Awarded By: University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
Duration: 2 years
Levels: Level 4, Level 5
Last Updated: 23-05-24

Developed in collaboration with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), the Foundation Degree in Health & Social Care (Mental Health) offers a pathway for individuals passionate about making a difference in the field of mental health and well-being.

On this course you will learn the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours to work in a mental health setting, build a solid foundation in understanding mental health theories and principles and explore topics such as psychology, psychiatry, mental health disorders, therapeutic interventions and recovery-orientated approaches.

You will gain both academic and personal achievement whilst studying with us, as well as valuable experience via a work-based placement. 

As part of your studies, you are required to undertake at least 200 placement hours spanning the duration of your course (2 years).

This qualification is also recognised as an Institute of Technology (IoT) course, aiming to improve digital literacy of the workforce in the health and social care industry. For more information about the Lancashire and Cumbria IoT click here



To achieve this qualification, you will need to study the Level 4 and Level 5 modules listed below:

Year 1

Semester 1

Semester 2

Foundations for Professional Practice                     40 Credits / Level 4

To provide you with the necessary skills to work within a mental health setting. You will examine and apply skills, and knowledge to develop and improve practice with service users and identify areas for improvement.

Study and Lifelong Learning Skills

20 credits / Level 4

To equip you with the study skills required to succeed at this level of academic study. You will learn how to reflect and learn from your work-based learning to facilitate application of theory to practice and improve self-awareness.

Mental Health across the Lifespan

20 credits / Level 4

Focussing on the key components of mental health, you will develop your knowledge of developmental, psychological and social issues affecting an individual’s mental health.

Communication and Collaboration

20 credits / Level 4

To gain a deeper understanding of communication skills, methods and their importance in delivering effective health care.



Introduction to Anatomy, Physiology and Psychology of Health

20 credits / Level 4

To develop knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the body and how this can be affected by illness, disease and injury. You will also identify health and disease processes on diagnostics tests as relevant to your chosen area of practice.

Year 2

Semester 1

Semester 2

Evidence Based Practice

20 credits / Level 5

To develop the skills to locate and appraise research, and to continue in building knowledge of your chosen area of practice.

Management and Leadership

20 credits / Level 5

To develop leadership and management skills, which underpins theoretical knowledge to support best practice within health and social care.

Supporting Professional Practice

40 credits / Level 5

To continue building on and improving skills and knowledge gained in your first year of study, combining theory and practical experience. You will research and use skills and evidence to demonstrate best practice and evaluate outcomes in the workplace.

Interventions in Mental Health Practice

40 credits / Level 5

To develop practical knowledge, values and skills essential in meeting the needs of service users who suffer serious mental health problems.

EXIT AWARD: Foundation Degree in Health & Social Care (Mental Health)

240 credits

This course will be delivered in the Preston College University Centre.

Please note all modules are compulsory.

You are also required to undertake a mandatory placement, including a minimum of 200 hours (over 2 years) within a mental health setting to gain hands on experience of the sector.  


A variety of teaching methods will be employed throughout your time on this course, with significant learning taking place through a range of lectures, seminars, workshops and your work placement.

You will also learn from self-directed study, group discussion activities, tutor led sessions, as well enrichment activities designed to help you meet people from others areas of the college, and develop new skills and interests.

In addition, as a student at Preston College, you will have access to our virtual learning environment, Canvas, providing access to learning resources and additional materials, which can be accessed 24/7, as well as the new Institute of Technology Digital Innovation Lab to further support your studies.


Assessment methods vary from module to module but typically include written assessments, exams, verbal discussions and work placement observations.


Mode of study: 2 years, full-time

Tuition fees: Year 1 (2024/25): £6,000 Year 2 (2025/26): £6,000


On achieving this qualification, you will be able to access diverse career opportunities within the sector, ranging from clinical roles like counselling or therapy, to research positions, community outreach, advocacy, and even administrative roles within healthcare providers.

Specific roles you may want to pursue include Mental Health Support Worker, Substance Abuse Counsellor, Care Coordinator, Recovery Support Worker and more. You can also explore potential careers via Career Coach, a tool which provides current local data on wages and employment prospects.

On successful completion of your Foundation Degree in Health & Social Care (Mental Health), you can progress on to the Top-Up Degree, BSC in Health & Social Care (Mental Health) at UCLan, accrediting 60 credits to offset the first year of study.  



We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities.

Location: Preston College, Fulwood Campus (except placement)

Minimum numbers required for this course to run: 10 people

This is a full-time course, running every Monday and Tuesday from 9.15am to 4.30pm

Additional costs: The provision of your own laptop/computer and stationery is essential for this course.

Additional requirements: A specific requirement of the course is to attend a 200-hour (over 2 years) work-based placement within the field of mental health to gain hands on experience of the sector. You are advised to actively source your own placement; however, you will be given information, advice and guidance from a Preston College placement coordinator to support you in sourcing a relevant placement provider if required. 

Within the Communication and Collaboration module, you will be expected to attend one separate compulsory teaching and learning session on a Saturday during the first semester of year one.

Enhanced DBS requirement: An enhanced Disclosure and Barring (DBS) will be required for this course due to the nature of the placement setting you will be working within. The cost of the enhanced DBS is £38. The fee for the update service is £13 per year. The cost of the DBS will be your responsibility. You will need to inform the course leader of any information that might prevent you from securing a work placement. More details will be shared at interview.

Course subject to change: Any changes as a result of the approval to this course will be immediately included and highlighted in the course documentation and all students holding current offers will be provided with a comprehensive list of those changes.  

As a learner undertaking this course, you may be subject to the UCLan procedure for the consideration of Fitness to Practice.


Preston College operates a flexible admissions policy, welcoming applicants with a wide range of qualifications and/or experience, with each application assessed on its own merit.

Admission decisions will be based on the following standard criteria

UCAS Tariff Points:

72-80 points


Merit, Pass, Pass

Access to Higher Education Diploma:

72-80 points


Maths and English at Grade 4 (previously grade C), or Functional Skills Level 2 or Key Stage 3

Other qualifications:

For students whose first language is not English an IELTS score of 6 for both reading and writing is required 

Other requirements:

A work placement for a minimum of 200 hours required over the 2-year duration of the course


An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is also required for this course

Accreditation of prior learning is considered on an individual basis for those candidates that have undertaken relevant study in a health and social care related field. Accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) is considered on an individual basis for those candidates that have relevant work experience in a health and social care related field. 

International Students: 

You may need to apply for a Tier 4 visa in order to enter and study in the UK. However, please note that Preston College does not hold a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence to support student visa applications.


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