MA/MSc/MBA - for UK/EU professionals

CWRS offers you an edge: work, learn, adapt. Our innovative and highly acclaimed Master’s degree enable you to tailor your own learning with dedicated academic specialists in subjects that make a difference to your life and work. Be one of the 1000+ professionals studying our unique course at the award-winning University of Chester, the top ranked ‘new’ university in the North West of England.

Paul is a high-flying social media marketing professional who wanted to stretch his mind and boost his employability. He decided to join CWRS because he could drive his learning whilst continuing his daily work. As part of his studies, Paul designed new media marketing projects using advances in behavioural psychology, and as a result, is making changes to corporate marketing strategy.
Paul, MSc in Applied Psychologies for New Media Marketing (WBIS)

Negotiated, work-based learning Master’s degrees

Negotiated, work-based learning is different. It is ‘negotiated’ which means that you tailor the learning on the course to meet your own professional interests and aspirations, and it is ‘work-based’ which means that you will learn through real workplace activity and projects rather than by sitting in a classroom. But you work with highly experienced academic specialists who guide and support you through your journey with us. Together, this is a powerful recipe for highly relevant, individualised and challenging professional development, which leads to a prestigious Master’s level qualification.

CWRS’s highly acclaimed negotiated, work-based learning programme is called Work Based and Integrative Studies (WBIS for short), but because you negotiate your learning, you also have the unique opportunity to tailor your award title to reflect your area of expertise (excludes MBA). For example, a professional who focuses their learning around developing leaders may negotiate their title to be an MA in Leadership Development (WBIS). Or a healthcare professional developing organisational structures in a hospital might negotiate their title to be an MSc in Clinical Organisational Development (WBIS). Or you can select the prestigious MBA award (Master of Business Administration)

When you register on WBIS:

  • Your learning is tailored to meet your specific needs, interests and aspirations
  • You design your award title with university specialists (excludes MBA)
  • You can gain academic credit for your prior experiential and certificated learning
  • You can learn at a distance using the online WBIS Portal and learning technology
  • You can choose from online, workplace project or workshop modules

WBIS is ideal for those who recognise the potential of learning through work and who are prepared to assume a high level of responsibility for their own learning. Read about Paul's story:

Paul is a high flying social media marketing professional in a high growth, entrepreneurial business in the UK. After achieving his degree and working for some time, he felt he needed to stretch his mind and his capabilities. He felt a Master’s qualification would do this, but would also invest in his future employability. Yet the problem was that he had less and less time for himself as the business was growing rapidly; he could not afford the luxury of taking time out to do it. Upon recommendation, he realised that a WBIS Master’s could enable him to achieve his goal with minimal time out. He negotiated a MSc in Applied Psychologies for New Media Marketing (WBIS), and his pathway involved designing and implementing new technology projects in his daily work, using advances in behavioural psychology. He realised that CWRS’ approach was ideal for his needs; it enabled him to study aspects of his work in greater depth and create deeper impacts as a result.


The structure of your Master’s degree

Our professional learners typically start their learning with the Self Review and Negotiation of Learning module. Here, you will build a strong relationship with your highly experienced Personal Academic Tutor, who is a specialist academic that is dedicated to you and your progress throughout your studies. In Self Review and Negotiation of Learning, your Personal Academic Tutor will help you select what to study, when, and through which mode (see below). This also involves agreeing an award aim, such as an MA or MSc, and a unique title for your studies, such as Nursing Studies or Business Administration.


Master’s level award

Credit requirements and example pathways
(*=see the ‘your options’ section next)

Master's degree (MA/MSc)

9 modules (180 postgraduate credits), e.g.

  • Self Review and Negotiation of Learning, plus
  • 4 module choices*
  • Designing Practitioner Research
  • Work-based investigation/project (triple module)

MBA degree

9 modules (180 postgraduate credits), e.g.

  • Skills & Approaches for Work-Based Learning, plus
  • 4 module choices*
  • Designing Practitioner Research
  • Work-based investigation/project (triple module)
  • The above must cover all of the MBA topic areas, for example: customers and markets; finance; management of operations, communication and information technology; and business policy and strategy.

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)

6 modules (120 postgraduate credits), e.g.

  • Self Review and Negotiation of Learning, plus
  • 5 module choices*

Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert)

3 modules (60 postgraduate credits), e.g.

  • Self Review and Negotiation of Learning, plus
  • 2 module choices*


*Your options

With guidance, you will design a pathway which can be a blend of the following. More information about each option is given below. Our faculty specialists are available during UK working hours (typically Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm UK time).


Accreditation of prior certificated learning

Part of your Master’s pathway might include courses which you have already successfully achieved, which carry Higher Education credits. For example, someone who has done a Postgraduate Certificate with another UK recognised university can count as 3 modules (60 credits) of a full Master’s degree. Up to 6 modules (120 credits) of APCL can count towards your Master’s with us. Please be aware a successful claim for APCL could reduce the time available to complete your award.

Accreditation of prior experiential learning

Part of your Master’s pathway might include the learning you have gained from undertaking substantial tasks or projects at work. You are guided by a faculty speciliast as to how much credit you might be able to claim, and will facilitate you in creating a portfolio to evidence that learning. Up to 6 modules (120 credits) of APEL can count towards your Master’s with us.

Workshop modules
(in the City of Chester)

You can choose modules which start with a 1 or 2 day workshop in the beautiful City of Chester (and other locations in the North West) - see our workshops. After the workshop, you are guided by your tutor, and engage in additional learning materials.

Modules facilitated at a distance (online)

We also offer a range of modules which are facilitated at a distance, where no physical attendance at the University is required. See our module catalogue.

Work-based projects

You may also choose to integrate a variety of work-based projects into your degree. This is about learning experientially, ‘on the job', as opposed to in a lecture theatre or seminar room.

Designing Practitioner Research

This module is compulsory for full MA/MSc/MBA learners. This module is about designing research projects that will make a strategic difference in your workplace. In it, you will create and justify a persuasive proposal design, which is then carried out as the final work-based project of your Master’s.


Other courses may have set pathways, for example the PGCert in Work Based Learning Facilitation (WBIS).


How your learning will be assessed

You will negotiate the assessment method with your specialist module tutor at the start of each module. This can typically involve a portfolio of learning, an assignment, a presentation, a dialogue assessment, a storyboard or a combination of these. There are no written examinations.


Your career prospects

All of our learners are professionals already in work, and so their motivation is often to boost their career progression, or change their career path to something more fulfilling. By choosing a negotiated, work-based learning degree, our students choose a pathway which is relevant to their specific needs. Through our innovative approach, many of our professional learners report significant increases in professional confidence after completing their studies. Ultimately, you are in the driving seat of your learning during your course, so your prospects afterwards are largely driven by what you want to achieve.


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