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Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Studies in Education


This professional qualification gives an introduction to postgraduate study in the field of education and offers the opportunity to explore one topic in detail. The modules available cover a range of areas within education but all encourage you to draw on your own experiences and undertake enquiry in your own context. You may also qualify for this postgraduate certificate course if you do not complete a full masters degree in education.

Planning your studies

To study for this postgraduate certificate course you must usually hold a bachelors degree from a UK university or other recognised degree-awarding body, or a qualification at equivalent level.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you seek assessment under the International English Language Teaching System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

You will usually need to be able to work with learners, but not necessarily in a formal teaching situation. You will be encouraged to relate the content of the modules to your own experiences and to develop skills of independent study and enquiry. If you are not sure whether your qualifications and experience are suitable, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice.

If you are considering later studying either the Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Studies in Education (D52) or the Masters degree in Education (F01) then we strongly recommend you study the 60-credit module Educational enquiry (E891) as part of your postgraduate certificate. E891 provides an introduction to masters-level work and is compulsory for the postgraduate diploma and masters degree.

Postgraduate certificate modules that are currently available for study worldwide are E805, E846, E852, E854, E855, E856 and E891. These modules are available anywhere in the world (unless you are a resident of South Africa and may be restricted to studying through your Open University affiliate in your country).

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 20 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

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 qualification offers teachers and other education professionals working with learners of all ages 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.

This qualification does not qualify you for teacher registration.

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 60-credit postgraduate certificate, you require:

60 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Critical issues in equity, diversity and educational practice (E805)

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 2015
Curriculum, learning and society: investigating practice (E846)

This module 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 2015 FINAL
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 2015
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 module.

See full description

60 Oct 2015
Educational leadership: context, strategy and collaboration (E856)

This module 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 2015
Investigating language in action (E854)

This masters level module 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 2015
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 module is for you.

See full description

60 Oct 2015
Leading professional practice in education (E855)

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 2015
Researching mathematics learning (ME825)

This module 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 2015
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 2015

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, E850, E851, E853, E857, E859, ED826, ED837, ED840, EZX836, ME822, SEH806.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Studies in Education entitling you to use the letters PGCPSE (Open) after your name.

You may continue your studies and add a further 60 credits (including E891, if you have not studied this module towards the certificate) to gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Studies in Education (D52) and can achieve a Masters Degree in Education (F01) on successful completion of 180 credits.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification

About this Certificate
Code C27
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 60 credits

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The University wishes to emphasise that, while every effort is made to regularly update this site, the material on it is subject to alteration or amendment in the light of changes in regulations or in policy or of financial or other necessity.