Learning and Teaching in Higher Education PgCert

Why choose this course?

This course is ideally suited for those who wish to develop their teaching in line with the current demands and opportunities in higher education teaching and learning. The course is fully delivered online, making it especially appealing for busy in-service teachers who are pressed for time.

Our course is designed for those already employed by institutions that deliver higher or further education. It is aimed at those who teach and:

  • have fewer than three years' full-time teaching experience or
  • are involved in supporting learning (such as librarians, learning technologists, academic developers, skills advisers, technicians).

This course would also benefit anyone in these roles who wishes to strengthen or refresh their understanding and knowledge of learning and teaching. Our tutors are educationalists and specialise in online learning, in addition to being active researchers in higher education studies.

After successful completion of the course, you will gain the PGCert Award (60 credits at level 7) and the coursework itself is closely aligned with the required materials and evidence for applying for recognition Fellowship of HEA (at Fellowship level).

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Online 1 year Online course September 2020
February 2021
Location Online

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This course promotes learning and teaching that actively involves students, which is essential for their success. This course supports forms of teaching that encourage students to take centrestage in their learning.
  • You will experience active learning and study different teaching methods, learning ways to facilitate active learning and involve your students fully and responsibly.
  • You will be encouraged to reflect on your own experience as a learner to enhance your practice as a teacher. Throughout the course, we help you reflect, ask (yourself and others), find solutions, share and compare thoughts.

What you will study

The course comprises two modules each lasting 19 weeks (16 weeks of structured learning and three weeks of assessment preparation) that contextualise your teaching experiences within the wider issues, such as classroom teaching, curriculum design, learning environment, student learning. Within each module, you will critically examine, reflect upon and develop your professional practice in teaching and supporting learning in higher and further education. 

Given the interactive nature of the course, it is important that from the beginning you see the teachers as facilitators on the course, but not the primary source of knowledge. Independent reading and reflection on books, online journals, internet articles, and collaboration with your colleagues and mentor will all contribute to your learning. Your success on the course will be achieved by making full use of all these resources and integrating them in ways which show that your teaching is aligned with the principles of active learning. 


Core modules

Active Learning in Teaching Practice

30 credits

This module offers participants the opportunity to examine, reflect upon and develop their professional practice in teaching and supporting learning in HE. The main focus will be on how students learn and participants will examine their practice in relation to a range of ideas drawn from different subject disciplines and scholarship in the field of learning and teaching.

Active Learning in Curriculum Design

30 credits

This module offers participants the opportunity to examine, reflect upon and develop their practice in three broad areas - curriculum design and development, assessment and feedback and quality assurance and quality enhancement.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

The minimum entry qualifications for the course are:

  • a professionally relevant first degree or equivalent qualification;
  • 70 hours teaching per annum; and
  • a mentor approved by the course team.

The mentor should be an experienced academic in the higher education institution in which you undertake your teaching (somebody who has been teaching for more than three years in higher education and is recognised by the institution for their teaching practice).

Mentors will:

  • assist you with understanding the principles of active learning and what this means for your practice;
  • provide advice and guidance on general aspects of teaching in the participants' subject area; they will help with embedding general pedagogic principles into a participants' discipline of specialisation;
  • support and manage all aspects (including relevant documentation) of teaching observation integrated into the course;
  • offer general support as a colleague, including regular meetings; and
  • act as link with the course tutors.


All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

The learning process

While on this course, you will be part of a community of practice, to support your learning. You will take part in a range of online activities, both individually and collaboratively as part of a group. Some online activities take place synchronously (in real time, such as video conferencing). Others are asynchronous (not in real time, such as posting and responding to discussions in an online forum). Synchronous sessions take place regularly, every two or three weeks. Details are provided at the start of each module. The course is preceded by a one-week induction to familiarise you with the learning environment and iron out any technical issues.

Each module is built around a series of activities that encourage you to read, watch, research, discuss, practice and reflect on teaching and learning issues in higher education. You will have the assistance of your mentor, course colleagues and tutor.

You will share your own ideas and thoughts with others, through a number of plan-do-reflect cycles, informed by feedback from your mentor, peers and tutor. This peer-feedback device will give you the opportunity to critically reflect and feedback on your peers' work. Providing balanced and constructive critique of others' work is fundamental to your development as a teacher. We firmly believe that people learn better and refine their skills by sharing thoughts, ideas and concepts with one another.

To achieve success on this course, you should read widely, reflect, collaborate with peers, and engage with your mentor and tutor. You will integrate your new knowledge in ways which show your teaching is aligned with the principles of active learning and professional values. At the end of each module, there is an assessment, which focus on providing evidence based reflections on your teaching practice (help and guidance to prepare for assessment is provided throughout each module).

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

17% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 100 hours
  • Guided independent study: 500 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules (repeat for each year, if part time).

How you will be assessed

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:

  • 100% coursework

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Who teaches this course?

The course is taught by a core team of educationalists who specialise in different aspects of higher education studies. Specialisms include academic identities, critical thinking, curriculum design, the link between teaching and research, the quality of digital learning and ways to empower you to think critically and reflectively through technology. 

Each member of the team is therefore a research practitioner, that is to say, somebody who embeds research into his or her practice, whilst researching this very practice. In addition to these, a number of academic and academic-related staff (from Kingston University, London and externally) will be involved in the teaching and supervisory activities to give you a varied and fulfilling learning experience.

Current research in this area

  • Critical thinking/Critical pedagogy
  • Links between teaching and research
  • Technology enhanced pedagogies/Technology enhanced learning
  • Learning design

Course fees and funding

2020/21 fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • PgCert distance learning  £2,500

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • PgCert distance learning £2,850

After you graduate

This course has been designed to be a practical, work-based course in learning, teaching and assessment in higher education. As such, it prepares you for working as a teacher and/or facilitator in higher or further education.

The award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education is recognised by most universities in the UK, and increasingly internationally, as necessary qualifications for teaching in higher education institutions.
Additionally the course thoroughly prepares you for every success in applying for the status of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with the Higher Education Academy, a status recognised by most universities in the UK, and increasingly internationally, as necessary/desirable recognition for teaching in higher education institutions.


The course is designed around the Higher Education Academy UK Professional Standard Framework (HEA UKPSF). The participants who successfully complete the course will have a portfolio of coursework closely aligned to requirements for recognition of Fellowship of the HEA (FHEA), and should they wish they can apply with HEA directly for FHEA recognition.