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The Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) in Academic Practice is a professional qualification for those who have a teaching role within a university or higher education context.

It is a flexible, modular open-learning programme. Most modules are taught as blended learning with face-to-face sessions in Paisley, with some options for the third module taught fully online.

The PgCert is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and Advance HE. Participants who successfully complete the first two modules are eligible for Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Those successfully completing Module 1 can apply for Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA). Please note that Fellowship may incur an additional fee for participants who are not employed by UWS. This is payable to Advance HE.

January Intake

Our January intake is only available to internal UWS academics. Interested applicants should contact the UWS Academy to discuss this option.

Course Details

The PgCert comprises three 20 credit, Masters-level modules. Modules are completed in sequence i.e. participants undertake one module per term.

  • Module 1: Approaches to effective learning and teaching
  • Module 2: Assessment for Learning

You will finally select an optional module (subject to availability and viable numbers)

  • Option 1: Research in Academic Practice
  • Option 2: Online Pedagogy in Higher Education

Some modules are available as blended with face-to-face learning at Paisley Campus, others are taught fully online. All modules require around 200 notional hours of study, regardless of the delivery mode.

Foundation Module


This module provides an introduction to learning and teaching in Higher Education and aims to enhance participants’ professional competence as a teacher and reflective practitioner. This module is offered in blended mode.

Core Module


All participants complete this core module. The principles and practices of assessment are a central component of this module. This module is offered in blended mode.

Following the successful completion of module 1 and module 2, participants can achieve Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Optional Modules


This module is designed to support participants to develop a sustainable research portfolio.

Participants will be introduced to a range of topics including to promote engagement in research activity. This will include opportunities to discuss effective research supervision, writing funding proposals, dissemination of research, as well as research integrity and ethics in Higher Education.

Participants will have opportunities to engage in peer dialogue, with a focus on sharing and improving their researcher skills. This includes opportunities for formative peer review on aspects of writing funding proposals, research supervision, and different dissemination pathways including publications.

The teaching and learning approaches include use of real case studies. Participants critique these as well as critically reflect on their own practice or future potential practice.

This Module is designed to be delivered through online and blended learning.



This module is intended to provide a practical introduction to online pedagogy in higher education. The module provides opportunities for students to engage in a vibrant online community to discuss 21st century issues related to pedagogy. The module takes the learner on a journey from theory to practice and provides them with the knowledge, skills, and understanding to design effective digital learning and assessment.

Beginning with an overview of appropriate learning design, and covering instructional design, various models and approaches to online learning at the theoretical and practical level, culminating in the practical application within a professional context.

The assessment is to design and develop a learning resource, incorporating relevant theories and models, and evaluate their own and others’ resources. It is intended that this is aligned closely with their professional practice.

This module is taught online.

Note for UWS Doctoral Students

If you are a Doctoral student at UWS who also has teaching responsibilities, you may be eligible to undertake the first module of the PgCert in Academic Practice. Upon completion of Module 1, you will then be able to apply to become an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. You should ensure that your Dean of School is prepared to fund you to undertake Module 1.

As a Doctoral student, you must have sufficient teaching responsibilities to meet the programme’s admissions criteria. This means that you must have a minimum of 33 hours of teaching (at least half of which must be spent in direct teaching contact time) during the term in which you undertake Module 1. You will be required to provide written confirmation from your Dean of School (or other line manager) that you meet these criteria.

If you do not have sufficient teaching responsibilities to undertake Module 1, you can complete the Postgraduates Who Teach course. Please contact UWS Academy for more information.


Each module is assessed through both formative and summative assessments. These include written assignments, teaching observation and the development of a reflective teaching portfolio. 

Course Structure

Tuition Fees

If you are a new member of UWS academic staff who does not already hold an equivalent qualification then completion of the PgCert is compulsory and your fees will be met by the University. Other UWS academic staff and Doctoral students should check with your Head of School to ensure that they are willing to fund your studies. For all other applicants, the online module tuition fees apply.

Tuition Fees for Non-UWS Academic/Research Staff

Module Fee: Online version 2020/21

Scottish & EU

£560 per module (20 credits)

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£560 per module (20 credits)

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£560 per module (20 credits)

International (Non-EU)

£1,350 per module (20 credits)

More on current & future tuition fees

2021/22 Tuition Fees for 20-credit Module (Online)


£560 Cost of 20-credit module

Rest of UK (English, Northern Irish, Welsh)

£560 Cost of 20-credit module

Republic of Ireland

£560 Cost of 20-credit module

International (EU/EEA & non-EU/EEA)

£1,350 Cost of 20-credit module

Check Your Tuition Fee Status

How to apply

Postgraduate courses (MA, MSc, MEd, MBA, DBA, PG Cert, PG Dip, etc.) & some Post-experience courses (CertHE, BA, Grad Cert, Grad Dip, etc.)

All students should apply directly to the University through our online application system. Before you apply, you should check that you meet our entry requirements and you should have all your supporting documents ready.

The first stage of the process is to create a profile; you don't have to complete the application in one session - you can complete it in stages by saving each section and return to complete it at a later date.

You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.

Most courses don't have a formal closing date, but they will close when they are full; apply early to avoid disappointment. There may also be funding deadlines that apply to you.

Before you begin your application, it is important to read the Postgraduate & Post-Experience application step-by-step guide for a smooth process.


An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

Get in touch

Do you have a question about applying for this course? Get in touch. We are here to help!

We will always try to make sure that we publish accurate course information but we do not accept responsibility for any mistakes or omissions. We will also try to make sure that we deliver our courses in line with our published information. However, we may not always be able to do so and you can find further information about this in our enrolment terms and conditions.