Higher Education MA – 2020 entry

Key information

Start date: February 2021

Part-time: 3 years

Start date: October 2020

Part-time: 3 years

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

Our Higher Education MA offers you the flexibility to create a course 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 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.

Throughout your studies, you’ll also 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.

Student experience

As part of your induction to the course, you will liaise with a personal tutor to help you make the appropriate choices for your professional learning journey. This will be based on your previous teaching and learning experience in the higher education context, as well as your developmental aspirations.

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


As we recognise that you will be working within your own higher education institutions while you study, our MA course 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 choose 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 the right option 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

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 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.

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


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 or 60 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:

Optional modules for Year 1 (part-time) - FHEQ Level 7

List of pathways:
MA in Higher Education (Veterinary Education)
GCAM012 and GCAM013 must be selected, along with 4 other optional modules.
MA in Higher Education (Academic Leadership)
GCAM010 and GCAM009 must be selected, along with 4 other optional modules.
MA in Higher Education (Technology Enhanced Learning)
GCAM005 and GCAM006 must be selected, along with 4 other optional modules.

Optional modules for Year 2 (part-time) - FHEQ Level 7

List of pathways:
MA in Higher Education (Veterinary Education)
GCAM012 and GCAM013 must be selected, along with 4 other optional modules.
MA in Higher Education (Academic Leadership)
GCAM010 and GCAM009 must be selected, along with 4 other optional modules.
MA in Higher Education (Technology Enhanced Learning)
GCAM005 and GCAM006 must be selected, along with 4 other optional modules.

Module title Status Semester


Course 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). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).

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.

View entry requirements by country

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 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.


Start date: February 2021

Part-time - 3 years

UK/EU £570*

Overseas £1,230*

Start date: October 2020

Part-time - 3 years

UK/EU £570*

Overseas £1,230*

* per 15 credits

Please note:

  • These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2020-21 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 2020-21 academic year. The fee payable in subsequent years will be reviewed annually.

View the list of fees for all postgraduate taught courses.


You may be able to borrow money to help pay your tuition fees and support you with your living costs. Find out more about student finance.

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 policies and 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 generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will 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 vary to take into account specifics of your course.


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 more.

Contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

University of Surrey

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH