Manchester Metropolitan University

BA (Hons)

Public Services (Governance)

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

This course offers you the opportunity to study a wide range of subject areas, including politics, social policy, management, law, policing and criminology. The programme is particularly designed to enhance future employment prospects, with many of the programme units, such as law, information technology, community/third sector studies, criminal justice policy (and other specialist options) having specific vocational relevance.

  • Strong emphasis on information technology (IT), communication and team working skills.
  • Can provide a good entry route into public service careers (police, civil service, etc).
  • Our staff sit on local school boards, housing trusts and community steering groups and work hard to facilitate placement opportunities for their students. As the nature of public service provision is changing our staff will prepare and equip you with the skills to work in an ever-changing environment, where public, private and charitable/voluntary sectors are increasingly working together.

Placement options

This degree offers the opportunity to take a placement year but for most students there is a programme of community engagement/volunteering experience. It offers specialist units covering the uniformed (policing) and nonuniformed (education, health and housing) areas of our public services. Unless exempt because of prior work experience, you may take the year's full-time work placement in Year 3. A range of placements are offered in local councils, social housing organisations, NHS trusts and in police support work. Past placements have been with Manchester City Council, Parliament and the Audit Commission

About the course

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

In year 1, you will look at the services provided by public service organisations including the police, the NHS, schools, housing associations, the civil service and local authorities; examining the legal, political and social climate in which they operate, the policies governing their actions, and the needs their services are designed to meet. You will investigate how these organisations are managed and are changing in response to recent government policies such as contracting-out services to the private and voluntary sectors, electronic delivery of public services, customer choice and performance measurement. Recent multi-agency partnerships in urban regeneration and crime prevention will also be considered.

You must choose one of the option units in conjunction with Skills for Success in Higher Education to ensure you fulfill the 30 credits required for the course.

Core Units
Fighting the Five Giant Evils: Social Welfare, Past, Present and Future

Reviewing the five giant evils described by Beveridge of want, squalor, disease, ignorance and idleness, the unit will examine the public services and organisations responsible for the implementation of policies related to education, housing, health, social services, unemployment, and poverty and will develop strong links between social policy theory and practice. There will be a discussion about the need for joined up and multi agency approaches for public services and the implications for the future in tackling society's `wicked issues'.

Making a Difference: Citizenship, Law and Media in Public Services

The unit explores governance and citizenship in the United Kingdom, examines Civil and Constitutional Law, and looks at the impact of old and new forms of media on the delivery of public services. Introducing key concepts, theories, and ideas that shape governance in the United Kingdom, particular attention will be paid to concepts that have a direct impact on the delivery of Public Services. Ideas about citizenship will be explored - what does it mean to be a citizen rather than a subject? Elements of Law that directly impact upon Public Services will also be examined - these principally relate to Civil Law and the Constitution. Comparison with other polities, including the United States, will be included to place the British system into context. The impact of old and new forms of media upon British politics and governance will be analysed, including the impact of social media upon political processes.

Public Services Today: Challenges and Change

This unit provides an introduction to contemporary British Public Services, how they are organised for delivery and funded in the light of financial cutbacks, welfare reform and privatisation/co-production political agendas. As well as providing an introduction to the study of Public Services, the unit covers issues such as changes to the welfare state, service delivery, budget setting and public service outsourcing.

Skills for Success in Higher Education (15 credit unit)

The unit is designed to assist people who are coming back to learning to develop skills in researching and writing essays, improving computer skills and to discover the basic issues relating to the study of Public Services. This is a core unit worth 15 credits which can be combined with either of the 15 credit option units below.

Likely Optional Units
Community Engagement (15 credits)

This 15 credit option unit will introduce you to themes of interactivity and engagement with various communities as part of a career in public service provision.

