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Bachelor of Arts in Applied Management (Human Services) – Level 7

The BA in Applied Management (Human Services) is a QQI accredited (Level 7) 3-year degree programme created by, and for people working in the human services and non-profit sector. It provides participants with the knowledge and skills required to manage for the good of:

  • Services users
  • The organisation, and
  • People who work with it

In so doing, they become advocates for change and key influence makers capable of initiating, leading and delivering change that will result in empowerment and improved, quality service provision.



Successful completion of the course will lead to a BA Degree in Applied Management. This is a QQI accredited Major Award at Level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

Click here if you need to understand what this means and why it matters.

What Will I Learn?

After successfully completing the course you should have gained an understanding and insights into:

  • how leadership and the role of the leader is understood in contemporary management
  • the importance of leadership skills in managing change within an organisation
  • a range of leadership and change management models and tools in your organisation
  • the role, function and importance of the human resources function in the human services and non-profit sector
  • the legal context of Irish HRM operations
  • the HRM function’s role in determining and delivering staff upskilling in a diverse organisation
  • critical thinking, emotional intelligence and action learning and outline their uses in the sector
  • how to apply these principles, processes and practices to improve your management capabilities and benefit your organisation, team and service users
  • how organisational objectives and the wider organisational environment determine how you work as a supervisor or first line manager
  • the role organisational structure and culture play in:
    • Normal day-to-day operations
    • Defining relationships between co-workers
    • Determining the quality of service
  • empowerment as an organisational concept, objective, challenge and resource
  • the financial management requirements, challenges and issues animating the operation of organisations in he human services and non-profit sector

Course Content

The degree year provides the opportunity to enhance your research, analytic and advanced management skills to become an effective leader, one capable of achieving measurable change leading to improved quality of service provision. You will learn to:

  • Understand the political and legislative context in which human services & non-profit organisations operate
  • Critically analyse the current state of your organisation and map out potential futures for your organisation
  • Understand and resolve conflict within your organisation
  • Undertake project management to achieve change that tangibly improves the quality of service your organisation delivers
  • Design, deliver and oversee an individualised service informed by best practice and committed to quality


  • Project Management (15 credits)
  • The Manager as Coach and Mentor (15 credits)
  • Research Methods (10 credits)
  • Social Policy for Human Service Organisations (10 credits)
  • Leadership and the Learning Organisation (10 credits)

How Will I Be Assessed?

The course is assessed through a combination of assignments, online activities, written examinations and in-class assessment.

It is an applied course so you must be working at least 10 hours per week in an appropriate work environment.

Promoting best practice in services is integral to the College’s mission. As part of this, we place particular importance on encouraging students to apply what they are learning – as they are learning – in their professional environment. Therefore, our learning materials, workshops and assessments are practical in nature. A significant proportion of assessment marks, for example, are allocated to applying what you learn in real-world settings.

What is it Like to Study with Us?

We Are All Part of a Learning Community

The course uses a ‘blended’ approach. Each module combines online learning, tutorials (telephone, online, virtual) and face to face workshops. Learning materials are explicitly designed to accommodate the pressures that come with trying to balance work, life and learning. They make it possible to build study time around your work schedule.

Regular online tutorials will expand your knowledge of the topic and answer any questions you have as you study. Each one-day seminar focuses on how the module topic is impacting the sector, will deepen your understanding of the subject matter and help you apply it in your working practice.

Underpinning all of this is our learning community. This is made up of tutors who have extensive first-line experience, learning support staff who understand the human challenges people can face when attending college and our students who are defined by their commitment to supporting each other. We believe this creates a learning experience that is unique to the Open Training College, one that meets the specific requirements of people working in our sector and improves the quality of service our users receive.

This is known as the Supported Open Learning Model. You can read more about it here.

Meet Brendan Collins – Course Director

OTC BrendanCollins

Why was the course initially developed?

The degree programme was developed to address what we felt was a very obvious need. There are plenty of very good (in some cases excellent) management programmes out there but they are just about all generic. They look at management as a general skill where it is very obvious to anyone that has worked in a human service or non-profit organisation, that the management challenges you face are sector specific and require a particular skill-set.

We’ve taken our management expertise and knowledge of the sector and created a programme that meets this specific need.

What challenges do people face starting the course?

One of the biggest issues professionals encounter is trying to combine study and work. Finding the time to study is one very obvious thing but for a lot of people who are either embarking on a degree for the first time or returning to college, the simple fact of starting a course raises lots of anxieties about their ability to complete a degree.

How do you try and help them deal with this?

First off, all of the teaching staff are experienced first line professionals and many of us have been in the exact same situation so we know what that’s like. Just about everyone feels like that when they start so we try and create a learning experience that recognises this reality and provides the supports that people need to overcome it. We are there to provide the educational support and feedback you would expect but we’re also there to help create a learning community that we all contribute to, and learn from. It’s something that is very different to other colleges.

More generally, what motivated you to become a tutor in the first place?

I became a tutor because I like to work with people to make a difference. It is really rewarding to be part of helping somebody learn to develop the skills required to first complete a course and then provide a better life to their service users.

Meet the Student - Joe McDonald, An Cuan, Graduate

Why did you choose the College?

I chose the College because it had a course I was interested in that was specific to the nonprofit sector. It provided an overview of an area in which I had been working in for many years without any specific training or education, where I was providing advice and support to managers and Boards. The Course has been very helpful in putting a theoretical frame around my work, and in sharpening my perception and analysis of issues.

Being an applied course it also forced me to focus attention on particular work issues. The outcomes have together contributed to better quality in my work and improved services for beneficiaries. An unexpected surprise on the course was the way assignments could be directly used to gain a strong handle on issues at work.

How did you find the College to deal with?

The Open Training College offers significant supports and my assigned tutor was always ready to answer if I was stuck or unsure about what was expected. I never felt demotivated, quite the opposite; everyone was always very encouraging and motivating but realistic at the same time about what could be achieved.
I really enjoyed my time with the College and I would certainly recommend it to others.


How Will the Course Enhance My Career Prospects?

The skills acquired have been used by graduates to support their promotion within their organisations and to seek management opportunities within and beyond where they work.

How Do I Apply?

Applications for this course are accepted through our Online Application Centre. To apply for the degree, you will need to:

  • Satisfy the entry requirements for the programme
  • Provide a range of documents to support your application
  • Submit a personal statement explaining why you want to apply

What are the Course Entry Requirements?

Applicants need to have successfully completed the OTC Higher Certificate in Applied Management OR currently hold at least a Level 6 cognate* management qualification of 120 credits (NFQ) or more within the last 10 years.

Applicants are expected to be currently working in human services, community or not for profit sector and be able to apply their learning to a work setting.

Applicants wishing to transfer from another course will need to meet certain criteria. Click here to determine if you are eligible to transfer.

International applicants must provide appropriate documentary evidence of proficiency in English (e.g. IELTS 6.0).

What Supporting Documents Will I Need?

You will need to provide us with a range of documents as part of your application. These are:

  • Proof of identity. Common examples included scanned copies of a driving license or passport (for international applicants).
  • Employment Validation: Formal confirmation that you are working for more than 10 hours a week in a qualifying service is required. Please use the employer validation form we have provided for download below.
  • Volunteer Form: You will need to complete a Volunteer Form if you are currently working as a volunteer. This is available for download below.
  • Educational Transcripts: These are copies of previous educational achievements that confirm you satisfy the course entry requirements. They could, for example, include a copy of your leaving certificate or a scan of a level 5 certificate. It is particularly important that applicants wishing to transfer from another course, or be considered for Advanced Entry, provide transcripts confirming they have completed a Level 6/7 course worth at least 60 credits (NFQ) or more in Social Care or Social Studies within the last 10 years.
  • Personal Statement: This document essentially explains why you want to take the course and how you see it helping you achieve your professional and personal goals. You can learn more about it below and download a simple document that will help you write it.
  • International Applicants: International applicants are required to provide documentary evidence of proficiency in English and eligibility to study in Ireland before beginning an accredited course. A document explaining why it is necessary and what documents are required for a successful application can be found below

What is a Personal Statement and Why is it Important?

A personal statement briefly describes:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • What you hope to achieve in your career on both a personal and professional level
  • How you think the course will help you achieve your goals

Personal statements are particularly important for us when assessing individual applications. We believe in selecting students not just based on their previous academic achievements but on how a particular educational programme can help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Personal statements help us understand why you want to take the course and if it is the right one for you.


PLEASE NOTE: We’ve also provided a checklist to help with your application. We generally recommend you gather together all the documents you will require to support your application before you begin but our online application system will allow you add documents as and when you have them once you’ve begun submitting your application. You can learn more by visiting the Online Application Centre.

At a Glance


Persons in Charge (PICs), Managers, Supervisors & those interested in developing first line management capabilities




Bachelor in Arts in Applied Management







Online during Covid-19 restrictions


















Applicants need to have successfully completed the OTC Higher Certificate in Applied Management OR currently hold at least a Level 6 cognate* management qualification of 120 credits (NFQ) or more within the last 10 years.

Applicants are expected to be currently working in human services, community or not for profit sector and be able to apply their learning to a work setting.


International applicants must provide appropriate documentary evidence of proficiency in English (i.e. IELTS 6.0).

Start Making Your Application

All applications are processed through our application centre where you can:

  • Submit your application
  • Learn about what happens after you’ve made your application
  • Monitor the progress of your application

Visit the Online Application Centre.

A Special Note About Protecting Enrolled Users

The Open Training College (OTC) has approval to offer students learner protection insurance in respect of Protection of Enrolled Learners (PEL) for this course. Find out more about PEL here.

How Can We Help?

Contact us if you want to know more about the course.

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Call: (+353 1) 298 8544
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