close up of a student in a class


Professional Development

About this course

Course code:
Professional/Short Course
Programme leader:
Clive Warn
Key fact:
This framework is really flexible and allows you to use the credit for courses you have already completed towards a recognised qualification.

Page last updated 24 May 2019


This professional development programme is part of a framework of awards which enables you to address your individual learning requirements and to reflect your individual or your employer's needs, while offering you the opportunity to gain a recognisable academic award.

Based on the principles of credit accumulation and transfer, the Professional Development Award framework allows you to negotiate your own programme of study and to gain a UWE Bristol qualification with the title Professional Development. Uniquely, you can choose from learning opportunities from within and outside UWE Bristol (subject to availability) to maintain, improve and broaden your knowledge and skills and to develop the personal qualities required in your professional life.

In addition to a compulsory UWE Bristol work-based learning project module, you can negotiate a study route to meet your requirements, which will be assessed and allow you to accumulate the credits you need for your target award. These can be made up of a combination of taught academic modules, work-based learning and different forms of enquiry.

The Award Framework allows you to use a larger amount of blended learning than you can on more traditional courses as it will allow for the acceptance of credit from other awarding bodies and enable the integration of short courses, CPD and experiential learning into the qualification.

UWE Bristol's work-based learning project modules provide a means of assessing experiential and other non-credit rated learning. Further study to extend your knowledge and skills can be negotiated from within and outside the University in the context of your specific professional and personal development. The different learning opportunities can be consolidated within your personal programme.

From an employer's perspective this programme could be a way of addressing skill shortages by re-skilling existing employees and meeting overall objectives of staff development. One of its advantages is that it could be tailored to provide a bespoke qualification addressing the specific needs of an organisation, whilst also offering a University award as an outcome which would be valued by employers and employees alike. We can also work with you to accredit your in-house training programmes so contact us to discuss your workforce development needs.

Entry requirements

In order to be eligible to study through the scheme, individuals should normally have been employed in the last 18 months, be self-employed or engaged in voluntary activity and have been working to an appropriate level. Learners will be considered for entry to the scheme to pursue the most appropriate level of study based on qualifications and/or their personal, professional or educational experience following guidance provided in line with UWE Bristol's entry requirements and admissions policies.

For postgraduate qualifications, applicants should normally have a first degree and/or at least two years professional experience. Possession of knowledge and skills needed for admission to the University may be demonstrated by means other than via the usual entrance requirements.



There are no common pathways through the Professional Development (PD) programmes. Other than completion of the compulsory UWE Bristol work-based learning project module, the content will reflect individual choice. You can choose taught modules from a wide range of UWE Bristol courses, as well as bringing credits obtained from other Higher Education Institutions, which the University will assess and accredit to your award.

There is also the opportunity to achieve a bespoke award consisting of a number of focused work-based learning modules, based on your employment needs.

Case study

Heather, a nurse seconded to the South West Specialised Commissioning Group as the Lead Nurse for the South West Neonatal Networks, approached UWE Bristol to see how her experience could be evidenced to gain an academic qualification at postgraduate level.

Heather was able to integrate her leadership development training and organise some learning sets to improve the care and outcomes of a specific group of preterm babies, those born four to six weeks early. Through this work-based learning, Heather has made a difference to nursing practice, the long term outcomes of babies and families and promoted work-based learning to other nurses.

Having it accredited towards a Masters degree in Professional Development via the Award Framework was the icing on the cake for Heather, who went on to be awarded the prestigious Florence Nightingale Leadership Fellowship.

Learning and Teaching

This will vary depending on the modules you choose to study.


Assessment for the work-based learning elements of the programme is carried out through coursework, which typically comprises reflective essays and interviews, and work-based projects. Assessment methods are used which reflect both the practical and applied nature of the programme. Assessment should include formative assessment of learning in context.

Assessment of more formally taught modules and modules for the assessment of experiential learning will use a range of approaches, negotiated between the academic facilitator, learner and the workplace.

For more details, see our full glossary of assessment terms.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

For information about fees and funding for courses please see our fees and funding pages.

How to apply

For further information

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