Higher Education MA

Why choose this course?

Our Higher Education MA has been built with practising university teachers in mind.

It 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 shape professional practice.

What you will study

Through online delivery of content, our Higher Education MA offers you the flexibility to create a programme that suits your professional development needs in the field of university teaching, and is offered on a part-time basis over three to five years.

The programme allows you to construct your own developmental pathway through a choice of optional modules. You will do this by engaging with the explicit pedagogic framework that underpins the programme, emphasising the connections between concepts, theory and practice, teaching and research, disciplinary methods, and teachers and students.

On the programme you will analyse issues relating to your everyday teaching practice, share practice and explore solutions with your fellow participants and tutors. Your experience on the MA can provide evidence to support application for Senior Fellowship of the HEA.

You will be registered initially for the MA in Higher Education (180 credits). However, you can choose to step-off at Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) or Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) Level.

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
MA Part-time 36 months Feb 2018
MA Distance-learning 36 months Feb 2018
MA Part-time 36 months Oct 2018
MA Distance-learning 36 months Oct 2018
Stag Hill

Student experience

As part of induction to the programme, you will have a discussion with a personal tutor to help you make the appropriate choices for your professional learning journey based on your previous teaching and learning experience in the higher education context and your developmental aspirations.

A personal tutor will work with you to develop a personalised plan to ensure you get the most from the programme by developing your professional knowledge and skills.


As we recognise that you will be working within your own higher education institutions while you study, the programme is offered as part-time registration. It is anticipated that the Diploma would be completed within two years of registration and the Dissertation would normally be completed within an additional year.

You will 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.

You can decide to study for a general MA in Higher Education or a MA in Higher Education with a specialist pathway. Specialist pathways are only available for the MA in Higher Education (not at the award of Diploma).

If you decide, a pathway is right for you, you will need to take 60 credits from the specialist modules and conduct research within the Research Dissertation module on an area relating to the pathway. The following are the three specialist pathways available:

  • Academic Leadership
  • Technology Enhanced Learning
  • Veterinary Education

For example, if you decide to take the Academic Leadership pathway, you will be awarded MA in Higher Education (Academic Leadership).


  • Postgraduate Certificate: This is built around the compulsory module of Teaching in Your Own Discipline. You will choose three optional modules that help builds your own professional pathway and suits your needs.
  • Postgraduate Diploma: This is based on your personal/professional development plan; you will choose three further modules that fulfil your personal and professional aims and which strengthens your activities, knowledge and professional values in your career. You will also do the compulsory module of Researching in Higher Education, which aims to help you to start thinking about how to investigate and explore issues that intrigues and challenges you in the Higher Education landscape.
  • Masters: For the MA, you will have to conduct 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 programme 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).

Each participant will also have their own personal tutor from the Department of Higher Education.

Programme leader

KINCHIN I Prof (Higher Ed.)

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.

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


Timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). The course modules are delivered across two academic semesters with lectures most often on a Wednesday and/ or Thursday, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators.

Policies and regulations

Please refer to our academic regulations and student policies and regulations. These may be amended from time to time.

Learning and disability support

We have two services, the Student Personal Learning and Study Hub (SPLASH) and Additional Learning Support (ALS) which can help develop your learning.

Student Personal Learning and Study Hub

SPLASH is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can assist you in developing your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.

Find out more about the study support available.

Additional Learning Support

ALS is the University’s disability and neurodiversity service which supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (for example: dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (for example: autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).

Students are encouraged to disclose their condition and register with the service so that they can be appropriately supported during their studies.

The ALS team can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for Disabled Students' Allowance and screen students for dyslexia and dyspraxia. Regular study skills and mentoring support is also provided to students where appropriate.

See the Additional Learning Support website for more information.

Entry requirements

All applicants should normally be academic staff (tutors and lecturers) or academic-related staff working at a Higher Education Institute.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall, 6.0 in each component (or equivalent)

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Recognition of prior learning

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 this applies to you, 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, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and 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. 

Please see the Code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Part-time Feb 2018 £520* £1,150*
Distance-learning Feb 2018 £520* £1,150*
Part-time Oct 2018 £550* £1,200*
Distance-learning Oct 2018 £550* £1,200*

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2018-19 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

View the list of fees for all postgraduate taught programmes.


Student finance

Find out about the Government's postgraduate taught student finance support and Career Development Loans.

For more details.

For more details

Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught masters programme fees.

For more details

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.

Contact us

Admissions enquiries

+44 (0)1483 682 222


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