Our Master’s programs help you to specialize professionally, pursue an academic career and qualify for management and leadership positions.


MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries)


The MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries)* provides a coherent but flexible course of graduate study, for experienced professionals who want to formalise their learning into a qualification. This unique programme is designed to help practitioners consolidate their creative identity by designing and realising an original and personal research project.

With an emphasis on work-based learning, you will be encouraged to test your ideas within your own creative practice and you’ll be paired with an expert mentor from our global network. Mentors are there to coach and support you through your studies however, the progressive move from staff-directed to autonomous learning is an integral aim of this course.


Why study with us?

The SAE MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries)* is a distinctive master’s programme developed for creative media practitioners. In addition to recognising the value of of your professional practice, this innovative and flexible programme:

  • Enables you to combine work and study by completing assessment through work-based projects
  • Allows you to tailor your learning and course content to match your interests and career aspirations
  • Provides cutting edge scholarship enriched by the support and guidance of an expert mentor
  • Encourages autonomous learning through a self-directed research project
  • Allows you to become part of an active global network of industry professionals

Since 1976, SAE has been one of the world’s leading educators in creative media. Thanks to our distinct model of hands-on learning and strong focus on industry and global engagement, many of our students have gone on to enrich the world with their creative talents winning Oscars, Grammys, Baftas and becoming digital entrepreneurs.

Who is this course for?

This course is for established creative practitioners seeking professional development and attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities. The flexible mode of study combined with the ability to formulate your own personal research project makes this course suited to:

1. Professionals with 5+ years of industry experience

Professionals and practitioners from the digital media and creative industry sector can develop their knowledge and skills on the MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries)* as a way of enhancing their future career prospects.

The programme also has broad relevance to professionals pursuing a new or developing interest in the sector who want to open up new career opportunities. Graduates with less industry experience are also welcome to apply, however you must show competence and commitment to your specialty.

2. Aspiring managers, innovators and visionaries

Those hoping to pursue a director or managerial role in the constantly evolving sector will gain entrepreneurial, strategic and conceptual skills to prosper. Students manage their own independent research project, be it business-based, practice-based or a combination.

The programme’s cutting-edge scholarship and research opportunities will appeal to those with strong visions of the creative industries in the modern era.

3. Busy creative practitioners with the need for flexible study options

The online distance modes of study are particularly suitable for students wanting to balance their postgraduate studies with a busy work or personal life, or irregular work patterns.

Course structure

1. Programme Planning - in this first module you will be introduced to your mentor who will help you link current work practices and future aspirations to formulate your major project. You will work closely with your mentor to prepare and agree the terms of a learning agreement. The purpose of your learning agreement is to devise what you will learn, how you will learn and what evidence you will deliver for assessment.

2. Theoretical Perspectives and Research Methods - develop an academic perspective and framework to synthesise your project and your programme of study.

3. Review of Learning - critically reflect on your experiential learning, and to claim academic credit for relevant work experience within your creative discipline. To claim credit for experiential learning you submit a portfolio of evidence and construct arguments to support your claim.

4. Professional Development Scheme - targeted programmes of advanced study specifically designed to address essential elements within your major project.

5. Creative Media Major Project - a significant body of work supported by advanced methodologies. You must also submit a self-reflective written report and a live or recorded presentation.

Career progression

Tailoring your study to be specifically relevant to your future practice has many advantages. Not only does it prove to your employer your willingness to perform to the best of your ability, but that you also display a higher intellectual rigour.

Outcomes of the course may include a new career direction, promotion to a leadership role, a salary increase or a combination of these.

Award title

If your project is based on a particularly complex area of technical content, then you may present your degree to be awarded a MSc, instead of the default MA, to the Assessment Board. The masters degree is titled Creative Media Industries. However, you may present a case for an alternate title if you wish to be more specific to your genre, for example an MA in Documentary Film. This will be agreed in your learning agreement during at the beginning of the course and will be considered and approved by the Assessment Board.


  • January
  • May
  • September


  • My MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries)* delivered on campus in Cologne


  • 28 months
    • 1. trimester (4 months) Full-time
    • 6 trimesters (24 months) Part-time


  • German

In Partnership with University of Hertfordshire

* This programme was developed and is delivered and assessed by SAE Institute, awarded by and quality assured by University of Hertfordshire.


