Degree Programme in Elderly Care, 210 ECTS credits

> Course structure and key learning outcomes


The degree programme has no specialisation options.

Qualification awarded

Bachelor of Social Services and Health Care

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)

RPL, the recognition of prior learning, or AHOT in Finnish, is based on the competence requirements of the degree programme. The student can apply for the recognition of prior learning during the autumn semester until the date September 30 and during the spring semester until the date January 31 or April 30. The student counsellor or the tutoring teacher will describe the process of the recognition of prior learning at the beginning of the studies.

The student first approaches the student counsellor/tutoring teacher to discuss starting the RPL process. If the student decides to apply for recognition of prior learning, she or he has to fill in an application form, including documentary evidence, to be returned to the student counsellor and addressed to the RPL team (AHOT team in Finnish) of the degree programme. The student will use the appendix of the application form and any suitable documents to demonstrate and explain prior learning as it relates to the learning outcomes of the respective course. If necessary, the RPL team will request a demonstration of skills and knowledge. The team will decide on the recognition on the basis of the documents and demonstration provided. The demonstration is arranged and assessed by an expert lecturer, who will enter the results onto the student's study register. If the course is taught by a visiting lecturer, the RPL team will be responsible for the assessment and decision-making.

The student’s RPL process at Seinäjoki UAS can be found at Intra. The RPL decisions are subject to current guidelines on outdated studies and appeal practices, given in the Degree Regulations of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences.

The RPL team for the Degree Programme in Elderly Care:
- Ms Päivi Rinne
- Ms Elina Hietaniemi
- Ms Marjo Ahonniska

Assessment Methods:
The assessment methods for each course are derived from the pedagogical practices of the Degree Programme in Elderly Care, from the expected learning outcomes, contents and work required for the course, and also from the arguments and documents presented by the student

Qualification requirements and regulations

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

Pedagogical approach

The pedagogical principles in the Degree Programme in Health Care and Social Services / Elderly Care are based on the constructivist theory and holistic perspective of learning. The constructivist theory of learning emphasises the subjectivity of the learner. The holistic perspective stresses the many dimensions of the learner's holistic persona (intellectual, emotional, physical, artistic, spiritual and creative dimensions). Both perspectives emphasise the learners' own commitment and responsibility, the significance of values, self-evaluation and self-management. The holistic concept of learning, in particular, stresses the meaningfulness of the knowledge to be learned and the support provided to the learners to enable them to achieve the learning outcomes possible for them. Furthermore, it emphasises social and global responsibility.

The content-related principles in the Degree Programme in Health Care and Social Services / Elderly Care relate to knowledge of elderly-oriented care and holistic care, multi-professional and multi-disciplinary knowledge, evidence-based and expert-level knowledge, relevance to the working world, internationalisation, and entrepreneurship.

Elderly-oriented care refers to contents that elicit the unique experiential dimension of aging and the individual service needs an elderly person has, the latest developments and results of gerontological research, methods of supporting the health, well-being, ability to function and social participation of elderly people, ethical issues in elderly care, as well as needs and methods for the supervision and development of quality management and service provision systems.

Holistic care refers to contents that teach students to see elderly people holistically, as individuals that enact their existence in many ways.

Multi-professional and multi-disciplinary knowledge is the structural foundation upon which the Degree Programme in Health Care and Social Services / Elderly Care and gerontological expertise lies. The three large circles in the Competence Diagram illustrate the basis for multi-professional work.

Evidence-based knowledge refers to the knowledge of the essential and current research in elderly care, to the analysis, evaluation and utilisation of research knowledge, and to the production of knowledge to support the development of elderly care. This creates a foundation for students' continuous study of elderly care research as their studies progress and for their developing elderly care on the basis of research later in work life.

Expert-level practice refers to contents that help students learn to analyse elderly care from a broad, multi-perspective and multi-disciplinary frame of reference. Students are encouraged to seek, use and produce multi-professional, innovative knowledge to give them the knowledge and skills they need to develop quality services for the elderly and to engage in continuous self-development. The expert-level practice also comprises the professional ethics point of view, i.e. the expert's accountability to elderly clients and society.

