Staff member? Login here

Professional Practice

Course overview

(MA) Master of Arts
Professional Practice
University of Essex
University of Essex
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
Full-time or by credit accumulation
MA L50212

A relevant professional qualification – e.g. Nursing, AHP, Social Worker etc so registered with NMC or HCPC

A minimum of 2 years post qualification experience

A good first degree in a relevant subject OR relevant professional experience and qualifications that demonstrate ability to study at level 7

Currently employed in a relevant field of practice – e.g. in health or social care setting - NHS, local authority, education, community or third sector etc

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Leadership Pathway: HS640 Education Pathway: HS919 and HS918
If you choose to take the credit accumulation version of the course, you will have a maximum of 5 years to complete. Please contact should you have any queries regarding this course.

External Examiners

Dr Suryia Nayak
The University of Salford
Senior Lecturer

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 HS611-7-AP or HS611-7-PS or HS611-7-SL Core with Options 30 Core with Options Core with Options
02 Option(s) from list Core with Options 30 Core with Options Core with Options
03 Option(s) from list Core with Options 30 Core with Options
04 Option(s) from list Core with Options 30 Core with Options
05 HS982-7-FY or HS982-7-SP Core with Options 60

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

1. To provide a learning environment of high quality that supports the development of a professional who is effective, confident and experienced in their field of professional practice and able to act autonomously in planning and implementing developments at professional levels.

2. To model and promote excellence in all areas of professional practice, encouraging professionalism with the confidence and ability to utilise critical and reflective abilities to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, making sound judgements and communicating their conclusions clearly

3. To provide students with skills to access and critically appraise research findings to develop their own evidence-based practice

4. To provide students with the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the essential principles of research design and to conduct an extensive piece of independent research including: planning, formulating, designing, choosing research methods, collecting data, analysing, interpreting and writing-up

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Demonstrate high level analytical skills within contemporary frameworks, in evaluating needs, structures, systems and resources
A2 Utilise and critically engage and reflect on concepts, theories and models
A3 To reflect upon and critically explore professional practice within a field relevant to the student s own professional practice.
A4 Demonstrate awareness and critical understanding of the theoretical and research-based literature related to professional practice
A5 Advanced understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods
A6 Understanding of how to conduct original research including relevant ethical and legal issues
Learning Methods: Learning Outcomes 1-4 will be delivered through:
Directed pre-reading and writing tasks on different aspects of professional practice and are covered in lectures and seminars, and on-line activities which introduce the material in a structured manner with opportunity for further discussion. Much of the learning adopts an enquiry-based learning approach

A1-4 are further supported by practical experience and coursework development and in addition for students undertaking the MaPP, the supervision to completion of an independent research project.

A5-A6 will be delivered through preperation project workshops/modules, including material presented at workshops, 1:1 supervision and support from information on Moodle.

Assessment Methods: All Learning Outcomes are formally assessed by course work assignments.

A5 + A6 are assessed through completion of assignment tasks that test application of research techniques and for MaPP students a dissertation based upon original research relevant to the student’s field of professional practice.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Systematically gather and critically examine theoretical, conceptual and practice-orientated approaches to developing and maintaining professional practice within a relevant field.
B2 Translate research evidence into practical application of effective therapeutic approaches in health or social care, (evidence based practice)
B3 Synthesize knowledge of theory and policy initiatives; transform it into personal knowledge by contextualising it and applying it to professional practice
B4 Plan, undertake and report an independent research project to high professional and ethical standards relevant to the student s field of professional practice.
B5 Write well-structured and well-argued assignments
Learning Methods: Learning Outcomes 1-5 will be delivered through:

B1-4 are explicated via individual supervision and lectures, group work and seminars including use of a enquiry based learning approach.

B5 is ongoing throughout the course and enhanced via tutorial support and formative feedback about coursework.

Assessment Methods: B1-3 and B5 assessed by course work assignments.
B4 is assessed through a research dissertation based on independent research within the student’s field of professional practice.

C: Practical skills

C1 Perform advanced and systematic search for information relevant to specific topics
C2 Develop and apply appropriate self-evaluation and enquiry methods which support critical reflection on professional practice.
C3 Lead and develop new roles/ therapeutic interventions/ sequence or organisation of delivery within their own professional practice.
C4 Produce a research proposal to a professional standard, to include gaining appropriate ethical approval for the project being proposed.
C5 Carry out, with supervision, research to a high professional standard within the relevant field of practice.
C6 Demonstrate professional competence by sound dissertation management and a capacity for self-appraisal by analysing the strengths and weakness of the research outcomes with reference to the initial objectives and to the work of others.
C7 Plan and present their work in an appropriate manner
Learning Methods: Learning Outcomes 1-7 will be delivered through:
Direct reading, lectures; networking with peers; on-line discussions; workshops; discussions with tutors and supervisors; projects;

Classwork, management of self-learning, group work and interactions with experts/specialists/colleagues will provide means for assessment and feedback of the practical skills acquired by the students.

In addition for students undertaking the MaPP,C5 and C7 will be supported through the supervision to completion of an independent research project.

Assessment Methods: All Learning Outcomes are formally assessed by course work assignments, and the presentation of individual work
C4-6 (for PG Dip and MaPP students only) are assessed through assignments consisting of practical excersices and the dissertation.

D: Key skills

D1 Write clearly and effectively; Summarise and communicate complex concepts to others; Communicate with professional and lay audiences appropriately.
D2 Use the internet; use word processing packages; Use presentation (including where appropriate referencing systems, data presentation, and analysis) packages
D3 Read and interpret tables of data and statistics; Use statistics to analyse data; Use packages for handling, referencing and analysisng data
D4 Choose the appropriate method of enquiry in order to address a range of practical and theoretical problems. This includes review and use of appropriate past literature, consulting experts or designing an appropriate piece of research work
D5 Work in a team with others to agree and work towards goals; Work successfully with other disciplines; Practice refelctively and facilitate this in others
D6 Learn from feedback and respond appropriately and effectively to supervision and guidance; Work pragmatically to meet deadlines; Critically evaluate own performance and utilise this to practice effectively within a particular field of professional practice.
Learning Methods: All Learning Outcomes will be delivered through:

Communication in the classroom, written assignments, group work, interactions with external and internal providers and experts, and use of information to support the development of key skills.

Assessment Methods: D1-3 is assessed through coursework and assignment preparation tasks, including practical assignments.
D4 is assessed through coursework assignments that ask students to explore and present solutions to potential or actual problems experienced in a relevant field of professional practice. For students undertaking the PG Dip or MaPP, the research dissertation (HS982) additionally includes further assesment of project formulation, planning and problem solving.
D5 and D6 are assessed through coursework assignments that encourage experiential learning and reflective practice.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: