Course summary

The MA in Professional Studies is a specialised two year, part-time Masters course designed to support and challenge professionals from a range of formal and informal educational settings and contexts. It will engage you with a range of issues within the broad academic disciplines of education, early years and youth work relevant to your employment role to consider the impact of your professional practice in a wider social context.

Please note that applications for September 2020 are now closed. Applications for 2021 remain open.

Key facts




2 years

Mode of study


Start date


Awarding institution

Bishop Grosseteste University

Institution code


Course details

About this course

This course is aimed at experienced practitioners, supervisors and managers employed in a variety of diverse and broad roles within the education sector, such as in an early years setting, in the youth work sector or as part of a school support team, for example a teaching assistant. It aims to produce high-calibre postgraduates who are autonomous, reflexive, possessing of inquiring and analytical minds as part of their continued professional formation. Work-based issues are at the heart of the programme and you will be required to be in a relevant practice setting either in employment or in a voluntary capacity during the course of your studies.

As a professional development programme, practice-based issues will be at the forefront of the curriculum. Content within the programme addresses current issues at the forefront of the academic discipline and field of study within professional practice. The programme content supports the critical investigation of professional questions and issues at local, national and global perspectives. Each module provides the opportunity to explore different research techniques, methodologies and advanced scholarship. The module content is designed to allow for maximum flexibility for students to choose specific lines of enquiry and focus in line with their research interests, practice experience and working role.

The course comprises four taught modules and a supervised dissertation. The taught sessions will typically be between 4-8 pm for ten weeks per module, and will take the form of a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. The modules are designed to enable you to explore lines of enquiry relevant to your employment role and research interests within the overall focus of the module content.

The course design aims to support postgraduate prospects to continued study at doctoral level along with wider opportunities to progress within the sectoral structures, and beyond, for career progression.

What will you study

Students on this course currently study some or all of the following modules

This module explores and investigates leadership and management theory, research and practice in formal and informal settings. The module will encourage you to reflect on and challenge your own professional practice through critical personal reflection. You will investigate how the intersection of policy, practice and cultural change influences leaders and managers in professional contexts, institutions and systems.

This module explores and investigates contemporary issues at the forefront of the discipline and professional sector from local, national and international perspectives. You will engage with current research in relation to contemporary issues relevant to your practice, and you will be provided with opportunities to critique these. The depth and currency of knowledge explored within the module will extend your critical reflections in relation to your practice and as change agents for organisational improvements.

You will critically explore the key theories of inclusion, diversity and participation. The module will allow you to investigate historical perspectives and analysis of current participatory practice. A critical examination of the implementation of education and social policies will be undertaken to understand how provision can meet a diverse range of needs within society. Throughout the module you will critically reflect on issues and debates surrounding entitlement.

This module critically explores research design, investigating different methodologies to engage with advanced research. It aims to introduce alternative ways of examining professional contexts and practices, exploring the different traditions of research and their potential for describing, analysing, and improving professional practice. Virtual resources will be used to support relevant skill building areas such as searching e-resources; developing an academic writing style, planning a professional research enquiry.

The dissertation demands enquiry and research skills, intellectual awareness of issues, discriminating use of research methodologies and refinement of argument, all at the highest level of scholarship. Supported by supervisors, workshops, action learning sets on research methodology and on-line materials, you will face the challenge of developing a sustained, accurate, and reflective argument to answer your research question.

Entry requirements

Students will typically need to have obtained or be predicted to obtain an undergraduate honours degree with a minimum of lower second class honours (or equivalent).

MA in Professional Studies students will typically have substantial relevant and current experience of volunteering or working in a formal or informal educational setting. Students have a relevant workplace where they are employed or volunteering throughout the programme with support from their line manager or setting through the Workplace Agreement.

MA in Professional Studies students will have secured a relevant workplace setting in order to complete the required 360 hours in practice per academic year.

All prospective students are required to have an interview with the Programme Leader or a member of the academic team before commencing the course (this includes a telephone interview if required).

In line with the priority which it gives to promoting opportunities for lifelong learning and widening access to Higher Education, the University welcomes applications from prospective students who are seeking to gain exemption from some parts of an academic programme by gaining accreditation for prior learning. Such claims may be based either on a previous course of study or on experience gained in paid employment or voluntary activities. If a prospective student has recently completed or studied a particular module as part of a previous qualification they may apply for Accreditation for Prior Learning in line with the relevant Code of Practice.

Further information

Click here for important information about this course including additional costs, resources & key policies.

If you’ve recently completed or studied a particular module as part of a previous qualification, this may mean that you’re not required to undertake a particular module of your BGU course. However, this must be agreed in writing and you must apply for Accredited Prior Learning.

How you will be taught

Teaching on this Masters course will be delivered through interactive lectures, workshops, tutorials and seminars to promote engagement and independent learning. You will work collaboratively in sessions to discuss and critically analyse professional issues, review research, policy and research methodologies.

Critical reflection will be at the heart of teaching and learning on this Masters course. You will peer mentor across year groups and collaborate with others within cohorts to encourage and develop a close network of support.

A core and central tool for supporting teaching and learning will be the use of Blackboard as a Virtual Learning Environment. You will be invited to use interactive web tools, such as blogs and Padlet, as a strategy for sharing resources, discussions and in leading your own learning expected at postgraduate level.


The assessments used in this course is designed to build your knowledge and understanding to support the development of final research skills required to design, implement and analyse research, and to write a research report. You will demonstrate your confidence in articulating your ideas and knowledge both orally and in your academic writing. Each of the module assessments will focus on the skills required for the elements contributing to the undertaking of a research project and the writing of a research report. The assessments will ensure that you are developing your power of critical inquiry, independent judgement and a creative application to your learning.

Careers & Further study

This Masters course is a professional development programme and BGU values the partnerships with key stakeholders for academic work-related courses. As such the programme has been formed to reflect the needs and views of employers. Employers in the broad and diverse sectors of education have been widely consulted throughout the development of the programme to ensure that the course is relevant and current for supporting the necessary knowledge and transferable skills required within the sector. This course will particularly benefit those in broader roles working with children, young people, their families and communities.


Studying at BGU is a student-centred experience. Staff and students work together in a friendly and supportive atmosphere as part of an intimate campus community. You will know every member of staff personally and feel confident approaching them for help and advice, and staff members will recognise you, not just by sight, but as an individual with unique talents and interests.

We will be there to support you, personally and academically, from induction to graduation.

Fees & Finance

A lot of student finance information is available from numerous sources, but it is sometimes confusing and contradictory. That’s why at BGU we try to give you all the information and support we can to help to throughout the process. Our Student Advice team are experts in helping you sort out the funding arrangements for your studies, offering a range of services to guide you through all aspects of student finance step by step.

Click here to find information about fees, loans and support which will help to make the whole process a little easier to understand.

For all applicants, there are full instructions at UCAS to make it as easy as possible for you to fill in your online application, plus help text where appropriate.