MA/MSc Professional Practice

This unique programme is designed to help practitioners consolidate their creative identity by designing and realising an original and personal research project.


MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries)


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The MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries) provides a coherent but flexible course of postgraduate study, for experienced creative professionals or graduates with a strong work-based portfolio, who want to formalise their learning into a qualification.


SAE master's bespoke learning pathway

This unique programme is designed to help you consolidate your creative identity by designing and realising an original and personal research project, with an opportunity to customise your 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 master's degree is titled Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries). However, you may present a case for an alternate specialist area if you wish to be more specific to your topic, for example an MA in Professional Practice (Documentary Film). This will be agreed in your learning agreement at the beginning of the course and will be considered and approved by the Assessment Board.

See previous examples of award titles.

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 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
  • Is completed through online distance learning, giving you flexibility around your professional and personal life
  • 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:

  • Motivated self starters

    The MA/Msc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries) is an intensive online course open to motivated self-starters - whether that’s seasoned creative industry professionals looking to consolidate their learning with a formal qualification, or SAE alumni who have displayed a keen work ethic and have developed a professional portfolio alongside their undergraduate studies. Our expert mentors are there to guide you along the way, but you will need to be passionate about your chosen specialist research area and be confident with autonomous working.

  • Aspiring managers, innovators and visionaries

    Those hoping to pursue a director or managerial role in the constantly evolving creative media industries 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.

    The programme has broad relevance to professionals pursuing a new or developing interest in the digital media and creative industry sectors who want to open up new career opportunities. Five years of evidenced professional experience is accepted in lieu of an undergraduate degree at the application stage.

  • 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. Full-time and part-time study options are available depending on your individual needs.


1. Programme Planning (MPP701) - in this first module you will be introduced to your learning advisor 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. There is a strong emphasis on reflection and critical self-awareness.

2. Theoretical Perspectives and Research Methods (MPP702) - develop an academic perspective and framework to synthesise your project and your programme of study, focusing on research methods, theoretical and analytical perspectives relevant to creative media.

3. Review of Learning (MPP703) - critically reflect on your experiential learning, and to claim academic credit for relevant work experience within your creative discipline. To claim credit for prior professional experience you submit a portfolio of evidence and construct arguments to support your claim of knowledge and skills gained in each of the jobs/projects.

4. Professional Development Scheme (MPP704) - targeted programmes of advanced study specifically designed to address essential elements within your major project. This is based on your professional profile, ambitions and the requirements of your research project.

5. Final Project (MPP705) - a significant body of work supported by advanced methodologies that has demonstrable relevance to Creative Media professional practice that is worthy of dissemination. You must also submit a self-reflective written report and attend a viva voce examination.


Competition for the top jobs in the creative sector is high. Tailoring your study to be specifically relevant to your future practice has many advantages, including showing employers your commitment and imagination within your chosen field, and helping you stand out from others with a master’s level qualification.

While outcomes of the course may include a new career direction, promotion to a leadership role, a salary increase or a combination of these, our MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries) has also inspired many of our alumni to refine their entrepreneurial skills and start their own businesses.

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.


Dr Fares Kayali PhD, MSc

Based: Vienna University of Technology; University of Applied Arts, Vienna

Interest Areas: Serious games, new media

Languages: German, English

Fares Kayali is professor of digital education and learning at the Centre for Teacher Education at the University of Vienna. He is co-founder of the Positive Impact Games Lab and principal investigator of a number of projects situated at the intersection of design, people and technology. His research interests are situated in informatics, didactics, arts and HCI with a broad spectrum covering digital learning, teacher education, health care technology, game design and gamification, as well as music computing and interactive art.

