module specification

GI5W50 - Politics and International Relations: Work-Based Learning (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Politics and International Relations: Work-Based Learning
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 150
70 hours Placement / study abroad
70 hours Guided independent study
10 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Report 2000 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module enables students to undertake a short period of career-related learning activity as part of their degree programme and to gain credit for their achievements. The activity may be for example current or previous employment activity, a placement, professional training, volunteering activity in the not-for-profit sector or elsewhere, or where available, within a virtual business environment or elsewhere within the University.

It is expected that the student should work/train or volunteer for 70 hours, for which they will be required to provide evidence. The 70 hours can be completed in 10 working days in a full-time or part-time mode during a vacation (where available), or spread over up to a semester in a part-time mode.

Additionally, learners may be able to utilise their existing or previous part-time/vacation employment, training or volunteering activity experience providing they can demonstrate that it is or has been personally developmental and involves a level of responsibility (decided upon submission of the role details by the Module Leader). 

The career related learning activity should enable the student to build on previous experiences and learning gained within their degree course and elsewhere. It should provide learning opportunities for personal development.  The student is encouraged and supported in developing the ability to identify applied knowledge and skills that enhance their potential career performance, ensure their continued improvement and apply theory to practice as appropriate.  The learner should develop improved understanding of themselves, and the workplace through reflective and reflexive learning.

  • Students will be contacted soon after they register for the module (e.g. June for those registered for the forthcoming academic year) to ensure they understand the requirements and are able to find suitable activity.
  • The career related activity needs to be approved by the module team before they start the role.  The suitability of the opportunities will be assessed on an individual basis.  
  • Where required, students will be supported in finding suitable opportunities and with all aspects of their activity search and applications.  The Careers and Employability Team will work with Faculty teams to provide this support.  However, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain suitable employment/training or volunteering career related learning activity, and roles cannot be guaranteed.

Module aims

The module aims to enable students to:

  1. Increase their personal and professional development prior to, during and following gaining career related learning experience.
  2. Increase and develop critical, self-reflective ability and self-efficacy.
  3. Demonstrate theoretical concepts and transferable competencies in a practical, problem solving context.
  4. Gain critical understanding of current issues, practices and where appropriate relevant policy or legislation within a particular organisational situation.
  5. Explore employment options and consider future career plans.


The syllabus will focus on preparing students for careers through to reflecting on their personal gains from the work/training/volunteering career related learning activity.  In addition professional guidance (as required for those learners seeking suitable activity) in a group or one-to-one basis will be provided. Topics that may be examined include:

  • Suitable employment related learning options
  • Suitable training related learning options
  • Suitable volunteering related learning options
  • Job search strategies and the labour market
  • Job application and selections approaches (e.g. CVs, application forms, interviews)
  • Articulating their abilities effectively
  • Professionalism and workplace ethics
  • Being a critical employee
  • Health and safety in the career related learning host organisation
  • Critical self-reflection
  • Setting personal learning goals / learning contracts
  • Meeting the learning outcomes whilst undertaking career related learning
  • Meeting the assessment requirements of the module
  • Support available during the career related learning
  • Planning short and long term career goals

Learning and teaching

All aspects of the module preparation, learning and assessment are designed to enhance students’ abilities to progress in their chosen careers and develop critical awareness to the labour market and workplace.

Introduction, role search and workshops

Preparatory workshops will outline the requirements and demands of the module, assist students in diagnosis of their abilities, help make decisions about suitable employment, training or volunteering areas and in conjunction with the University Careers Service ensure they are able to produce appropriate employment/training/volunteering applications as required.  Students will be invited to initial information workshops after they have opted for the module and additionally timetabled workshops will run within the semester. 

Those seeking employment will be required to take up the additional support provided on employment /training/volunteering search and application strategies by the University Careers and Employability Team.  In addition to any advertised roles, students will be encouraged to find their own opportunities speculatively. 
It is the student’s responsibility to obtain suitable employment/training/volunteering career related learning activity, and roles cannot be guaranteed. 

Approval of career related learning

When a career related learning, employment, training or volunteering opportunity is gained, students are required to complete the following (forms are online on the module page on WebLearn):

Career related learning notification form: outlining the role and the contact details of the host organisation including the person managing the activity. (In the case of University based projects, students will be supervised by an academic with additional supervision, support and feedback as appropriate from a Faculty or University career related learning team.)  Following submission of this form, that activity will be appraised for suitability i.e. that it is personally developmental, allows students to use initiative and demonstrate responsibility. 

The career related learning activity

The majority of the module will be supported activity-based and distance learning.  Supporting materials and detailed assessment criteria for the report will be uploaded to WebLearn.  Each student will be assigned an academic supervisor who will provide University based and distance support as required.
During the experience, students are required to keep a regular record of the activities they have carried out to reflect upon, analyse, evaluate and write about in their report.

Assessed report

The student is required to submit a 2,000 word report that analyses their career related employment/training or volunteering activity and experience.  Students will be encouraged to refer to academic, professional and career related learning sources in the research and writing of the report. The report will summarise their knowledge gains, reflect on their learning, analyse and evaluate their experiences and may also develop a brief career action plan for the future.

Post career related learning development

After completion of the career related learning, it is important that students continue to progress development of their employability, in consideration of their graduate career goals.  This can be through for example, progressive employment experience and / or extra-curricular activities.  This will be supported by the University.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes are generic to be flexible to a variety of career related learning contexts.  On successful completion of this module students will have demonstrated that they can:

  1. Analyse the activities that they have participated in and critically reflect on the professional skills and knowledge they have developed. 
  2. Demonstrate application of theory and transferable skills acquired during their programme of study, to activities undertaken in a career related learning context
  3. Examine the contribution they have provided to the activity and critically analyse any challenges encountered in the role and how they dealt with these.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the work/training/volunteering career related learning host environment.
  5. Critically reflect upon how the experience relates to their personal, career and academic development and identify future skill and knowledge development needs.

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed by a 2000 word summative report on the student’s career related employment, training or volunteering experience and activity.


Cottrell, S. (2010) Skills for success: the personal development planning handbook, 2nd Ed, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Durrant, A., Rhodes, G. & Young, D., (2011) Getting started with university-level work based learning, 2nd edition, London: Libri Publishing.
Fanthome, C. (2004) Work placements: a survival guide for students, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Herbert, I. and Rothwell, A. (2005) Managing your placement, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Kirton, B. (2012) Brilliant workplace skills for students and graduates, Harlow: Prentice Hall.
Lumley, M. and Wilkinson, J. (2014) Developing employability for business, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Moon, J. (2004) A Handbook of reflective and experiential learning: theory and practice, London: Routledge.
Scherer A. (2012) Brilliant intern, Harlow: Prentice Hall.
Trought F. (2012) Brilliant employability skills, Harlow: Prentice Hall,.
London Metropolitan University