Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PGCTHE)

Please note, the PGCTHE is only available to those with an Edge Hill University contract.

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 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.

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.

Learning Outcomes:

LO1: Discuss the nature of the higher education environment within which they operate and critically analyse its influence on their practice
LO2: Explain and critically analyse, drawing upon relevant literature, the factors influencing the students’ learning experience (both generally and in their subject) and how it impacts upon approaches to teaching and assessment, including the appropriate use of learning technologies.
LO3: Critically evaluate their practice utilising a collaborative approach that draws upon peer and student feedback and takes into account their personal and professional values and the values of others.
LO4: Demonstrate that they are able to identify and critically analyse different ways of improving their practice and their students’ learning.
LO5: Demonstrate the ability to keep to the assignment guidelines set out in the module and programme handbooks.

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.

Learning Outcomes:

LO1: Critically reflect on the planning, delivery and evaluation of a unit of curriculum.
LO2: Critically evaluate current literature in order to demonstrate an awareness of the complex nature of concepts relating to student diversity and equity in higher education
LO3: Demonstrate an understanding of quality assurance and enhancement processes in relation to curriculum design.
LO4: Critically reflect on their practice identifying areas for further development.
LO5: Demonstrate the ability to keep to the assignment guidelines set out in the module and programme handbooks.

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.

Learning Outcomes:

LO1: Design and complete a small scale, but rigorously conducted, piece of pedagogic research
LO2: Critically engage with a range of literature relevant to a topic being researched and analyse the relationship between this literature and their own empirical findings.
LO3: Demonstrate the ability to present and critically evaluate the findings of their own research and apply these findings to improving their practice and the student experience.
LO4: Identify and critically analyse the ethical issues arising from the research process and present well-reasoned and coherent arguments to support the decisions they have made in relation to how they conducted their own research​.
LO5: Demonstrate the ability to keep to the assignment guidelines set out in the module and programme handbooks.

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


Start: January
Finish: March
Assignment: April/May


Start: April/May
Finish: June
Assignment: July


Start: September
Finish: November
Assignment: End of June following year

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

Applications are now closed for the January 2022 cohort.

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.  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.  Applications are now closed for the January 2022 cohort.

Please note: You must ensure you have agreement from your line manager/head of department to 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. 

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:

Photo of Linda MarronLinda Marron
[email protected]

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