Hardie Tucker MWBL

Based: SAE Singapore (Campus Academic Coordinator)

Interest Areas: Motion comics, cross media content, journalism, scriptwriting

Languages: English

Hardie J. Tucker is an educator and media developer with a diverse output since 1981. Hardie studied Arts at Sydney University majoring in education and philosophy. He received his Audio Engineering diploma from SAE Sydney and studied African percussion with Aziz N’Diaye (ex Youssou N’Dour). Hardie holds a Masters WBL in Online Instructional Design from Middlesex University. In Sydney, Hardie worked as drummer/percussionist and producer with Okapi Guitar Band, performing with African stars Mahotella Queens, Bhundu Boys and Abdul TJ. With writing partner Tim Piggot, Hardie wrote several internationally marketed screenplays including “Vertigo City” an acclaimed adaptation of Booker prize-winner JG Ballard’s sci-fi novel “Highrise”. He was also a founding member of Sydney avant-garde collective Dreamflesh, producing experimental cassettes and magazines. Moving to SE Asia, Hardie worked as a studio engineer in Kuala Lumpur with Malaysian artistes SM Salim and XPDC and producer M. Nasir. In Singapore, Hardie worked as a writer for TV production and magazine journalism. As a games designer he joined Games-Online to create the MMORPG adaptation of the Talsorian cyberpunk RPG “Night City 2020”. Whilst in Singapore Hardie also worked as an NGO marketing and communications consultant and taught in Ngee Ann and Nanyang Polytechnics. Hardie has been with SAE Singapore since 1999 as Campus Academic Coordinator whilst teaching both Audio and multimedia diplomas and the SAE/Middlesex Degree programs. He has also been a Learning Advisor for SAE/Middlesex University MPP program since 2008. His diverse areas of research include: styles of contemporary African music, story design for MMORPGs and online instructional design.

Dr Anne Chesher PhD

Based: SAE Byron Bay (Senior Film Lecturer)

Interest Areas: Documentary and educational filmmaking, storytelling

Languages: English

Dr Anne Chesher is a Creative Media Producer for the film and television industry specialising in developing multi-platform learning content. After more than twelve years full-time with National Geographic television, Anne’s broadcast clients include ABC Television, SBS, Foxtel, Discovery Kids, BBC, and Showtime Australia and leading film production houses CJZ, Endemol, Goalpost Pictures and Essential Media and Entertainment developing games, interactives and curriculum-based learning resources for the education sector. Anne has a PhD in Creative Media. Investigating Television Content in the 21st Century Classroom, Anne’s research analyses four professional practice case studies: Showtime’s Tim Winton’s cloudstreet, SBS’s Go Back To Where You Came From, ABC Splash and National Geographic Channel’s Education Hub. Her thesis culminates with the identification of twelve Design Considerations for Educational Media Production. Anne is Film Department Senior Lecturer at SAE Byron Bay Creative Media Institute. Anne lectures in Storytelling in Contemporary Media, Television Production, Budgeting, Legals and Copyright. Anne is a Board Director of Screenrights (Audio and Visual Copyright Australia).

Dr Marija Lelicanin PhD

Based: SAE Belgrade (Campus Academic Coordinator)

Interest Areas: Academic writing (metadiscourse and persuasion, cohesion and coherence), teaching methodology, mixed research methods, textual analysis (semiotics, rhetorics) of popular culture, (critical) discourse analysis, computational linguistics, media theory and persuasion, ethnomethodology

Languages: Serbian, English, Italian

Marija Koprivica Lelicanin is a researcher, lecturer and Campus Academic Coordinator at SAE Belgrade. She completed her master's studies (a Master of Business Administration in International Business, MBA) at the MIB School of Management in Italy and accomplished her PhD degree in Italian linguistics at the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Together with a number of Serbian and foreign companies and government institutions, she worked on international projects that involved strategic planning, investments and match-making between Italy and Serbia. She was a lecturer at several cultural and educational institutions at both Serbian and foreign universities. Her publications include a number of articles in scientific journals and international conference proceedings on the following topics: persuasion in academic writing and media, the relationship between interaction, language and power in unequal encounters and teaching methodology.



  • What support and contact do online students receive?

