NCL8007 : Career Development for Masters Level Students (Cracking Careers: Exploring and Driving your Career Options)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To develop students’ self-awareness and the ability to self-manage, proactively interact and ethically apply knowledge and skills in a work-related context.

The Career Development module offers students the opportunity to undertake work-related learning in a variety of environments, both on and off the University campus. Through engagement with the module, students will learn about themselves, enhancing their employability (see and personal enterprise skills as well as contributing towards meeting the aims of the host organisation.

Outline Of Syllabus

The increasingly varied and portfolio nature of careers mean that successful graduates need both core professional skills and the ability to plan and manage their careers in changing contexts. Students undertaking further study at the Masters level do so for diverse reasons and can vary widely in the state of their career thinking. The Career Development for Masters Student module therefore offers students the opportunity to reflect on where they are in their career thinking and to progress their preparedness in a manner that is relevant and authentic for their aims and aspirations.

To aid this learning and development, they undertake work-related learning in a variety of different environments, both on and off the University campus. See for more information. Supported by their module tutor, students will reflect on and manage their own learning and development through a series of workshops, seminars and lectures. Through engagement with both placement and teaching, students will enhance their employability and professional skills whilst contributing towards the aims of the host organisation.

Students will join the module at the start of semester one and are expected to balance their work for the module across both semesters. Students will complete a minimum of 70 hours of direct engagement with the organisation hosting the work-related learning.

Topics and themes addressed in module teaching will include:

Module introduction and Induction

Developing Placement Awareness: Resources for understanding organisations.

Professional Self-Management Skills: Exploring careers - How do we make career decisions? What resources are available to explore career options and matches? Exploring your career values and motivations?

Exploring occupations: Exploring occupations and sectors. Understanding routes into occupations and routes to career progression, exploring trends in occupations, sectors and industries (Global and ethical awareness).

Understanding professionalism: What are professional and occupational standards and why do they matter? Using professional and occupational standards to inform your development goals.

Developing self-awareness: reflection and experiential learning, resilience, growth mind set and responding to challenges and setbacks, building on strengths without strengths overdrive (use your strengths but not too much), understanding yourself/understanding others.

Developing self-awareness: Emotional intelligence, understanding your self and others, developing your own emotional intelligence.

Professional Self-Management Skills: Strategies for self and project management, time management and organisation, developing enterprising behaviours and creating opportunities.

Professional Interaction Skills: Positive professional impressions, communicating professionalism, establishing expectations and ‘managing up’, negotiation and influencing skills, managing difficult conversations, understanding yourself/understanding others.

Professional Interaction Skills: How our strengths and weaknesses impact our effectiveness; bringing out the best in ourselves and others; management or leadership; you don’t have to be a leader to lead, understanding yourself/understanding others.

Articulating your skills and strengths: understanding recruitment and selections processes (competence and strength-based, video interviewing and assessment centres).

Employer and Alumni panel: reflective discussion sharing experiences of making the transition to the workplace.

Preparing for Assessment: workshops introducing assessment components (Semester 1 and Semester 2)

Small group tutorials: goal setting and action planning; preparing for assessment 1 (Professional Skills Assessment 1).

Individual 1:1 tutorial: review progress and preparation for final assessment (Professional Skills Assessment 2)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Assessment preparation and completion.
Placement/Study AbroadEmployer-based learning170:0070:00Direct engagement with placement
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching10:300:30One-one tutorial
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:002:00Small group tutorials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops141:0014:00Workshops and seminars
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity124:0024:00Reflective journal logs (using ePortfolio or other platform)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study159:3059:30Completion of preparatory study and tasks provided on VLE and self-directed secondary research
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Overall, the teaching programme provides a framework for students to develop their knowledge of how to:
•       explore, plan for and develop their career options and opportunities;
•       explore skills and attributes related to their professional career aspirations and set personal goals to develop such qualities through their placement experience;
•       develop their self-awareness, resilience, and personal impact.
Workshops, small group work and tutorials will support students in:
•       evaluating their current skillset and analyse how this relates to both their work placement and future career ambitions;
•       developing individual learning and development needs analysis. [ ]
•       developing feasible plans entailing a programme of specific planned actions aimed at addressing the identified development needs;
•       evidencing and articulating their professional competence and impact.