Relevance to the working world refers to contents that unite and reshape a new type of expertise in the sector of social welfare and health care that deals with elderly care. The programme's practical training is integrated into the theoretical studies to enable students to acquire the competences required in the working world. The learning/teaching contents reflect the objective to meet future needs of the profession. Thesis work and development projects also endeavour to develop elderly care by creating new types of structures and practices. Courses in the last year of study particularly relate to administration, management and development of quality in elderly care.

Acquiring an entrepreneurial frame of mind calls for a positive attitude toward self-directed growth and development in knowledge, skills and attitudes. Internal entrepreneurship is evident in students in their ability to take initiative and to actively think and work and approach things during their theoretical studies and practical training. Students learn about internal entrepreneurship through collaborative work in various environments and practical training organisations. As their studies progress, students also acquire skills in external entrepreneurship as an option of employment during their practical training periods in the private and third sector.

The didactic principles in the Degree Programme in Health Care and Social Services / Elderly Care include: the subjectivity of the student, growth into self-directed individuals capable of self-evaluation, integration of theory and practice, learning and development based on progressive enquiry, collaborative learning and learning in groups, learning contracts, and professional growth.

According to the constructivist theory of learning, learning is a process of reconstruction, a learner's independent processing of new knowledge, where the learner associates new knowledge with old structures of knowledge utilising those structures, but also readjusting them as a result of the new knowledge. The learning process is unique to each student. The constructivist theory of learning states that learners are the subjects of their own learning.

Learners as subjects means that learners are the central actors in their own learning. Learning success essentially depends on how well the learner acknowledges this notion. Studies in the degree programme involve an extensive amount of independent information acquisition, evaluation and organisation of information, and seminar-based studying (problem-based learning). Learning takes place through personal enquiry and action. Students' understanding of themselves as capable individuals is strengthened through their own activities. The students' increasing awareness of their subjectivity and responsibility prepares them for work in the field of elderly care. Learning to be subjects of their learning also develops students' sense of internal entrepreneurship.

Self-direction and self-evaluation are an essential part of being a subjective learner and reinforcing that aspect of learning. Self-direction and self-evaluation are based on an acknowledged, realistic and positive self-image and an adequate amount of independence. Self-direction is equivalent to students' internal entrepreneurship. Self-directed students are responsible to themselves, to the student community, to their future elderly clients, and to the elderly care organisations, for their learning to become experts in elderly care. Students' self-evaluation is evident in their evaluation of their own study performance and growth into professionals. The primary objective of peer and teacher evaluation is to help students evaluate themselves and to form a clear, strong professional self-image.

The notion of integrating theory with practice has its roots in the constructivist theory of learning whereby learning is always the subject's context-related activity. The periods of practical training in the Degree Programme in Health Care and Social Services / Elderly Care are closely connected to certain areas of theory. The learning experiences students acquire during their practical training periods are also examined afterwards in the light of theory. Students receive feedback from both the teacher and the clinical supervisor. Students acquire experience in the evaluation of their overall learning through learning journals, various assignments and through their practical training assessment. The numerical grade teachers give for most practical training periods is also seen as an important part of the assessment in the degree programme.

The principle of progressive enquiry means that an extensive amount of learning takes place in seminars based on students' assignments and, in particular, on research reports pertaining to elderly care. The learning based on progressive enquiry gradually forms into concrete enquiry-oriented development of elderly care. During their last year of study, in particular, students carry out various types of research and development projects in elderly care organisations. For this reason, the exam material for each theoretical course contains research and research-based articles.

The learning contract as an educational principle refers to students' commitment to their own learning, its goals and to the progression and evaluation of their studies. Students and their supervisors draw up a written learning agreement for practical training periods. The agreement contains the desired learning outcomes based on general course objectives and students' personal learning needs. Students will themselves evaluate on how well they have achieved the learning outcomes.

Professional growth and career counselling into an expert in elderly care begins right from the start of the studies. The studies include 51 credits of practical training in various service organisations and projects. Starting with the first year of study, these training periods help the students to gain an overview of the scope of elderly services as their potential future employers. During their second year of study, students reflect extensively on the areas of practice and competence requirements of Bachelors of Social Services and Health Care as well as on their growth into professionals in the field. Later on, students advance their expertise and develop their perspectives concerning the ethics of elderly care and the professional ethics of Bachelors of Social Services and Health Care. Before they graduate, students also reflect extensively on their expertise as a whole and actively orientate themselves towards working life.

