Bath Spa University

Professional Practice in Higher Education

- Opportunities for accredited professional development designed to meet the needs of those working in higher education contexts.

- Undertake professional development at your own pace. We offer flexible patterns of enrolment, course delivery and credit accumulation.

- Learning activities and assessment tasks have a practical orientation and can be tailored to reflect the needs of your work environment.

The Professional Practice in Higher Education (PPHE) programme will help you, as a staff member or research student, to meet the key challenges of working in the rapidly changing world of higher education.

These challenges - of teaching, supporting student learning, employability, sustainability, new technologies, team management, enterprise, quality assurance and external accountability - range across the whole business of higher education, and can rarely be addressed in isolation. They raise many questions about how best to enhance teaching and research within particular contexts, and about how managers and administrators can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of current practices, not least in terms of addressing students' needs and aspirations, enriching their learning experiences, and raising the enduring value of their learning outcomes. By sharing ideas, knowledge and expertise about our professional practices we can both deepen our understanding of the challenges we face, and realise opportunities to make improvements through innovations and the adoption of best practices.

This course is a flexible master's level programme designed to support continued professional development, with the possibility of both intermediate qualifications and external (HEA) accredited status (for those teaching in HE) as the relevant modules wouldn't be possible for everyone. As a participant you would choose module options and the focus for project work based on your role and interests as you develop your professional practice.

The PPHE programme is designed to support the development of both academic and professional staff, teaching, managing or supporting HE students, at a time when evidence of professional development is increasingly expected of all staff, not least for new appointments and promotions.

Some of the modules are accredited with the Higher Education Academy and there is thus the opportunity, if a participant's professional practice entails appropriate responsibilities, to gain Associate/Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (A/FHEA), a nationally transferable professional status.

New academic staff at Bath Spa will take a core selection of the modules to gain a specific PGCert qualification and FHEA status as part of their contract, but are welcome to continue with the PPHE programme to gain higher qualifications.

Entry requirements

Normally an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education institution, or an equivalent qualification from overseas is required; applicants who have at least 2 years of work experience relevant to the programme are also welcome to apply, and are invited to attend an admissions interview. Applicants who have previously completed postgraduate-level courses or modules that can be recognised as appropriate for this course may be enrolled with advanced standing through our Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). Similarly, applicants who can evidence a substantial body of work-based experience relevant to the programme, as through a reflective portfolio, can apply for the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

Course modules

Modules include: teaching and learning in higher education; course design and assessment; using learning technology in higher education; research degree supervision; research management; mentoring and coaching in higher education; curriculum models and curriculum development in higher education; the teacher practitioner; teaching and supporting academic writing in higher education; quality management in higher education; linking teaching and research; sustainability in higher education; delivering effective outcomes and change through teams; enterprise and higher education; e-learning (teaching and assessment); e-learning (hardware and software); e-learning (with web); designing and conducting a pedagogical research project; the role of information literacy in students' learning and research; teaching and learning within and beyond the disciplines; marketing matters in higher education; employability in higher education; pedagogical research project; Master's project or dissertation.

Assessment methods

Assessment for all modules is by coursework, based upon the completion of assignments designed to promote understanding, enhancement and/or application of professional practices in higher education; each module has its own assessment tasks, usually 1 or 2 per module; forms of assessment include work-based activities, action plans, reports, reflective logs, portfolios, presentations, reviews, case studies, business plans, short essays, action-research documents, and (for the Master's degree) a dissertation/research project.


The programme can only be studied part-time. The PGCert may be completed over 1-2 years, the PgDip or MA over 2-5 years depending upon individual work commitments.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Fee locale Course duration
Postgraduate Certificate - PgCert Full-time October 2017 6 6 Months
Postgraduate Diploma - PgDip Part-time October 2017 2 2 Years
MA Full-time October 2017 1 1 Years
Postgraduate Diploma - PgDip Full-time October 2017 1 1 Years
MA Part-time October 2017 3,400 (Year 1) Home/EU 2 2 Years
Postgraduate Certificate - PgCert Part-time October 2017 1 1 Years

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