Harper Adams is to launch Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Studies, beginning September 2010.  The PgCert is a self contained qualification completed in one academic year. It is intended to feed in to the Harper Adams validated PgDip and thereafter the MSc in Professional Studies (which are also online).  It may also feed in to a Negotiated Studies award.


Who is it for?

The award is suitable for developing or established  professionals who are seeking to develop their knowledge of, and practice in, their own work context. Applications are particularly welcome from, though not limited to,  individuals connected to the rural economy – for example staff in rurally focussed colleges and businesses.

What is the course?

During this course you will be able to undertake learning in your work place whilst receiving online support and guidance, and whilst working towards a postgraduate qualification. This two module programme is delivered fully online; there is no requirement to attend campus.

In the module ‘Analysing the work setting’ you will explore your workplace and your sector in a systematic and critical way. You will consider what traditions and events have influenced your area of practice and how future trends are likely to influence your professional domain. You will identify what the current challenges are for your industry and you will develop value-positions on current debates. In the exploration of your work context you will seek out and analyse case study of responsible practice.

In the module ‘action research’ you will undertake a small scale project which implements a change within your own practice with the aim of generating an improvement. The module equips you with the necessary strategies to methodically design, implement and systematically evaluate a change in your own practice whilst adhering to an established research strategy for real world work-place research.

This course is enables you to engage in a formal programme of study which is highly personalised, and relevant. It enables a deeper understanding of current issues, practices and traditions to be formed, whilst also developing communication skills, research skills and critical thinking. The course is delivered at a distance through a range of resources, guided activities and online discussions (through tutor facilitated forums). The development of an online community space provides the opportunity for rich cross-professional peer interaction as well as tutor support.  Assessment is undertaken via a portfolio that relates directly to the learning journey, the online activities and the individual research and inquiry undertaken.

How will it benefit me?

The postgraduate certificate programme offers the chance to stand back and analyse your own sector and your own practice to develop a deeper understanding of historical influences, current challenges and future opportunities. In developing this knowledge you are equipped with significant contextual information to enable you to thrive within your career, such contextual knowledge can particularly provide a useful backdrop for decision making and leading teams or projects. The programme also provides a clear opportunity for the development of your own personal practice; it provides a vehicle to implement change for improvement. Through the development of a project for improvement, informed by thorough planning, your organisation may also reap the benefits of your project. To maximise the benefits of your project you are encouraged to disseminate any valuable information or outputs.

You will become skilled in collecting, analysing and interpreting data (qualitative or quantitative) and you will become confident in critically using a range of information sources including academic texts, industry documents and media rich and more informal information sources. Through engagement with the online mode of delivery and engagement in the online community you will further develop your own skills in the use of online technologies. You communication skills will be developed in the workplace as you engage with colleagues to inform your development and also through the online forum where you will share ideas, offer critical friendship and engage with tutors.  

For entrants in 2010/11 a number of subsidised places are available – for a discussion about the course, including access to a fee subsidy, please contact larnold@harper-adams.ac.uk or call 01952 815277