MA/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Career Development

Entry year
Course code
School of Education and Childhood
2.5 years
Distance Learning part-time, September start
Programme leader
Kate Colechin and Catrina Holmes

This course is open for applications

To apply, please visit the Entry section below.

Page last updated 7 May 2024


Progress as a qualified career development practitioner while learning valuable additional skills and knowledge not found on comparable courses, such as enterprise education and delivering career-related learning to large groups of learners.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Follow your aspiration to become a career development professional by choosing one of our Career Development courses. The Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) Career Development, approved by the Career Development Institute (CDI), forms the basis of progression to the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) Career Development. Progressing to the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) Career Development offers you the opportunity to complete the Qualification in Career Development (QCD), which is awarded by the CDI.

On completion of the QCD, you'll be qualified to provide personal guidance in schools and colleges. Build on your learning by progressing further onto our master's course, allowing you to specialise as a research practitioner. If you register for the MA from the outset, you'll have the added benefit of being eligible for postgraduate loan funding.

Why study career development?

The demand for career development practitioners is growing. As jobs evolve in an ever-changing world of work, people are in need of additional careers support and career management skills, so they can transition positively between different stages of their careers.

Why UWE Bristol?

Whether you already work in this field, or aspire to, our postgraduate Career Development courses will allow you to professionalise your skills. Each course meets the qualification requirement for the UK Register of Career Development Professionals, broadening your career prospects.

Approved by the CDI, these future-facing courses provide a strong grounding in contemporary career development theory and practice, taught by current and experienced career development practitioners.

Each course brings together expertise from across the University, including UWE Bristol's Careers and Enterprise team and the Department of Education and Childhood. Each course develops your skillset to support the career development needs of clients. You'll also develop your knowledge of contemporary issues, relevant theories and ethical models for practice.

You'll learn to design and deliver career-related activities to groups of learners, including larger groups, as well as providing careers support on a one-to-one basis. Enterprise education is threaded throughout each course, reflecting the need for career development practitioners to have a confident understanding of this area.

The courses are delivered and assessed online, making it a flexible study option that can be fitted in around other commitments. Recognising that practitioners in this area increasingly need to engage with new technology, you'll join our online community of practice, supporting you in your online learning experience.

Where can it take me?

Once qualified as a career development professional, you'll be equipped to succeed in many educational contexts, ranging from life coaching to careers advice for students.

Complete the QCD through our PGDip and MA courses, and you can aim for higher-level roles in schools and colleges. Offer personal guidance as a qualified career development professional at the postgraduate diploma level or fulfil more specialist roles in career and enterprise consultancy at the master's level.




You will study:

  • Frameworks for Career and Enterprise Development
  • Careers and Enterprise in Practice.


You will study:

  • Frameworks for Career and Enterprise Development
  • Careers and Enterprise in Practice
  • Career Guidance Theory and Practice
  • Careers and Enterprise in Context.


You will study:

  • Frameworks for Career and Enterprise Development
  • Careers and Enterprise in Practice
  • Career Guidance Theory and Practice
  • Careers and Enterprise in Context
  • Developing as a Researcher Practitioner
  • Professional Development Project.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you. 

Learning and Teaching

The course is delivered as a flexible online course, using authentic materials and interactive learning methods, including recorded lectures, online discussions and case studies, supported by online tutorials.

Each module includes weekly study units with directed activity, supplemented by additional reading.

As you develop a critical, reflective and enquiring approach to your practice, you'll develop knowledge and understanding of:

  • contemporary frameworks for career development courses in a professional context
  • contemporary issues related to employment, enterprise, education and training options
  • professional, ethical career development practice with individuals and groups
  • conducting client-focused career guidance interventions.

You will learn and network with fellow practitioners, offering mutual support, as well as receiving online support from your tutors at UWE Bristol.

See our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

CDI membership

As a student on one of our courses, you'll be eligible for student membership of the CDI, giving you access to further professional development opportunities. The fees to join the CDI and the Register of Career Development Professionals are in addition to your course fees.

If you wish to complete the QCD at PGDip level, you'll need to pay an additional cost for the QCD, which must be paid directly to the CDI. Find out more on the CDI website.

