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Flexible PG pathways: developing an interdisciplinary Masters in Lifelong Learning by credit accrual

Will CurtisFlexible PG Pathways will support the development of a postgraduate framework whereby students who complete 10-week PGA courses will be able to accrue credits - complete a core module and a dissertation - and gain a full Masters award in Lifelong Learning. Students will be able to accumulate credits within a specified time period – enabling them to 'pick and mix' from a wide range of disciplinary fields, or to specialise within more narrowly focused areas. Alongside this evolving suite of 10-week courses, it is envisaged that students will be able to study modules offered by other departments and Centres within the University and other modules offered at postgraduate level in CLL.

The funding enables us to employ two undergraduate students to support the development work of the Programme Director and Project Officer. The two students will conduct research that will help to shape the programme's overall development. Because this model is unusual, there is a considerable amount of development work required. The new Masters course will have a different structure to other postgraduate courses in the University (and beyond). To enable the greatest level of accessibility, entry will be very different from standard postgraduate admissions processes. The success of the programme will be dependent upon collaboration between CLL and University departments and centres. When the programme is fully operational, it is envisaged that two-way movement – between this programme and other University-wide PG activity – will become relatively smooth and commonplace.

The project legacy will include:

  1. A new accessible, flexible and innovative postgraduate programme – spanning disciplines and including academic and professional courses
  2. A space for interdisciplinary engagement and broadened scope for departmental postgraduate accessibility
  3. Significant enhancement of the University's widening participation and access at postgraduate level – with a programme of study for 'non-traditional learners', working adults, those who have not studied for many years, and those with relevant experience but no undergraduate degree.

Will Curtis is Interim Deputy Director of the Centre for Lifelong Learning and he leads part-time degree, Gateway and 2+2 provision.