FdSc Public Services

Petroc is one of the largest colleges in Devon and is committed to driving forward educational success in further and higher education. 

We are passionate about raising the aspirations, knowledge and skills of individuals, and year after year our students produce exceptional results, enabling them to progress further in training or employment. 

Petroc has been delivering a range of degree-level courses for over 30 years and is proud to be able to provide a wide variety of programmes (from HNCs and Foundation Degrees to Higher Apprenticeships and Honours Degrees) in subject areas including education, computing, science, engineering, and health and care. 

Petroc has three campuses situated across North and Mid Devon with modern and stimulating learning environments. We also offer small classes, extensive student support and exceptional links to local industry. 

Visit the Petroc website to find out how we can help you go further in life.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • Core modules

    • Outdoor Education (Land-based) (NORD1110)

      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.

    • Principles of Law (NORD1111)

      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

    • Professional Skills and Development (NORD1112)

      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.

    • Social Policy (NORD1113)

      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

    • Criminology (NORD1114)

      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.

    • Planning for Emergencies (NORD1115)

      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.

    • Inclusive and Diverse Practice (NORD2119)

      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.

    • Principles of Health and Fitness (NORD2122)

      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

    • Outdoor Education (Water-based) (NORD2117)

      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.

    • Criminal Justice (NORD2118)

      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.

    • Research Methods (NORD2120)

      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.

    • Management and Leadership Skills (NORD2121)

      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.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

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. 

Please contact Petroc to apply for this course:

Old Sticklepath Hill
EX31 2BQ

Tel: +441271345291

Open days

Partner college open days

This course is run at one of our partner colleges. Open days are held at the college and more details of these can be found on the college website. You'll find contact details below, on this page.

University of Plymouth open days

You are also very welcome to attend a University of Plymouth open day, to get a flavour of the courses you can progress to from a partner college. There will however be limited information on this specific course and college.

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