FdSc Public Services

Welcome to Petroc, one of the largest colleges in Devon, awarded 'Silver' from the Teaching Excellence Framework (July 2017) and rated 'Good with Outstanding Features' by Ofsted (November 2015). Petroc is the South West Regional Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Centre, recognised by the award of a Skills for Health Quality Mark, and plays a key part in the economic, cultural and social development of the county’s rural communities. We offer around 40 degree-level courses from foundation to BA (Hons) level across our three campus sites, making a 'degree on your doorstep' a possibility for hundreds of successful graduates to date.

We have strong links with local employers - so you can gain invaluable, hands-on experience during your degree-level studies. Based at our North Devon, Mid Devon, or at our dedicated University Centre at the Brannams campus, our award-winning courses offer small group sizes, workable and flexible study options, and represent outstanding value. And, when you’re ready to move on, you have a degree from the University of Plymouth – one of the top three modern universities in the UK, as ranked by the Sunday Times University Guide 2017

Visit our Petroc website to find out more, watch our course videos, read case studies of our successful alumni or apply directly for a guaranteed interview.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • Core modules
    • NORD1110 Outdoor Education (Land-based)

      This module will develop the student's skills in Land-based Outdoor Education, specifically competencies in orienteering and navigation, safety and risk assessment, leadership and team work, and reflective professional development. These skills are valuable to both military and emergency services in operational and support areas, giving a valuable knowledge base of the unique challenges of the local landscapes.

    • NORD1111 Principles of Law

      An insight into UK Criminal Law, providing a basic working knowledge of process, policies and legislation that is enforced by the Public Services on a daily basis. The module also examines the role Public Service Organisations in the Criminal Justice System

    • NORD1112 Professional Skills and Development

      This module is designed to enable students to demonstrate that they have all the qualities and transferable skills necessary for appropriate academic work and in employment requiring the exercise of responsibility and decision making, including the ability to relate their professional practice to underlying theory and principles.

    • NORD1113 Social Policy

      All public services are accountable under social policies and legislation. This module aims to demonstrate the need for a wider understanding of the implications of social policies and their impact on the public services. An awareness of the changes in policy and their impact on service provision is essential and will be discussed at length in this module. An introduction to the field of ethics will be a key feature of this module and inform student's evaluation of policy and practice.

  • Year 2
  • Core modules
    • NORD1114 Criminology

      Students will critically evaluate the major theories on criminal behaviour and activities. The impact of crime on society and the public services will be addressed via the use of case studies and links will be made to the construction of crime in the context of law and policy.

    • NORD1115 Planning for Emergencies

      Students will evaluate how government and emergency services prepare for, and react to, major incidents, and consider the challenges and benefits of the multi-agency approach. Students will adopt a team-based, problem-solving approach to given situations, and prepare for and participate in major incident exercises using integrated risk management techniques.

    • NORD2119 Inclusive and Diverse Practice

      The module provides students with an opportunity to critically examine ideas relating to equality, difference, and equal opportunities for individuals and groups in society, whilst considering their own position as professionals and how this influences practice.

    • NORD2122 Principles of Health and Fitness

      This module allows learners to develop their understanding of physical fitness with public services. They will develop an understanding of their own physical fitness, with a view to preparing themselves or others for fitness tests link to key Public Services. Key principles of first aid and injury management will be covered, expanding upon the issues discussed in the outdoor education modules.

  • Final year
  • Core modules
    • NORD2117 Outdoor Education (Water-based)

      An active module requiring participation in the planning of a range of activities including kayaking, canoeing, and options to further develop competencies and qualifications, such as undertaking a diving qualification in Gozo, sailing crew of BCU 2 star (fees not included within the course structure) These skills are particularly useful for the military and the rescue services, and for any Public Service professional based in a coastal or waterways region.

    • NORD2118 Criminal Justice

      Students will gain an understanding of UK court processes and sentencing procedures. They will examine current forms of justice and alternatives, producing a critical evaluation of the UK systems from the perspective of the individual, wider society, and Public Service organisations.

    • NORD2120 Research Methods

      This module provides an introduction to research, with a focus on understanding principles of ethics and methodology. Students will develop the skills to analyse the research of others, understand how research might be embedded in professional development and practice, and develop a sound bed of knowledge from which to potentially progress to further academic study.

    • NORD2121 Management and Leadership Skills

      Effective management and leadership skills are essential in the public services, business, and outdoor sectors. This module aims to develop the improve skills and qualities using a range of theory and self-reflective assessments. The impact of theories on staff management will be discussed and a critical evaluation of own skills will be included in the assessment of the module.

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

As this course is delivered by one of our partner colleges, please contact the college directly for information on fees and funding.

How to apply

For further information and to apply for this course, please contact the college's admissions team directly using the contact details below. 

Progression routes

Completing this course enables you to progress onto these related courses and programmes with the University of Plymouth at level 5 or level 6, as specifically defined by this programme’s progression agreement.

For further information, including the progression from foundation degree form, please visit

Our partnership with PETROC

The University of Plymouth has developed partnerships with institutions around the world with the sole purpose of making higher education more accessible to those people who need something just a little different.

Our Academic Partnerships enable students to enrol for a degree at a partnership institution closer to home, or engage in distance learning – even when they’re in the middle of the ocean. They are there for those people looking to return to education, or enhance their professional development. Full- or part-time; foundation degree to masters-level – we cater for a huge variety of needs and aspirations.

Many of our partners offer specialist degrees, unique facilities, and smaller class sizes at a competitive price. And as a student of two institutions, you get the best of both worlds; a supportive learning environment as part of a close-knit community, and a university-level qualification awarded by the University of Plymouth. You’ll enjoy not only the facilities and services your partnership institution provides, but also all of the additional support and resources you need from us, and you’ll automatically become a member of our Students’ Union, too.

We are continuing to grow the number of partner institutions and expand our academic community to new locations around the UK and overseas. Why not visit the Academic Partnerships page on our website for a full list of partners and for more details on studying with us?

One of our partners delivers this particular course – so please visit their website for full course details, entry requirements, tuition fees and information on what student life is like there. 

Studying with Petroc

With main campuses in Barnstaple, Tiverton and Brannams, if you decide to study at the combined college, you’ll be able to take advantage of increased resources and the plethora of learning opportunities associated with them.

Find out more about studying at Petroc