Professional Development and Practice MA

Professional Development and Practice MA

School of Social Work, Care and Community


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Part-time - From 2 years

  • Level:

    Postgraduate, Professional Development

  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Mixed Mode, Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:

    Flexible – please discuss options with CPD team

  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

This course provides a flexible and wide choice of modules for students to tailor their study to their own interests or requirements.  Aims of the course include:

  • Enable students to critically reflect on and review their professional development to facilitate enhanced performance and service delivery
  •  Provide learning opportunities for students to critical reflect on complex challenges, current issues and new evidence-based practice research
  • Develop and enhance students’ capacity for critically evaluating key theoretical knowledge, law and policy in relation social work and social care practice
  • Provide learning opportunities for students to develop and to enhance decision-making skills in complex situations in social work and social care practice
  • Enable students to demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level
  • Enable students to recognise the contribution, and begin to make use, of research to inform practice
  • Provide an opportunity for students to undertake a research project in their specialist area of practice

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Entry Requirements

This award is available for all practitioners in the field of social work or social care and will form part of their employer’s commitment to CPD alongside their own registration requirements with professional regulators.

There is a standard benchmark of a first degree at 2.2 or above in a relevant subject, but non-standard entrants with suitable experience in social care and evidence of recent study will be considered.

International applications must have an IELTS score of a minimum of 7.0.

Please note, certain modules within this course may have additional entry requirements.

DBS Checks: Certain modules within this course may have DBS clearance requirements.

Programme at a Glance

Stage 1

Three 20 Credit Modules

  • Critical reflection on Professional Learning and Development (SW4703)

Plus 2 modules from the option list to the right

Stage 2

Three 20 Credit Modules

  • Introduction to Social Research (SW4027)

Plus 2 modules from the option list to the right (except modules already completed in Stage 1)


Stage 3

One 60 Credit Module

  • Dissertation (SW4037)
    This module provides each student with an opportunity to undertake an in-depth, critical exploration and analysis of an area of substantive interest appropriate for their programme of study. The student will identify a desk-based or empirical research project which is associated with their programme of study and which will be subject to approval from their supervisor and (where appropriate) the School Ethics Committee.

Assessment: Proposal and dissertation (total 15,500 words).

Module Leader: Matt Graham

Find out more information about each module in Stage 1 and 2, via the Centre for CPD’s webpage. Alternatively, use the UCLan search engine at the top of this page.

Admissions Entry Point

Candidates who have already achieved a relevant PGCert (or equivalent) may commence at stage 2.

Candidates who have already achieved a relevant PGDip (or equivalent) may commence at stage 3.

For eligibility and further information please contact us.

Option List

  • Advanced Facilitation of Learning in the Workplace (SW4706)
  • Advanced Mental Health Practice (SW4714)
  • Assessment, Management and Treatment of Sexual Offending (SW4719)
  • ASYE: Demonstrating Capability in Social Work Practice (SW4701)
  • Best Interest Assessor (SW4120)
  • Childhood in Law and Welfare (SW4032)
  • Global Perspectives on Children’s Participation (SW4709)
  • Inclusion and Community (SW4717)
  • Introduction to Facilitating Learning in the Workplace (SW4705)
  • Leadership for Innovation and Integration (SW4707)
  • Leading and Inspiring through Professional Supervision (SW4704)
  • Making Personalisation Effective in Mental Health Practice (SW4710)
  • Professional Development Review (SW4700)
  • Responding to Contemporary Issues in Social Work and Social Care (SW4712)
  • Safeguarding and Adult Protection (SW4702)
  • Safeguarding Children and Young People (SW4033)
  • Social Pedagogy: Theories and Practice (SW4721)
  • Social Perspectives on Personality Disorder (SW4716)
  • Substance Misuse: A Holistic Approach to Problematic Drug and Alcohol Use (SW4708)
  • Theorising Childhood and Adolescence (SW4085)
  • Understanding Mental Health Practice (SW4713)
  • Violence Against Women: Practice and Prevention Across Different Communities (SW4720)
  • Youth Justice: Theory, Policy and Practice (SW4718)

Further Information


Keynote lectures, seminars, tutorials, material for self-directed learning, e-learning, workshops will form part of university based learning provision.

Students will be required to link formal learning to their practice and will be encouraged to build on existing skills/develop new skills to consolidate their learning across the academic and practice fields.

Skills, values and knowledge will be developed through group discussions, group tutorials, presentations and practice learning opportunities.

The overarching teaching and learning strategy will enable students to develop cognitive skills which are appropriate to independent learning and postgraduate study.

A range of assessment methods will include essays, presentations, case studies, practice observation, reflective writing, practice portfolios, and personal development files.

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, you can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).

Please contact the CPD team for specific guidance to support you in completing an application and to ensure it is directed appropriately once submitted. You will be advised to apply through the University Online Application System.

Individuals should initially discuss their application with their employer as arrangements may be in place for financial and study leave support.

Should you have any further questions about the application or enrolment process please contact the CPD team on:
Tel: +44 (0)1772 894361/3408

For further details about the course and module options please contact:
Matt Graham, Course Leader
Tel: +44 (0)1772 893462

Admissions Entry Point

Candidates who have already achieved a relevant PGCert (or equivalent) may commence at stage 2.

Candidates who have already achieved a relevant PGDip (or equivalent) may commence at stage 3.

For eligibility and further information please contact us.


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2020/21

Full-time: N/A
Part-time: £765 per 20 credits

£6,525 if commence course in 2018/19 or 2019/20 (UK/EU)

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

Professional Accreditation

The Centre for CPD has been awarded BASW CPD Provider Accreditation. Valid February 2018 – February 2020.


Students who are enrolled with the School of Social Work, Care and Community may be eligible for international travel opportunities relevant to their study.

Progression routes

For full details on the school’s CPD offering and progression routes please visit our CPD page.

For further study please visit the School of Social, Work, Care and Community Course list.


I chose to apply to UCLan to complete my masters for a number of reasons:

I found the ability to tailor the qualification to my chosen interests a much better option for me personally The ability to complete this qualification on a modular basis at my own pace and at times that worked well for me not just September - May in working hours

The high levels of expertise in modules such as violence against women were particularly interesting and I felt I was learning about the latest areas of research in that field by highly knowledgeable staff

My dissertation supervisor deserves a special mention as his high levels of support and availability allowed me to explore my area of interest and produce a piece of work that was important to me and my work practice. It has been a highly enjoyable process to allow me to develop my skills for future work prospects.

Feedback from a 2018 Graduate, Dissertation entitled ‘Widening participation in FE & HE and the impact this may have upon students’ mental health and wellbeing’