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PGCert Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) - In-service

Already teach in a further education college? Complement your experience and qualifications with a postgraduate degree in teaching for further education (TQFE).

Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) - In-service

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Key facts

  • Award Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date August
  • Duration PGCert part-time: 12 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Campus based
  • Accreditations General Teaching Council for Scotland

This is the recognised teaching qualification for people who are already lecturing in further education – called in-service. The course is based on the Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland’s Colleges, and is fully accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

If you’re a lecturer and already teach in a further education college, or similar environment, you can complement your previous experience and qualifications with a postgraduate degree in TQFE. The course is also suitable for anyone who works in other education and training contexts in post-compulsory education.

Throughout the course you’ll develop your personal and professional abilities to help you adopt greater responsibility and leadership in your own work environment.

The University of Stirling have been delivering the TQFE course for 15 years. The course integrates a range of pedagogic techniques which aim to encourage you to engage with academic and policy literature and to communicate with your peers as part of a ‘professional learning community’. Both face-to-face sessions and a variety of online technologies are used to deliver the course.

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Professional accreditations

    This course is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

  • Flexible learning

    If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

  • Research

    In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Educational research at the University of Stirling had the highest quality of research outputs of any Scottish university, with 100% classed as either world-leading or internationally excellent. Our expert teaching team are on hand to introduce you to cutting-edge empirical and theoretical research in a multi-disciplinary and professional environment.

Entry requirements for your country/region

  • Academic requirements

    A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2:1 preferred) in a relevant subject or equivalent is required.

    You must also be employed in an appropriate work environment e.g. a college or similar organisation.

    Literacy and numeracy requirements

    You must have both literacy and numeracy skills which meet the demands of the course. The normal entry requirement will be:

    • a National Qualification Course award in English at level 6 on the SCQF (or suitable evidence of being able to attain this standard) or SQA communication level III
    • a National Qualification Course award in numeracy or Mathematics at level 4 on the SCQF (or suitable evidence of being able to attain this standard)
    Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills

    You should have ICT skills equivalent to Intermediate 2 (level 5 on the SCQF). This level of skill in the use of ICT is required partly in order to be able to fully participate on the TQFE course and also to be able to function effectively in the working environment.

    Accredited Prior Learning

    If you have any of the following PDAs you’ll be given exemption to ‘Professional Practice’ or ‘Professional Experiential Learning’ and will do a 20 credit APL module instead:

    • Group Award Code: G85D 18 ‘Advanced Diploma Teaching in Further Education’
    • Group Award Code: GG87 49 ‘PDA Teaching Practice in Scotland’s Colleges’
    • Group Award Code: GG82 49 ‘Developing Teaching Practice in Scotland’s Colleges’

    You’ll receive a reduction in fee of £293.

    Postgraduate candidates who have the DELTA (or equivalent) award are exempt from the Professional Practice module (spring semester). Your reduction in fee will be £586.

    Candidates claiming any of the above exemptions must provide certificates at the point of application for the TQFE programme. Retrospective exemptions are not given once a candidate has started the course.

  • Application procedure

    All applicants should contact the Admissions and Accesss Office to request an application form.

    Application Enquiries
    Admissions and Access Office
    University of Stirling
    Stirling FK9 4LA
    Scotland UK

    + 44 (0) 1786 467044

  • English language requirements

    If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

    • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
    • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
    • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

    More information on our English language requirements

  • Pre-sessional English language courses

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Key principles underpinning the Stirling TQFE course include:

  • developing awareness of appropriate professional values and attributes of the vocational educator
  • encouraging innovation in teaching/learning and wider professional practice
  • supporting the development of a ‘professional enquiry’ approach throughout and beyond the course


The module details given below are subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes. The modules outlined below represent those offered in 2019/20 on this course of study.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    The course is taught using a combination of lectures, seminars and materials made available via the University of Stirling's online learning environment. In the most recent study by QS, staff from the University of Stirling received a 5 out of 5-star rating for teaching (QS World University Rankings 2018).

    The attendance requirement for most modules is three days per module, with all course materials available online in advance.

    Face-to-face sessions

    Whilst attending teaching days students will experience large group lectures delivered by TQFE staff and, on occasions, invited guest lecturers. The lectures provide an opportunity for key concepts and issues to be highlighted and for you to receive guidance about key aspects of assessment tasks. Lectures are recorded using the university’s ‘Listen Again’ system and can be easily accessed by students attending at college-based sites.