Uniwide Language (15 Credits)

You can add a foreign language to your portfolio of skills. Enhance your employability by learning Classical Latin, English (as a foreign language), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Modern Standard Arabic, Spanish or Urdu alongside your main degree. Whatever your language knowledge, from Beginners to Advanced, these classes will take you to the next level of proficiency. Visit UNIWIDE for more information. 

Year 2

In year 2 the core units cover, managing the public services today, a community action project and transatlantic public administration policy. You will also have the opportunity to select from a range of optional units. If you choose the UNIWIDE Language or Engaging the Humanities and Social Science option you will do both options in order to fulfill the 30 credit requirement. 

Core Units
Managing the Public Services Today (15 Credits)

This unit involves an applied review of the management of change in the public services today, covering the role of the manager, the management of staff and systems, and the impact of ICT on the public services.

Public Sector Employability and Enterprise

The unit is jointly taught by external partners such as Manchester City Council. It considers challenges in successfully implementing equality and diversity legislation. It examines legislation both in the UK and in Europe to give students a wider knowledge of international policy and increase their employability potential in both UK and international workplaces. The unit also provides students with an extended period of mentoring and independent study on projects of value to the partners in codelivery. Challenges in the public and third sectors will be examined such as the devolution of health services, the creation of successful public engagement programmes, and Human Resources policies in the public sector. The co-delivery of the unit gives students direct experience of the needs of future employers, and enhances their employability as a result.

Public Services in International Perspective

This unit will be delivered by three partner institutions in Europe and the US, which provides comparative analysis of administrative and public policymaking processes and how these may impact on outcomes. This innovative unit uses a combination of online and classroom based learning to introduce students to public service management in Europe, the US and the UK. The course will evaluate the US and EU systems of administration, their culture and policy impact.

The UK State at a Crossroads: Who Should Govern Us? (15 credit unit)

This unit offers students an opportunity to study the different organisations engaged in both the design and delivery of policy making and examines who should govern us. The unit is comprised of five elements: Who exercises influence, function and power in policy and the design and delivery of Public Services? Hollowing out and the disaggregation of the central state: the role of agencies, partnerships and networks in Public Service design, management and delivery. The extent of the influence on Public Services in the UK of supra national and global governance mechanisms. The influence of pressure groups, media and digital media on Public Service delivery. The role of the private sector and growing role of the third sector in Public Service delivery.

Likely Optional Units
Criminal Justice Policy
This unit examines how evidence is (and is not) used to support the policy-making process. A wide range of policy areas are covered including health, education, criminal justice, children’s services and substance misuse. On of the key themes is to gain a better understanding of ‘evidence – based policy’
Engaging the Humanities and Social Science: Interdisciplinary Learning and Practice (15 Credits)

Apply interdisciplinary methods and approaches in a professional and/or public setting. Students will work in interdisciplinary teams on one of a range of on and off-campus projects to showcase interdiscipilnary skills in practice.

Policing in Britain within a Global Context

This unit provides an understanding of the social and historical development of policing, placing British policing within its national, regional and international context.  Your studies may include topics such as national and international trends within policing; globalisation, governance and the policing of cross-border crime and security; historical contextualisation; and changing methods, structures and the delivery of policing.

Uniwide Language

You can add a foreign language to your portfolio of skills. Enhance your employability by learning Classical Latin, English (as a foreign language), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Modern Standard Arabic, Spanish or Urdu alongside your main degree. Whatever your language knowledge, from Beginners to Advanced, these classes will take you to the next level of proficiency. Visit UNIWIDE for more information.  

Year 3

You may take a year’s full-time paid work placement in Year 3. A range of placements may be available in local councils, social housing organisations, NHS trusts and in police support work. Past placements have been with Manchester City Council, Parliament and the Audit Commission.

If you do not take a work placement you will proceed directly onto the final year.

Year 4

In your final year, you complete a relevant dissertation or community project according to the pathway you have chosen. Alongside tailored core units, you will be presented with a wide range of optional units from which to choose.