Profile of the programme

The purpose of the Degree Programme in Health Care and Social Services / Elderly Care is to produce experts who work primarily in various sectors and levels of social welfare and health care. Bachelors of Social Services and Health Care are ethically committed to the promotion of a good life for elderly people not only on the level of the individual, but also on the level of society. Their work with individual clients involves services based on the key concepts of anticipation, outreach, prevention, support, care and rehabilitation. Important areas in the profession involve assessing elderly clients' well-being, functional capacity and need for services; personal case management; work in care and nursing organisations; organisation of service pathways and multi-professional services for elderly clients, and supporting the significant others. On the level of service organisations, the focus is on the supervision and development of the service provision and on human resources development. On the level of society, the emphasis is on the evaluation and development of the service provision systems and on influencing decision-making and elderly policies in society. There are a number of job titles for Bachelors of Elderly Care (UAS) in the field of social welfare and health care at the moment. Among them are case manager, carer, counsellor/supervisor, head counsellor/supervisor, social welfare counsellor/supervisor, manager of development, and manager of elderly care. The Finnish title geronomi (Bachelor of Social Services and Health Care) is also becoming increasingly common.

Occupational profiles

The areas of expertise and duties of Bachelors of Social Services and Health Care are as follows:

A) Personal case management for elderly persons: assessment of elderly clients' well-being, ability to function and needs for services; customisation of the services to suit specific needs and co-ordination of multi-professional activities.
B) Planning, supervision and development of family care or other informal care services for older people as well as peer support activities
C) Contact work in care and service organisations for the elderly
D) A variety of tasks in dementia work on various levels and the development of dementia work
E) Planning, supervision, evaluation and development of services for the elderly in the public and third sectors
F) Work in various undertakings and development projects in elderly care
G) Work on national and international levels


Internationalization has been integrated into all contents of the degree programme and much of the study literature is in foreign languages. The curriculum easily allows a three month practical training period in elderly care organizations abroad in the autumn of the second academic year. In addition, students have the opportunity to undertake a one month practical training abroad during the last academic year. Together with students from other degree programmes universities or with other actors, they can also take part in international intensive courses offered in Finland or abroad. It is also our aim to invite international lecturers to talk about elderly care topics every academic year. Windesheim University in the Netherlands is one of our international partners.

Access to further studies

Master of Social Services, Master of Health Care (Health Promotion), Master of Social Services and Health Care (Development and Management). Some graduates have opted for university studies (nursing management, gerontology, nursing science)

Structure of the studies

The extent of the programme is 210 credits and it takes 3.5 years to complete. The degree programme comprises basic studies, professional studies, a Bachelor’s Thesis and free-choice 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. Basic studies include orientation, information seeking, information technology and language and communication studies. Business and entrepreneurship as well as research and project skills are also part of basic studies. The following themes have been integrated into all degree programmes at SeUAS: internationalism, entrepreneurship, knowledge acquisition, sustainable develoment and career counselling.
Professional Studies involve the Knowledge foundation for gerontological work; Health and social service systems and case management; Preventive and empowering gerontological work; Gerontological care, nursing and rehabilitation; Research and development; Management of gerontological work; Bachelor’s Thesis and free-choice studies.

The extent of the Bachelor’s Thesis is 15 credits. Free-choice studies, which expand and deepen students' knowledge of elderly care, amount to 10 credits.

The programme includes 51 credits of practical training, which students carry out in various organisations that offer services for the older population. The periods of practical training vary in length. Part of the practical training (1-3 months) may be completed abroad.

For essential contents-related principles of the degree programme, please see figure 1. For the structure of the programme and how the studies progress each academic year, please see the curriculum.

Second year students can apply for entry to interdisciplinary FramiPro project studies.

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

Full-time, except in adult education groups, where part-time multi-form studies are undertaken

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, e-mail: tiina.ojanpera(at)
Ms Marita Lahti, e-mail: marita.lahti(at)

Student counsellor

Ms Elina Hietaniemi, e-mail katriina honkala (at)