MA /MSc Professional Practice (Specialism): Extended

The University of Bolton’s innovative and dynamic MA/MSc Professional Practice (Specialism): Extended allows you to shape your master’s degree to your individual passions and goals. Combining focused study in one or two specialisms of your choice with essential training to develop the high-level transferable skills needed for career success, you can personalise your studies, extend your expertise and become the master of your future career development.

Key information



Mode of Study:



18 months


University of Bolton

Start date:


Course Details

Personalise your Postgraduate education
If you’re looking for a postgraduate course that exactly matches your strengths and ambitions then your search is over. The University of Bolton's MA/MSc Professional Practice (Specialism): Extended allows you to design your own master’s degree. We’ll help you personalise your postgraduate education by combining the disciplines that matter for your future. This bespoke course will support you to gain a combination of academic, analytical, and employment-focused skills that will prepare you for a career in your chosen professional area, as well as provide a sound basis for doctoral-level study.

Supporting your choices
Working with our expert tutors, you can choose two modules from across the whole spectrum of master’s level modules available at the University of Bolton. You’ll also be supported to devise a master’s-level dissertation or major project that develops your research and critical thinking skills and allows you to demonstrate your expertise. We’ll counsel you as you make these choices to ensure you create a coherent programme of study – one that is achievable and that will support you to develop the skills and knowledge you seek. We offer a wide range of subjects and you can choose modules from a single area or from two different disciplines, depending on your interests, prior qualifications and experience.

Capture essential employability, transferable and business skills
Alongside your subject-specific studies, you’ll have the opportunity to build the essential employability, transferable and business skills you need to compete with confidence for your dream job or build your own successful business from the ground up. You’ll focus on developing the skills that are most valuable to you as an individual, as shaped by your prior learning and future plans. We’ll guide you to explore areas such as influence and impact, self-management, creativity and innovation, and professional identity, bringing in business and psychological concepts to enhance your development as a professional.

Focusing on your future
We want to help you gain the skills and self-belief to showcase your worth in your chosen field. We’ll guide you to explore and understand the postgraduate labour market in the sector you wish to join, preparing you to apply your new knowledge, attributes and experiences so that you can satisfy and impress your stakeholders (such as employers, clients, commissioners and funding bodies). We’ll help you learn about the recruitment methods used by different types of organisations in your field, explore your personal brand and self-positioning, and prepare for recruitment and selection or self-employment. In addition, we’ll support you to develop skills in commercial ability and acumen, networking and professional relationship management, as well as strategies for career maintenance and growth.

Tried and tested research-informed coaching
Throughout the programme, we’ll use tried and tested, research-informed coaching and training methods to support your development. These will range from postgraduate-level skills in research, critique, problem-solving, professional presentation and synthesis to interpersonal and business-relevant skills such as innovative thinking, team working and project management, the effective use of technology, public speaking and professionalism. All this knowledge will be tailored to your chosen employment context to help you achieve your vision for your future.

An ideal course for graduates and professionals in a wide range of areas
This course should appeal to (but isn’t limited to) graduates and professionals in areas such as art and design, accountancy, science, engineering, business management, film FX, performing arts, community development and youth, computing, games, construction, law, crime and criminal justice, early years, education, English and creative writing, mathematics, nursing and the caring professions, media, psychology, the humanities and sport.

Would you prefer to complete your course over a different timeframe? We also offer this course full-time over 12 months or part-time over 24 months. For details of the 12-month course, please visit our full-time MA/MSc Professional Practice (Specialism) course search web page. Alternatively, to find out more and apply for the 24-month course, please visit our part-time MA/MSc Professional Practice (Specialism) course search web page.

  • Dr Selva Pankaj, the author of ‘Thinking into Character – A Proven Methodology for the Creation of Success & Self-Fulfilment’, is a valued partner of the University whose work will support you in the development of business and career planning, confidence and knowledge.
  • This course allows you to focus on one subject or to combine two areas of interest to follow an interdisciplinary route. When you successfully complete the master's, your degree title will be chosen to reflect the focus of your studies.
  • Our highly qualified and professionally experienced staff have strong links with many economic sectors, offering opportunities for industry masterclasses and lectures, joint projects, and networking.
  • The University of Bolton offers a host of world-class facilities across our campus and faculties. Depending on your choice of modules, you'll be able to make use of our specialist facilities to support your studies.
  • This MA/MSc is part of the University of Bolton’s ‘Career Development Masters’ suite, which offers shared modules designed to give you a wider business perspective, including tax self-assessment, invoicing, intellectual property and risk assessments, as well as knowing how to start a business and to take advantage of opportunities for enterprise development.
Key Features
  • Teaching and supervision are delivered by dedicated staff chosen for their expertise and experience in fields relevant to your areas of study and professional development needs.
  • We offer an engaging programme of visiting speakers and practitioners that gives you opportunities to network with and learn from industry professionals.
  • We'll offer you opportunities for interdisciplinary work and collaboration.
  • Your studies will culminate in your Professional Dissertation, an independent and substantial piece of research that will further your knowledge and practice. This will demonstrate your mastery of an aspect of your field, showcasing your expert knowledge to employers as well as forming an ideal preparation for doctoral-level studies should you to wish to pursue a PhD.
  • Your final master’s degree title will reflect your specialist areas of study (please note that the final award title will be selected in agreement with the University within the parameters specified in programme documentation). If you have chosen two specialist subject areas with equal weighting, the title will reflect both specialist subject areas; for instance, MA Professional Practice Creative Writing and Computing. If one of your specialist subject areas has a greater weighting than the other, the word ‘with’ will be used instead of ‘and’ between the two subject areas; for example, MA Professional Practice Creative Writing with Computing.
  • By choosing to study with us, you'll have the chance to enjoy Bolton's many shops, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities. Manchester, one of the UK's most multicultural and lively cities, is less than 20 minutes away by train. Not forgetting, the North West of England is renowned for its beautiful countryside, coastline and heritage. This makes Bolton an ideal base from which to explore some of the best cultural and outdoor activities the UK offers.

  • You should have at least a lower second class (2.2) honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject or five years’ relevant work experience. Some optional modules may require you to demonstrate appropriate pre-requisite knowledge. To determine if you possess the relevant pre-requisite knowledge for your chosen modules, you’ll need to submit a claim for recognition of prior (experiential) learning. If you hold an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject you may provide a transcript or other documentation that details your prior study. Alternatively, you may be able to demonstrate your professional experience via a portfolio of attested work. Please contact the programme leader to discuss your options.
  • If you wish to gain admission on the basis of five years’ relevant work experience, you’ll be required to attend an online or face-to-face interview and present evidence in the form of a portfolio of work and examples that demonstrate your suitability and aptitude for the course. The evidence should be presented in electronic format and attested by an independent person. The independent person could be a current or former lecturer or an employer who has a more senior role than yourself. The University is looking for candidates who can demonstrate a clear style and commitment to their professional practice and who will benefit from experiencing this area of study.
  • Some modules may require you to satisfactorily complete Fitness to Practice assessments or get an Enhanced Disclosure certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). You don’t need to complete these before starting the course, but if you’re unable to meet these requirements you may be limited in your module choices.
  • We'll consider applications where appropriate work experience can be demonstrated in lieu of, or in addition to, the published academic qualifications in line with the University’s Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) procedures.
  • If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.

The MA/MSc Professional Practice (Specialism): Extended offers named postgraduate routes for interdisciplinary studies capturing one or two fields of interest along with a host of career-relevant transferable skills and knowledge. It can act as a bridge, where appropriate, into a new field of employment or practice if your undergraduate degree was in another subject area. Additionally, it’s an excellent option if you’ve been working in a relevant field gaining degree-level knowledge through experience and self-study rather than formal education. This master’s aims to expand the knowledge and expertise you’ve gained through your undergraduate or professional work and pave the way for you to achieve your ambitions.

The key ingredient found in many successful people and leaders is ‘confidence without arrogance’. Successful people know how to use their skills and knowledge for maximum impact. An essential focus of this course is on giving you the confidence to promote yourself effectively by drawing on the most appropriate elements of your expertise, presenting your ideas and work in the correct way, at the right time and to the most relevant people. The University of Bolton’s strong and growing links with companies and organisations across the North West sets a scene that allows for coaching, networking and employment opportunities.

As a graduate of this master’s degree, you’ll possess in-depth knowledge in your field(s) of interest and a unique body of work that demonstrates your abilities and style. You’ll be able to act autonomously, and use your initiative, problem-solving and leadership skills to manage complex situations. You’ll have valuable skills in employability, problem-solving, and in collaborative and team working with other professionals, community members, and commercial organisations. Overall, the course offers no-nonsense guidance towards self-improvement. By the end of the course, you should have the skills to take charge of your personal and professional development and be able to reflect on your progress as you work towards your goals.

What can I do with this qualification?

