Professional Development in Health and Social Care Top Up

BSc (Hons)

UCAS code: L517

Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

Full time: 1 year

Part time: 2 years

Location: Headington, Distance learning

Department(s): Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

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Have experience working in health and social care? Driven to fix issues in your workplace? Wonder what you could change by taking the lead? Join us to learn how to look at the evidence about health, make plans to transform care and progress in your career.

We’ve designed this top-up degree for students working in health, allied health or social care. Build on your diploma or foundation degree qualification and achieve a full honours degree, boosting your employability and providing new opportunities.

This is a distance learning course, meaning you can complete it from anywhere in the world. Our international team is here to support you, whatever time zone you’re in.

Research is an important part of this course. What we teach is inspired by what our academics are working on. You’ll be taught by experts in public health, nursing, leadership, allied health and evidence-based practice.

We challenge you to link your studies to your professional practice through work-based learning. However, if you’re not currently working, we’d still love to talk to you about studying with us.

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Flexibility
    Return to education without leaving your current role with distance learning. This course is for professionals working in health, allied health or social care.
  • Global
    We've designed this course for professionals anywhere in the world. Don’t worry if English isn’t your first language, we have the support you need to succeed.
  • Learn from leaders
    95% of our research is of internationally recognised standard (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
  • Create change
    Because of the nature of this course, you’ll be able to apply what you learn to your workplace straight away to improve care and the way your team works together.
  • Research skills
    Not only is our teaching inspired by our research, but you’ll learn how to carry out projects, collect data and complete your own analysis.

Course details

Course structure

Instead of being a professional who only looks after patients, we’ll help you become a confident leader who knows what it takes to manage a team and make changes that benefit everyone in your workplace.

Your clinical experience makes you great at your job. But we’ll give you the knowledge and skills which will help you go above and beyond in all areas of your career. We’ll cover research design, leadership styles, facilitating workplace learning, and much more.

To put all this new knowledge into action, you’ll complete a dissertation, which is a report that links to your career and interests. You’ll ask a question and find evidence to help you come to a conclusion.

You’ll have the opportunity to choose optional modules that explore different areas. Perhaps you’re interested in investigating infection control or maybe you want to polish your communication skills? We also offer the chance to look at the theory behind health promotion work with individuals, groups and communities.

Watch a recording of the webinar about our Professional Development in Health and Social Care course.

Skills practise

Learning and teaching



The types of assessments used within this programme are varied and chosen because of their appropriateness for individual module and programme learning outcomes and content, the academic standard expected and the different styles of learning that students' exhibit. Assessments are used to offer an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge as well as the critical and reflective analysis required for professional practice. The assessments will also provide experience of transferable skills that will prove valuable to you in your future career. The assessments are coursework-based and there are no examinations. 

Study modules

Compulsory Modules

Compulsory modules

  • Clinical and Professional Leadership in Health and Social Care

    The aim of this module is to help you gain a systematic understanding of current thinking about the processes of facilitating a culture of collaborative and inclusive leadership within complex public sector organisations. It aims to help you to integrate the emergent changes in leadership theory within the practice environment and the impact of applying traditional private sector leadership styles uncritically within the public sector organisations.

  • Dissertation

    This dissertation module is designed to support you in developing a research project by exploring a critical area of your own practice. It aims to allow you to demonstrate your ability to argue coherently, to gather evidence, to evaluate critically, and to synthesise various sources of data within an appropriate framework.

  • Facilitating Workplace Learning

    This module supports students who are registered health care professionals to develop confidence and skill in facilitating effective learning in the workplace. You are expected to analyse the different ways in which adults learn with the aim of enabling you to develop competencies around facilitating and assessing workplace learning.

  • Research Design

    You will have the opportunity to explore the research process, methods, data analysis and the ethical considerations associated with health and social care research. The module focuses on issues, techniques and skills for data collection and analysis in quantitative, qualitative or mixed mode approaches to research.

  • Study Skills

    This module aims to help you develop confidence in being able to access, manage, critically analyse, synthesise and apply the huge amount of information that now exists within health and social care domain within your studies.

Optional Modules

Optional modules

Advanced Communication and Supportive Relationships

This module explores verbal and non-verbal communication, and the development of supportive relationships, within a health or social care related context.  The module promotes a critical approach to sources of knowledge about therapeutic and/ or professional communication and relationships, drawing from nursing, allied health, social care and psychotherapy.

Improving the Quality of (Health) Care

You will gain an understanding of the broader theoretical concepts of quality and clinical governance initiatives. It challenges accepted notions of measuring quality and performance in complex situations and explores how practitioners can develop more appropriate and effective frameworks. You are introduced to the complexity of change management and the dilemmas in achieving organisational change through clinical governance.

Principles of Infection Prevention and Control

This module has a focus on principles of infection prevention and control which are applicable to both the hospital, community and specialist practice settings. It is designed to encourage you to develop understanding of how best to utilise resources to contribute to the provision of a safe environment and thus promote both infection prevention and infection control practice and minimise the necessity of antibiotic usage.

Promoting Health and Wellbeing

This experiential module examines a variety of theoretical approaches to health education, public health and health promotion, and their use in practice. It is designed to develop awareness and understanding of both the philosophies and concepts underlying health promotion work with individuals, groups and communities.

Work-Based Learning in Professional Development in Health and Social Care

This double module aims to provide you with a secure research methods preparation, prior to your completion of the dissertation module where you will have the opportunity to undertake secondary data analysis. You will have the opportunity to explore the research process, methods, data analysis and the ethical considerations associated with health and social care research. The module focuses on issues, techniques and skills for data collection and analysis in quantitative, qualitative or mixed mode approaches to research.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


This course is your chance to engage, reflect and apply new learning to transform care. Your degree will show your motivation and commitment to further development, making you the perfect match for senior roles or for a career in a related field.

By the end of the course, you’ll be armed with the tools to take the lead and feel like you can reach your potential as a health and social care professional. You’ll also have the know-how to develop yourself and others around you.

Eager to continue your studies after the course? A university degree from Oxford Brookes can also be a gateway to postgraduate study which is prized in many health and social care organisations globally.

Entry requirements

How to apply

Application process

Apply through our application portal.

Apply direct to the University

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

We try to keep additional costs to a minimum by providing your materials online.  However, some students may wish to purchase their own copies of key texts. 

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

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.