University of Chester

Programme Specification
Professional Education PGCert
2014 - 2015

Postgraduate Certificate

Professional Education

Professional Education

University of Chester

University of Chester

Faculty of Health and Social Care campuses.

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

18 months

3 Years

Biannual - February - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

Nursing and Midwifery Council Higher Education Academy Uk Professional Standards Framework Quality Assurance Agency Health Professions Council

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Higher Education Academy UK Professional Standards Framework

Faculty of Health and Social Care, Postgraduate Programmes Assessment Board

Friday 1st June 2012

The overarching aim of the programme is: To produce a competent, independent educator capable of promoting the development and delivery of professional education across a variety of settings within an inter-professional and inter-agency context. Specific programme aims are to:

  • Facilitate students to develop enquiring, reflective, critical and innovative approaches to education and practice.
  • Promote the students' scholarship in the development of pedagogical and professional theory and practice.
  • Prepare students for their individually focused roles as professional educators and promote academic, professional and personal development.
  • Develop students' ability to implement and facilitate a range of teaching opportunities across a range of professional education settings.
  • Develop students' ability to implement a range of assessment and evaluation strategies across a range of education settings.
  • Enable students to participate in and lead curriculum design, planning and evaluation.
  • Offer a dynamic and quality postgraduate educational experience relevant to the students' roles.
  • Enable postgraduates to innovate and apply contributions to the evidence base underpinning professional education and communicate conclusions clearly.
  • Develop leadership and facilitation skills, which will enable professionals to lead change and influence professional education across the inter-professional agenda.
  • Enable achievement of Descriptor 2 in the UK Professional Standards Framework.

Knowledge and Understanding

The ability to:

  • Apply key concepts, principles, theories and policies to professional education.
  • Articulate the uniqueness of their own role in professional educationand the diversity of other inter-disciplinary roles and how this can be utilised to empower individuals, groups and communities.
  • Demonstrate a research-based approach to the ongoing development of their role and the dissemination of information.
  • Evaluate professional, legal and ethical issues within the context of education.

Thinking or Cognitive Skills

The ability to:
  • Demonstrate self-direction, independence of thought, and the ability to think logically and critically within the role of professional educator.
  • Access, analyse and process information applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship.
  • Utilise higher level analytical skills when evaluating professional education, from both professional and service user perspectives.
  • Demonstrate independent learning ability when working as a reflexive and autonomous professional educator.
  • Demonstrate originality when exercising innovative and creative thinking strategies to develop curricula.

Practical Skills

The ability to:
  • Exercise innovation and personal responsibility when comprehensively applying a range of relevant assessment, intervention and evaluation strategies.
  • Communicate effectively with individuals, groups and communities.
  • Demonstrate innovation in curriculum development.
  • Demonstrate the application of evidence-based practice in professional education.
  • Demonstrate leadership within collaborative, inter-disciplinary working practices and partnerships to promote a learning culture.

Key Skills
  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

The ability to:
  • Demonstrate self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments.
  • Communicate effectively at both individual and organisational levels.
  • Be competent in the use of IT to develop and implement professional education programmes.
  • Work autonomously and collaboratively, and demonstrate leadership, to develop and implement professional educationprogrammes.
  • Demonstrate higher literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Apply an evidence-based approach and critical appraisal skills to the ongoing development of the role of professional educator anddisseminate knowledge.

Transferable Professional Skills

The ability to:
  • Demonstrate self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments.
  • Communicate effectively at both individual and organisational levels.
  • Be competent in the use of IT.
  • Work autonomously and collaboratively, and demonstrate leadership.
  • Demonstrate higher literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Demonstrate application of the research process and evidence-based practice.

This programme is a full or part time postgraduate certificate in Professional Education. Students can take a flexible approach to completion and have up to three years to obtain the qualification. Participants studying this programme will be engaging with research and theory that is viewed as being at the forefront of professional education. Modules are designed and delivered in accordance with FHEQ (QAA, 2008) using their stated credit level descriptors as a reference point.

The programme is linked to a higher education accreditation system, with existing mechanisms for the award of credit for appropriate learning and prior experiential learning. No student may seek an award for completion of the modules comprising this programme without having registered for the qualification aim and having engaged with all the appropriate programme admission procedures.

The content of the programme takes into account the need for professional educators to develop high levels of expertise in both practice and academic settings in the following domains:

• Effective working relationships
• Facilitation of learning
• Assessing and accountability
• Evaluation of learning
• Creating an environment for learning
• Context of practice
• Evidence-based practice
• Leadership.

For each 20 credit module, the time required to produce assessable work is calculated as 200 hours, inclusive of time spent in class contact with lecturers. This will include relevant learning in both academic and practice settings. The contact hours (direct teacher/learner interaction) are within the recommended range for level 7 modules i.e. 20-35 hours of student contact.

Derogation: Please note that, having been granted derogation from the University Regulations, the following applies to this programme - Students must pass every component and module, with a minimum mark of 40%.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM7016 7 Professional Education (Theory and Practice) 20 Comp
NM7036 7 Learning and Assessment in Professional Education 20 Optional
NM7037 7 Curriculum Design and Development 20 Optional
NM7072 7 Assessment and Evaluation of Learning 20 Comp
NM7086 7 Learning and Assessment for Community Practice Teachers 20 Optional

To achieve the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Education, a student must achieve 60 level 7 credits by completing three modules:

The two core modules:

• Theory and Practice of Professional Education (20 credits)
• Assessment and Evaluation of Learning (20 credits)

and one of the following option modules:

• Learning and Assessment in Professional Education (20 credits)
• Learning and Assessment for Community Practice Teachers (20 credits)
• Curriculum Design and Development (20 credits)

The admission criterion for student entry to the PGCert in Professional Education programme will normally be:

  • Successful completion of a degree or equivalent. The classification of the first degree will normally be a 2:1 or above.

