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Queen Mary Academy


Key facts:

  • Award: PGCert 
  • Course type: Taught  
  • Mode of study: Part time 
  • Modules: 4
  • Duration: 2 years 
  • Total Hours: 600 

Total credits: 60 (at Level 7, Masters) 

What is PGCAP?

The Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) aims to help you reflect on, evaluate, innovate and ultimately enhance your own teaching practice. 

This programme will teach the outcomes and applications of cutting edge research, scholarship and associated evidence-based best practices in teaching and supporting learning, designing curricula and assessment, research supervision, inclusivity and internationalisation of education, as well as leading teaching teams and education initiatives.

The programme will focus on developing your practice: specifically, what you do in your role, how it works, and how to improve. You will engage in critical analysis of theory and its applications, testing them in class-based individual and group simulations as well as through your own practice-based action research. You will also be helped to reflect on, and evaluate, your professional effectiveness and development as an educator.

To qualify for the programme you will be expected to teach at least at FHEQ level 4 (or equivalent), and to have planned teaching of at least ten hours over the first two semesters from enrolment.  You should normally be a module convener or be engaged in curriculum design.

Who is PCGAP for?

The PGCAP is suitable for new academic staff who may have limited experience of teaching and supporting learning, or for whom the programme may be a condition of probation.  It is open, however, also to any other staff who teach at the level of module convener and are engaged in curriculum design.


"I’ve enjoyed being a learner again; reflecting on that and bringing it into thinking re: students. The seminars and meeting individuals from other disciplines has been fun and very enlightening and as a whole it’s definitely made a positive impact on my teaching."


Admissions are now open for January 2023 start, please see How to Apply.

Course aims and learning outcomes 

The programme aims to support QMUL’s strategic priorities for its education provision in Strategy 2030 by:

  • Equipping staff with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will make them confident, effective and inclusive practitioners in their role, by acknowledging and accommodating the needs of the different disciplines, Schools and professional services at QMUL, and our diverse student population
  • Enabling probationary academic staff to demonstrate the requisite knowledge, skills and attributes for effective practice, as identified in the UK Professional Standards Framework
  • Providing a means for established staff to enhance their practice through building on their knowledge, skills and attitudes, as identified in the UK Professional Standards Framework

Intended learning outcomes

Academic Content: after this programme, participants will have gained the following academic knowledge/be able to demonstrate understanding of: 

  1. Theoretical foundations, evidence based practice, current trends of teaching and learning in higher education; 
  2. Applications of theory and practice to teaching and learning in their discipline; 
  3. The wider context of UK higher education, including its regulatory and professional bodies, processes, development, funding, and strategic agendas; 
  4. QMUL structures, regulations and processes associated with effectiveness in their role; 
  5. The principles and methods of evaluating the outcomes of their teaching and/or supporting learning; 
  6. The mechanisms for assessing and enhancing the quality of academic practice; 
  7. The principles, methodologies and approaches to conducting research and scholarship, enhancing, and leading development into the practice of teaching and/or supporting learning. 

Disciplinary Skills: after this programme, participants will be able to: 

  1. Design, teach and provide support and guidance effectively on sessions, modules or programmes of study – as appropriate for their role – through selective use of methods, approaches and technologies for active learning that align with measurable learning outcomes; 
  2. Design and deliver effective teaching and learning, and face-to-face and/or online environments, that align with learning outcomes, learner level, and the subject; 
  3. Design and implement assessment and feedback strategies that measure and promote learning success as a function of 1 and 2; 
  4. Synthesise evidence from educational research and scholarship, subject research, peer dialogue and observation, evaluation and self-
  5. reflection, to continually assess needs, develop and enhance their practice of teaching and / or supporting learning.

Attributes: during this programme, participants will cultivate and afterwards be able to demonstrate:

  1. A student centred and globally minded outlook on facilitating learning, evidenced through e.g. using learning resources that reflect the international nature of subject research; designing learning environments and resources that reflect the diversity of students, meet established guidelines for accessibility and inclusivity, minimise unconscious bias, and foster academic integrity. 
  2. Creativity and drive to facilitate learning across varying levels of prior knowledge, entry skills and background, evidenced through e.g. scaffolding of learning resources, activities, assessment, support and guidance to maximise learners’ equality of opportunity and social capital;
  3. An enquiring and collaborative attitude to educational practice, evidenced through e.g. critical engagement with educational literature and research; developing holistic knowledge of the variety of subject-specific approaches to teaching and learning; critical engagement with the evidence from evaluation and reflection on the effectiveness of the approaches and resources used in their practice. 


There are seven summative assessments on PGCert Academic Practice, all coursework: one is a presentation, while six are written. All assessments are aligned to Descriptor 2 of the UK Professional Standards Framework. Criteria reward use of examples from your own teaching practice and the ability to link educational research and theory to the needs of your own disciplinary and institutional contexts. Please see the Taught Programmes Handbook for the full criteria.

ADP7116 / ADP7216 (DL): Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (15 credits)

ADP7117 / ADP7217 (DL): Learning and Teaching in the Disciplines (15 credits)

ADP7118 / ADP7218 (DL): Curriculum Design (15 credits)

ADP7219 (DL): Action (Practitioner) Research (15 credits)

Mode of study

Participants have flexibility to take modules face to face or via distance learning.  

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