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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political SciencesPostgraduate study

PGCert/PGDip/MSc Professional Studies (1 year)

This innovative programme is designed for experienced practitioners and managers working in public, voluntary and private sector settings who are engaged in service delivery to the public. Its inter-professional and interdisciplinary character is particularly relevant to those working in current contexts of inter-agency corporate responsibility and multi-professional practice. There are specialist pathways within this programme.

The Certificate/Diploma/MSc in Professional Studies builds on this experience for the benefit of individual students and the development of policy and practice in the social and health care fields.

Introducing your degree

This is the course page for PGCert/PGDip/MSc Professional Studies at the University of Southampton. Find out everything about Professional Studies and what studying here involves.

In this course page we explain a range of key information about the course. This includes typical entry requirements, modules you can take and how assessment works. We also suggest career opportunities open to you as a University of Southampton graduate of PGCert/PGDip/MSc Professional Studies.

If you still have questions, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any enquiries. See our contact us page for our telephone, email and address information.

We offer specialist pathways for social work professionals experienced in public, voluntary and private sector settings:

  • Leadership and Management - the advanced study of public service organisations, their management and the changing external contexts in which they operate.
  • Practice Education - a broad-based examination of management and practice issues in relation to teaching and learning in the social care workplace.

The aim of this programme is to critically examine the relationship between professional practice and research in the context of contemporary national and international policy and organisational change.

To Apply

You should apply using the University's online application form. You can find more details on our 'Apply' page.

If you are interested in studying modules as short courses please contact us for details.

Applications can be submitted at any time although we would encourage applicants to apply before the end of May. If you are seeking financial support for your postgraduate studies, we recommend that you apply before the end of February so you have time to gather the necessary documentation for your funding body/sponsor.

MSc modules
If applying for one of our MSc programmes, please specify the optional modules you intend to take, if known.

For all applications, two academic references are required. Unfortunately we cannot consider applications until we have received both references.

Programme Structure

Leadership and Management pathway:

This pathway is for managers (staff or committee members) working in organisations in the voluntary, public and private sectors, who are delivering services to the public.

The purpose of the programme is four-fold:

  • the advanced study of public service organisations, their management and the changing external context in which they operate
    preparation for and/or development of a career in the public or voluntary sector by developing skills at a professional or equivalent level, or as preparation for research or further study in the area
  • development of the ability to apply knowledge and understanding of management and leadership to complex issues in public service delivery, both systematically and creatively
  • enhancement of lifelong learning skills, personal and professional development so as to be able to work with self-direction and originality and to contribute to public sector and voluntary organisations and society at large

Practice Education pathway:

This pathway offers a broad-based examination of management and practice issues in relation to teaching and learning in the workplace. A central theme is the critical analysis of practice and the development of evidence-informed educational practice that supports positive change and the development of management, teaching, supervision and assessment skills.

Key Facts

Social Work Studies at the University of Southampton has a well established reputation for the provision of specialist post-qualification programmes in the social and health care fields.

Typical entry requirements

Leadership and Management pathway

We normally expect applicants to be managers or to identify a clear goal of progressing to management in the public, voluntary or private sectors. Applicants should possess a good honours degree in a social sciences or related subject.

If you are an experienced manager without a first degree, or, if you do not have 'manager' or 'leader' in your job title but you are carrying out 'management functions', your application may also be considered. In these situations you should use the online application form and interview to demonstrate your suitability for the course.

Practice Education pathway

We normally expect applicants to currently be social work or health and social care staff based in statutory, voluntary, private and independent sector organisations who are one or more of the following:

  • Managers and assessors concerned with the implementation of quality, high standard services within a change culture
  • Teachers engaged with student learning and development
  • Mentors involved in assisting others to learn in the workplace
  • Supervisors of students and other learners
  • Trainers with an interest in continuous professional and workforce development
  • Development Officers concerned about the application of knowledge and research in practice
  • Leaders in the development of training and education

You should have a good honours degree in social sciences or related area and a minimum of two years post-qualification experience.

There is a requirement for you to manage, supervise and teach a social care/social work student while they are undertaking the postgraduate certificate (year one of the programme).

Selection process

This programme is for graduates and/or those professionals qualified to a minimum of Dip/HE level, with two years post-qualifying experience. In addition, there are additional entry requirements dependent on which pathway is chosen.

After receiving your application, candidates who meet the entry criteria will be offered an interview.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Typical course content

The programme is studied over one year full-time or two years part-time, with the dissertation taking a further six months for those on the part-time route. It is structured mainly in one-week teaching blocks to take account of the needs of those registered on a part-time basis.

Year 1

Below is a list of common modules for all the MSc Professional Studies pathways.

Semester One
Semester Two

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Leadership and Management pathway

Modules that must be completed within this pathway:

Practice Education pathway

Modules that must be completed within this pathway:

Practice Education (Advanced Social Work)

Modules that must be completed within this pathway:

Leadership and Management (Advanced Social Work)

Modules that must be completed within this pathway:

Research Methods pathway

Modules that must be completed within this pathway:

Study locations

Hartley Library

Highfield campus

Economic, Social and Political Science is based on the main campus of ...Find out more

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