Normally, candidates undertaking level 7 study will have a first degree in any discipline. In certain circumstances, candidates without a first degree but with exceptional, high level professional responsibility, experience and motivation will be admitted directly to level 7 study on the provision of evidence at application interview which demonstrates their capability to study at this level.

The Faculty of Health and Social Care operates a well defined AP(E)L system, and students may claim specific credit exemption against modules in the programme in line with the University's procedures.

Candidates should be able to communicate in English to level programme of preparation for 6.5 and above of the International English Language Testing System.

Candidates must have contemporary professional experience and access to learners in the practice or academic setting. Candidates accessing the NMC teacher preparation programme must be registrants with at least three years' experience and extended professional knowledge.

This programme was developed to meet the needs of the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education (HEA, 2011).  The core modules of the PG Certificate have been mapped against the Descriptor Two of the UK Professional Standards Framework (Updated since to the 2012 standards).

The Framework for Higher Education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (Quality Assurance Agency, 2008) is designed to provide and promote academic standards via benchmarking and specifications. Postgraduate awards are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

  1. A systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice. 
  2. A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship.
  3. Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline.

Conceptual understanding that enables the student:

  • To critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline.
  • To evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  1. Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  2. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.
  3. Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level.
  4. Demonstrate the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility, decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations, and the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

Students will experience a variety of teaching and learning methods designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes at level 7 within a student-centred approach, and to foster personal and professional development. A variety of teaching and learning strategies will be used to meet the programme learning outcomes. Emphasis, however, will be placed on small group work, discussion, seminar presentations, work-based learning, e-learning, problem-based learning, action learning sets, micro teaching and learning through the practice of teaching. Self-directed, inter-professional learning and peer-learning will be encouraged throughout and, consistent with the philosophy of the programme, peer and self assessment will be used in the formative assessment process to complement lecturer assessment. Personal academic tutorial (PAT) support is available to all participants - each is assigned a PAT for the duration of his/her programme. Student support and direction will be provided by interactive discussion and individual feedback, which at level 7 will promote development of the critical thinking skills required to analyse professional education issues. The negotiation of individual learning contracts will provide a framework for meeting an individual professional's perceived learning needs.

Students will be exposed to a variety of assessment methods designed to ensure that the content, outcomes and level of the modules are measured in a fair and transparent manner. Examples include assignments, teaching observations, seminar presentations and reflective accounts. Knowledge and intellectual skills will be assessed normally through coursework, and students will be asked to demonstrate thinking and cognitive ability through written assignments, seminar presentations and reflective accounts. All aspects of the assessment strategy will be used to evaluate transferable/key skills and, where relevant, mapped against national benchmarks.

This programme clearly offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a postgraduate, and it is assessment criteria based upon QAA and University of Chester documents which define these characteristics:

Assessment element

Postgraduate criteria


Demonstrate critical reasoning with regard to complex issues, which shows an ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.


Critical evaluation of key concepts of knowledge. Extensive systematic reading and demonstration of insight and originality.

Theory/practice link

Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques which are at the forefront of professional practice.


Demonstrate synthesis and be able to deal with complex issues in an original manner.

Problem solving

Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of professional knowledge and practice.

Evaluating evidence and argument

Ability to deploy accurately, creatively and imaginatively established techniques of analysis and enquiry.

Reaching sound judgements

Ability to critically evaluate current research, methodology and scholarship and, where appropriate, propose new hypotheses.


Excellent communication skills which can reach a wider audience.

On completion of the programme, graduates will have experience within the following domains for supporting teaching and learning: 

  • Effective working relationships.
  • Facilitation of learning.
  • Assessing and accountability.
  • Evaluation of learning.
  • Creating an environment for learning.
  • Context of practice.
  • Evidence-based practice.
  • Leadership.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

The programme is an approved programme of preparation for nurses and midwives to undertake an educational role in the HEI setting, in the clinical placement environment, or in a variety of  learning and training organisations. The Standards to support learning and assessment in practice (NMC 2008) set out stages in the preparation of teachers and mentors, and on completion of the PGCE and submission of a professional portfolio to meet NMC standards of preparation for teachers, appropriately qualified nurses and midwives are prepared to undertake the role of a stage 4 teacher (NMC 2008) in either the HEI setting or in a variety of health care settings.

For graduates from all other professions (such as social workers, police, youth work, allied health professionals, fire service and voluntary services), the programme provides an appropriate preparation for employment as a professional educator as the programme content has been developed with reference to the relevant professional standards regarding supporting and assessing practice.


Department of Health. (2004). The NHS knowledge and skills framework. London, United Kingdom: Department of Health.

Health Professions Council. (2005). Standards of education and training. London, United Kingdom: Health Professions Council.

Nursing and Midwifery Council. (2008). Standards to support learning and assessment in practice. London, United Kingdom: Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. (2008). The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. London, United Kingdom: Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

The Higher Education Academy. (2011). National Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education. London, United Kingdom: Higher Education Academy.

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