Topics addressed in module teaching will include leadership, effective professional communication, emotional intelligence, resilience and personal impact, self-management and organisation, and creative problem solving.

Workshops and tasks on the VLE will prepare students for their placement experience and inform and support the development of personal goals focused on addressing their individual learning and development needs in relation to core graduate skills and attributes and specific professional competences. Students will determine the specific skills and/or attributes they intend to prioritise based on analysis of their development needs and career plans, and will discuss their personal goals in these areas as part of the first module assessment (Professional Skills Assessment 1).

Self-directed learning and completion of the pre- and post- session tasks (via the VLE) will introduce students to core principles and approaches supporting professional behaviours, career management, and personal and professional development. Students will be set small tasks to complete in-between workshops to encourage reflection upon and application of these principles, such tasks will form the basis of discussion the workshops.

The module workshops will include group work as part of ‘Action Learning Sets’ which will allow students to share and discuss their goals, strengths and weaknesses, and progress at their placements and towards their career ambitions with a small group of their peers. The use of Action Learning Sets is intended to encourage students to consider and articulate their own goals, ambitions and action plans as well as to support others to develop themselves through listening, questioning and challenging where appropriate.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1M30Written PDP identifying and justifying core development needs and planned actions plus 15-minute professional conversation.
Prof skill assessmnt2M30Written Portfolio: evidence of progress towards development needs and identified goals plus 15-minute professional conversation.
Prof skill assessmnt2A30Host organisation supervisor evaluation of student competence
Written exercise1M10Completion of a set of short tasks to prepare for and apply seminar teaching.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment components are designed to (1) develop and recognise effective application of proactive professional development and career management strategies and (2) develop and reward effective performance in relation to core professional competences as described in the Newcastle University Graduate Skills Framework and by other appropriate professional accrediting organisations (e.g. CIM or CIPR) or sources (e.g.

The first module assessment (Professional Skills Assessment 1) focuses on goal-setting, self awareness and career knowledge. Through a 10-15 minute ‘professional conversation’ (supported by a written document) in semester 1 with a module tutor students discuss the personal goals they have set for their placements, the graduate skills and attributes they have decided to focus on developing, and the professional standards they have identified to work towards. They will also be expected to articulate and unpack their rationale for choosing these skills, attributes and goals, demonstrating occupational awareness in relation to both their placement organisation and their career ambitions, as well as self-awareness through discussing their existing strengths and weaknesses and how their personal goals for this module will help them to develop these. The professional conversation also provides an opportunity to demonstrate application of some of the core principles introduced during semester 1. Student time spent on preparation and delivery of this task is roughly equivalent to a written task of between 1500-2000 words.

Professional Skills Assessment 2 is a portfolio assessment submitted in semester 2. This will require students to present evidence of their progress towards and achievement in relation to the personal goals, graduate skills and professional standards they have identified in semester 1 and presented during their professional conversation. The portfolio is an opportunity for students to reflect on their progress during the module, evidence their professional skills and attributes, and demonstrate their contribution to their host placement organisation. Student time spent on preparation and delivery of this task is roughly equivalent to a written task of 1500 words.

Professional Skills Assessment 3 will take the form of an evaluation by their placement supervisor of student performance in relation to their identified goals, competencies and development needs in the workplace. Student time spent on preparing and discussing skills competence for this task is roughly equivalent to a written task of 1500 words.

There will be a series of short preparation and consolidation tasks for students to complete between seminars to support their understanding of theories and concepts and to ensure seminars and workshops are practice focused. The overall completion of these tasks is equivalent to writing 500 words or less as will come in the form of e.g. answering multiple choice questions.

Reading Lists