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Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Studies in Education

This postgraduate diploma course, part of our professional studies in education programme, offers the opportunity to study one area of education in detail. It is aimed at education professionals and those who are involved in supporting learning, in both formal and informal environments. The modules available address a range of current educational issues but all offer you the opportunity to investigate issues of interest to you in your own practice and context. You may also qualify for this postgraduate diploma if you do not complete a full masters degree in education.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

Across the globe there is an increasing demand for creative, innovative education professionals who have highly developed skills and a deep understanding of learning. This postgraduate diploma course offers teachers and other education professionals working with learners of all ages, both formally and informally, the opportunity to develop professionally and academically through masters-level study. It is suitable for graduates working in formal education settings (nurseries, schools, colleges and universities), those supporting non-formal learning as well as education leaders and policy makers. Modules in this qualification are designed to enable you to update your knowledge and skills and give you the opportunity to reflect on your professional practice whilst developing your understanding of theoretical models and current debates.

Case studies and examples are from a worldwide context and this qualification will be relevant to educators across the globe.

Please note:  This qualification does not qualify you for teacher registration with teaching authorities.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this 120-credit postgraduate diploma you require:

60 credits from the following compulsory module:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
Educational enquiry (E891)

Explore educational enquiry, including data processing and analysis, and learn effective techniques for reading, assessing and reviewing research literatures with this introductory masters-level course.

See full description.

60 Oct

And 60 credits from the following list of optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Contemporary issues in science learning (SEH806)

Investigate key issues in contemporary science teaching, including the influence of theories of learning; the purposes of science education; and using ICT to support learning.

See full description.

60 Jan
Continuing professional development in practice (U810)

Audit and assess the impact that your continuing professional development (CPD) activity has had on your work, and evaluate ways of sharing your learning.

See full description.

30 May
Critical issues in equity, diversity and educational practice (E805) NEW

You will develop of an understanding of the factors contributing to social and educational exclusion and explore approaches and pedagogies for establishing inclusive learning environments.

See full description.

60 Oct
Curriculum, learning and society: investigating practice (E846)

This course enables teachers and education professionals to analyse, evaluate and develop their own and others' practice and enter debates in teaching, learning and assessment.

See full description.

60 Oct
Difficulties in literacy development (E801)

Explore appropriate curriculum responses to the needs of children as well as the wider issues relevant to adults who experience difficulty in literacy development.

See full description.

60 Oct
Educational leadership: context, strategy and collaboration (E856)

This course explores current thinking on educational leadership and management and encourages effective integration of theory and practice in developing your leadership skills.

See full description.

60 Oct
Investigating language in action (E854)

This masters level course examines and reflects on the nature and use of language in action, and develops your skills in analysing English texts.

See full description.

60 Oct
Language, literacy and learning in the contemporary world (E852)

If you are interested in exploring language, literacy and learning in today's world with its increasing linguistic and cultural diversity and rapid technological development, this online masters-level course is for you.

See full description.

60 Oct
Leading professional practice in education (E855) NEW

You will explore the internal-facing aspects of leadership and management through looking at the curriculum and the learner's role, leading change and promoting professional development.

See full description.

60 Oct
Reflecting on professional learning in education (EE880)

Reflect on your experience studying for your OU PGCE and examine how your theoretical understanding relates to your thought processes and practice as a teacher.

See full description.

60 Apr
Reflecting on professional learning in education (EE881)

Reflect on your experience studying for your PGCE and examine how your theoretical understanding relates to your thought processes and practice as a teacher.

See full description.

60 Apr
Researching mathematics learning (ME825)

This course offers valuable insight into the teaching and learning of mathematics for anyone involved €“ from classroom assistants and teachers to lecturers and parents.

See full description.

60 Oct
Understanding children's development and learning (ED841)

Examines children's development and learning in cultural, educational and social contexts and how children shape their own development through meaningful interaction with others.

See full description.

60 Oct

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules E804, E825, E828, E829, E831, E835, E836, E838, E839, E841, E842, E843, E844, E845, E848, E849, E857, E859, ED826, ED837, ME822, E850, E851, E853, ED840, EZX836

Educational aims

The Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Studies in Education sits within the Masters in Education Programme and provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes necessary to further independent advanced scholarship.

This programme contributes to the personal development of those concerned with education both formally and informally in a range of settings and locations. Coursework encourages you to bring together your personal understanding of issues relating to specific aspects of education with the enduring and current body of professional and academic research publications relevant to your professional/personal agenda.

Advanced scholarship is fostered through study of particular disciplines within education and through student-determined, small-scale research projects. These projects provide the opportunity for you to integrate the learning guided by the programme with your personal interests in education and, as appropriate, your practical professional knowledge.

The modular structure of this masters degree programme allows you to progressively broaden the knowledge and understanding of your chosen aspects of education. It also provides for the development and consolidation of advanced scholarship through practice and refinement of the independent learning inherent in the academic literacy and conventions of academic writing required for successful study at masters level.

The  postgraduate diploma (D52) is distinguished from the completed masters degrees (F01) by the breadth of discipline-specific study included in the qualification.

Learning outcomes

The programme provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • the relationship between research and the various kinds of educational practice to which it can relate
  • recent research into effective practice in one area of education
  • current debates, concepts and issues in the studied area of education and their relationship to wider political, economic and social developments
  • ethical frameworks and measures appropriate to educational contexts
  • the processes entailed in carrying out a small scale research enquiry.

The skills listed below under Cognitive skills, Practical and/or professional skills and attributes, and Key skills are integral to the achievement of these learning outcomes.

Cognitive skills

The ability to:

  • define and appropriately utilise key terms, concepts and theories in educational research
  • apply and refine critical thinking skills in relation to reviewing literature and research
  • critically interpret, assess and deploy research methodologies and their evidence.

Practical and/or professional skills

To enable you to:

  • plan a project
  • manage a project
  • monitor your own learning
  • structure a project report
  • achieve a professional standard of presentation of a project report
  • pay due heed to ethical consideration in doing and reporting a project.

Note: the achievement of the above learning outcomes within particular educational settings will require you to demonstrate discipline-specific, practical/professional learning outcomes, such as discourse analysis. These are detailed in the study materials.

Key skills

Demonstrate the ability to:

  • work independently on a project or extended assignment involving the analysis and presentation of materials and issues
  • produce original texts to communicate ideas concisely and effectively in written work, which shows clear expression and coherent structure
  • investigate and issue of practical or policy or theoretical relevance to your particular context or professional area
  • take personal responsibility to complete an extended and varied programme of learning which required sustained and independent application use information and communication technology appropriately for information retrieval and communication purposes.

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