HND BTEC Public Services

If you're a natural leader and a good communicator, you could consider a career in public services. Equivalent to two years of a university degree, this Public Services HND offers you the practical and personal skills needed for a role in the sector or progression to higher-level study.

BTEC Public Services

Key information



Mode of Study:



2 years


Bolton College

UCAS points:


UCAS code:


Start date:


Course Details

Public service careers are rewarding but demanding. If you are keen to enter a profession allied to public services – perhaps as a police officer, in the public sector, or in the field of criminology – then our Level 5 HND in Public Services offers you an excellent preparation for a range of uniformed and non-uniformed careers. The course is designed to equip you with a sound understanding of how public services and allied professions can impact on society, from both a theoretical and practical perspective. It also offers a foundation on which you can build the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the public services sector.

This course combines theory and written work with an active-based programme that is closely linked to the emergency services and allied professions. Our team of dedicated experts will guide you as you gain knowledge and understanding, as well as practical, professional and subject specific skills. Your studies will cover the core knowledge that is required throughout the public services, such as organisational structures and culture, equality and diversity, mental health, and professional practice. You’ll then build on this learning by developing your wider understanding and skills in areas such as serious and organised crime, terrorism, forensic psychology, the justice system, international policing and cyber security.

You’ll also undertake an individual research project, where you’ll have the opportunity to develop and apply your skills in independent enquiry and critical analysis to a current topical aspect of public services. Overall, we’ll support you as you develop cognitive, intellectual and thinking skills, and gain valuable key, personal and transferable skills ready for employment or further study.

  • Our teaching team includes knowledgeable tutors with an academic background and ex-professionals who have first-hand experience of policing.
  • We work in partnership with a range of public sector organisations and will encourage you to gain valuable career-relevant experience through voluntary work.
  • On successful completion of this programme you’ll be awarded a Pearson BTEC Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Public Services.
  • Bolton College scores highly in student satisfaction surveys for its HE provision, and we take pride in being able to offer you the opportunity to learn from industry-experienced staff.
  • We aim to help you become adaptable and flexible in your approach to public services, supporting you to develop resilience under pressure, team-working skills, independence and initiative, as well as gain the organisation and problem-solving skills necessary to meet challenging targets with a given resource.
Key Features
  • This course offers essential subject knowledge that can help you to progress successfully within or into the world of work or onto further study.
  • We offer insight into the diversity of roles within public services and the importance of collaboration at all levels, and will work to develop your knowledge and understanding of culturally diverse organisations, cross-cultural issues, diversity and values.
  • Our approach to teaching and learning is ‘student-centred’, so we’ll work with you on an individual basis, providing tailored help and support throughout your studies.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to develop and enhance crucial skills such as communication, teamwork, organising and planning, numeracy, problem solving, flexibility and adaptability, action planning, self-awareness, initiative, personal impact and confidence, environmental sustainability, and social, public and ethical responsibility.
Professional recognition

  • 32 UCAS points. Please see our guide to the UCAS Tariff for examples of how to achieve these points.
  • Any subjects are acceptable at Level 3. You should also have five GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) including English and Mathematics.
  • Entry to this course is also available to applicants who have extensive appropriate work experience in the public services sector. If you don’t possess the academic qualifications listed above but have extensive appropriate work experience we’ll be delighted to consider your application.
  • You may be required to attend an interview and/or provide a portfolio of work.
  • If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details.
  • If you intend to progress on to a top-up degree course at a university after completing this HND, you will usually need GCSE Mathematics and English at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent). If you have not already achieved this, please speak to the course leader about taking GCSE Mathematics and/or English while completing this course.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.

If you choose to complete a BTEC HND in Public Service it’s expected that you’ll be aiming to go on to employment or progress to a final year at university. Pearson developed these qualifications in close collaboration with subject experts, employers, universities and colleges to ensure you gain the skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed in the future – whichever route you take.

What can I do with this qualification?

This HND is designed to prepare you for a range of careers in public services, including areas such as local government, Police Service, the security industry, immigration, MI5, British Transport Police, British Nuclear Fuel, retail security, corporate security, HM Revenue & Customs, Military Police and Ministry of Defence Police, along with UK Border Agency, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Marines, the Prison Service, G4S and the Fire and Rescue Service.

