Mode of StudyPart-time work based
Start dateSeptember 2023, January 2024
Do you want to boost your career prospects by studying for a Master's degree alongside your current job?
Whether you're currently in a career which covers a breadth of subjects or you want to develop a range of transferable skills for your future career aspirations, our Professional Studies Learning at Work Master's course can help you fulfil your professional and personal development ambitions.
We currently offer both an MA or MSc Professional Studies. If the majority of your learning is science-based, the MSc is for you. If your learning is predominantly in art-based subjects, we recommend the MA.
Because the course is work-based, you need to already be in a full-time, part-time or voluntary role. If you don't have an undergraduate degree, you could still do this postgraduate course if you have several years experience in a responsible position or you have high-level skills through experience that isn't reflected in your qualifications.
Our courses are designed for busy people. You can tailor the course to match your aspirations and your employer's objectives, and negotiate the pace of your studies around your existing commitments. Your work-based projects have flexibility in their submission deadlines, and with no residential requirements you can study wherever is most convenient for you.
You'll get to put the skills you learn to work instantly in your job, contributing to the success of your company. When you complete the course, you'll improve your career prospects and have the skills and knowledge to perform more effectively in your job.
MA/MSc Professional Studies Master's degree (Learning at Work) entry requirements
Qualifications or experience
- A degree or equivalent. Other qualifications such as HNDs and Foundation degrees, supported by several years of relevant post-qualification experience in responsible posts, may also be acceptable.
- Applicants are usually working at a professional level.
- If you do not hold a level 6 qualification you may be required to present evidence of your ability to study at level 6.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
What you'll experience
On this course, you'll:
- Design your programme of study to match your personal and professional goals, as well as your employer's objectives
- Develop your ability to analyse problems, research and propose solutions, and make sound professional judgements when faced with the organisational, financial and management aspects of a business
- Take part in work-based learning (WBL) projects that ensure the knowledge you develop is relevant to your employer's business
- Get an optional 1-day induction in Portsmouth at the start of the course and have the opportunity to study on campus, if it suits you
- Develop your learning plan with the University and your employer, so you can make an effective contribution to your workplace as you learn
- Have full access to our student support services and community including study support, sports and recreation facilities, and the Students' Union
- Tap in to our Library's electronic resources, which you can access from anywhere with a Web connection
- Choose a Workplace Mentor to support your learning – someone at work who can offer advice, guidance, and moral support
- Have support from an academic tutor specialising in your area of study and a University learning manager who oversees your programme
- Use online tutorials and lectures to help you with study skills, including your analytical and writing skills
Careers and opportunities
When you finish the course, you'll have the skills and knowledge to advance your career with your current employer and boost your long-term career prospects.
After the course, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.
What you'll study on this MA/MSc Professional Studies (Learning at Work) degree course
At the start of the course, you'll put together a Learning Contract with the University and your employer that outlines what you'll study.
To get a Master's degree, you need to accumulate a total of 180 credits. If you leave the course before you accumulate 180 credits, you can get a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) if you've accumulated 60 credits or a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) if you've accumulated 120 credits. You can get these credits in three ways.
How to gain credits
You can get credit for the qualifications and experience you already have, such as a PgCert or PgDip in a relevant subject. This can also include in-service training courses and qualifications, as well as learning from on-the-job experience.
This is called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). You can use RPL for up to 120 (two-thirds) of the 180 credits you need to get your degree.
Please note, RPL cannot be used if you plan to apply for a postgraduate loan, as you must study the full 180 credits to be eligible.
Contact us to find out if you can receive RPL credit for your current qualifications or work experience.
Most of your learning will come from work-based learning (WBL) projects. These are projects that are valuable to your employer, which you complete at work.
These projects won't involve activities you do in your day-to-day job, as they need to involve new learning for you.
You can study campus-based or distance learning modules to expand your knowledge and understanding or to develop new skills in a more structured way.
Please contact Learning at Work to discuss the choice of modules available.
Changes to course content
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
Types of support
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.
To help you juggle this course alongside your work and home life, you'll get extra support from:
- a Workplace Mentor chosen by you – someone at work who can offer advice, guidance, and moral support
- an Academic Tutor specialising in your area of study
- a Learning Manager who oversees your programme
How you're taught will depend on which modules you take and the work-based learning projects you do.
Most of the course is delivered via our interactive virtual learning environment. With access to all the study material you’ll need, discussion forums, and the chance to connect with peers and lecturers via chat sessions, you’ll have plenty of academic support and heaps of resources.
Depending on the modules you study and your location, you may also be able to study on campus, experiencing face-to-face teaching methods.
How you're assessed
The way you're assessed will depend on which modules you take and the work-based learning projects you do.
The course duration is based on the number of credits you study and so can vary per student. Most students study between 1 and 3 years. Although our courses have some flexibility, we still work to a typical academic year with some set deadlines for your work.
You can complete the course more quickly if you have relevant work experience, training or qualifications that you can put towards your degree. This is known as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). You can use RPL for up to 120 of the 180 credits you need to accumulate to get your Master's degree.
Typically, a student who enters with the maximum RPL of 120 credits and has only 60 credits to study would take 8 -15 months to complete the course.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2023/24)
Your tuition fee depends on if you have been awarded any Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and how many credits you need to study. To achieve a postgraduate Master's degree, you need to accumulate a total of 180 credits. Tuition fees may be subject to annual increase.
September 2023 / January 2024 start
- 60 credits: £3,800
- 90 credits: £5,700
- 120 credits: £7,600
- 150 credits: £9,500
- 180 credits: £11,400
We'll apply an even yearly split to your course fee as listed in the schedule above. If you want us to consider an alternative schedule of payments, please contact us before the course start date.
Until RPL has been confirmed, you'll need to pay the full course fee.
If you're an armed forces student in receipt of funding, e.g. ELCAS, any documentation must show the correct start date and tuition fee. If not, we can't accept it and you'll have to pay the course fee yourself.
Tuition fees estimate
We can give you an estimate of your tuition fees. To contact us:
- Telephone: +44 (0)23 9284 6260
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
If you choose to study online modules you may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module. Most texts are available online through the library.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
There's a fee of £1,070 before you start the course if we need to assess a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) portfolio.
Before you apply for this course, please contact email@example.com to discuss the content of your programme of study. Read our information about the application process to find out more.
When you're ready to begin your application, follow the link below:
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.
Recognition of work-based and distance learning courses
Our Learning at Work degrees at levels 6 and 7 are approved by the University under its powers to award degrees. They comply with the Office for Students (OFS) and Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) standards in the United Kingdom.
These qualifications are generally recognised internationally but as with distance learning type courses, each country will have its own regulations and rules on work based and distance learning education. You should check with the qualification recognition authority in the country you reside in or intend to use the degrees to secure employment, that the Learning at Work degrees are recognised by them before you commit to studying with us.
We also strongly recommend you check that your employer recognises the value of our work based/distance learning courses. Some countries, including Singapore, state the 'value of the qualification is subject to the employer'.
Applications from specific countries
We are currently unable to offer our courses to applicants who are nationals of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar.
If you're not a national citizen but are working or living in these countries, you can enrol onto our Learning at Work courses. You'll need to sign an Applicant Declaration Letter to confirm you understand that the University of Portsmouth won't accept any liability issues you may have with the recognition of your distance learning course, with your government or employer.
If you’re a national or foreign national in India or China, you can enrol onto our Learning at Work courses. You'll need to sign an Applicant Declaration Letter to confirm you understand that the University of Portsmouth won't accept any liability issues you may have with the recognition of your distance learning course, with your government or employer.
We're unable to accept enrolment from nationals or foreign nationals from Oman.