Learning at Work


Course structure

How does the Partnership Degree course work?

Take a look at this video about work-based learning.

How does the PgC course work?

The Postgraduate Certificate is made up of two, 30-credit units which you study over the period of one year.

How long will it take me to complete?

The length of time it takes to complete a degree or Master's degree with the Partnership Programme will depend on how much Recognition of Prior Learning you enter your course with. We suggest that students study 60 credits in each academic year as they are working full-time.

What are the key dates I need to know about?

Students on a BSc or MSc course studying with Learning at Work, design their own programme of study in a Learning Contract. In the year that they graduate they need to ensure all their Work Based Learning projects are submitted by the deadline in April of the year they would like to graduate. The deadline for End of Contracts is in May. If you are studying a Health and Safety taught unit, you may have submission dates throughout each teaching block depending on the unit. If you are undertaking taught units with another department the submission dates may vary.

Is there a maximum amount of time I have to complete the course?

If you are a undergraduate student you have 8 years to complete the course. If you are a postgraduate student you have 5 years to complete the course, however we would not expect students to take the maximum amount of time to complete their courses. If you were to take a period of interruption in your studies, this would be included in the maximum amount of time you have to complete the course.

Will it cost more if I take longer than expected?

A re-registration fee is charged if you take longer than 4 years to complete your course. This is currently equivalent to our RPL Portfolio fee.

Is the course 100% distance learning, or do I have to visit the University?

The courses can all be studied purely via distance learning. We have excellent online resources to help you with your studies. We strongly suggest that all students attend our one day Induction event we have for all of our courses, but this is not compulsory. We also have an online Induction for any students who are unable to attend the on campus Induction day. If you decide to study on campus taught units as part of your programme then you would be required to attend lectures.

What happens if I fail a unit?

If you fail a unit while you are studying with us you will get the opportunity to undertake a second attempt assessment, but your overall mark will be capped at 40%.

Can I study full-time?

All our courses are part-time as students are in full-time employment.

What responsibility does my Workplace Partner have?

Your Workplace Partner is there to offer you support, guidance and moral support in the workplace. Ideally, it should be someone who has experience of studying towards a degree, but this is not essential. They will be expected to appraise each of your projects. This can be a rewarding experience and it can create knowledge and skills for the organisation as a whole.

Does it matter if I change jobs whilst studying?

We understand that student's personal circumstances change while they are studying with us. Changing jobs would not affect your studies as long as you still had access to Work Based Learning Projects.

I will be away for long periods of time with work, will this cause problems?

Our students are based all around the world and many of our students are in the armed forces. You will need to ensure you have access to the internet to download your course materials from our Moodle sites, and access to your University email. 

What’s the difference between MSc Engineering Management and MSc Engineering Project Management?

The difference between the titles is that MSc Engineering and Management can cover all management of engineering, but MSc Engineering Project Management is specifically for the project management of engineering.  You could complete a project management project under Engineering and Management but all the projects in Engineering Project Management must have project management content.

Once I complete the PgCert can I join the Masters?

Once you have successfully passed our PgC in Occupational Health and Safety Management Course you can apply to join our MSc Occupational Health and Safety Management or MSc Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management which are also part-time.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

How do I know if my qualifications or work experience will allow me entry to the Partnership Degree courses?

Take a look at this video about Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

How can I claim Recognition of Prior Learning?

Take a look at this video about Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

I was previously in the Armed Forces, but have now left, can I still use my previous rank to claim RPL?

If you were in the Armed Forces but have now left you may still be able to claim RPL towards your studies. Contact the Learning at Work office for more information.

How can I top up my RPL to the maximum?

If you have a standard qualification but this does not give you the maximum amount of RPL that you can claim (2/3rd of an award) you may be able to claim additional RPL through experience at work by submitting an RPL portfolio. Contact the Learning at Work office for more information.

When do I need to pay my RPL Portfolio fee?

