Professional Development and Practice MA/PGDip/PGCert

Professional Development and Practice MA/PGDip/PGCert

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:

    PGCert 1 – 2 years, PGDip 1 – 2 years, MA 1 year

  • 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?

The PGCert award offers the opportunity of postgraduate study for practitioners in social work and social care in settings beyond specialist child care, adult and mental health teams, for example: YOT, homeless services, domestic violence, learning disabilities and substance misuse specialisms. For social workers this will provide evidence of their learning in order to meet HCPC requirements for renewing their registration. However, we would expect this course to be attractive to non-social work qualified staff as part of their continuing professional development (CPD) and career development. The core module aims to support practitioners to extend their knowledge and analytical skills in relation to their own CPD and to reflect on their capability in relation to their evolving scope of practice.

Candidates can enhance their academic qualification by progressing from a PGCert to complete the PGDiploma, or from a PGDiploma on to the MA. This is a generic route and provides a flexible and wide choice of modules. For the PGDiploma the candidate will complete a research module and choose 2 other modules from a broad range. The MA will involve a dissertation in an area of their specialist practice.

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;

Applicants will normally be practitioners in an area of social care or social work.

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

Programme at a Glance

PGCert comprises of 3 modules:
Critical reflection on Professional Learning and Development (SW4703)
Plus 2 modules from Option List below

PGDip comprises of 3 modules:
Introduction to Social Research (SW4027)
Plus 2 modules from Option List below (except modules already completed in PGCert)

MA comprises of 1 60 credit module:
Dissertation (SW4037)

Option List for PGCert and PGDip:

  • 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)
  • End of Life Care (SW4711)
  • 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)
  • Management Coaching Skills (MD4061)
  • Professional Development Review (SW4700)
  • Professional Practice within Learning Disability Services (SW4715)
  • 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: Social Impact and Practitioner Responses (SW4722)
  • 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)

Postgraduate Advice Event

Find out more about Postgraduate courses at our Postgraduate Advice Event on 15 May 2018

Further Information

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 

How to Apply

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).

To study towards the PGCert or PGDip award, you can apply either on a course basis or individual modular basis. To study towards the MA award you will apply on a course basis.

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




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 2018/19

Full-time: N/A
Part-time: £725 per 20 credits studied (UK/EU)

Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated.

*Optional Module MD4061 fee will be higher. Lower exceptional fees may apply to some modules. Module fees will remain the same for the duration of the course providing students do not interrupt their study.

MA = £2175 for 2018/19 (60 credit module)

Further information:

For 2017/18 fees please refer to our fees page.

Professional Accreditation

The University has been endorsed by the College of Social Work as a provider of CPD training.

Learning Environment and Assessment

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.


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

On successful completion of this award students can progress to PGDip/MA awards as part of their CPD. For full details on the school’s CPD offering and progression routes please visit