Professional Studies BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
6 years part time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BCC at A-Level
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Clothworkers' Court

Designed with mature students in mind, Professional Studies is for you if you are wanting to study a wide range of topics relevant to your life experiences. Taught by the University's Lifelong Learning Centre (LLC), you'll gain a qualification grounded in the skills that employers value in professional roles today.

This unique and interdisciplinary course is particularly relevant if you can bring prior work and life experience to your studies. There'll be opportunities for you to gain further experience, learning from and undertaking research for local organisations and employers, as well as investigating areas of your own interest.

The course explores key contemporary issues relevant to a wide range of professional roles such as globalisation, diversity, health, creativity, leadership and technology. It also offers a set of modules to help develop your own professional identity, while learning about the world of work. You'll gain the exciting opportunity to personalise your degree based on your own experience, skills and interests by choosing a third of your degree from our specialised pathways, or from a wide range of discovery modules.

The course content is developed to help you further your adaptability and effectiveness in the fast-changing world of work. It encompasses professional and project strands which focus on skills relevant to a wide range of careers.

The course provides a breadth of experience and can be studied either part-time or full-time.

Additional highlights

You'll be taught by staff who have expertise in interdisciplinary research, community development and with recognised higher education teaching qualifications, specialising in interactive and inclusive teaching.

The degree is enriched throughout, bringing in guest speakers from local organisations and through maintaining contact with graduates so you can benefit from learning from alumni about their personal and professional development experience since completing the degree.

You'll also have the unique opportunity to take part in the ‘research in the community’ project, which involves undertaking research for local organisations who have identified a research need.

For a third of the degree, you'll be able to choose your own modules, from specialisms within the Lifelong Learning Centre (LLC), or from the rich and wide-ranging choice of discovery modules from across the University of Leeds. You can also extend your degree by undertaking a work placement year or by studying abroad.

Lifelong Learning Centre support

The course allows you to fit study alongside your work and family commitments. You’ll be taught by friendly and supportive staff, experienced in working with adult learners and with substantial professional experience. You’ll also become a part of the Lifelong Learning Centre (LLC) community.

We know that many mature and part-time students face unique challenges, including balancing academic study with family and employment commitments. For that reason, the LLC provides specialised guidance, advice and support to mature and part-time students, from pre-application through to graduation and beyond.

Specialist facilities

As well as having access to the four specialist research and student libraries on campus, you'll be able to undertake work and meet with fellow students in the Lifelong Learning Centre's Learning Resource Area. As an LLC student, you’ll have access to dedicated study and social spaces that are designed to be welcoming and accessible. The areas in Beech Grove House and the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building (pictured below) offer computer access, reference books and the space to socialise and work with your peers.

You can also undertake research in the University Archive and Special Collections, as well as the M&S Company Archive, which includes documents, film, advertising and merchandise from throughout Marks and Spencer’s history. This offers a unique insight into the history of advertising, branding and the social history associated with the famous Leeds institution.

Students sit around two circular wooden tables. They are engaging in conversation and working on laptops.Staff and student interacting at a reception desk

Course details

We aim to timetable our teaching in a way that will help you to fit caring responsibilities around your studies.

There is a wide range of modules to choose from (see below) and we will help to guide you so that you can find a teaching schedule that works with your other responsibilities.

No compulsory Professional Studies module will start before 10:00. For the compulsory modules, you'll need to be on campus two mornings a week, initially.

There is an option to switch from part-time study to full-time study once you have completed level 1 (the first two years).

You'll take two compulsory strands each year: the professional and interdisciplinary strands. The third strand provides an opportunity to specialise in either business management, child and family studies, learning and teaching, creative writing or to pursue a broader discovery strand.

In Year 1, compulsory modules will examine identity and diversity, health and society, and employability. A research module will help develop your skills for independent enquiry and project management. Additionally, you can follow your own interests and career goals through your chosen professional pathway or discovery route.

In Year 2, you'll focus on global perspectives, contemporary issues, and creativity. There's a further opportunity to customise the course to your own career goals through your chosen professional pathway or discovery route.

In Year 3, compulsory modules will explore technology, new media, society, how to apply for funding to create positive changes in the city of Leeds, and leadership. You'll undertake a major research project and take two further modules in your chosen area of focus.

If you're studying part-time, you'll complete the course at a 50% intensity each year of study.

