University of Chester

Programme Specification
Higher Education Studies PGDip
2021 - 2022

Postgraduate Diploma

Higher Education Studies

Higher Education Studies

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester, Exton Park Campus

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory, Distance,

5 years

5 Years



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Centre for Academic Innovation and Development Centre for Academic Innovation and Development

No specific subject benchmarks exist to cover this award, so the overall descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 7 on the FHEQ has been used to ensure appropriate learning outcomes.


There is no professional recognition linked to this award.

Learning and Teaching Institute Module Assessment Board

Monday 28th June 2021

The purpose of the programme is to support the professional development of staff in respect of teaching and learning. To this end the aims are:

  • to provide opportunities to participants to analyse and explore the role and function of teaching and learning in higher education;
  • to provide a knowledge base, including theories of learning, teaching, supervision and assessment, for making critical judgements of performance within the HE setting;
  • to further enhance the ability of participants to use appropriate skills of design, teaching, assessment of learning, and supervision of research as applicable to their own roles;
  • to further the development of reflective practice and experiential learning in teaching and support of learning;
  • to provide a context in which participants can review their own professional needs, and plan and undertake relevant and appropriate activities to meet those identified needs;
  • to enable participants to support and contribute to the growth of the higher education learning community;
  • to embed a culture of inclusive practice in learning, teaching and assessment;
  • to increase the flexibility of programme delivery, improve access and emphasise the increasing significance and potential of technology enhanced learning, teaching and assessment;
  • to develop a scholarship of practice for learning and teaching in higher education and an awareness of current research in the area and its application to practice;
  • to facilitate application of key skills to the practice context of teaching, learning and assessment;
  • to provide learning opportunities for participants to develop their skills and understanding in specialist areas of teaching and learning support;
  • to enable participants to undertake critical evaluation of research into learning and teaching in higher education;
  • to provide opportunities to conduct small-scale research and development projects.

The programme builds knowledge in the following areas, depending on the modules chosen:

  • Enhanced knowledge of technology enhanced learning, teaching and assessment (HE7107);
  • Advanced knowledge about a specific area(s) of learning, teaching and/or assessment in response to an identified development need (HE7009);
  • Leadership in HE (HE7105);
  • Sustainability in HE teaching and learning (HE7204);
  • Inclusive teaching practices in HE (HE7205);
  • Enhanced understanding of research methods and approaches pertinent to a higher education setting (HE7004);
  • Enhanced knowledge of research supervision practices (HE7106).

All modules encourage the development of the following skills

  • Application of theory into practice 
  • Synthesising of ideas 
  • Critical reflection in and on practice
  • Research and professional inquiry for evidence-informed practice 

The programme builds practical and professional skills in the following areas, depending on the modules chosen:

  • Advanced skills in using technology to enhance learning, teaching and assessment (HE7107);
  • Development of skills in research supervision (HE7106);
  • Project management skills (HE7009);
  • Skills for conducting educational research and inquiry (HE7004, HE7009);
  • Leadership skills to enhance practice in specific areas (HE7105);
  • Inclusive teaching practice (HE7205);
  • Good practice in sustainability (HE7204)
  • Project management skills (HE7004).

All modules

  • Critical reflection and development of personal and professional practice
  • Working with and learning from other colleagues
  • Appropriate resources for developing teaching practice in Higher Education
  • Methods for evaluating teaching, learning and assessment practices

The programme builds communication skills in the following areas, depending on the modules chosen:

  • Online communication with students (HE7107)
  • One-to-one communication in the context of research supervision (HE7106)
  • Inclusive communication skills (HE7205)
  • Written communication (dependent on chosen modules)
  • Oral presentation skills (dependent on chosen modules)
  • Verbal communication within groups (dependent on chosen modules)

Participants studying this programme will be engaging with research and theory that is viewed as being at the forefront of professional teaching practice. As there are no core modules, participants will be able to select their own route through the programme which relates to their own roles in Higher Education but which is also relevant to the wider sector context. An applied element to each module means that participants will be encouraged to use the knowledge and skills taught to develop their own practice, and also to lead and develop others. They will be dealing with complex issues in a systematic and creative way, demonstrating originality in problem solving and change management in a rapidly changing environment.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
HE7004 7 Research Methods in Higher Education 20 N/A
HE7009 7 Negotiated Experiential Learning Module 20 Optional
HE7105 7 Developing Practice for Teaching and Supporting Learning 20 Optional
HE7106 7 Developing in Research Supervision 20 N/A
HE7107 7 Technology Enhanced Learning Teaching and Assessment [Online] 20 Optional
HE7204 7 Sustainability in teaching and learning 20 N/A
HE7205 7 Exploring Inclusivity in Higher Education 20 Optional

60 level 7 credits permit the participant to exit with a PG Certificate in Higher Education Studies

120 level 7 credits permit the participant to exit with a PG Diploma in Higher Education Studies.



