Action on Poverty and Hardship *

Study options


BA (Hons)

Key facts

UCAS code:
Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
3 Years
Start date:
27 September 2021

Sector focused

Designed and developed in partnership with local voluntary and community leaders

Driven by action

Make a real and lasting positive impact through work placement opportunites

Real world experience

Work closely with local, regional and national organisations

* This course is subject to validation

Have you ever wondered about the effects of poverty, hardship and social inequality on your community? Make a difference in your future career by helping to give a voice to the marginalised and ignored members of society with our groundbreaking degree, focused around taking action to bring about positive change.

23 July 2021: Join Baroness Ruth Lister and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Trussell Trust, APLE Collective, Re-Thinking Poverty and VOICES for the launch of Staffordshire University's Action on Poverty and Hardship Degree.

Attend the Action on Poverty launch event

For over a decade, services available for people experiencing hardship have been increasingly stretched while funding has been drastically reduced. Our brand new course, developed in consultation with local and national voluntary and charity organisations, will give you the expertise and practical, sector-specific skillset you need to spearhead the ongoing battle against social injustice.

This course is uniquely centred around the importance of the ‘lived experience’ of those experiencing poverty, hardship and social inequalities, in recognition of the expertise, knowledge and vital insight they hold. It places importance on listening to people facing difficulties, offering an opportunity for them to share their direct experiences with decision makers and become involved in policy setting processes. The aim of the course is to empower students to take action and create change, driving anti-poverty agendas and affecting the decisions that impact on them, their community and wider society.

As a higher education institution and a cornerstone of the local community, Staffordshire University has a social responsibility to contribute positively to the local area, becoming a force for change that improves the prosperity of our regional economy and enhances the quality of life of our students and residents. As part of that commitment, this is a high quality, timely and relevant activism-based degree that holds the expertise of those with lived experience of poverty central to its values and critical to achieving lasting and real impact.

At every level of this course, you will understand the key causes and drivers of poverty and hardship and learn how you can take action to bring about real, lasting and meaningful change. On completion of the course, you will have had an integrated theoretical, action-based and reflective learning experience which will see you join the working world as a change maker of the future, able to empower and amplify the voices of those experiencing hardship and poverty.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: BA (Hons) Action on Poverty and Hardship

Work placements

Work placements are a core element of this course and will reflect your expertise, interests and career aspirations. Placements are primarily located within Stoke-on-Trent across a range of settings including local voluntary organisations and community interest companies (CIC). These could be undertaken at organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), Expert Citizens or Voluntary Action Stoke-on-Trent (VAST) for example, or a current place of work may be accepted, providing it meets appropriate criteria.

Course content

In your first year of our BA (Hons) Action on Poverty and Hardship degree, you will study modules that frame your learning around activism and an understanding of poverty. You will examine definitions of poverty, consider stereotypes and assumptions that are made about poverty and hardship and learn about the course values around trauma-informed communication techniques and anti-oppressive practice. The first year will end with action, where you will co-create and deliver a piece of community activism as a course team.

The second year of the course is framed in the knowledge and expertise held by those with lived experience of poverty and around activism within the local community. You will undertake a work placement with voluntary and community sector groups to gain real world experience of the ways in which action can be taken to secure real change. You will also be introduced to key approaches and methodologies of research, activism and community organising.

The third year of the course draws together theory and practice and frames your practical experience in theories of good governance, voluntary management and strong trauma-informed leadership. You will examine elements of comparative politics and human rights from a global perspective, before completing your study with a contribution to a work-based project or an extended piece of research.

Entry requirements

112 UCAS points

Students are welcomed from all backgrounds. However, those from backgrounds of lived experience of poverty and hardship will be especially welcome. We have a range of support measures (financial and academic) in place to enable you to succeed in your higher education journey and become a change maker of tomorrow.

We understand that you might have experienced a challenging run up to higher education and may have not met the entry requirements as listed. If this is the case don’t worry, contact us and our team of expert advisors can guide you through the next stages of application, or help you find the perfect course for your needs.

For equivalent entry requirements in your home country, please see the information on our country pages.

Choose your country

Check our entry and English language requirements for your country.



