Degree Programme in Social Services, 210 ECTS credits

> Course structure and key learning outcomes


The degree programme has no specialisations.

Qualification awarded

Bachelor of Social Services

Eligibility: A person who has taken the degree is qualified for social work posts or positions in the public and private sector and in voluntary organizations for which the qualification requirement is a first cycle higher education degree. The Act on the Qualification Requirements for Social Welfare Professionals (272/2005) regulates eligibility for municipal post or positions.

Level of qualification

The degree programme leads to a higher education degree which is a first cycle Bachelor-level degree in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). According to the eight-level classification of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and National Qualifications Framework (NQF), the degree represents level 6.

Specific admission requirements

Please see the Applicant's Guide or the website

Applicant's Guide's instructions are written in Finnish for degree programmes taught in Finnish and in English for degree programmes taught in English. On the website, application and instructions are in Finnish language for the degree programmes taught in Finnish.

Specific arrangements for recognition of prior learning (RPL)

Recognition of prior learning (RPL, AHOT in Finnish) refers to the assessment of student’s earlier learning and to its recognition as part of the current studies. The RPL criteria are based on the learning outcomes of the degree programme. Students can apply recognition of prior learning before September 30 in the autumn semester and before January 31 or April 30 in the spring semester. The RPL process proceeds as follows:

- The Student Counsellor informs students about the RPL principles and process.
- The student makes an appointment to discuss RPL with the Student Counsellor. Together they will see if an application can be made.
- The student fills out the application form, adds the documentary evidence and sends the documents to the RPL (AHOT) team of the degree programme via the Student Counsellor. The student must describe in detail his or her competence with respect to the learning outcomes defined for the course.
- The PRL team will handle the application and either relay it to the teacher of the study course or inform the student of their decision.
- If there is a possibility of RPL, the teacher of the course will define and assess the student’s demonstration of skills and knowledge and enter the results onto the study registration system. If the course is taught by a visiting lecturer, the PRL team will be responsible for the assessment and decision making.
- RPL decisions are subject to current guidelines on outdated studies and appeal practices, given in the Degree Regulations of Seinäjoki UAS.

It is not possible to apply for recognition of prior learning in the following study courses: Study and Working life skills; Society, Profession and Ethics and Bachelor's Thesis. Any prior learning should be compatible with the social field and students have to prove that they have command over professional knowledge. For a detailed description of these requirements, please see course descriptions. Students can demonstrate their learning in the following ways: written or oral exam, portfolio or other proof, learning journal, assignment, essay, discussion, demonstration of teaching skills/practical work/counselling situation/peer counselling, special assignment, diagnostic exam, interview, description of competence acquired though work experience, certificates and other documents, or they can demonstrate their learning in some other way agreed with the teacher.

Qualification requirements and regulations

Please see the Degree Regulations of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences.

Pedagogical approach

The Degree Programme is based on the constructivist theory of learning whereby learners themselves take an active role, constructing knowledge structures, assessing their learning needs and making an effort to reach their goals. The teacher is primarily a facilitator, who helps students to become aware of development options. An important aim in the studies is to develop reflectivity, that is the ability and will to look at one’s motivating factors and at the effects of one’s actions from multiple perspectives. Alternative modes of study are offered to enable students to choose methods and schedules that suit them best.

The studies are built on subject-specific competence requirements defined for Bachelors of Social Services. Each learning module stands for a specific professional competence area. Within the competences, students can choose between elective courses, which represent various aspects of professional competence.

Diverse learning methods are used, including lectures, study circles, group assignments and demonstrations. To complement the face-to-face teaching, students generally have independent and applied assignments, exams based on literature or practical exercises or training. Students develop their perspectives and competence with help of the student group. The group functions as a learning environment, where students can practise interaction skills, giving and accepting feedback and ethical study of things from various perspectives. Course contents that would most likely be more beneficial to students in an online environment and which diversify students' learning opportunities are taught on the Internet. The Moodle platform is used for delivering information. Attention is also given to the integration of theory and practice. The degree programme includes three supervised practical training periods with the same objectives as the preceding theoretical studies. The study modules and courses nearly always involve applied tasks, some of which are carried out in practical work.

Learning and development based on progressive enquiry is essential for higher education studies. Students approach study contents from many perspectives, using evidence-based and experiential knowledge. Right from the beginning of the studies, they are encouraged to develop their professional field. At the later stage of their studies, students write a Bachelor's Thesis based on current research and development needs.

The studies also involve an entrepreneurial perspective, with constant development of entrepreneurial competence. It is recommended that all Degree Programme students complete at least one practical training period in an enterprise or non-profit organization. This will help them become familiar with entrepreneurial provision of social services. Entrepreneurship is also included in the Business and Entrepreneurship module, which is part of the Basic studies common to all students of SeUAS. Entrepreneurial competence has been integrated to all courses throughout the programme.