    The key concepts introduced via the lectures are explored in greater depth in small group seminars and workshops during the rest of the day. In the seminars/workshops you’re encouraged to draw upon your own professional experience and context and to share ideas and knowledge with your peers. The opportunity to engage with peers from different subject areas is seen to be a key element of the face-to-face learning and this has been frequently highlighted in feedback from students.


    Canvas, our virtual learning environment, is used extensively as a significant element of the TQFE course. A wide variety of digital resources are made available online including:

    • recordings of all lectures (made available within 24 hours of their ‘delivery’ on campus)
    • e-journals and e-books (made available via electronic reading lists)
    • in addition to ‘in-house’ resources students are also provided with links to digital resources which are provided by various organisations in the FE sector including the ‘College Development Network’, Education Scotland, and General Teaching Council Scotland. The wide variety of resources reflects contemporary issues and trends and enables you to interact both visually and aurally.

    Our virtual learning environment is also used to support online interaction between TQFE staff and students and between the students themselves. Discussion spaces are used to support each module and these spaces provide a flexible opportunity for you to engage in ‘professional dialogue’ to clarify and deepen your understanding of key topics. The professional practice module makes extensive use of these discussion facilities and receives very positive student feedback.

  • Assessment

    Three formal assignments are required (where a student has not been granted any exemptions) each of 3,000 words. Where the first submission is graded as a fail, one resubmission attempt is allowed. Where the resubmission is graded as a fail, the student must retake the module. The pass mark for postgraduate work is 50%.

    A student is permitted a maximum of five assessment attempts (three module registrations to include assessment only) per module.

    In addition to the formal written assignments you’re required to be observed teaching on two separate occasions and to complete a written reflective review of the observed lesson. One of the observations may be undertaken by suitably qualified college based staff.

  • Classroom hours

    In-service students attend for a total of seven days (excluding academic and administrative induction) over the academic year. As the course is 'work-based', students' professional practice in their own college environment is an integral part of the learning experience.

    There’s no weekly timetable. When you are on campus the day consists of individual tutorial support, and then a lecture followed by a seminar and workshop.

  • Course director
  • Fees and costs

    Tuition fees for 2019/20

    You will pay for each of your modules as you study them. Each module is charged at £598. The total cost of the course is £1,795.

    Please note: You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    Home/EU students

    If you’re domiciled in Scotland, you may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover your tuition fees and associated living costs. Students domiciled in the EU can also apply for tuition fee support, although may not be eligible to receive funding to support living costs.

    If you're domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you should be eligible to apply for a loan from your regional body.

    English students apply for a loan of up to £10,000 per year as part of the UK Postgraduate Loan SchemeWelsh students can apply for a non-means tested loan of up to £10,280 from the Welsh Government and Northern Irish students are eligible to apply for support of up to £5,500.

    *Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.

    Overseas (non-EU) students

    This course is only available to students with a tuition fee status of Home / EU.

  • Scholarships and funding

    Part-time In-service students working a maximum of 15 hours per week may be eligible for the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) funding. Check out the SAAS website.

    There are other categories of funding available to support the cost of your studies at the University of Stirling. You may qualify for University funding as well as funding from government bodies, the European Commission, funding trusts, research councils, industry and employers.

    If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

    Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

As the recognised teaching qualification for people already employed in Scottish further education, the TQFE provides you with a highly relevant and marketable postgraduate qualification.

It will help you to progress in your career either within employment or you could also go on to do further study such as the MSc in Professional Education and LeadershipEdD Educational Doctorate or the part-time PhD programme.

  • Employability skills

    The course enables you to enhance your understanding and professional practice within the FE sector. This personal and professional development allows you to adopt greater responsibility and leadership within your own work environment.

  • Companies we work with

    The course involves extensive links across a network of partner colleges within the FE sector in Scotland. You’re supported to engage with your peers across this network to enhance your own and your colleagues’ professional development. You also have access to experienced and qualified staff in partner colleges who provide guidance in relation to the work related aspects of the TQFE Postgraduate Certificate.

    As well as working with our partner colleges in the development and ongoing support of the courses the GTCS is also involved on an ongoing basis.

I have met lots of new friends and its great being around like-minded people.
Susan McIntosh
Tertiary Education (TQFE)
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The TQFE course offers students the ability to walk the walk and talk the talk
David McShane
TQFE employer
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