Core Units
Dissertation in a Governance Topic

This unit enables you to complete an extended piece of work that develops your research skills and ability to analyse academic sources and empirical findings in the area of governance.


Policy, Democracy and Governance

This unit explores the contemporary policymaking context in the UK, evaluating the drivers and obstacles for policy delivery in a devolved framework of governance. The unit will examine a number of topics. Devolution in the UK and key policy differences in the four countries, the Scottish referendum, national or subnational tax and budgets including the Barnett formula and West Lothian question. Regional devolution in England from the regional development agencies to Metro Mayors and the Northern powerhouse. An exploration of policy delivery in a devolved context, including case studies of health policy, taxation, education, urban regeneration.


Social Housing and Healthcare

This unit explores the connections between housing policy and provision and health and social care services. It will examine how substantial cuts to public services at a local level has placed pressure on Registered Social Landlords to undertake more of a `community investor’ role in deprived areas. Students will examine how the devolution of health and housing budgets in Greater Manchester are affecting health and housing outcomes and the quality and effectiveness of services.


Likely Optional Units
Constitutional and Public Law

This unit explores legal, ethical and constitutional issues surrounding public service provision.

Disasters and Emergency Management

The unit will examine how emergency services, businesses and individuals can plan for, and manage, disaster and emergency situations. It will involve a number of case studies and a team based simulation. Study covers a range of topics: the complexities involved in defining disaster and emergency situations; the causes of disasters and emergency situations and the range of consequences that can occur from them; Government policy and legislation covering disaster and emergency situations and emergency management within the UK; public and emergency service interaction and communication methods and techniques; identifying vulnerable groups and how the effects of disasters on these groups can be reduced; examining how disaster management can be integrated into public policy and how planning and design of infrastructure should take into account the vulnerability of communities.


Education Policy

The unit aims to explore the political environment within which the British educational system functions. It will critically examine a number of issues that have affected the development of education policy in the UK since the early 1960s.


Ethics, Standards and Leadership in the Public Services

This unit covers the principles of public life which apply to anyone who works as a public office holder, including integrity; objectivity; honesty and leadership.  This includes all those who are elected or appointed to public office, nationally and locally, and all people appointed to work in the civil service, local government, the police, courts and probation services, NDPBs, and in the health, education, social and care services. All public office-holders are both servants of the public and stewards of public resources. These principles also have application to all those in other sectors delivering public services.

Management Techniques for Public Services

An indepth analysis of all aspects of constitutional and administrative law and their relationship to wider political developments.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Methods of Assessment

Examinations and coursework including a dissertation in the final year.

Assessment Weightings and Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

  • Year 1 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
  • Year 2 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
  • Year 3 100% placement
  • Year 1 75% coursework; 25% examination
  • Year 2 75% coursework; 25% examination
  • Year 3 100% coursework
Optional foundation year
  • Study 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
  • Assessment 100% coursework

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

UCAS Tariff points/Grades required


Minimum 104 at A2 or equivalent (such as BTEC National Extended Diploma at Level 3 DMM or Advanced Diploma).

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

106-112 UCAS Tariff Points from Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with at least 45 credits at Level 3

International Baccalaureate points


IELTS score required for international students

6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any component

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Your career prospects after the course

Graduates of public services possess a number of transferable skills that are highly valued in a wide range of employment industries in the public, private and charitable bodies sectors.

Our former students have secured employment in areas as varied as the fast-track civil service, teaching, the armed forces intelligence corps, publishing, recruitment, journalism, media, charities, academic research and company management.


In 2014, over 94% of our graduates went directly into work or further study within 6 months of graduation

DHLE survey 2014, for all respondents available for employment or further study and whose destinations are known

How do I apply for this course?

Applications through UCAS

Remember to use the correct institution code for Manchester Metropolitan University on your application: our institution code is M40

Unistats Information

Find out more about Unistats and the Key Information Set.

Find out more about Unistats and the Key Information Set.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.

Undergraduate Study