BA (Hons) Public Service (Top-Up)

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Develop your knowledge of public services such as policing, the Armed Forces and youth justice in the UK – and gain a full BA (Hons) degree in just one year.

If you already have a foundation degree or HND in Public Service, our Top-Up course is for you.

Created with public service employers, our one-year degree gives you the chance to advance your understanding in specialist areas such as youth justice and psychology, and find out what drives policy in the UK’s public services today.

It’s a hands-on course with plenty of opportunities to learn through study trips, simulated training sessions, and visits from public service professionals.

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Fees and paying for university

Facilities and showcase

Practical experience

As a Public Service Top-Up student at ARU you’ll benefit from:

  • taking part in simulated public health scenarios
  • joining a study trip to Berlin, which includes a tour of a Secret Police prison
  • exploring an area of public service that’s of interest to you and gaining valuable research skills, through your Major Project
  • studying an up-to-date, relevant course that’s been designed in collaboration with public sector organisations.

Outstanding student support

Join our student community and:

  • benefit from award-winning learning facilities, including extensive library and IT resources
  • learn from staff who have first-hand experience of working in public service
  • attend events and seminars organised by our Policing Institute for the Eastern Region
  • access support, should you need it, with study skills, careers advice, health and wellbeing, and more.

Take a closer look

Our Creative Showcase shines a spotlight on what makes ARU creative and cultural – our spaces, places and people. Find out more about our community, the difference we make, the stories we tell, and the things that inspire us.

Meanwhile, Present is an exhibition that you curate for yourself. Explore the work of our graduating students in this eye-catching virtual degree show.


The public services sector employs around five million people in the UK (Office for National Statistics, 2019), in a huge range of roles. You might find yourself working on the front line, or taking up a valuable role in analysis, research or management.

Our Public Service students have gone on to work with uniformed services such as the police, the fire service, the Prison Service and all branches of the military, as well as in HM Revenue & Customs, and primary, further or higher education.

Whichever path you follow, you can be sure you’ll graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities that employers need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it, and they come on to campus to support your learning.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us, of course. You might decide to stay at ARU and study for a Masters in fields such as policing, social care or education. Take advantage of our Alumni Scholarship and get 20% off your fees.

Tom Martlew

“One day I could be doing some research, the next I could be in the back of a police car following officers. The skills and experience I picked up doing my degree have certainly helped.”

Tom Martlew

BA (Hons) Public Service graduate and Continuous Improvement Officer at Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Watch Tom's story

Apply now for BA (Hons) Public Service (Top-Up)

Want to talk to someone?

Do you have a question that we haven't answered so far? Talk to our application experts. We're here Monday-Thursday 8.30am-5pm, and Friday 8.30am-4.30pm. You can also ask our Student Ambassadors about life at ARU.

Life in Cambridge

Our friendly, bustling campus is a stone’s throw from the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

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Boost your career

Top-Up courses are a great way to gain a full degree, while learning more about a subject or developing your professional knowledge.