Find out about the MA in Higher Education and Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching


If you are new to higher education teaching (less than three years) you must take the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching, accredited by the Higher Education Academy and leading to Fellow Status.

Associate Fellowship is awarded after completing modules 1 and 2 of the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching and full Fellowship is awarded after completing all modules.

You also have the option of taking the MA in Higher Education which is open to both staff and external candidates. Please note you will receive your first Masters module free.

You can find out more about the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching and the MA in Higher Education below.

The Certificate consists of four modules at FHEQ level 6 and is intended for probationary teaching staff and PGRs. PGRs should obtain permission form their supervisors before registering for the programme. This is a part-time programme running over 18 months.

Module 1. Exploring the Learning Environment

This first module aims to give you an introduction to the learning environment with two compulsory sessions:

  1. Introduction to teaching and learning in higher education
  2. Assessment and feedback

You will then be able to tailor the remainder of the module to your specific needs with a variety of optional sessions, of which you will need to complete a minimum of 3.

Assessment: An annotated bibliography and an action plan.

Module 2. Theory and Practice of Teaching

This second module aims to examine your role as a teacher and how you manage the learning environment within which you work. The focus is on developing your understanding of the context within which you teach. A significant aspect of this module will be based on micro teaching. The opportunity to engage in the observation of teaching has been shown to be an important element in the development of our understanding of our practice (Lygo-Baker & Hatzipanagos, 2007). The module will focus not on altering your practice but providing you with an opportunity to develop ways of reviewing your practice and consider why you do what you do.

Assessment: A combination of a group presentation and a personal self-reflection.

Module 3. Understanding the Curriculum

The third module aims to broaden your considerations further to encourage understanding of your wider role in the development of learning by analysing curriculum development. This module is based on collaborative learning and aims to enhance your understanding of different curriculum models and how these can be applied within the context within which you practice. The module provides an opportunity to develop and critique the development of programmes of learning.

Assessment: A critique of the proposed module.

Module 4. Education Research

The fourth module builds on understanding developed in the first module about your own practice and how this then fits into the curriculum. The module focuses on how to enhance your understanding of the complex interrelationship between learning and teaching through the development of appropriate questions to investigate your area of practice. This will lead to the development of a research proposal.

Assessment:  A research proposal.

Pattern of delivery

Sessions generally run on a Tuesday morning or Wednesday afternoon and will be based around a series of interactions including microteaching, small group discussions and some problem-based work. However, for all modules there is an emphasis on small group work and some sessions may be arranged through negotiation and therefore may be timetabled at any time during the week to suit participants.

Further information

For further information please contact the Programme Director, Simon Lygo-Baker.

The MA in Higher Education is built with the practising university teacher in mind. Through online delivery of content, the programme offers the flexibility to create a programme that suits participants’ professional development needs in the field of university teaching.

About the programme

The programme allows you to construct your own developmental pathway through a choice of optional modules. You will do this by engagement with the explicit pedagogic framework that underpins this programme, emphasising:

  • Making connections between concepts, theory and practice, teaching and research, disciplinary methods, teachers and students
  • Recognising transformations in the structure of knowledge and learning within different contexts

For more information and to apply please see the MA Higher Education Course page.

Contact details

Please direct initial enquiries to Dr Emma Medland.


The Higher Education PhD will equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to shape professional practice and policy that will enable you to pursue highly fulfilling careers in academic, research and learning development positions in the higher education sector. Future careers also exist as researchers for government think-tanks, as well as policy research advisers on matters regarding higher education. 

For more information please visit the Higher Education PhD webpage.