This is a career-focused master’s degree that will support you to develop advanced knowledge and skills in your chosen field(s) of study. During the course, we’ll also guide you to make clear plans as to how you will use your expertise to progress your career in your chosen professional arena. This qualification also forms the basis for doctoral studies if you wish to pursue a career in academia or research and development.

As a graduate of this master’s degree, you'll be well prepared to seek employment or promotion, or become self-employed using the enterprise and innovation skills you’ve developed as part of the course. You'll possess the knowledge needed to submit financial/budget applications or business plans and to prepare and launch various projects. How you use your skills will depend on your chosen area(s) of study and your personal interests and ambitions. However, you can rest assured that you'll have the confidence, knowledge and skills to drive forward in your career or enterprise development.

On successfully completing the course, you’ll be invited to continue your education via the MPhil and PhD degrees that are available at the University of Bolton.

Alternative career options

Graduates can also use the qualification as a stepping-stone into a range of other careers. For some of these roles, both relevant experience and/or postgraduate study may be required. Some of these careers include:

  • Leadership and management
  • Marketing and public relations
  • Social enterprise
  • Policy management
  • Education and teaching
  • Advising and consultancy

Course fees

Home students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Home fee of £6,167 for the academic year 2022/23.

Home students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Home fee of £6,167 for the academic year 2023/24.

Overseas students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Overseas fee of £12,950 for the academic year 2022/23.

Overseas students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Overseas fee of £13,550 for the academic year 2023/24.

Useful information

This course is one of our Career Development Master's - Game Changers degree programmes. Generous bursary schemes are being offered for these courses. Please see our Scholarship and Bursaries web pages.

Important note regarding tuition fees for the 2022-2023 academic year: EU nationals who meet residency requirements (have settled or pre-settled status) may be eligible for 'Home' fee status. If you do not meet these residency requirements, overseas fees will apply. Irish citizens living in the UK or Ireland will be eligible for 'Home' fee status under the Common Travel Area arrangement. Please read the student finance for EU students web page on for information.

The fees for a student's course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.


Click here for more information on our Master's Bursaries.

For details of how to apply for this course, please choose your status from the options below:

You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or

Thank you for your interest

In order to determine your suitability for this course as an international student and also to confirm you meet any initial eligibility criteria, we need you to answer a few short questions.


Our team of academic and professional staff will use a variety of teaching and learning strategies to help you gain and develop appropriate concepts, knowledge and skills. You can expect practice-based enquiry, self-directed study, lectures, seminars, tutorials, presentations and work-based learning. Scheduled sessions will be held in the evening, allowing full-time and part-time students to study together and offering opportunities for those working in professional/industrial environments to present live case studies.

It’s important to realise that the time spent with a tutor during formally scheduled activities is only a small part of the learning time identified for a module. You’ll also be expected to spend a significant amount of time in guided independent study, such as general background reading, preparing for seminar activities and working on assignments. We are committed to supporting you throughout your learning journey. Over time, our guidance will purposefully become less structured and prescriptive. This will encourage you to develop confidence and independence in your studies, and take responsibility for managing your own learning time as you increase in autonomy.

The assessment strategy for the programme is designed to help you achieve the overall aims of the curriculum, as well as the learning outcomes for individual modules. As well as assessing your achievement, it helps to organise and develop your learning. Assessment feedback can help you develop your skills and an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.

The types of assessment you’ll be required to complete fall into two general categories: formative and summative. Formative assessments help in learning and developing knowledge and skills. Summative assessments, on which grades are allocated, reflect the quality of the learning that has been achieved. Formative assessment will take place via tutorial discussion, group workshops including peer and tutor review, and guidance on work in progress. Formative feedback will be provided face-to-face via discussion, online or in written form. Summative assessments consist of both practical and applied theoretical work. These will include a range of assessments including practical projects, written work, presentations and portfolios.


The modules listed below may be a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules shown as part of the course.

  • Business Literacy and Employment Skills
  • Solutions Driven Design and Practice
  • Professional Dissertation
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 100%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 80%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 20%


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up-to-date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason, we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Meet the team

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Zubair Hanslot
Dr, Provost and Executive Lead for Postgraduate

+44 (0)1204 903045

Mohammed Abdel-Haq
Professor, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Postgraduate Development

Angela Tinwell
Dr, Senior Lecturer, Postgraduate Developments

+44 (0)1204 903589

Andy Graham
Dr, Executive Dean, Research and Graduate School

+44 (0)1204 903220

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton

+44 (0)1204 903903

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Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
RiSE pos rgb logo
QQA Scheme Participant