Study time

The courses run from September each year.

As a guide, you will be expected to spend 6-7 hours a week on directed activities and independent study.


You'll be assessed using a variety of practice-oriented assessments, which are linked to real-world practice and mapped to the external professional standards required of a qualified careers professional.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

The PGCert and PGDip in Career Development are approved by the Career Development Institute CDI. The PGCert meets the qualification requirement for the CDI's UK Register of Career Development Professionals. Progressing to the PGDip and MA offers you the opportunity to complete the Qualification in Career Development (QCD), which is awarded by the CDI.


Many students will be working in a relevant field where you can apply your knowledge and understanding, and reflect on your experience.

For the PGCert course, it's not essential for you to already be employed in a relevant field, as you won't complete a placement. However, prior experience will be beneficial to your success on this course.

If you intend to work towards the Qualification in Career Development (QCD), you must be employed in a career development role or have a suitable placement arranged. Within your role or placement, you'll need access to clients for the purpose of conducting assessed career guidance interviews and groupwork.

You also must have the agreement of a suitably qualified individual (as defined by the CDI) who is willing to act as your workplace supervisor and assessor. Placements must be for a minimum of 20 days.

You will also need to undertake a further 10 days of work-based learning. Your work-based learning may include activities such as employer visits, attendance and careers fairs, webinars and other relevant professional development opportunities.

Study facilities

All of these courses are predominantly delivered and assessed online, with all materials provided through the University's online learning platforms.

Students also have access to UWE Bristol's Careers and Enterprise facilities and Study Skills resources through our library at Frenchay Campus, which are particularly useful if you have been out of education for a while.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Education and Teaching facilities and see what's on offer here for you.

MA Career Development at UWE Bristol

Learn more from the Programme Leader about our MA Career Development course.


Postgraduate support

Our support includes access to fantastic facilities, study tools and career consultants, plus practical help to access everything from funding to childcare.


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Careers / Further study

At certificate level (60 credits), the course provides a solid foundation for those wishing to become fully qualified career practitioners and forms the basis of progression to the Postgraduate Diploma. You'll gain knowledge sought after in a range of fields in the career development sector, including enterprise, placements, employer relations, volunteering, mentoring, student advice and support, personal development and life coaching.

At diploma level (120 credits), the course opens the door to higher-level roles, enabling you to become a fully qualified career development professional. Complete the QCD and you'll be equipped to provide personal career guidance and career-related learning in UK schools, colleges and universities. Alternatively, you may wish to gain international experience by taking your skills overseas.

At master's level (180 credits), the course provides you with research experience. Help shape the discipline as you delve into a research-specific interest, developing you as a research practitioner in a chosen area.


Supplementary fee information

Fees are charged at the beginning of the academic year, based on the modules that start in that academic year.

See our funding pages for more information. 


Entry requirements

Usually applicants will have an undergraduate degree (2:2 or equivalent) but applicants with other qualifications or professional experience are also encouraged to apply. We will consider evidence of your relevant personal, professional or educational experience where it demonstrates an ability and potential to succeed on the course.

If you wish to progress to the MA, then accredited learning will be available up to a maximum of 120 credits for a relevant CDI approved Postgraduate Diploma. Please note that the MA is awarded on a pass or fail basis and is not graded.

If the Postgraduate Diploma is over five years old then it will be necessary for you to be currently working in a relevant field.

If you have achieved the Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development, and are currently employed in a professional career development role, then it may also be possible to accredit this learning and experience towards the MA, up to a maximum of 90 credits, depending on your other academic qualifications.   

Please contact a Programme Leader to discuss your eligibility for the course.

English Language Requirement

International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with no component below 5.5 (or approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International qualifications in place of IELTS. To find details of acceptable tests and the required grades, please visit our English Language Requirements pages.

How to apply

Applicants linked to COBIS Schools are eligible for a 5% discount on tuition fees. To apply with the discount, in your application please answer "Yes" when asked "Are you making an application through a partner institution which has an agreement with UWE?" and then select "Council of British International Schools" as a partner.

You can check if your school is a COBIS member on COBIS School Search.

Read more about postgraduate applications.  

Read more about international applications and key international deadline dates.


For further information