Thinking of studying play? Undergraduate study, Free PhDs and more


Updated on 21 November 2016.


We thought we’d help out and give you a few options in case you’re thinking of studying play and need more information or a bit of a push.

This is not an extensive list of play and playwork qualifications or training opportunities, so if you know of a good one that isn’t listed, let us know.



Leeds Beckett University is the only university in the country to offer an undergraduate Playwork course (that isn’t related to just early years or education). They have recently changed the name of the BA(Hons) course to Childhood Development and Playwork, but the content is the same exciting one. The Playwork department at Leeds Beckett is proud to have the first Professor in Playwork, Fraser Brown, as an academic advisor for the undergraduate degree.

Along with 3-month placements in the first two years of study, you have the opportunity to explore the fields of playwork practice, policy development, environmental design and organisational leadership and management, which are sure to leave with more than one career option at the end of the course.

On completion of the 3-year BA(Hons) you will hold a Level 6 qualification in Playwork. However, there is the opportunity of only doing the first two years and obtaining a Foundation Degree (FdA), which is the equivalent of a Level 5 qualification.

If you’re thinking of actually taking playwork to the next level, why not head over to Leeds Beckett on their Open Day (the next one is in June) and find out more about the Playwork course?

Here is a link to the course page .



Already hold a Bachelors degree? The University of Gloucestershire offers a part-time distance learning postgraduate Masters (MA) qualification titled Professional Studies in Children’s Play.

The course involves carrying out your own independent research project, as well as choosing from over six different interesting modules, such as Perspectives on Playwork, Advocacy in Professional Practice, Play and Space, Applied and Contemporary Practice or Strategic Leadership and Management.

The programme aims to meet the needs of professionals including playworkers, early year’s workers, educators, landscape designers, planners, environmental educators, health professionals and animators in a variety of contexts; museums, zoos, tourism, public space.

The programme is made up of a number of modules and each is worth a set number of points. Depending on the number of points achieved, you can obtain a Postgraduate Certificate (60 points), a Postgraduate Diploma (120 points) and if carrying out your Independent Project, the full Masters (180 points).

This is a link to the course page which includes very detailed descriptions of all the things you could be learning. Great stuff!


Thinking of doing a PhD in play-related fields? You’re in luck because the PEDAL (Play in Education, Development And Learning) research centre is offering three fully-funded 3-year PhD studentships starting in October 2017.

Yes, you read right, a free PhD! Provided you are interested in these areas of research.

PEDAL is located in the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education and was launched in October 2015 with funding from the LEGO Foundation. Here is their online page.

The deadline for applications is 7 December, so hurry up and express your interest in this great opportunity.


And if things couldn’t get any better, Leeds Beckett University is offering a free PhD as well. The first of its kind.

If you are interested in play within prison environments, the theme is Playwork in prison as a mechanism to support family health and well-being. The study will try to understand playwork in prison and its benefits.  Read more about it here by clicking on ‘available PhD projects’.

Contact either Dr James Woodall or Mike Wragg if you want to have an informal conversation and discuss it further.


*Student loans are now available for Postgraduate study, as well as Undergraduate.



Interested in Playwork training, but not sure you want to commit to a long period of learning? Check out Playwork Partnerships, who are endorsed by Skills Active.

More information here.



We hope this helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *