Mode of StudyPart-time work based
Start dateJanuary 2023, September 2023, January 2024
Do you want to boost your career prospects and improve your performance at work by studying for a degree alongside your current job?
On this Professional Studies Learning at Work course you'll develop transferable skills in your choice of subject. You can tailor the course to match your professional and personal aspirations and your employer's objectives.
A professional studies course is a great option if there isn't a degree course available in the subject you want to study. If what you study is related to art or business, you'll graduate with a BA (Hons) degree. If the subject is science related, you'll graduate with a BSc (Hons) degree.
The course is work based, so you'll need to be in a full-time, part-time or voluntary role to do it. The way you learn is flexible, so you can study wherever is most convenient for you and schedule your studies around your existing commitments.
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.
- A typical applicant would usually have post-school higher education such as an HNC, or equivalent, or part of a degree course, together with appropriate work experience.
You may need to have studied specific subjects – see full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
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:
- Choose modules and study topics that 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 important decisions
- Take part in work-based learning (WBL) projects that form part of your daily workload, which ensure that 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
- Learn both technical skills and business knowledge
- 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
This course isn't tied to the University's timetables or academic calendar. So you can work at your own pace, in your own time and in your own location. However, you must complete the course within 8 years.
You can complete the course more quickly if you have relevant work experience or qualifications that you can put towards your degree, such as a business-based Foundation degree, HNC, HND or relevant on-the-job training. This is known as Recognised Prior Learning (RPL). You can use RPL for up to 240 of the 360 credits you need to accumulate to get your degree.
We recommend you study modules worth 60 credits a year. Typically, a student who enters with the maximum RPL of 240 credits and has only 120 credits to study would take 18–24 months to complete the course.
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks:
- September/October to December/January – teaching block 1
- January/February to May – teaching block 2
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.
Previous students have gone on to work in areas such as:
- the military
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
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 degree, you need to accumulate 360 credits. You can get these credits in three ways.
How to gain credits
You can get credit for the qualifications you already have, such as a Foundation degree, HNC, HND or international equivalent. You may also get credit for relevant business-based work experience.
This is called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). You can use RPL for up to 240 (two-thirds) of the 360 credits you need to get your degree.
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'll do most of the work for these projects in your normal working hours.
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.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2023/24 start)
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 an undergraduate Bachelor's degree you need to accumulate a total of 360 credits. Tuition fees may be subject to annual increase.
January 2023 / September 2023 / January 2024 start
- 120 credits – £6,170
- 140 credits – £7,190
- 160 credits – £8,220
- 180 credits – £9,250
- 200 credits – £10,280
- 220 credits – £11,300
- 240 credits – £12,330
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.
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
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.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
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 £1,020 before you start the course if we need to assess a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) portfolio.
Contact us if you want to do this course. Before you apply, we'll work with you to develop a programme of study that's tailored to your aspirations and work objectives. Read our information about the application process to find out more.
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.
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.