Honours BA in Professional Social Care (Disability) – Level 8 (One year add on)

This programme, the Honours BA in Professional Social Care (Disability), provides qualified Social Care Workers with the knowledge and skills to make substantive, positive changes to organisations in the pan disability sector. The one year, part time course will help you to become an advanced social care practitioner and drive the development and delivery of quality, rights driven services to people with disability.

It also satisfies the educational requirements for anyone looking to pursue postgraduate studies in the disability and broader social care field.

Please note the requirement for social care registration is a Level 7 approved Social Care degree. This Level 8 qualification is not being put forward for CORU approval.

Social Care Graduates
Professional Social Care Graduates in Ireland

At a Glance

  • Audience Social Care professionals working in disability services
  • Award Honours Bachelor in Professional Social Care (Disability) (8M20215)
  • Format Blended
  • Model Part Time/Open Learning
  • Duration 1 Year
  • Award Type QQI/HET Level 8 (Major Award)
  • Credits 60
  • Apply ByContact the College
  • Informal InterviewsJuly 19th, 2019
  • Start Date Sept, 2019
  • Fees €3,480 – inclusive of Protection of Enrolled Learner (PEL) insurance cost. (Fees Instalment Plan available)

Why Choose the Course?

The Degree Is Specifically Designed for People Working In The Disability Sector

The course is exclusively aimed at people working in disability services. It was created by people with extensive first-line experience who fully understand the area and the problems that come with attempting to balance work, life and learning when you work in it.

It Is Entirely Practical

It is an applied programme dealing with real world challenges. The choice of course materials is determined by the needs of people employed in the sector. They are dealt with from the perspective of someone working in the disability arena and their relevance/quality is determined by the ways in which they can be applied to, and improve, everyday practice.
Similarly, our assignments tackle issues that you are likely to face in the workplace. While you are completing these you will have access to our expert tutors and a community of people who are almost certainly trying to deal with the same issues. As such, successfully completing the course will provide you with a unique opportunity to address real-world challenges and improve the quality of service your organisation delivers.

The College is at the Heart of the Sector

We work in partnership with over 220 organisations from the human services and non-profit sector. Together we ensure that the Bachelor of Arts in Professional Social Care (Disability) always reflects:

  • The current regulatory and public policy environment (including HIQA, New Directions and the challenges posed by the new Assisted Decision Making legislation)
  • The issues driving the sector, and
  • Contemporary best practices for managing them

We are a Student-Centred College

The degree is designed to accommodate the pressures and responsibilities that you face. Its mixture of workshops, tutorials and online learning will allow you to balance your work, life and college commitments. Remember; our active learning community (made up of students, tutors and learning support staff) is always there to support you as you learn.

The College is a Formally Recognised, Award Winning Institution

The Honors Bachelor of Arts in Professional Social Care (Disability) is a level 8 Award on the National Framework of Qualifications. The programme is accredited by QQI.  It is also designed to facilitate continuing professional development and allow access to the soon to be launched CORU’s social care professional register.

What Will I Learn?

The course content is based on:

  • Our expertise in the disability and broader social care area
  • International best practice
  • Current legislation and policy
  • Ongoing feedback from course participants
  • Input from graduates, professional bodies, regulatory bodies and service users

This is reflected in the choice of learning objectives, course materials and the award winning approach that has been developed to deliver the course.

BASC Students

Learning Objectives

Delivered over a single year, after completing the course you will:

  • Possess a detailed understanding of how the social studies discipline conceptualises issues surrounding the provision of health and social care services, with a particular emphasis on how people with a disability are addressed
  • Be able to use professional social care skills and tools to undertake social care practices with a particular emphasis on working with people with a disability
  • Be able to select, plan and design strategies that deliver quality individualized services in a variety of human service contexts
  • Possess the advanced skills required to undertake social care activities and accept accountability for all related decision making
  • Be capable of applying diagnostic and creative skills in a range of human service contexts
  • Be able to act effectively under guidance in a peer relationship with qualified health and social care service practitioners
  • Have the knowledge and skills to lead multiple, complex and heterogeneous groups (including families and community groups and associations) in the provision of quality services
  • Possess the ability to adapt to a variety of familiar and unfamiliar health and social care service contexts
  • Know how to manage learning tasks in an independent, professional, ethical manner
  • Be able to articulate a clearly defined world view on social care issues as they relate to people in receipt of health and social care services with a focus on people with a disability
BASC Students

Course Content

The course is made up of five modules.

Applied Research Methods
  • What is Social Research?
  • Approaches to Research: Qualitative & Quantitative Strategies
  • Ethical Considerations within the Research Process: Essential Principles for Researchers within the Social Care Profession
  • Working with the Literature: Conducting a Quality Literature Review
  • The Process of Sampling: Selecting People to Take Part in your Research
  • The Qualitative Approach to Social Research: Collecting & Analysing Data
  • Quantitative Approaches to Social Research: Collecting and Analysing Quantitative Data
  • Action Research in Human Services
Comparative Social Policy
  • Understanding Comparative Social Policy
  • Social Policy: an International Comparative Perspective
  • Social Policy & Human Rights Law
  • Participation of People with Disabilities in Policy Making
Disability in the Context of Social Equality & Inclusion
  • Disability & Equality: Contexts & Dimensions
  • Ideology & Disability
  • Disability & Cultural Representation: A Critical Introduction including the representation of disability in the media
  • From Theory to Practice in the Field of Disability
Current Issues in Social Care: Mental Health, Elder Care, Children
  • Evaluate, contrast, criticise and judge the fundamental and advanced theories, concepts and principles associated with Advanced Social Care in the three areas identified.
  • Display and support the critical abilities of analysis, interpretation and evaluation as applied to these specialised areas of interest within social care.
  • Contrast, choose and apply appropriate techniques to the analysis and interpretation of information, in line with ethical and regulatory standards.
  • Appraise and evaluate the strategic impact of decisions, having evaluated the potential outcome from alternative courses of action and appraised alternative options
Supporting Individualised Living and Alternative Services
  • Evaluate, contrast, criticise and judge the fundamental and advanced theories, concepts, principles associated with individualised social care.
  • Think critically, analyse, and solve problems in the development and management of the provision of individualised social care
  • Manage, analyse and determine priorities for service provision in partnership with, and in the best interests of service-users
  • Identify the key external factors, including policy, standards and rights that underpin individualised services
  • Reflect on the key skills that social care workers need to develop to be a key agent in future individualised alternative services.

View the provisional Course Calendar for 2019-20.

How Will I Be Assessed?

The course is assessed through a combination of assignments, online activities, written examinations and assessment research project.

It is an applied course so you must be working at least 10 hours per week in a 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 the application of course learning to the everyday work and experience of the student. 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 Dr. Tracy Warner, Course Tutor

How do you think taking the course changes people?

As students work through the modules, you can see their confidence grow in their own abilities and work practices. For example, you see them become more powerful advocates for people with disabilities as their knowledge of legislation and human rights developments becomes more detailed and nuanced. The course’s focus on inclusion, equality and individualised practices definitely also put them in a position to drive person-centred services, so taking part in the course should help contribute to the improvement the quality of life of people with disabilities.

On personal level, it also provides them with the skills and confidence to improve their work practices and progress in their career. During the course they develop a range of skills like managing stress, time management and research skills that are directly transferable to the workplace and increase their value to the organisation.

Meet Naoya Hyodo, Graduate

Why did you choose to study with the College and what impact has your decision had?

I wanted to improve myself both professionally and personally and because this course focuses solely on disability, I thought it was my best option. I was truly impressed by the support from the College. I never expected such flexible and person centred support from a conventional academic degree course.

I cannot fully know or evaluate impacts I made or make on my colleagues but what I can clearly say is that I have developed myself as a person and as a practitioner who values and respects people with person centredness and I now have holistic views on individual and organisational matters. I believe who and how I am will be reflected in what I do.

I think that people working in human services should take this course. It’s not because of the paper/degree we would get at the end of the course but because of the process of learning.

Our society needs more people who can share values, assume the attitude and act in a way the OTC tries to deliver to us. The OTC supports practice by building a theoretical foundation for practitioners. Theory enlightens/illuminates practice, and vice versa.

How Will the Course Enhance My Career Prospects?

Holding the Level 8 qualification can significantly enhance your promotion prospects. Past graduates have been promoted to a variety of roles including social care leaders, person in charge, service managers and area directors. A number of them have used the qualification as a basis to create new innovative services.

Other graduates have specialised in areas of interest including supporting people within the autistic spectrum, positive behaviour supports, supported employment and quality inspections of disability services.Successful completion of this course is also essential for

Successful completion of this course is also essential for post-graduate study. Past graduates have gone on to a variety of postgraduate courses in areas including training and education, social work, advanced social care, mental health, community studies and addiction studies.

Opening Up Other Career & Educational Opportunities

Once you have successfully completed the course you will be eligible to apply for relevant postgraduate courses, e.g. Masters Degree in Disability Studies (Trinity College Dublin) or Masters in Advanced Social Care Practice (Athlone Institute of Technology) both at Level 9 (NFQ).

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 must be 23 years at time of application and hold a social care NFQ Level 7  qualification. All other applicants must hold a cognate* qualification. All applicants must be employed or volunteering in a service for people with disabilities for at least 10 hours a week. International Applicants must provide appropriate documentary evidence of proficiency in English (e.g. IELTS 6.0).
People who want to take advantage of our advanced entry system, which allows you use previously gained academic qualifications to gain specific exemptions, must have completed a Level 6/7 cognate* qualification to 60 credits (NFQ) or more in Social Care or Social Studies within the last 10 years. Visit the advanced entry page to find out more process.
* A cognate qualification is one that is similar in nature, content and quality to the course being applied for.

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.

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

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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