Action on Poverty and Hardship

Study options


BA (Hons)

Key facts

UCAS code:
Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
3 Years
Start date:
26 September 2022

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 opportunities

Real world experience

Work closely with local, regional and national organisations

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.

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.

*Bursaries may be available for this course for those who meet the criteria. Please see our Bursaries page for more information.*

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.

Action on Poverty and Hardship

Action on Poverty and Hardship


Julie Tipping and Martin Coates talk about the inspiration for our Action on Poverty and Hardship Degree.


The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module.

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.

Academics warn of “pending poverty catastrophe” in Stoke-on-Trent


Academics from Staffordshire University are warning of a “pending poverty catastrophe” in Stoke-on-Trent unless urgent action is taken.

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.


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. 

All students have access to Career Connect, our dedicated careers team.

Action on Poverty and Hardship - Student Experience

Action on Poverty and Hardship - Student Experience


Action on Poverty and Hardship students will work with organisations tackling poverty as well as immersive suites and active simulations.

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

Action on Poverty and Hardship

Action on Poverty and Hardship


Dr Jo Turner gives an introduction to the Action on Poverty and Hardship course

Year 1

23% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
77% of time in independent study
0% of time in placements

Year 2

16% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
74% of time in independent study
10% of time in placements

Year 3

23% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
77% of time in independent study
0% of time in placements

Year 1

30% practical exams
70% coursework
0% written exams

Year 2

28% practical exams
72% coursework
0% written exams

Year 3

30% practical exams
70% coursework
0% written exams


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.

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

Martin Coates


Martin teaches on the Action on Poverty and Hardship, and the Social Welfare, Law, Police and Advice Practice degrees. He specialises in housing law, social policy and social theory.

Martin's profile

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

Sarah Page

Senior Lecturer

Sarah Page is a Senior Lecturer for the undergraduate and postgraduate Criminology degrees, as well as the Action on Poverty and Hardship undergraduate degree.

Sarah's profile


For the course starting on 26 September 2022 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 £14,500 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).

Katy Goldstraw explains how activism through lived experience inspired our latest degree


Staffordshire University is a Civic University and this new degree is an exciting new way to join us, learn and study with us tackling poverty head on from the start!
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.

Our students

It’s never too late to learn new skills and it is an extremely rewarding undertaking.

It’s never too late to learn new skills and it is an extremely rewarding undertaking. The Action on Poverty & Hardship course will give you a real-world view of the times we are living in. You will begin to understand the disadvantages that some people experience day in and day out that affect every aspect of their lives. Learning and understanding how to help alleviate those issues is a fantastic opportunity to create a better society for all where no one is left out in the cold.

Martin Staley

Social Welfare Law, Policy and Advice Practice

I would recommend Staffordshire university as everyone is friendly the staff are supportive.

This is a new course that is all about making a change. I want to be able to make a difference to people’s lives and this course gives us the knowledge to do so. I would recommend Staffordshire university as everyone is friendly the staff are supportive and offer great work experience opportunities to help gain knowledge of poverty and hardship.

Laura Sutton

Action on Poverty and Hardship

It’s a great university to learn at, everyone is so helpful and friendly

It’s a great university to learn at, everyone is so helpful and friendly and if this course is something that interests you and you feel passionate about then do it. Help make a difference by gaining knowledge and experience from this course.

Sherry Matthews

Action on Poverty and Hardship

We have a profound sense of togetherness and work as a team

Since starting the Action on Poverty course I am having a better awareness on the issues and impact on people living in Poverty. We have a profound sense of togetherness and work as a team in developing ideas and discussion around campaigning about how to tackle awareness. The tutors on our course have a vast knowledge and share this with us to help us in understating Poverty and develop our own feelings on the impact on society.

Catherine Bowman

Action on Poverty and Hardship

Great University with lots and lots of support from our tutors

This is a great course with so much information we were not even aware of, go for it, do not wait for tomorrow. Great University with lots and lots of support from our tutors.

Ishbel Tarupiwa

Action on Poverty and Hardship


Location Award Study option Start date Apply Link
Stoke-on-Trent campus BA (Hons) Full-time 26 September 2022 Apply now

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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