Learning at Work

Partnership Degree Programme

Part time study

The Partnership Programme allows you to study for university qualifications - without leaving your job. The programme offers a range of subject-specific award titles, as well as 'Combined Studies' which allows you to study any subject as long as it forms a coherent programme.


Although the content of your study programme is unique and chosen by you, you must be registered for an award which is relevant to the subject matter of the content. You can only register for one of the named awards (Honours Degrees) listed here.

* 'Combined Studies' is the award for students whose work is not covered by any of the others.

Flexible duration

The time you take to complete the programme depends on your point of entry or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), and on the proportion of time that you can allocate to your studies. It may also depend on the progress of projects at work, and changes in home circumstances, that may be out of your control. The programme allows you to accommodate delays and changes throughout. Typically a student who enters with the maximum RPL of 240 credits and has only 120 credits to study, would take 18-24 months to complete.

Recognition of Prior Learning allows you to receive credit for the qualifications you already have and for learning from experience at work, including in-service training courses. Most standard qualifications and some defence forces training and experience have standard RPL credit ratings. For example, NATO Rank Code OR-7 equivalent with 2 years in rank is equivalent to 120 credits of RPL at level 4 and 120 credits of RPL at level 5.

Email learningatwork@port.ac.uk for further advice regarding RPL.

If you do not hold an eligible standard qualification or NATO Armed Forces Rank/Qualification, you may be able to claim credit for learning through experience. In order to do this, you will be required to submit a portfolio of evidence matching your knowledge and skills to units in the University's 'Unit Web Search' database. This should be submitted two months prior to the course start date, to allow time for assessment before the course begins. The maximum RPL credit you can receive is two-thirds of the credit for the award.

We will also provide an RPL handbook, which explains how to prepare your portfolio. 

Entry Qualifications

While it is possible to start a bachelors' course at the entry level (with 'A' Level or equivalent qualifications), a typical applicant would usually have some post-school higher education such as an HNC or part of a degree course, together with some years of work experience. Experience in a responsible position is particularly valuable.

Access to a stable work situation is important for success on a Partnership Programme course. This programme may not be suitable for people whose work is voluntary, temporary or on short-term contracts. It is unlikely to suit those who are retired or unemployed. Applications from self-employed people are welcome.

Course Structure

Degree courses in the UK are assembled from units of study that are credit rated by quantity and level. At Portsmouth, BA/BSc units are in multiples of 20 credits. The largest unit allowed at all levels is 40 credits. The credits required for an honours degree are as follows:

  • Level 4 (not more than) 120 credits
  • Level 5 (usually) 120 credits
  • Level 6 (at least) 120 credits
  • Total 360 credits

20 credits represents a nominal 200 hours of study.

Accredited Prior Learning may be awarded to a maximum of 240 credits.

Professional Recognition

Most of our Partnership Programme awards can be used to gain professional recognition such as Incorporated Engineer (IEng). The accrediting bodies that we work with include:                                                       

  • The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
  • Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
  • Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management (IHEEM)
  • Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology (IMarEST)
  • Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS)
  • Society of Operations Engineers (SOE)
  • Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM)