Higher Education MA – 2023 entry

Key information

Start date: September 2023

Study mode and duration
Part-time: 5 years

Why choose this course

Our Higher Education MA is open to applicants who are working with students aged 18 years or older, within a higher or tertiary education setting (or other organisations that teach at a higher or tertiary education level). This MA has a strong disciplinary focus and has been built with practising university teachers in mind, including those working in mainstream academic departments, faculty development centres and support services, such as libraries and study skill centres.

Our online course has been designed with the aim of providing a positive learning experience that addresses the needs of those who have experienced working in higher education, but who wish to develop further as a teacher.

The MA encourages you to construct your own developmental pathway through a choice of optional modules, allowing you to graduate as a more confident university teacher, with the skills and knowledge to both critique and shape professional practice.

What you will study

Our online, distance learning course offers you the flexibility to create a programme that suits your professional development needs in the field of university teaching. Offered on a part-time basis over three to five years, the qualification recognises the importance of balancing your studying alongside your teaching roles.

The course allows you to construct your own developmental pathway through a choice of optional modules. You’ll do this by engaging with the connections between concepts, theory and practice, teaching and research, disciplinary methods, and teachers and students. As a fully online programme, teaching is delivered via a range of synchronous and asynchronous activities that support the learning outcomes of each module and reflect the needs of the student group. As such, whilst you register for the full Masters, you may step off from the programme at either the PG Certificate or PG Diploma levels.

Throughout your studies, you’ll analyse issues relating to your everyday teaching practice. In addition, you’ll debate alternative ideas, surface challenges, and explore solutions with your peers and tutors. Your experience on the MA can provide evidence to support application for Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).


As you’ll be working within your own higher education institution while you study, our MA course is offered as a part-time registration. It’s anticipated that the diploma would be completed within two years of registration and the dissertation would normally be completed within an additional year. You’ll be registered initially for the MA in Higher Education (180 credits). However, you can choose to step off at Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) or the Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) level.

Postgraduate certificate

This is built around the compulsory module of Teaching in Your Own Discipline. You'll choose three optional modules that help build your own professional aims and suit your needs.

Postgraduate diploma

This is based on your personal/professional development plan. You’ll choose three further modules that fulfil your personal and professional aims, that strengthen your activities, knowledge and professional values in your career. You’ll also do the compulsory module of Researching in Higher Education, which aims to help you start thinking about how to investigate and explore issues that intrigue and challenge you in higher education.


For the MA, you’ll complete a piece of independent research as part of the compulsory Research Dissertation module. This allows you to investigate an issue that you have personally selected that will contribute to your growing understanding of your professional practice.


The course will be delivered online so you can access the materials from your place of work, home or elsewhere. All materials will be available through the University’s virtual learning environment, SurreyLearn. You’ll also have you own personal tutor to support you from our Surrey Institute of Education.

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University. Our graduates have lifetime access to Surrey Pathfinder, our online portal for appointment and events bookings, jobs, placements and interactive development tools.

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University. Our graduates have lifetime access to Surrey Pathfinder, our online portal for appointment and events bookings, jobs, placements and interactive development tools.

Completion of the MA offers you both a qualification relevant to learning and teaching in higher education, but also provides significant evidence for professional development, such as applications for senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Academic year structure

On our part-time course, you can choose the pace at which you undertake the programme (subject to the ​5 year period of maximum registration as outlined in the institutional regulations), which can be adapted to your personal circumstances within reason.

There are two compulsory modules if you take the PGDip or full MA in Higher Education ​(namely, Teaching in your own Discipline, and Researching in Higher Education). ​To complete the full MA you will also ​be required to complete a separate dissertation module (60 credits).

For more information on academic year structure, please contact ​the Programme Director, Dr Emma Medland ​(e.medland@surrey.ac.uk).


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:


Timetables are negotiated between module leaders and students, and so students should contact Emma Medland (e.medland@surrey.ac.uk) at the Surrey Institute of Education for further details.

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.

Entry requirements

It is essential for applicants to be academic staff (tutors and lecturers) or academic-related staff working at a higher education institute as they will need access to students and teaching peers in order to undertake some of the activities within the modules, such as teaching observations and classroom-based action research projects.

International entry requirements by country

Do I meet the requirements for this course?

We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in each other element.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Credit transfer

The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If your experience exceeds the typical requirements for entry to the programme, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience. If you can demonstrate that you have met the learning outcomes for specific modules through your previous learning, it may be possible to exempt you from those modules, and for you to be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.

In some cases, prior knowledge and skills may allow applicants to join the start of a course without meeting the formal entry requirements.

Please see our code transfer and recognition of prior learning guide (PDF) and recognition of prior learning and prior credit web page for further information. Please email Admissions (admissions@surrey.ac.uk) with any queries.

Fees per year

Start date: September 2023

Part-time - 5 years

* per 15 credits

Please note:

  • These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2023-24 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually
  • If you are on an unstructured self-paced part-time course, the fee shown is per 15 credits for the 2023-24 academic year
  • Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.

View the list of fees for all postgraduate taught courses.

Payment schedule

  • Students in receipt of a tuition fee loan: Will have their fees paid by the Student Loans Company in line with their schedule
  • International students, or UK/EU students who have not taken out a tuition fee loan: Are required to pay their fees either in full at the beginning of the programme or in two instalments as follows:
    • 50% payable 10 days after the invoice date (expected to be early October of each academic year)
    • 50% in January of the same academic year.

The exact date(s) will be detailed on invoices. Students on certain part-time programmes, where fees are paid on a modular or stage basis, are not eligible to pay their fees by instalment.

  • If you are sponsored: You will provide us with valid sponsorship information that covers the period of your study.

Admission information

Our postgraduate admissions policy* provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students. You can also read our postgraduate applicant guidance.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our Charter, Statutes, Ordinances, Policies, Regulations and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2022/2023 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.

Please note: the offer terms and conditions and registration terms and conditions which you will be asked to agree to may be different from those detailed in the examples. Our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will be available at the start of each academic year and will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing but changes (for example, to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.

Contact details

University of Surrey Admissions

Contact Admissions Team


University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH