Health and Social Studies BA (Hons)

Course code L450

What is special about this course?

This BA (Hons) Health and Social Studies* course focuses on topical health issues including sociology, psychology, public health, rural health issues, health care ethics and the integration of health and social care.

In the first year you will be introduced to the many factors that influence health and wellbeing and the issues which need considered in defining what it means to be healthy. You will also develop skills in academic enquiry and writing.

The second and third years build on this knowledge and look more closely at health promotion, public health, ethics, partnership working and collaboration, and skills in research.

The fourth year gives the opportunity to further build on knowledge and skills in these areas, and undertake a dissertation.

*subject to revalidation

Special features

  • You will study entirely online, with support from your tutors and classmates, which allows you to fit your studies around your personal and professional life
  • The online environment offers an interesting and diverse learning community where personal study can be shared collaboratively within the virtual learning environment
  • Diverse options are available allowing you to choose a number of modules to enable study in areas of health of particular interest to you
  • This fully online degree can be studied from anywhere in the UK
  • This degree which will equip you with a range of excellent skills and graduate attributes which are desirable to many employers
  • You can study individual modules for professional development (CPD)

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above
  • Alternatively, completion of Foundation Apprenticeship Social Services and Healthcare PLUS an additional Scottish Higher at Grade C or above
  • Other qualifications that may be accepted by the course team include: an appropriate NQ level award at SCQF 6, an SVQ/NVQ at level 3, or an appropriate access course
  • Applicants without traditional entry qualifications but with appropriate experience will be considered for the course on an individual basis


  • Advanced entry to year two may be possible with HNC Social Services, HNC Healthcare Practice or HNC Social Sciences  (or other relevant HNC). Please note that 120 credits at level 7 are required for entry to second year. If your HNC has fewer than 120 credits you may need to undertake a bridging module to top these up before accessing second year.

Access routes

SWAP Access courses
If you are eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP), please visit our SWAP access list for further information on grade profiles and available subjects.

Year 1 - CertHE

Core modules are:

  • Nature of health
  • Introduction to psychology
  • Introduction to  health and social policy
  • Sociology of the family
  • The enquiring student

Optional modules include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Psychology of individual differences and development
  • Exploring and developing palliative and end of life care

Year 2 - DipHE

Core modules are:

  • Working in partnership
  • Empowering communities
  • Principles and foundations of health promotion
  • Researching the social world

Optional modules include:

  • Care and control
  • Recognising and challenging discrimination and disadvantage
  • Health psychology
  • The individual, society and the health continuum
  • Specialist provision
  • Urban-rural divide
  • Contemporary issues
  • Adolescence
  • Comparing politics systems

You may also select one option from outwith this programme, but you can only do this once in an academic year.

Year 3 - BA

Core modules are:

  • Literature review (Health and social studies)
  • Promotion of diversity and equality
  • Healthy people, healthy places: challenges for public health

Optional modules include:

  • Ethical issues
  • Promoting and enhancing parenting
  • Introduction to effective management and leadership
  • Legislation and childhood
  • Alcohol and drug studies
  • Digital futures in health and social care
  • Issues of risk
  • Remote and rural health
  • Developmental psychology: birth to death
  • Developing professional practice through placement (Students are responsible for organising their own placement)

You may also select one option from outwith this programme, but you can only do this once in an academic year.

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

Core modules are:

  • Dissertation
  • Comparative health studies

Optional modules include:

  • Professional reflection
  • Personal and professional reflection
  • Development disorders
  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Disability and society
  • Informatics in health and social care
  • Psychopathology: mental health and wellbeing
  • The consumerist society

You may also select one option from outwith this programme, but you can only do this once in an academic year.

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will study through supported online learning using the university's virtual learning environment (VLE)
  • You will receive support from your personal academic tutor face-to-face and/or via email, telephone or online
  • You must also attend a 1-day online induction at the start of your course

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years
  • Part-time (unstructured): variable

Each module represents 200 hours of study in the course of a 14 week semester.

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll
  • Inverness
  • Moray
  • North, West and Hebrides
  • Orkney
  • Perth
  • Shetland
  • This fully online course can be studied from anywhere in the UK. You will be enrolled and supported by staff at your chosen partner

Start date

  • September
  • January (part-time unstructured only study may be possible)


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £915 £915
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £305 £305

Rest of the UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) or assessed as rest of the UK for fee status the following fees apply:

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time online per year (120 credit modules) £6,120 £6,120
Part-time online (per 20 credit module) £1,020 £1,020

International students

This course is not available to students domiciled outside of the UK or for international students (including EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled status in the UK) requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study here. For students living in the UK and assessed as international for fee status, the following fees will apply:

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time online per year (120 credit modules) £6,540 £6,960
Part-time online (per 20 credit module) £1,090 £1,160

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time rest of the UK and international undergraduate students for continuous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed your BA (Hons) Health and Social Studies degree you might like to consider careers in the following areas:

  • Health services management and health promotion
  • Research and development, and community development
  • Health needs assessment and project management
  • International, national and local government organisations and ‘third sector’ organisations

Can I progress into further study?

Once you’ve completed your studies, you might like to consider progressing on to further study on our MA Health and Wellbeing course. 

Is there more information available online?

QR Code - scan to visit course page

You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

I found the tutors extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and the teaching of a very high standard, clearly defining what was required and supported by all the necessary learning material. 

The course curriculum is motivational and inspiring. It really reinforced the necessary skills for a career in health and social care with a broader awareness of social issues. The experience gained in research methods, such as ethical principles and guidelines, were also particularly helpful to me.

I am now employed in social care and studying at masters level with the intent to pursue research. I would highly recommend this course, it benefitted me greatly and has really broadened my perspective of health.

Catherine studied the BA (Hons) Health and Social Studies.

If you’re considering a career in health improvement work or public health, I would recommend studying the BA (Hons) Health and Social Studies. The online and flexible modes of learning were essential to fit studying into my life. The support I received from my tutors when I became extremely ill during the course was incomparable: if it wasn’t for their input and guidance, I would almost certainly have given up. 

The degree gave me the knowledge and confidence to move into a role that I wouldn’t have been able to do previously. As a result, I’m currently on a 12-month secondment as a Community Food and Health Practitioner, working in the new Type 2 Diabetes Food and Health Service with NHS Highland Nutrition and Dietetics.

Many more opportunities have become available to me, and I’ve been able to apply my learning to my work and get involved in new initiatives happening in the organisation. I appreciate the bigger picture now and am more confident in new approaches to health improvement.

Linda studied the BA (Hons) Health and Social Studies. 

Support from tutors and lecturers was great. I engaged more as the course went on and this was reflected in my marks. The collaboration with other students on assignments helped me develop my skills in this area. I would now feel much more comfortable, and adept, in engaging in future collaborative work. Overall, the BA (Hons) Health and Social Studies was a great experience. I found the vast majority of modules very interesting, and felt very well supported in working through them. 

Peter studied the BA (Hons) Health and Social Studies.  

Apply for Health and Social Studies BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024 or Jan/Feb 2025

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.