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Skills and Workforce Development (MSc)

This programme, taught in Singapore, is designed by Cardiff University in partnership with the Institute for Adult Learning, Singapore.

This innovative programme, taught in Singapore, is designed by Cardiff University in partnership with the Institute for Adult Learning, Singapore and is aimed at practitioners, policy makers and researchers in the East Asian region.

In a period of global economic transformation, technological innovation and market uncertainty, the need for innovative approaches to skills and workforce development has never been greater. Established ideas and models have been called into question as developed and developing economies look for new policies to enhance the performance of national economies and improve the well-being of individuals.

In recognising these fundamental challenges, our MSc in Skills and Workforce Development aims to develop expertise and enhance professional capacity in the field of employment, skills and workforce development in a changing global context. We seek to provide you with the knowledge and analytical tools to develop and assess alternative policy interventions, identify and seek solutions to challenges in workforce development, and undertake effective research in the field.

Distinctive features

Taught by leading international experts, this part-time programme will equip you with the latest ideas and analysis in the field of skills, workforce development and employment.

By bringing together different disciplines and comparative policy debates, we offer you the opportunity to examine the latest theories and research evidence and consequently apply them to national, sectoral and workplace settings.

Other distinctive features include:

  • Part-time structure designed to fit around your professional commitments
  • Modules delivered by Cardiff University faculty in Singapore
  • Interactive modules taught by international experts in the field of skills, workforce development and employment supported by cutting-edge research
  • A combination of learning opportunities including lectures, seminars and workshops, group work and presentations, guest speakers and networking events
  • A global network of students and researchers.

Key facts

Next intakeApril 2019
Duration2 years
ModePart-time study at another institution

Admissions criteria

To qualify, you should normally have a good first degree (at least an Upper Second Honours degree or equivalent) and two or more years of work experience engaged in skills or employment-related issues. You will also have to show evidence of English language proficiency.

Those who have not undertaken an honours degree through the medium of English, must have a GCSE/GCE ‘O’ Level in English Language (Grade B or above), or a Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (Grade B or above), or an IELTS score of 7.0 or above. Those with an honours degree obtained through the medium of English must show evidence of continued professional use of English, for example an employer reference.

You must also submit a minimum 250-word statement on the following topic: 'Why do you want to study the MSc programme in Skills and Workforce Development and what benefits do you think you will gain from participating in the programme?' This statement should be submitted with your online application form and will be used to assess your suitability for the programme. Applications cannot be considered without this submission.

Those students without the required academic qualifications but with relevant work experience may be asked to undertake prior learning assessment through an interview and/or writing task. 

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

This part-time course is designed to be completed over two years with a combination of five-day evening and weekend learning events in Singapore and online interactive learning.

It is organised around a sequence of four compulsory 30-credit modules, and one 60-credit supervised dissertation on a related topic of your choice.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

Year One consists of three 30-credit modules which are completed sequentially.

Year two

Year Two comprises one 30-credit module, followed by a 60-credit dissertation.


The 12,000 word dissertation involves a small scale independent piece of research. This enables you to develop your interests in a substantive area related to the programme and to put into practice the knowledge and skills developed through participation in the taught modules. You will be allocated a dissertation supervision to assist in planning, conducting and writing up the research project. Other support is provided through a variety of e-resources. 

Module titleModule codeCredits
DissertationSIT90460 credits
Research Methods and Techniques in ContextSIT90330 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Each of the four taught modules is designed to be completed over four months. At the start of each module, you will have access to module materials via the virtual learning environment (VLE) including:

  • An overview of the module and its intended learning outcomes
  • An introduction to the key content and concepts underpinning the module
  • Resources and tasks to support independent learning
  • Information regarding the assessment of the module.

Some modules will require you to attend a five-day intensive learning event at the IAL in Singapore, approximately one month after the start of the module. These events draw upon the independent learning undertaken from the beginning of the module. The schedule normally consists of:

  • Three hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings
  • Eight hours on Saturday and Sunday.

The learning events are delivered by Cardiff academics and typically include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars, workshops
  • Group work
  • Student presentations
  • Formative assessment
  • Invited speakers from the region
  • Networking activities.

Other modules will be delivered remotely through Cardiff VLE. Structured learning resources will lead you through the requirements of the module. A range of resources are deployed including:

  • Podcasts that provide an overview of the key concepts
  • Targeted readings linked to online activities, eg. tests on understanding, discussion boards, and feedback from academic tutors
  • Case studies of policy in action
  • Regular webinars to provide a focus for online discussion
  • Online learning support groups.

In addition for each module there will be:

  • Online guidance on the summative assessments
  • Follow-up webinars related to the assessments
  • Evening learning event at the IAL with speakers from Singapore/East Asian region
  • Individual and group feedback on the assessments.

Your dissertation work will be supported through a range of online resources and regular virtual meetings with an allocated supervisor.

How will I be supported?

Induction programme

The induction evening covers an introduction to the programme modules and requirements. IAL staff will also assist you in other areas from programme administration matters to the use of learning tools, such as Cardiff University library, Learning Central (e-learning platform) and AdobeConnect (webinar application).

Personal tutor

You will be allocated a personal tutor who provides support and guidance throughout the programme.

Module convenor

Each module has a convenor who provides academic advice and feedback to students through webinars and discussion boards. For the dissertation, you will have regular virtual meetings and email correspondence with your allocated supervisor.

Academic support meetings

During the learning events at the IAL, faculty from Cardiff University will be available for individual face-to-face meetings. These meetings can be used to discuss issues related to the specific module or to provide further academic support and guidance.

You will be provided a local mentor by the IAL.


You will have the opportunity to develop and practice advanced oral and written communication through formative tasks such as individual short writing tasks, online learning tasks, group presentations and group problem-based learning tasks. Feedback is provided on an ongoing basis to improve learning. Formal feedback is also available on an individual and group basis for summative assessments.

How will I be assessed?

Modules are assessed by a combination of essays, reports, reviews and presentations. 

What skills will I practise and develop?

On successfully completing the MSc Skills and Workforce Development, you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate existing knowledge, scholarship and research, and analyse competing claims and theoretical perspectives.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the factors that shape skill formation and use in the workplace.
  • Apply your knowledge and skills to assess and explain the policy process and the impact of policies on performance and distributional outcomes.
  • Locate and analyse national skills policy trajectories within wider international models.
  • Evaluate, critique and interpret methodologies and available data.
  • Design and implement a project involving the collection, critical evaluation and interpretation of data.
  • Demonstrate high level academic and personal skills applicable to your own research or scholarship, such as writing, oral presentations, problem solving and group work, and the use and application of information technologies.
  • Apply your knowledge and skills and show originality in thinking by tackling both familiar and unfamiliar complex problems.

This course was designed by Cardiff University in partnership with the Institute for Adult Learning, Singapore and aims to build the next generation of senior policy makers, divisional directors, researchers and other professionals required to respond to fundamental policy challenges in this field.

You will explore pressing contemporary issues such as sustainable economic development, the future of work, inequality and social inclusion, as well as gaining essential knowledge and analytical skills for tackling challenges in the workplace, accessing future opportunities or pursing a doctoral qualification.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Fees for entry 2019/20 are not yet available. Please get in touch if you want to be notified when they become available.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

Fees for entry 2019/20 are not yet available. Please get in touch if you want to be notified when they become available.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

Laptop computer, head phones and microphone will be required.

You may conduct fieldwork as part of your dissertation.