Prospective participants are expected to be experienced professionals in their disciplines/area of work, with responsibilities for the facilitation of learning in higher education. This might include the induction of students into 'information literacy', the use of the University's VLE, demonstrations, support teaching, mainstream teaching, etc. This will normally mean that applicants are graduates, thus meeting standard institutional requirements for admission to postgraduate study.  Applicants will normally have achieved a 2:2 or above in their undergraduate programme.  

Study of single module(s) will be available for participants wishing to export credit elsewhere or who wish to undertake the module as part of their continuing professional development, provided that they have sufficient HE teaching experience to engage with the content.

Where candidates can offer equivalent study or experience from elsewhere to meet the requirements of part of the programme, this will be subjected to normal APEL/APCL regulations. This will be negotiated on an individual basis with the Programme Leader. As the programme is delivered and assessed in English, the University's standard entry level of English proficiency is required.

There are no subject specific benchmark statements for this award.

Learning and teaching methods include the following, depending on the modules chosen.

Face to face sessions -  seminars, tutorials and workshops

On-line learning - on-line activities and on-line learning materials. 

Independent learning - tutor directed and self directed

Experiential learning - reflecting on practice, teaching observations, presentations and demonstrations

Small group learning and teaching - group work, case studies

Blended learning - a combination of the above techniques, with a signficant proportion of the work for each module being online guided study.

A formative assessment opportunity is offered for each module, either in the form of a draft submission or class/online activity.

Summative assessments are based on a mixture of written and practical or presentation exercises, depending on the modules chosen.

Graduates from this programme will

  • Have the qualities needed for employment in circumstances requiring sound judgement, personal responsibility and initiative, in complex and often unpredictable professional environments;
  • Be able to defend a pedagogic position by reference to leading edge theory and practice, both generically and discipline specific;
  • Have thorough knowledge and understanding of aspects of HE teaching particularly relevant to their current role;
  • Have the knowledge and skills to undertake research and professional inquiry in HE;
  • Be able to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, and will show originality in tackling and solving problems;
  • Be proactive, autonomous, lifelong learners who are resourceful and reflective.

Recruitment to the programme is from employees of the institution in which the programme is being delivered and its partner institutions. It is therefore subject to the diversity and equality policies for recruitment with regards to race, gender, disability and age of that institution.

As the HE sector recognises the value to the student experience of developing not only academic staff but also those who are engaged in supporting student learning, this programme may recruit from professional services areas as well as from the academic staff population.

1) This programme is only available to staff at the University of Chester and its partner institutions. 

2) Requirement to introduce a hybrid delivery model of learning, teaching and assessment 

The University of Chester is taking steps to mitigate the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst ensuring an excellent academic experience for our students. During the 2021-22 academic year, it is anticipated that the University will deliver programmes of study in a mode of blended online and face-to-face sessions. This statement describes how this will be implemented and should be read in conjunction with section 28 of this document and section 11 of the module descriptors associated with this programme. 

The hybrid model has been designed to safeguard the interests of students whilst upholding the University’s academic standards. This ensures that students can engage in high quality learning and teaching to support them to achieve the learning outcomes for this programme, irrespective of the prevailing conditions. 

a) Learning and teaching methods: The mix of live, asynchronous, online and face-to-face activities will vary by module, according to the content. Teaching observations may be conducted face-to-face where it is safe and practical to do so: where this is not possible, remote observations will be offered instead.

b) Engaging students as partners: Adopting a hybrid model of delivery will result in a different type of learning experience for many students. In order to ensure that ensure that all students are able to benefit from this, the University is seeking to engage students early and often to ensure that we continue to serve their needs appropriately. The programme team will consider the experiences of previous students and seek to incorporate their feedback to improve students’ online learning experiences. Students will have opportunities offer feedback on their experience, either directly or through their cohort representatives, throughout the programme. 

c) Assessment: Assessments are designed so that they can be completed remotely in the event that access to the participant's usual site is restricted. 

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