The key learning outcomes of this degree course are:

  • to understand and engage in key debates in contemporary interdisciplinary areas such as identity and diversity, the changing world of work, creativity in work, global perspectives, technology and new media, health and society, and leadership
  • to gain a critical understanding of how to get involved in social change
  • to analyse and problem-solve real-world issues creatively and critically
  • to research areas of your own interest and develop your own research focus
  • to undertake an independent research project

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Professional Studies BA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Professional Studies BA Part Time in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Exploring Diversity 20
Employability in a Changing World 20
Health and Society 20
Introduction to Research and Ethics 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Global Perspectives 20
Creativity, Work and Change 20
Exploring Contemporary Issues 20
Planning and Developing a Research Project 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Project/Dissertation 40
Leadership for a Changing World 20

The BA Professional Studies course is made up of three strands:

  • interdisciplinary strand
  • professional and project strand
  • discovery/pathway strand

The interdisciplinary strand and the professional strand are the core strands. Together, they make up two thirds of your studies.

For the remaining third of the degree, you can either:

  • choose to specialise in a particular area of professional development through our established pathways (pathway strand)
  • choose from a wide range of modules (discovery strand) to follow an interest or broaden your knowledge of different subject areas
  • you can also combine modules from each of the pathways or discovery strand to construct your own educational route.

As a full-time student, every semester you'll take two compulsory modules which are 20 credits each. You'll then need to choose 40 credits worth of pathway OR discovery module to take across the year.

We'll give you advice about how to choose the right modules for you. You'll need to make sure your semesters are balanced – you will not be able to take more than 70 credits per semester (and we would advise balancing your semesters so that you do 60 credits per semester).

If you're taking the part time variant of the degree, you will take two compulsory modules over the year (one in each semester). You'll then need to take 20 credits worth of pathway/discovery module. You can choose to take this in either semester. We'll give you advice about how to choose the right modules for you.

Pathway strand

Business Management: this pathway is ideal for you if you would like to build on your knowledge and experience of business management to develop your career. The modules may be related to fundamental business management concepts, with an emphasis on the development of business management knowledge and skills.

Child and Family Studies: this pathway focuses on the interaction between professional practice, work-based research and current policy within the child and family sector. Examples of areas covered are: child development, child and family welfare, safeguarding, multi-agency working, social policy development and management.

Creative Writing: this pathway provides the opportunity to specialise or develop your knowledge and skills in creative writing. There are a range of modules to choose from which are designed to get you writing and learning more about yourself as a writer. They include different genres, travel and script writing, and writing for children.

Learning and Teaching: this pathway is particularly relevant for those currently engaged in providing support for learning and/or teaching in schools or other settings. Modules in this pathway will develop your skills in supporting learners or to acquire more specialised skills and knowledge in areas which affect your own practice.

Discovery strand

The Discovery strand offers the opportunity to broaden your learning and pursue your own personal interests, while developing skills that will help prepare you for your plans after University.

There are currently 10 discovery themes including: Creating Sustainable Futures, Enterprise and Innovation, Ethics, Religion and Law, Exploring the Sciences, Language and Intercultural Understanding, Media, Culture and Creativity, Mind and Body, Personal and Professional Development, Power and Conflict, Technology and Its Impacts. Modules are taught across the different schools and departments at the University of Leeds.

Note: all students can choose to take a mix of pathway and discovery modules.

Learning and teaching

Teaching is imaginative and supportive to make sure you're intellectually stretched and helped to become an independent inquirer. Teaching is student-focused and designed to give you opportunities to share your experience, learn from fellow students and apply your learning through engagement in real-world problem-solving. Group sizes are small, enabling you to engage actively and be well supported.

To enable you to engage with your learning in an active, collaborative, and flexible way, teaching involves on-campus face-to-face sessions which will include interactive lectures, smaller discussions, and a range of hands-on activities to work on individually, with your fellow students, and with your tutors.

There's also an online component that will allow you to engage with learning materials and undertake collaborative and individual learning activities in your own time. You'll also use the latest digital technology to connect with your fellow students and tutors at times convenient to you through the course.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Essays and case studies will develop your critical and research skills. A focus on contemporary debates and group activities will enable you to learn from each other. There'll be opportunities to develop key professional skills through a range of assessments, such as presentations, building a digital resource, developing a leadership strategic plan and applying for funding. You’ll also design and conduct research projects in areas of your own interest.

This variety gives you the opportunity to work to your strengths and gain a wide range of professional skills. You'll produce assessments that are meaningful to you and develop skills relevant to a wide range of graduate-level employment.

Entry requirements

A-level: BBB

GCSE: English and maths grade C/4 or above, or equivalent. T Levels will be considered on a case by case basis.

Other course specific tests:

We welcome applications from students with a wide range of qualifications.

We actively encourage applications from mature students. Further consideration will be given to the life experience of mature applicants and the circumstances in which they gained prior qualifications. If you don't have the entry qualifications, please see the alternative entry section below.