Profile of the programme

Expertise in the social aspects of individual people's everyday life in the community and society lies at the heart of the Degree Programme. It means that students learn to understand an individual's life, along with the individual's resources and needs and to perceive her or his life situation in a broader context of social and cultural events. The degree programme provides students with competence to promote the welfare, social function and social engagement of people by means of psychosocial, functional and empowering methods and by appropriate management practices.

Taking the degree guarantees broad and high-quality professional social work competence and it enables recruitment to various sectors. The degree programme does not include specialisation options, but students have a possibility to choose studies that repreresent different methods and work life settings. The study module “Empowering social work” can be studied in English language.

Occupational profiles

Bachelors of Social Services work in client service, management, projects and as entrepreneurs. The more common job titles in different areas of the profession include:

- Positions pertaining to education in social work: Family counsellor, day-care teacher, educator, or youth counsellor. Bachelors of Social Services work in day care, child protection agencies, family counselling, and schools, in preventive work and in certain special education positions.
- Positions pertaining to counselling, rehabilitation and to social work with adult clients: Social services counsellor, employment counsellor, case manager, project worker, employment consultant, or insurance secretary. Bachelors of Social Services work in institutions for the disabled, substance abusers and law offenders. They work with the elderly, unemployed, youth, and immigrants or in the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, in employment agencies or social services agencies.
- Positions pertaining to management and development: Outpatient counsellor, activities director, manager in children’s home, or office manager. Bachelors of Social Services work in positions of management and development in various social service sectors and organisations or as entrepreneurs, in projects, in the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA), and in the labour administration.

Qualifications for kindergarten teachers: The Act on Qualification Requirements for Social Welfare Professionals (272/2005) and government decree (608/2005) state that a person working as a kindergarten teacher who possesses a degree in social welfare and health care is required to complete at least 60 credits of coursework in early childhood education and social pedagogy. The degree programme in Social Services contains a number of basic and professional studies, which can be included in early childhood education and social pedagogy studies (See separate instruction). In addition, students can complete an early education module or parts of it as free-choice studies. Students interested in work in early childhoood education must undertake one pedagogical training period during their studies.


Students have the possibility to undertake exchange studies in partner institutions of Seinäjoki UAS or in other suitable institutions suggested by students themselves. The recommended length of an exchange period is three months during the second or third year of study. Groups of students can also take part in international intensive courses offered by collaborative networks. The study module “Empowering social work” can be studied in English language. The School also endeavours to promote internationalization at home by introducing literature in foreign languages, by utilising the expertise of mobility students and visiting lectures and by incorporating multi-cultural contents into teaching. All independent internationalization efforts of students are encouraged.

Access to further studies

Students who have completed this programme are eligible to continue on to a master's degree programme in the social and health field in a university of applied sciences or other institution of higher education.

Structure of the studies

Basic Studies consist of studies common to all SeUAS students, studies common to students of health care and social work and of degree-specific basic studies. During basic studies, students acquire general study skills and gain an overview of the scope of social services and work. The following themes have been integrated into all degree programmes at SeUAS: internationalism, entrepreneurship, knowledge acquisition, sustainable develoment and career counselling.

With progress of studies, students acquire deeper knowledge of the topics introduced during basic studies. During professional studies, the contents studied involve psychosocial, functional and empowering methods in client work as well as management of social services, all combined with supervised practical training. With progress of studies, students also deepen their research and development competence.
There are no lines of specialisation in this degree programme; Bachelors of Social Services are rather expected to be prepared to work with a variety of clients and to look at phenomena holistically.

Students who want to qualify as kindergarten teachers must complete the so-called early childhood education pathway. This option involves self-motivated studies within the degree programme, not specialisation.

There is some variation in the order of studies depending on whether the programme starts in September or January. Adult education groups also follow their own schedule.

Examination regulations, assessment and grading

Please see the Degree Regulations of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences.

Graduation requirements

Please see the Degree Regulations of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences and instructions for graduates at Intra.

Mode of study

Day studies. In adult education, multi-form studies

Contact persons

Head of degree programme

Ms Päivi Rinne, tel. +358 20 124 5122, GSM +358 40 830 4190, e-mail: paivi.rinne(at)

ECTS departmental coordinator / International coordinator

Ms Tiina Ojanperä, tel. + 358 40 680 7100, e-mail: tiina.harju(at)

Student counsellor

Ms Katriina Honkala, tel. +358 20 124 5108, GSM +358 40 830 4186, e-mail: katriina.honkala(at)