Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PGCTHE)

The Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PGCTHE) is a part-time programme commencing in January each year. The PGCTHE is a Higher Education Academy (HEA) accredited programme which provides an opportunity for staff involved in teaching and supporting student learning to improve their professional practice and therefore their own students’ learning. This is achieved by promoting a reflective approach to practice drawing upon pedagogic theory and empirical evidence within a collaborative learning environment. The programme adopts a blended learning approach which combines face-to-face sessions with support through a virtual learning environment (VLE).

Professional Accreditation

The programme meets Categories 1 and 2 of the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for teaching and supporting learning in higher education. This means that staff who successfully complete the programme are eligible to become Associate Fellow (D1) and Fellow (D2) of the HEA. If staff wish to complete only the first module they can become an Associate Fellow of the HEA. Further details are available from the HEA website:

The programme also meets the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards for nurse and midwife educators. The NMC teacher standard is mandatory for nurses and midwives who are teachers employed in higher education supporting students on NMC approved programmes.

The PGCTHE is open to Edge Hill University staff involved in teaching and/or supporting learning. It is mandatory for full-time academic staff with less than three years’ experience of teaching in higher education. Staff with more than three years’ experience of teaching and/or supporting learning in higher education can enrol on the PGCTHE, but they should note that they can obtain Fellowship of the HEA through Edge Hill University’s CPD scheme. Details of this scheme can be obtained from:

Programme Aims

Participants on the PGCTHE are expected to:

  • Develop an understanding of how students learn and how the economic, social and cultural context within which their students experience university life influences their learning.
  • Improve their awareness, knowledge and understanding of different approaches to teaching, supporting learning and assessment in higher education, including the use of appropriate technologies to support student learning.
  • Develop skills relevant to teaching and facilitating learning in higher education.
  • Develop a reflexive and self-critical approach to professional practice.
  • Develop a scholarly and research-based approach to teaching in higher education.
  • Improve their knowledge and understanding of the institutional, national and international context within which they operate and develop their awareness of the implications for their practice and professional development.
  • Develop appropriate strategies to deal with ethical dilemmas that arise whilst engaged in professional practice.


The programme consists of three 20 point modules:

THE7001: Exploring Practice in Teaching and Learning

This module aims to support the professional development of those involved in teaching or facilitating learning in higher education through a process of critical reflection. The module covers topics such as the influence of the higher education environment on professional practice; the nature of different roles (academic and support) within higher education institutions; and the application of different theories of teaching, learning and assessment to practice. Participants are required to reflect on these topics from the perspective of their approach to teaching and facilitating learning so that they can enhance their own students’ learning.

THE7002: Curriculum Design for Learning

In this module participants are encouraged to critically analyse a range of definitions of curriculum and to consider these from the perspective of their particular role or discipline.  Staff will interrogate the ways in which curriculum design can inhibit or extend opportunities for students from a range of social and cultural backgrounds. The module centres on the participants’ reflections of their role in the planning, delivery and evaluation of curricula. Particular attention will be paid to the curriculum in relation to the distinctive nature of their subject/discipline.

THE7003: Developing Practice through Pedagogic Research

This module focuses on how to design and implement a small scale pedagogic research project that will inform and enhance practice. The module covers topics such as planning a research project (including the consideration of ethical issues); carrying out a literature review; collecting data using surveys, interviews, observation, documents and focus groups; analysing both quantitative and qualitative data; and writing-up research. The module also discusses the different philosophies underpinning the research process and looks in depth at methodological approaches commonly used by pedagogic researchers such as case studies and action research.

Structure of the Programme

The PGCTHE commences in January each year and takes approximately 18 months to complete. The taught element takes a year and involves a combination of face-to-face sessions and on-line support. Face-to-face sessions run on a fortnightly basis on Tuesday afternoons from 2-5 pm.  The diagram below illustrates the structure of the PGCTHE:

Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education





The modules have to be completed in the order set out above because they provide a logical sequence that facilitates the process of learning and professional development.

Applying for the PGCTHE

As this is a postgraduate programme applicants are expected to have an honours degree or equivalent. Applicants should also have a current and on-going teaching commitment in higher education. The level and amount of teaching should be sufficient to enable participants to meet the requirements of the assignments.

In order to enrol on the programme an online registration form must be completed HERE (January 2021 start). Please click the ‘New Account’ button as you are registering as a student, do not use your staff login. Once you have completed the application form the programme leader will be notified by admissions and your application form with be processed. Enrolment happens through academic registry nearer the start of the course in January.

PLEASE NOTE: You MUST ensure you have agreement from your line manager/head of department to go apply for the PGCTHE as they will be expected to agree not to timetable any other commitments for your Tuesday afternoons 2-5 so you can attend the taught sessions.

Application forms need to be submitted by the first Monday in December.  (Applications to start in 2020 have now closed.)

Who can apply for the PGCTHE?

  • Full and part-time academic staff
  • Associate Tutors and staff on short-term contracts or secondment who teach students
  • Graduate Teaching Assistants and other PhD/MPhil students who teach students
  • Support staff who mentor, teach or train students as part of their role

If you have any questions regarding the PGCTHE please do not hesitate to contact the programme leader Linda Marron

RP(E)L: Staff can obtain exemption from one module on the basis of their past qualifications and experience.  Members of staff who feel they have covered the learning outcomes and content of a particular module are required to submit an Application for the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to the Programme Leader.

Further Information

For more information about the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education please contact:

Linda Marron