Applicant preference criteria

Priority is given to applicants who live permanently in the UK and meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • your permanent address is in a neighbourhood with low progression to higher education (we use the OfS postcode checker)
  • you attended a school that achieved less than the national average of 5 A*-C / 9-4 passes (including English and Maths) at GCSE or attainment 8 score at GCSE in a state school. We use the All England State-funded attainment 8 score, excluding applicants from selective and/or independent schools
  • you grew up in public care
  • the residual income of your household is less than £25,000
  • you will be the first member of your immediate family (excluding older brothers or sisters or your children) to achieve a degree
  • your studies have been adversely affected by circumstances in your personal, social or domestic life

Applicants progressing straight from school must meet two of the above applicant preference criteria

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

60 credits overall with 45 graded credits at Level 3, with 24 credits at Distinction and 21 credits at Merit.


Distinction, Distinction, Merit

Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M1

International Baccalaureate

32 overall (5, 5, 4 higher)

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)


Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

Please contact the Lifelong Learning Admissions Team

Welsh Baccalaureate

Please contact the Lifelong Learning Admissions Team

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

Alternative Entry Scheme for mature applicants

If you are a mature applicant and you don't have the required A Level or GCSE qualifications, you can complete our Alternative Entry Scheme (subject to meeting the eligibility criteria for the scheme). As part of this, you may be asked to take tests in English and maths and to write an essay. Contact the Lifelong Learning Centre for more information.

If you are a mature student or want to study part-time the Lifelong Learning Centre offers a free, confidential, and impartial pre-entry guidance service. Our experienced staff can also talk to you about how you might meet the entry criteria and what support may be available to you.

Alternative Entry Scheme for applicants studying 3 A Levels or equivalent

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer

BCC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds

GCSE: Grade 4/C or above in GCSE maths and and English.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.


UK: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 2024/25.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only, as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Part-time Leeds Bursary

Learn more about the part-time Leeds Bursary


For guidance on applying to a Lifelong Learning Centre course, visit our admissions guidance page. Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

We will treat all applications individually. We'll take into account an applicant's life experience and the circumstances in which they have gained prior qualifications and we encourage you to cover these things in your personal statement.

Your application will be reviewed by the admissions team. If you’re successful, you’ll be invited to an interview which will involve a piece of writing and you'll be asked to complete a supplementary form. If you’re entering through the Alternative Entry Scheme, you’ll be sent details after your interview.

If you’re made an offer, you’ll be asked to engage with KickStart. This is a pre-entry programme designed to ease your move into studying at the University of Leeds. You’re welcome to contact us for further information.

It is also possible to study this programme part time. The programme content is the same but you will study at a lesser intensity. Find out more about how to apply, support available and the part-time student experience at the Lifelong Learning Centre.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Admissions policy

Lifelong Learning Centre Admissions Policy 2023

This course is taught by

Lifelong Learning Centre

Contact us

LLC Professional Studies Admissions


Career opportunities

A qualification from the University of Leeds counts; our graduates are highly valued by employers. When you complete your degree course, you’ll also become part of a network of highly employable graduates.

This degree has the relevance and breadth that many employers look for when recruiting graduates. Interdisciplinary study is highly valued by employers because of the skills that it develops in problem-solving, adaptability and analytical thinking.

Students graduate with a degree which has been designed to be responsive to what is happening in our contemporary world so that it can maintain relevance with a wide range of career areas. Our alumni are confident global citizens, ready to face real-world challenges informed by a complex understanding of research enquiry, creative problem-solving and self-reflection.

Graduates from Professional Studies have gained graduate positions in the public and voluntary sector, the NHS, the Care Quality Commission, the Home Office and Civil Service, as well as for a range of third sector organisations and businesses. Some have undertaken postgraduate qualifications to become social workers, educators and to work in staff development and human resources.

We also have graduates who have gone onto a wide range of postgraduate study in areas such as international business, intercultural and cultural understanding, social research, social and public policy, international human rights, and global development.

Careers support

We have experienced careers guidance officers in the LLC who can provide bespoke advice and guidance for our students, focusing on your career development and employment opportunities in the local and regional area. You'll be provided with regular updates on local employment opportunities. You'll also be supported with your job search, interview skills and writing CVs and applications.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one and incorporate the latest careers guidance into the development of the professional strand of the degree. This is one of the reasons University of Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of university life by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Student profile: Colin Webb

"The support from all the staff at the Lifelong Learning Centre has been superb, putting my fears to rest about university. The inclusive environment made the transition to university life much easier."
Colin Webb, Professional Studies
Find out more about Colin Webb's time at Leeds