six months old) and a birthing mother; and an extensive range of anatomy models.

We also have excellent library resources, accessible through both the web and a range of locally based facilities on University and NHS sites.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Career prospects

Entrants to the programme are generally in-service professionals whose employability and career progression is significantly enhanced by attendance on the programme. Course content is closely mapped to the professional requirements and priorities of the students' practice settings.

Further study

Students who successfully complete the award may be able to develop their careers further. A wide range of courses are available at Oxford Brookes for continuing professional development (CPD) including study at postgraduate level.

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