Programme Structure

Module Code Module Name Credit Points
MPP701 Programme Planning 20
MPP702 Theoretical Perspectives and Research Methods 40
MPP703 Review of Learning (plus up to 30 credits as RAL) 30+30*
MPP704 Professional Development Scheme 60
MPP705 Creative Media Major Poject 60
  Total 240
*MPP706/7/8 Negotiated Projects are used only if claims for RAL credit fall short.

Module 1 - Project Planning

It might be that you come to the course with a clear concept that you’re keen to explore, or you may have a number of ideas that all pertain to your chosen area of study. Either way you will be prescribed a personal Learning Advisor who will discuss all elements of your ideas with you and guide you through the participation of seminar discussions online with your peers.

The core of Module 1 is to work closely with your Learning Advisor to prepare and agree the terms of your own Learning Agreement. This will bring together your personal skills, academic knowledge and professional development plans for the remainder of the programme, culminating in your Creative Media Major Project.

Your Learning Agreement contain the rationale which leans towards the MA or MSc award based on the nature of the project. Similarly, the Learning Agreement may contain a rationale for a change of award title from the general (Creative Media Industries) to one specific to the project focus (eg Documentary Film).

Learning Outcomes

  • To analyse the relationship between professional practice and work based learning principles
  • To show critical awareness of your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses and a plan to address these within the course
  • To demonstrate an unfailing/persistent commitment to continual professional development

Module Specifics

In the process of determining your personalised Learning Agreement your Learning Advisor will work with you to determine the following:

  • Approaches to research, design, management and production of creative projects
  • Preparation of a claim for postgraduate academic recognition for prior professional experience
  • Proposal to extend, deepen and/or broaden existing knowledge and skills
  • Ethical and risk assessment implications in professional project design and execution

Module 2 - Theoretical Perspectives and Research Methods

Taking the lead from your definitions of work laid out in Module One, Module Two further develops the connection between the theoretical perspectives, research methods and your project as per your Learning Agreement.

You will further explore these perspectives and their impact on the wider context of the creative media industry to be able to discuss theories in contemporary culture and industry through applied research and project methodologies.

Learning Outcomes

  • To articulate aesthetic concepts and principles relevant to creative media
  • To analyse commercial, aesthetic and technical dimensions of creative media activities
  • To engage in the reflection and deep constructive analysis central to graduate study
  • To convey this thought process within self-critical and evaluative reports

Module Specifics

Topics relating to research methods, specific to your project proposal may include some or all of the following:

  • Textual analysis, semiotic analysis, rhetorical analysis, historical analysis, content analysis, ideological criticism and psychoanalytic criticism
  • Interviews, surveys, experiments, participant observation, case studies and actionable research
  • Quantitative research methods, qualitative research methods, and ethical issues.

Topics relating to the theoretical perspectives of your project proposal may include:

Concepts of cyberspace and cyberculture, theories of multimedia, postmodernist theory, cultural and political dimensions, globalisation, mass communication and personal freedom, and discussing issues of ‘infotainment’.

Module 3 - Review of Lerning

The aim of the Review of Learning is for you to systematically and critically reflect on your professional practice to date. It will enable you to undertake tasks that develop the skills of analysis and synthesis appropriate for study at level 7. Your process of recognising experiential and certificated learning will lead to accreditation of your learning – claiming specific academic credits for specific knowledge and skills learned through your experience using arguments and evidence presented in a CV, portfolio and critically reflective report. Through this process, you will also develop a sophisticated and deeply personal understanding of your individual creative processes, problem solving methods, and technical mastery of your chosen medium.

Learning Outcomes

  • systematically identify and evaluate theoretical perspectives that inform your own work/practice and professional development
  • critically and systematically evaluate the significance of inquiry methods, action planning and problem solving in your own work/practice
  • synthesise experiential and accredited learning
  • cogently discuss the significance of your previous work/practice to your project
  • claim accreditation of learning by utilising discriminating judgement and persuasive argument supported by evidence to systematically evaluate your work/practice

Module Specifics

  • Reflective report on learning embedded in your past and current work/practice, and how your learning has grown and developed over your career to this point in time
  • Development of a comprehensive CV to clearly identify the high level of your professional experience
  • Development of persuasive arguments to support your claim for proposed credit
  • Evidence for each item of your claim, including proof of certified and uncertified learning if appropriate

How Module 3 works

Credit awarded for this module is ungraded and directly constitutes 30 credits of the 240 required to complete the qualification. In addition as part of this module, you have an opportunity to claim up to an extra 30 credits for previous work/practice as RAL (Recognition and Accreditation of Learning). These credits can be any combination of Level 6 or Level 7 credits. If you are unable or unwilling to claim any or all of these credits, you will need to propose a small Negotiated Project to make up the difference.