If you are submitting an RPL portfolio, this will be assessed by our RPL specialist and a portfolio fee is charged in addition to your tuition fee, payable upon registration in your first year.



What award titles do you offer?

You can find the full list of Learning at Work courses, here.

Would my award state I studied via part-time distance-learning?

Your parchment will not show if you studied via distance learning or part-time. Your transcript of results will show your mode of study as distance learning if you studied on the PgC course. All other students transcripts will show as part-time.

Do you offer PhD or Doctorate qualifications?

Unfortunately, we do not offer a PHD or Doctorate qualification in the Learning at Work Department. However, there are PHD opportunities offered by other departments in the University that you might wish to consider. Find out more about PhD opportunities at the University of Portsmouth, here.


Do I need to complete an undergraduate degree before applying to join the Masters?

There are no standard entry qualifications as every applicant is assessed on its own merit. Typically most applicants would usually have a post-school higher education such as a HNC, or equivalent, or part of a degree course, together with appropriate work experience.

Can I join if I’m self employed?

Applications from self-employed people are welcome.

If I’m not able to attend an interview in person, can I use Skype instead?

If you are unable to come to the University, we can arrange a Skype call with an academic member of staff for you. The meeting would take approximately 15 minutes, and answer many of your questions about your study plans, access to support on academic matters and where appropriate, support for disabilities. If you are looking to claim RPL we can also arrange an interview via Skype with the RPL assessor so that you can discuss your RPL portfolio with them in more detail.

How long would an interview at the University take?

We generally book appointments that last an hour for prospective students, so that you can talk to an academic member of staff in more detail about the course requirements, how this would work with your study plans, and the support you can expect to receive while studying on your course.

Fees and funding

How much will it cost?

Tuition fees are charged based on how much credit you are required to study and how much RPL you have been awarded. Please e-mail  learningatwork@port.ac.uk for further information on tuition fees.      

How can I pay, do I have to pay all upfront?

Tuition fees are charged after you have registered onto your course and the course start date has been reached. Registration is an annual requirement. Tuition fees are required to be paid or settled prior to the course start date, or on the due date of the tuition fee invoice. Tuition fees are ‘paid’ when the annual amount is paid in full. Tuition fees are ‘settled’  when a Sponsor agrees to pay the fee by submitting a sponsor form (RE2), or when you set up a Direct Debit or recurring card payment mandate to pay your fees. If you are unable to pay fees, this will result in withdrawal of services and exclusion from the University.

There is not a requirement for you to pay all your fees upfront if you are studying a BSc or MSc. If you are an undergraduate student you can split your total course fee over three years and if you are a postgraduate student you can split your course fee over two years. If you are studying towards the PgC you will be required to pay your full fee or set up direct debit instalments over 6 months.

What happens if my company are paying or making a contribution to my fees?

If your company are paying all of your fees you will need to contact the Learning at Work office for an RE2 form which will need to be filled in by your employer.  If they are making a part contribution you will still need to ask your employer to fill out the RE2 form and send this to us with your application, but you will also need to arrange payment for the remainder of your fee. Please contact the Learning at Work office for more information.

Can I use ELCAS funding?

We accept ELCAS funding for all of our courses. Please contact the Learning at Work office for further information.

Can I apply for a postgraduate loan?

At this time it is not possible to get a maintenance loan if you are studying on the Partnership Programme towards a Masters Degree.


Can I claim professional registration with an accredited body if I study this course?

Yes, Engineers on the Partnership Programme studying towards an MSc or BSc can apply to become professionally qualified by gaining Chartered or Incorporated status through one of the Professional Engineering Institutions. Find out more, here.

Can I gain accreditation through IEMA by studying this course?

Students studying on the MSc Occupational Health and Safety Management and MSc Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management course who study the Environmental Management unit will be able for Graduate Membership with IEMA.

Can I gain accreditation through IOSH through studying this course?

Students who study on the PgC Occupational Health and Safety course or join directly onto one of our MSc courses will be eligible to apply for accreditation through IOSH.