Professional Development Module

School: School of Government
Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies

Final year module

Lecturer: Dr Matthew Whiting

The aim of this module, which is based on a placement, is to provide you with a learning experience that will help bridge the gap between your current academic life at Birmingham and your future professional life post-graduation.  This module will help you identify your personal and professional skills and strengths, and reflect on the skills you have developed during the placement.

You will need to ensure that you have a placement to be used as the basis of the module, but will get help in this from our dedicated Placements Team.  You might use a placement that you have already arranged, such as work experience with a commercial company or public sector organisation, a summer internship, or volunteering.  Alternatively, the Placements Team are sourcing placements from the public, private and voluntary sectors, and you can apply for a placement from one of these organisations.

If you would like to take the module, then, in addition to choosing the module in the usual way, you need to let the Placements Team know whether you have a placement arranged by completing a short online form by the end of Wednesday 01 June 2016 at the latest.  This is so that we know who should attend the June lectures/workshops and who has a placement arranged (students intending to do a summer placement need to be available to attend pre-placement lectures and workshops Wednesday 08 June – Friday 10 June 2016).  The form is available here:

You do not need to have a placement confirmed by 01 June to choose the module because we understand that some placements will be confirmed after this time, and because you will be able to apply for placements sourced by the Placements Team if you do not have a placement arranged.  It is not, however, possible to transfer into the module after the June pre-placement lectures/workshops have taken place if you are doing a summer placement because you will not have had access to important information about the module’s assessments before your placement starts.

If you have any questions about the module please email the Placements Team at

Contact hours

18 hours face-to-face contact time plus a minimum of 40 hours on the professional placement. The 40 hours spent on the placement can be flexible and worked out by you and your placement provider.  It can take place either in the summer vacation between your penultimate and final year, or in the autumn term in your final year.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Undertake a critical audit of their skills and capabilities for their professional career
  • Identify the key areas requiring improvement.
  • Articulate a coherent strategy for closing this ‘skills/capabilities gap’.
  • Critically evaluate the relative success of this strategy post-placement
  • Demonstrate an ability to relate work practices to a discrete body of academic literature.


  • 2000 word self-reflective journal
  • 2000 word work-based project

Your assessment for the module will not be based on the employer’s assessment of your performance on placement.

Case studies:

There are no results that match your criteria.

Related courses:

The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2018. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.