Careers Guidance & Development

UCAS codes

Course contact

Graham Allan or Janet Moffett
+44 (0)141 848 3950/3792 or 0800 027 1000 (+44 141 849 4101 out with UK)

Qualifications and durations

Dependant on qualification*


Start date(s)

  • September and January

With placement opportunities available† this programme, which achieved 100% overall satisfaction in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2015, qualifies you to work as a careers guidance practitioner.

Please note that this course is recognised as by Scottish Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for access to postgraduate tuition fee and cost-of-living loans for UK and EU applicants. See the Useful Information section for more details.

The normal entrance requirement for the Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma is a degree or similar qualification.

Applications from candidates who do not possess the qualifications above may also be considered. Such applicants may have completed a workplace qualification such as an S/NVQ in Advice and Guidance, and in all cases should be able to demonstrate appropriate knowledge, skills, experience and maturity, and satisfy the University that they have the potential to reach the academic standards required of a programme at postgraduate level by holding at least an HNC in Social Sciences, Career Guidance or an equivalent qualification.

We welcome applications from a variety of backgrounds, including groups which have been underrepresented in the career guidance profession.

Applicants for the online learning Certificate and Diploma are expected to be employed for the whole duration of their programme in a career or educational guidance context, or in an organisation whose main function is to give educational or careers guidance to adults.

Overseas students must also meet UWS English language requirements.

Career guidance practitioners provide accurate and relevant advice on employment, education and training opportunities to an ever-widening client group. This programme focuses on professional practice, personal reflection and critical analysis of practice.

The Masters allows guidance practitioners to undertake research and work evaluation as part of their ongoing professional development.

Certificate and Diploma

The Certificate consists of three modules and the Diploma six. The core module is Reflective Guidance Practice. Additional modules include Models of Professional Practice; Career Coaching and Development; Career Related Policy; Career Development Theory; Reflective Guidance Practice; and Labour Market Studies.


    Students can undertake up to two years of further part-time study towards a Masters award, the MSc. There are two routes, one focusing on research, which involves the completion of a dissertation, while the second route is based on taught modules in Advanced Professional Practice and Communities and Networks and Partnerships. Entry to the MSc is restricted to holders of the Postgraduate Diploma in Career Guidance or an equivalent qualification recognised by the Institute of Career Guidance. 

    The career guidance and development programmes are found within the School of Social Sciences and are part of a small Subject Development Group of social policy-related vocational programmes which includes Social Work, Criminal Justice and Policing and Alcohol and Drug Studies. The School of Social Sciences has approximately 42 academic staff and approaching 800 full-time equivalent students.

    We have strong links to the guidance profession and our most recent work has focused on the development of a model for peer support and supervision for guidance practitioners working with the most challenging clients and on the development of our distance learning programme: we recently led a consortium of 3 universities in Scotland to develop and run the new qualification for the training of careers advisers in Scotland, the Qualification in Career Guidance and Development, which was based on benchmark statements approved by QAA (The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) in Scotland. In 2008 our work on peer support with the largest career guidance organization in Scotland, Careers Scotland (now Skills Development Scotland and My World of Work ) earned us a National Career Award from the Institute of Career Guidance and in 2009 received a further ‘highly commended’ award for our work on developing training through distance learning.

    Our academic interest lies in exploring the career guidance interaction, the use of narrative and constructivist approaches, the relevance of career development theories and, of course, the development of distance learning programmes. We have a small course team, consisting of 2 lecturers, Graham Allan and Janet Moffett.

    Part-time and online learning

    Those already working in the sector can study part-time or online. You must have access to clients to undertake practical assessments, and to a mentor. If seeking professional accreditation beyond the Postgraduate Diploma award, you will undertake a two-week placement in another guidance organisation in Year 2.
    Graduates have a successful record of gaining employment as career guidance practitioners in the public, private and voluntary sectors within the UK. Postgraduate Diploma students learning on-campus are provided with placements and practical opportunities for practice, with opportunities to experience how career guidance practitioners operate in organisations and as training providers. The Postgraduate Diploma can include completion of the Qualification in Career Guidance and Development (QCGD) which is professionally accredited by the Career Development Institute UK (CDIUK).

    Useful Information

    • Financial Support

      This course is recognised by SAAS (Student Awards Agency for Scotland) for access to postgraduate loan funding towards postgraduate tuition fees and living costs. Check the SAAS website for details of loan eligibility criteria for UK and EU students.

      * MSc (online) up to 2 years; Diploma (full-time/part-time or online) 1 year/2 years; Certificate (part-time/online) up to 2 years 

      ^ Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015. 

      † Depending on your method of study.