    As an online programme it assumes a great degree of self-motivation since it is self-directed. However in terms of support and contact, students are assigned a Learning Advisor who guides them through their study path (what to study, subject specific advice related to their research focus, how to study, etc.).

    Students interact with their learning advisor on a regular basis; formally 6 hrs of LA support per 60 credit module or combination of modules.

  • What course content and resources are available?

    Course content is produced based on students needs and topical issues (e.g. a critique of a bibliography) rather than a weekly syllabus, given that the programme is research based.

    All the above documentation and course content is available via Moodle, our Virtual Learning Environment.

    We also schedule a number of live webinars across all modules to cover some essential content and assessment requirements.

  • Can students use the facilities at the local SAE campuses? (In the UK and abroad)

    It is not expected that students will need access, given the programme is delivered online. However this is at the campuses’ discretion to offer additional facilities should they wish.

    In addition, as most students on the course will be working in industry, they normally will have access to the resources required. Many resources are also freely available online.


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Please complete the online form below and we will be in touch to offer advice or answer any questions that you may have regarding your application process.


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  • January
  • May
  • September


  • Online / Distance Learning


  • Full-time: 16 months (4 trimesters)
  • Part-time: 32 month (8 trimesters)


  • English
  • German
  • Italian

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 Project 60
  Total    240

*MPP706/7/8 Negotiated Projects are used only if claims for RAL (Recognition and Accreditation of Learning) 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 Learning

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


All applicants undertake an interview for admission to the programme.

You will have either:

  • a Bachelor degree with Honours (2:1 or higher) in a relevant field, and strong evidence of creative media work experience undertaken.


  • at least five years of professional creative industry experience.

Admission English language requirements

A candidate whose first language is not English must present evidence of having passed an English language test. The minimum acceptable level is:

  • IELTS: minimum score of 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in each component) - see
  • TOEFL iBT: minimum score of 90 (with no less than 21 in each component) - see

A candidate whose first language is not English may present evidence that their English language proficiency is equivalent to the above formal evidence and suitable for a masters level programme in the form of:

  • An English language bachelor degree or higher;
  • Successful completion of a short research report in English;
  • Evidence of significant professional practice in English
  • An online interview with MPP academic staff


To submit a full application visit the Apply Now page.

If you have any further questions, please contact Programme Coordinator Mike McNeilis at

Fees & Funding


Total Course Fees: £6,750*

SAE staff and alumni discount

SAE alumni and staff receive a 25% discount on fees.


If you are not able to self-fund the course, there are the following loans available:

Postgraduate Master’s Loan

If you’re an eligible student in England starting a master’s degree, you could get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan to help with course fees and living costs. You can get up to £11,570 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2021

Postgraduate student finance information for 2021 is now available

Applications for Student Finance England’s Postgraduate Master’s and Doctoral Loan service for 2021 is expected to open at the end of June.

When the time comes, it’s quick and easy to apply at

Find out more about Postgraduate Master’s Loans including eligibility, application and repayment information.

Funding for postgraduate loans is different if you normally live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Moving somewhere to study does not count as normally living there.

Payment Plan For Self Funders:




Trimester 1 £1800
Trimester 2 £1650
Trimester 3 £1650
Trimester 4 £1650




Trimester 1 £900
Trimester 2 £900
Trimester 3 £825
Trimester 4 £825
Trimester 5 £825
Trimester 6 £825
Trimester 7 £825
Trimester 8 £825

"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 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 SAE Institute’s MA/MSc 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 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.

See examples of past projects undertaken for the Master's in Professional Practice.

Student Showcase

Abbey Carter is an MA/MSc Professional Practice (Creative Media Industries) student at SAE who previously studied Game Art Animation at SAE Liverpool.

On the master’s course, she is creating a game environment showcasing iconic scenes within Studio Ghibli films to tackle the divide between film and game.

Find out more
This programme was developed and is delivered and assessed by SAE Institute. SAE Institute reserves the right to make revisions and changes to the information presented in line with continuous improvement actions, and stakeholder feedback.