If you successfully complete the Pearson BTEC Level 5 HND in Public Service, you’ll be to progress onto a higher level qualification. For instance, you’ll be eligible to apply for advanced standing to bachelor’s degrees, such as the University of Bolton’s BA (Hons) Crime and Criminal Justice (Top-up). Nationally, a wide range of related degrees are available in areas such as criminology, policing, public services management, applied social sciences, leadership in the public sector, and fire and rescue.

Alternative career options

Diploma holders can also use the qualification to enter a range of other careers, and for some of these roles, both relevant experience and/or further study may be required. Some of these careers include:

  • Teaching
  • Research and development
  • Charity and non-profit organisations
  • Social research
  • Government and Civil Service
  • Housing
  • Education administration
  • International aid/development
  • Paralegal
  • Consultancy
  • Youth work
  • Politics

Course fees
Home EU Fees Year of study Total
Entry year2021/222022/232023/24

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The university is currently awaiting government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2021-2022.

For 2021-2022 entry, the maximum government approved undergraduate tuition fee for UK students is £9,250 per year. The University is able to charge this fee subject to an approved Access and Participation Plan for 2021-2022 and its current rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework.


Click here for more information about the scholarships and bursaries available to University of Bolton undergraduate students.

For details of how to apply for this course, please choose your status from the options below:

You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or

International applications are not possible for this course

As an international student you are not allowed to study this course because of the restrictions on your visa.

We offer a wide range of full-time courses in lots of different subjects, many of our courses start in September and January. If you would like to see what courses are available please visit our Course Search.

University of Bolton Group Partners

Bolton College
University Technical College
University of Bolton

The University welcomes applications from our group partners and progressing students so we try to make our application process as simple and as fast as possible. By selecting the link for your chosen course from the list shown below you will be taken directly to our online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this and ensure you upload all supporting documents such as certificates and your personal statement when you apply.

Please ensure when you are asked to add a contact email address you add your college/university email account address as well as your personal address. If you do not add your college address as your contact address we will be unable to identify you as a partner and you will be referred to apply via UCAS, which incurs a cost.

We look forward to receiving your application and you continuing your academic journey with us!

The varied nature of this HND programme means that we use a wide range of teaching and learning methods. In order to ensure you acquire and develop the appropriate concepts, knowledge and skills, we combine timetabled classes with student-centred and independent learning. You can expect to attend lectures, practical sessions, workshops, tutorials and informal group study sessions. There will also be opportunities to go on field visits to see how various areas of the public services operate, and attend guest lectures by specialists from industry or other academic institutions.

There are significant opportunities to spend time with the tutors and technicians during timetabled classes, practical work and tutorials. However, we’ll still expect you to devote a significant amount of time to personal study. For example, this time might be spent engaging in general background reading, revisiting practical work or working on assignments.

We use a range of assessment methods, depending upon the learning outcome in question and the type of module content being assessed. You’ll have opportunities to test your understanding of subjects informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark or grade. Each module/unit will normally contain at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you’ll receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades/marks you receive for them do not count toward your module/unit mark or grade.

There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module/unit. Methods include a range of assessment such as exams, essays, reports, portfolios, presentations, and final year major project. The grades from the formal assessments count towards your module/unit mark or grade.


The modules listed below may be a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules shown as part of the course.

  • Organisational Structures and Culture
  • Equality Diversity and Fair Treatment
  • Crime and Substance Misuse
  • Terrorism and Counter Terrorism
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Third Sector and Public Services
  • Psychology of Behaviour
  • Public Services in Contemporary Society
  • Research Project
  • Serious and Organised Crime
  • Justice, Punishment and Rehabilitation
  • Youth Offending
  • Applied Forensic Psychology
  • Reflective Professional Practice
  • Cyber Security
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 100%
Level twoCoursework 100%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 60%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 40%
Level twoGuided independent study 60%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 40%


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up-to-date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason, we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Tim Woodward
Programme Leader, Bolton College

+44 (0)1204 482623

Information Team
Bolton College

+44 (0)1204 482000

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Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

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RiSE pos rgb logo
TEF Silver QQA