Module 4 - Professional Development Scheme

The aim of the Professional Development Scheme is to provide you with new knowledge and skills to successfully complete your Creative Media Major Project and better prepare you for lifelong learning and a successful career in the creative media industries. You undertake individually targeted programmes of knowledge and skill development selected to address your needs and the requirement of your Creative Media Major Project in consultation with your Learning Advisor and approved by the Programme Leader.

Learning Outcomes

  • To exhibit initiative, expert judgement and accountability in the design of your professional development activity
  • To critically and systematically evaluate the significance of inquiry methods, action planning and problem solving in your professional development activity
  • To systematically identify and evaluate theoretical perspectives that inform your own work/practice and professional development activity
  • To cogently claim the significance of your professional development activity to your project
  • To cogently claim the significance of your professional development activity for your future work/practice

Module Specifics

Your Learning Advisor will assist you to develop and plan out a Professional Development Scheme. You are then responsible for making your own detailed arrangements and for covering any cost that may arise within the process.

  • This module may include supervised projects, skills development by participation in teaching sessions, short courses, or placement experience.
  • You will be expected to provide evidence of any completed short courses and provide a critique of them in your learning journal

How Module 4 works

Credit awarded for this module is ungraded and constitutes 60 credits of the 240 required to complete the qualification. This module enables you to develop new knowledge and skills needed to support your Creative Media Major Project and your ongoing personal and professional development. Your Professional Development Scheme will normally consist of a specially designed sequence of short projects and short courses for skill development (independent or supported), responsibility for the supervision of other practitioners (work or teaching), or another a work-specific placement in your field.

Module 5 - Creative Media Major Project

Your Creative Media Major Project serves as the pinnacle of the entire MA/MSc and constitutes an important developmental focus throughout the course. Your Learning Advisor will triangulate your needs alongside that of the programme and future employers; in doing so, a number of high-level transferable skills are developed.

In addition to completing the project itself in Module 5, you are required to write a substantial reflective and self-critical report and to create a live or recorded presentation.

Your work must be of demonstrable relevance and importance to future professional practice within the creative media industries.

Learning Outcomes

  • To show the ability to devise effective creative media projects and/or investigations
  • To manage one’s self, and others if applicable, in the undertaking of professional level projects
  • To critique and evaluative reports
  • To devise and communicate results and outcomes with effective presentations

How Module 5 works

You are required to complete your Creative Media Major Project as agreed with your Learning Advisor in your Learning Agreement from Module 1.

If your Creative Media Major Project is theoretical in nature, a written report of circa 12,000 words is required. If your Major Project involves a practical or creative element, a shorter report is required, as negotiated with the Learning Advisor and approved in the Learning Agreement. In most cases, the practical/creative element and report are weighted 50% each, but variations can be proposed in your initial Learning Agreement.

Entry Requirements

You will be proficient in the language of instruction:

  • Cologne - German

You will also have either:

  • a Bachelor's degree with Honours (second class or higher) in a relevant field, and
  • at least one year’s professional creative industry experience


  • at least five years’ professional creative industry experience.

Finally, you will need to submit a draft project proposal along with your application.

Fees & Funding

"My MPP project lies in a subtle mix between Sponsored Short Movies and Nation Branding. I’m trying to produce a short movie with a nice story that would be effective in promoting a country without having too much ‘Nation Branding’ stamping. The concept of online studying suits my situation perfectly. With an already full professional and family life, the My MPP allows me access to further study."

Pierre Guersing, Head of Audio/Visual Service at Chambre de Commerce in Luxembourg

Boost your career prospects

Because MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries)* is tailored to your own professional development, taking into account your personal wishes for future study, it is designed by its very nature, to open up a wide range of future career opportunities.

Competition is high for the top jobs in the creative sector, with employers, both private and public becoming quite demanding in their requirements. Standing out not only with a higher level qualification than the rest but also with a research project that defines your commitment and imagination in your chosen sector is a massive plus point. Our MA/MSc has also inspired many of our Alumni to refine their entrepreneurial skills and start their own businesses in their genre.

Whatever direction you wish to go in, and you may not realise it fully at the start, our programme and personal learning advisors will develop and elevate you to reach the learning outcomes you desire.