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Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Studies in Education

This professional postgraduate qualification explores education through the lens of your chosen specialism and you will be encouraged to relate your learning and theoretical content to your own experiences and context. You’ll also have the flexibility to change your specialism at Stage 2 if you want to diversify your study area. On completion of this diploma you can choose to continue studying and complete the MA or MEd in Education.

Key features of the course

  • Offers a rich diversity of specialisms to choose from to suit your professional requirements, experience, and interests.
  • Has an emphasis on professional development through collaborative learning, though alternate ways of working can be facilitated.
  • Develops and consolidates advanced scholarship and independent learning in the context of your own practice.
  • Is a stepping stone towards the MA or MEd in Education
  • Gives you the option to count your previous study towards this qualification, helping you pay less and finish sooner.


Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
1–4 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


To gain this qualification, you need 120 credits as follows:

Stage 1, 60 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
Addressing inequality and difference in educational practice (EE814)

This module explores issues of equality within the professional practice setting by way of broad themes which apply internationally – for example, ethnicity, disability, religion and gender.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023 FINAL
Educational leadership: agency, professional learning and change (EE811)
This module explores aspects of educational leadership and management, linking theory and practice. The focus is on models of leadership, leading professional development and management of change. 

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023 FINAL
Applied linguistics and English language (EE817)
This module explores how the English language works in different professional contexts, and how knowledge about language can illuminate aspects of the social world.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023 FINAL
Learning and teaching: educating the next generation (EE830)

This masters module will challenge you to think through the purposes of education and how it can be made fit for the future.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023
Or, if you have successfully completed EE806, you may count this module towards Stage 1 of this qualification.

​Stage 2, 60 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
Language, literacy and learning (EE818) 1
This module is for people interested in exploring English language, literacy learning and teaching in today’s world with its increasing linguistic and cultural diversity and rapid technological development.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023
Learning and teaching: understanding your educational practice (EE831) 1

This module focuses on the fundamental concepts of learning, pedagogy, and assessment and explores them from the perspectives of learners, teachers and whole school issues.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023
Exploring educational leadership: values, context and strategy (EE842) NEW1

Explore strategic, contextual values-based educational leadership for the 21st century.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023
Social justice, equity and equality: inclusive practice for all (EE845) 1

This module focuses on issues of social justice from different perspectives to develop inclusive pedagogies and practices in a wide range of contexts.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023
1At Stage 2, you may choose to study the same specialism as you chose in Stage 1, or you can change to a different specialism. However, if you intend to progress to the MA/MED, your choice at Stage 2 here will commit you to that specialism as your Stage 3 dissertation topic.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 40 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

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.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed 60 credits of relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you may be able to count it towards Stage 1 of this qualification, by applying for credit transfer, reducing the number of modules you need to study. Credit transfer will impact on the time you have to complete this qualification, and the four-year time limit will start from the time your credit transfer was completed. So, for example, if you use credit transfer that you were awarded two years ago, you will need to complete the remaining 60 credits in two years.

You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Studies in Education. You’ll be entitled to use the letters PGDPSE (Open) after your name.

You can progress from this Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Studies in Education to our Masters Degree in Education (F70).

You may also claim the Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Studies in Education (K27) if you wish to do so, although this option is not available if you have used credit transfer or counted previous OU study towards your qualification.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 14 March 2023.

Entry requirements

To study for this postgraduate diploma course you must 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 will need a minimum score of 7 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

In order to study this qualification you do not need to be employed in an educational setting. However, it is important that you have some experience of engaging or working with learners, children or young people as our pathway disciplines (Learning & Teaching, Inclusive Practice, Applied Linguistics and Leadership and Management) are all explored through the lens of education. Therefore you will need to be able to apply your learning to a relevant context or learning environment.

This can be through employment or other means such as volunteering and/or special arrangements undertaken for the purposes of your study. Apart from schools and colleges, other organisations providing educational services – such as health and care education environments, youth, play, or early years work, armed forces, business and commercial environments – all could provide suitable settings to apply your learning and later carry out your dissertation should you decide to continue towards a full masters degree. 

If you are not sure whether your qualifications and experience are suitable, please contact us for advice.

How long it takes

The minimum time to complete is one year, the maximum time to complete is four years.

Career relevance

Throughout the world there is an increasing demand for creative, innovative education professionals who have highly developed skills and a deep understanding of learning; in many countries a masters degree is becoming essential for career advancement in education, training and professional development settings.

This qualification is designed to enrich your knowledge and improve your professional practice. On completing your studies, you should be able to: 

  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems at a professional or equivalent level
  • reflect critically and constructively, in the light of ideas and frameworks presented in the modules on how these apply to your practice and organisational context
  • be ready to continue your studies and complete the Masters in Education (F70) with The Open University.

You will also acquire qualities and transferable skills that are highly prized by employers within education and related fields, such as

  • exercising initiative and personal responsibility
  • the ability to make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations
  • the ability to critically draw on appropriate research
  • have an understanding of ethical considerations in research
  • the ability to produce reports/outputs for academic and professional purposes.

You will be guided through the materials on how you can recognise and acknowledge these additional skills.

Please note that this postgraduate qualification does not qualify you for teacher registration in any country.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our  OU Careers Advisory Service. You can also look at our OU study and your career pages to find out about potential career opportunities related to OU subject areas