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The University of Southampton
Centre for Higher Education Practice

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice

The Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice PGCAP supports new academic staff to develop their academic practice skills and gain national recognition of their level of skill. The programme is aligned with the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) and is accredited by Advance HE (formerly Higher Education Academy (HEA)). Our accreditation means that on completion of PGCAP modules 1 & 2, you will also be awarded Fellow of the HEA.

About the programme and course dates

PGCAP is a part-time, work-based, level 7 PGCert programme, consisting of three modules, each worth 10 ECTS (20 CATS).  Check here for course dates

Module 1

Module 1

Introduction to learning design: The practice of teaching

Module 2

Module 2

Developing learning design: Supporting learning

How does PGCAP lead to national recognition?

Modules 1 and 2 have been accredited by the Higher Education Academy (HEA), which means that those who successfully complete the programme gain recognition from the HEA at Fellow status.

PGCAP provides the taught pathway to achieve HEA (Higher Education Academy) recognition at up to Descriptor 2 (Fellow) of the UK Professional Standards Framework, and is coherent within the wider institutional PREP Framework for recognition of staff educator skills.

Who is the programme for?

New academic staff serving a probationary period (except clinical and research appointments) typically with less than 3 years experience in teaching are required to undertake modules 1 and 2 of PGCAP. Staff with more than 3 years teaching experience may be eligible for exemption.  Other staff who teach students at the University of Southampton may take the programme if there are places available and if they are supported in doing so by their faculty/academic unit.

Requirements and exemptions

Staff who have three or more years teaching experience may be eligible for exemption from PGCAP. Participants may seek exemption from PGCAP by achieving recognition as an HEA Fellow via the UoS PREP Framework, or by direct application to the HEA. Any staff considering applying for exemption should look at the PREP Framework web pages and book onto a briefing session through Staffbook.

Staff who already have some qualifications in learning and teaching may be able to use these as RPL towards PGCAP. Any staff considering applying for RPL for PGCAP should attend a RPL briefing session.  Please see Staffbook for RPL briefing session dates and to book your place.

University guidelines on the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Can I claim exemption from parts of the Programme based on previous experience or qualification?

Applicants to the PGCAP programme may claim either full or partial exemption from elements of the programme if they already possess appropriate experience. For example, a member of staff who has completed a similar course leading to associate Fellow HEA may be except from module 1.

How will my progress be assessed?

As well as attending the PGCAP workshops, you will be required to complete a number of assignments. You must pass all assignments in order to successfully complete each module.

Further information is available on the assessment page with full details being provided to participants in the Module handbooks.

What support will I receive?

As well as support from your faculty and the PGCAP tutors, you will also work closely with a PGCAP mentor within your discipline who will help you to situate the  educational theory and experience within your local context.


Who are the PGCAP tutors?

PGCAP is taught by highly experienced teaching and learning colleagues from across a range of faculties. The PGCAP tutor's team is led by Paul Riddy and his team are Dr Erika Corradini, Pat Maier and Caroline Stevens. Faculty staff currently contributing to the programme include Jill Doubleday, Dr Judith Holloway and Professor David Read.


When does PGCAP run?

Modules 1 and 2 are usually run 3 times a year. A full list of dates is shown here.

Module 1 is delivered in two ways, either every Wednesday afternoon over a 6 week period or, if you and your faculty prefer, an intensive, within a 7-10 day format.

Module 2 is normally delivered over two days across a week.

The sessions for modules 1 and 2 are normally attended within one semester.

The assignments for module 1 should be completed within one semester, and the assignments for module 2 should be completed in the following semester.

Module 3 has two optional project-based modules and is designed to be completed within a further two semesters. Normally, attendance of Module 3 would follow completion of modules 1 and 2, however it can be completed out of sequence, as appropriate to participants roles and activities.

It is normally expected that participants will complete all 3 modules within 2 years. All 3 modules are required for Post Graduate Certification. 

I am interested in taking part in PGCAP, what should I do now?

Your first step towards PGCAP is talking to your line manager to discuss suitability and workload. In addition you should look at the dates for module 1 sessions and start thinking about the peer observation requirements.

Further queries

If you have any queries relating to PGCAP please contact your line manager.

A copy of the Programme Specification can be downloaded from the link below:

Useful Downloads

PGCAP Programme Specification (PDF)

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