Community House (Stoke)

A fully furnished house used for simulated, scenario-based training. It includes audio and video facilities to record simulated exercises and allow detailed tutor and peer feedback.


We have Libraries and Service desks at both sites in Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford. All have experienced and friendly staff who can answer your IT queries, help you to access resources, show you how to research for your assignments and even help with referencing.

Some libraries are open 24/7 at key times in the academic year and we have a 24 hour help line too.


Upon graduation, you will have the skills and training needed to take on graduate, leadership and management roles within the voluntary and community sector. You will also be able to go on to set up your own social enterprises and activism projects.

Examples of job opportunities for graduates of this degree could include:

  • Voluntary Sector Manager
  • Mental Health and Lived Experience Project Leaders
  • Community Worker
  • Social Worker
  • Youth Worker
  • Think-Tank Policy Maker
  • Academic
  • Mentor
  • Research Associate
  • Director of Anti-Poverty Social Enterprise
  • Politician - Local Councillor / Member of Parliament

Interested in further study? This degree will allow you to continue your studies in a variety of routes at postgraduate level. 

Teaching and assessment


A broad range of teaching activities and innovative methods are used on this degree to develop future sector leaders and practitioners. Practical simulation is used alongside a range of group and peer-to-peer learning activities. Using a blended learning model, teaching will be delivered both online and face-to-face. Study time includes seminars, small group tutorials and individual tutorials where required. Guided reading and online research tasks will also form part of the study time activities.


A broad range of assessment methods are used, including reports, policy analysis, presentations, workplace reflections and simulated skills exercises. Independent learning is in the form of independent reading, learning activities, case studies, groupwork and placement reflections.

Learning support

In addition to the excellent support you will receive from your course teaching team, our central Academic Skills team provides group and one-to-one help to support your learning in a number of areas. These include study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills); written English (including punctuation and grammatical accuracy); academic writing (including how to reference); research skills; critical thinking and understanding arguments; and revision, assessment and examination skills (including time management).

Additional support

Our AccessAbility Services support students with additional needs such as sensory impairment, or learning difficulties such as dyslexia.


You will be taught by an expert teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teaching training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Your tutors are experienced practitioners who will bring real-life experiences to your learning using the most up-to-date skills and technologies.

Dr Katy Goldstraw

Senior Lecturer

Dr Goldstraw is passionate about supporting students using creative and participatory approaches to learning. She has a particular research interest in using participatory arts-based research methods to include the voices of unheard communities.

Katy's profile

Julie Tipping

Senior Lecturer

Julie has an extensive experience in advice work practice having worked for over 10 years in welfare rights and welfare benefit appeals. Julie is Course Leader for BA (Hons) Action on Poverty and Hardship.

Julie's profile

Matthew Rutter

Course Director

Matt was a Youth Justice Practitioner and is researching current Youth Justice Board strategic priority; trauma informed practice with children and young people who offend. Matt also holds national and international positions with awarding bodie…

Matthew's profile


For the course starting on 27 September 2021 the tuition fees are:

Tuition fees for BA (Hons)-Full-time
Study option UK / Channel Islands International
Full-time £9,250 per year of study £14,000 per year of study

UK and Channel Island students: This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation. If the UK government passes appropriate legislation, the fee for subsequent years of study may increase in each academic year. But this increase will not exceed the rate of inflation as measured by RPIX**. Any change in fees will apply to both new and continuing students. The University will notify students of any change as early as possible. Further information about fee changes would be posted on the University’s website once this becomes available.

**RPIX is a measure of inflation equivalent to all the items in the Retail Price Index (RPI) excluding mortgage interest payments.

International students: Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course, as long as you complete it in the normal time-frame (i.e. no repeat years or breaks in study).

Accommodation and living costs
Accommodation and living costs

Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

For more information on accommodation and living costs, please see: Accommodation

Sources of financial support

If you receive funding from Student Finance you may be eligible to apply for additional benefits. Details can be obtained by visiting:

Scholarships and additional funding

As an undergraduate student at Staffordshire, you may be eligible for additional financial support through one of our scholarships and bursaries. You can visit our funding page to find out more and check your eligibility.


Location Award Study option Start date Apply Link
Stoke-on-Trent campus BA (Hons) Full-time 27 September 2021 Apply now

Information from discover uni

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations.

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