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Professional Practice in Higher Education

Course Description

The Professional Practice in Higher Education (PPHE) programme is based upon a credit system that enables students to select modules and patterns of study to suit their individual needs and interests. All modules are credit rated and lead to the following qualifications:

• MA degree: 180 credits; 120 acquired for the Diploma plus 60 for a Research Project/ Dissertation
• Postgraduate Diploma: 120 credits acquired from any combination of modules
• Postgraduate Certificate: 60 credits acquired from any combination of modules

Students may also take modules that lead to particular awards within the programme:

• Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Learning in Higher Education: 60 credits acquired from a set of three required modules. This qualification is designed primarily for participants who are in their early years of teaching in higher education, though it may also be taken by more experienced staff. Based upon the UK’s Professional Standards Framework for Higher Education, the award qualifies teachers for Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

• Postgraduate Certificate in Research Degree Supervision and Management: 60 credits acquired from a pair of 30-credit modules. This qualification is designed to meet the needs of teachers who are new to research degree supervision and management, though it may also be taken by experienced staff.

The programme enables participants to plan their course of study according to their own needs and interests. Most modules (subject to availability) can be taken in any order and in any combination, though we would advise new teachers to include the ‘Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’ module among their initial options. The Master’s Project or Dissertation should be taken on completion of the PG Diploma. Tutorials will be available to help participants plan their course of studies.

Modules may be selected to create various levels of part-time study. The minimum enrolment is for one 15-credit module per year. The maximum enrolment is for a full-time 180-credit Master’s degree.


• Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (30 credits)*
• Course Design and Assessment (15)*
• Using Learning Technology in Higher Education (15)*
• Research Degree Supervision (30)**
• Research Management (30)**
• Mentoring and Coaching in Higher Education (15)
• Curriculum Models and Curriculum Development in Higher Education (15)
• The Teacher Practitioner (15)
• Teaching and Supporting Academic Writing in Higher Education (15)
• Quality Management in Higher Education (15)
• Linking Teaching and Research (15)
• Sustainability in Higher Education (15)
• Delivering Effective Outcomes and Change through Teams (15)
• Enterprise and Higher Education (15)
• E-learning, Teaching and Assessment (15)
• E-learning: hardware and software (15)
• E-learning with Web 2.0 (15)
• Designing and Conducting a Pedagogical Research Project (15)
• The Role of Information Literacy in Students’ Learning and Research (15)
• Teaching and Learning within and beyond the Disciplines (15)
• Marketing Matters in Higher Education (15)
• Employability in Higher Education (15)
• Pedagogical Research Project (30)
• Master’s Project or Dissertation (60)

* Modules required for the PGCert, Professional Learning in Higher Education
** Modules required for the PGCert, Research Degree Supervision and Management

Teaching methods and resources

Most modules are delivered through two or three half-day sessions, including mini-lectures, seminars, workshops and presentations, supported where appropriate by online discussions and activities. Sessions are designed to promote the sharing of ideas, expertise and experiences within a professional community of practice, so we will encourage participation and contributions from everyone. One module (‘Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’, for new teachers) includes some teaching observation sessions, and some modules provide opportunities for peer mentoring. Project and Dissertation modules will be largely delivered by individual supervision, and E-learning modules will be held in ICT training rooms.

Throughout the programme, participants will be supported by individual and small-group tutorials, and will be invited to attend occasional professional development lectures and seminars organised by the Centre for Learning and Teaching Development each year.

Learning resources for the programme will be available through the university’s library and information services. Modules have been designed to make the most of the wide range of scholarly material that is now freely available online, and participants will have access to the online resources and learning opportunities afforded by the university’s virtual learning environment (Minerva) which will provide links to key resources for each module.

The teaching sessions for some modules will be delivered within a few weeks, some over a period of several months, and some throughout the academic year. Further information about the organisation, dates, times and location of the teaching sessions for each module can be found in the Programme Calendar, available from .

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 one or two 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.

Career Opportunities

The PPHE programme is designed to support the development of all 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. A recognised certificate in teaching in higher education is becoming a requirement for all lecturing positions in the UK, and our certificate enables participants to become more effective and confident HE lecturers. The certificate is recognised by the Higher Education Academy: completion of the 'Teaching and Learning in HE' module (HE7001) leads automatically to Associate Fellowship, and completion of 3 modules (HE7001, 7002 and 7003) leads to Fellowship of the HEA. This means that the CPLHE qualification is recognised by other institutions as a teaching qualification for HE and is equivalent to other HEA-accredited postgraduate certificates in HE.

Visit the Professional Practice in Higher Education page on the Bath Spa University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants will normally be required to possess an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education institution, or an equivalent qualification from overseas. Applicants who do not possess an undergraduate degree, or equivalent professional qualification, but who have at least two years of work experience relevant to the programme are also welcome to apply, and will be invited to attend an admissions interview.

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