MA/MSc/PGDip/PGCert Professional Development

Entry year
Course code
Professional/Short Course
Course Director
Clive Warn

Page last updated 12 October 2023


This framework is really flexible and allows you to use the credit for courses you have already completed towards a recognised qualification.

The Professional Development Award (PDA) is a unique award - you set out the learning pathway, designing a bespoke academic qualification to suit your career and learning aspirations.

This award is flexible as you can:

  • Start this award without importing credit, building credit module by module.
  • Import previous UWE Bristol credit/external credit into the award to include marks which will count towards the final classification (depending on level of study, you will need to provide copies of transcripts).
  • Gain credit from your experience; if you wish to do this you will be able to evidence this in a module via Accredited Experiential Learning (this module is 50% of normal fee).

The Professional Development Award (PDA) has only one compulsory module, Evidencing Work Based Learning (EWBL), which can be done at distance, and on a reflective practice if you wish (see our EWBL pages which demonstrate how this module can benefit both you and your employer).

The PDA can be started at any time; there are no limitations on how long you would like to spend completing the award.

The award descriptor you attain will be e.g. MSc Professional Development.

The benefits of obtaining a PDA for employers and employees are that the Award can:

  • address skill shortages
  • address staff development objectives
  • be tailored to upskill staff whilst offering a bespoke qualification valued by employers, and employees alike.

The table below demonstrates the way credit can make up the award:

Primary TargetTotal credits required for Award
Minimum compulsory EWBL

Maximum imported credit
Imported credits from levels
Postgraduate Certificate Professional Development6015 level 745

This can consist of up to 20 credits at level 6 (degree level), and further level 7 (Masters level) credits to a total of 45.

Or, up to 45 credits at level 7 (Masters level).

Postgraduate Diploma Professional Development12015 level 7105

This can consist of up to 40 credits at level 6 (degree level), and further level 7 (Masters level) credits to a total of 105.

Or, up to 105 credits at level 7 (Masters level). 

MA/MSc Professional Development18040 credits level 7 research or EWBL120

This can consist of up to 60 credits at level 6 (degree level), and further level 7 (Masters level) credits to a total of 120.

Or, up to 120 credits at level 7 (Masters level). 

Find out more about the PDA

In the following videos, meet our Masters graduates from the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, and find out how the UWE Bristol Professional Development (PDA) course and Work-Based Learning have enhanced their careers:

Entry requirements

In order to be eligible to study the PDA, you should:

  • 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 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.



Learning and Teaching

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


  • Assessment details for the Evidencing Work Based Learning element of the award can be found on the EWBL webpage.
  • 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.


Study facilities

The Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences has an excellent reputation for the quality of its teaching and the facilities it provides.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

There is a £200.00 registration fee payable upon registering for the award (if you have sponsorship for your fees you will be able to state this in the application).

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

Additional costs

This refers to items you could need during your studies that are not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs.

How to apply

How to apply

  1. Click on the example Negotiated Learning Plan (NLP) below to see an example of how a fully completed NLP should look.
  2. Fill in the NLP to be completed (below) with your information and save it on your computer.
  3. Click the 'Apply Now' button in the yellow banner at the top of this page, and go through the online application process.
  4. Go to the Professional Development Portal from the UWE Bristol login page - select MyCPD log in and upload your NLP as well as certificates and transcripts for credit you wish to import in your Professional Development Portal (the transcript is important as this will allow your marks for imported credit to be used. Without evidence of marks the minimum pass mark will be input and could affect your final award classification).  

    Please note: The programme lead will be unable to progress the application without the NLP document. To upload a document go to the bottom left corner of your Professional Development portal to a section called 'My Documents'. The course you have applied for should show, click on the course here and a new field will appear that says 'add a document'. Click in the add a document box and select the item you would like to add.
  5. Once the programme lead approves the application, the Professional Development Portal will show the application status offer in progress and will be taken to the next governance group (taking place on the start date of the course) for formal approval. Once formally approved, an offer will be sent to you as long as all evidence for imported section 1 credit has been uploaded.
  6. When you receive the offer email, click on the link to accept or decline.
  7. If you accept the offer, you will be registered as a Professional Development student, the £200 registration fee will be charged (according to the funding stated on the application), completing registration for the award.

For further information