Tertiary Education (TQFE)

Study Tertiary Education (TQFE) and graduate with a university degree

Postgraduate Certificate

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Tertiary Education (TQFE)
  • Type Part-time
  • Start date September

Laura Adam
TQFE Secretary
University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 467958 www.stir.ac.uk/education

1st in Scotland for research in Education in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise.

‌The Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) is the recognised teaching qualification for individuals who currently work as lecturers in Further Education. It gives you the recognised teaching qualification for the FE sector, allows you to take the course at your own pace and provides opportunities to progress onto further qualifications.

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


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




Course objectives

The Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) is designed to meet the needs of the contemporary Scottish Further Education (FE) sector. The content is based on the professional standards for FE staff as laid down by the Scottish Government and is fully accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). The course is suitable for:

  • In-service: Lecturers currently working in Further Education colleges
  • Individuals who work in other education and training contexts in post-compulsory education

Entrance requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant professional experience are encouraged to apply.

Students on the in-service course must have access to/be employed in an appropriate work environment (e.g. a college).

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your  proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (6.0 in all bands).

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Our range of pre-sessional courses.

Modes of study

Part-time (in-service students)

Course start date


Application procedure

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

Application Enquiries

Student Recruitment and Admissions Service
Undergraduate Admissions Office
University of Stirling
Stirling FK9 4LA
Scotland UK

Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467044
Fax: + 44 (0) 1786 466800
Email: admissions@stir.ac.uk

Structure and content

You will complete the following three modules:

  • Learner Identity and Diversity: Increase student’s capacity to respond positively to diversity; to understand the importance of learner identity in student engagement in learning and to critically evaluate policies and practices to that end. Students will critically evaluate evidence from the field of practice as well as research evidence.
  • Teaching and Assessment: Provides a critical and reflective space for sharing and developing students’ knowledge, skills and awareness of the processes of teaching, facilitating and assessing learning in post-compulsory contexts.
  • Professional Practice: Enables students to critically examine their role as a professional teacher in Further Education and to identify areas of their practice that could be changed to improve the learning experiences of their students. Students will be encouraged to examine various debates about professionalism within further education and the implications of these debates for their own professional practice.  As part of this process of critical reflection students will be exposed to different frameworks of quality enhancement and will be supported in examining how they can contribute to these processes as individuals and team members.

Delivery and assessment

The course is taught using a combination of lectures, seminars and materials made available via Succeed, the University of Stirling's chosen online learning environment.

The attendance requirement for most modules is two days per module, with all course materials available online in advance. Pre-service students are required to do additional work both on campus and in their college placement.

Recommended reading

  • Avis, J., Fisher, R., & Thompson, R. (2010). Teaching in Lifelong Learning: a guide to theory and practice. London: Open University Press.
  • Bryce, T. and Humes, W, Eds (2008) Scottish Education.  Third Edition, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
  • Hayes, A. (2006). Teaching Adults. London: Continuum.
  • Hillier, Y. (2005) Reflective Teaching in Further and Higher Education, London: Continnum
  • Tusting, K. and Barton, D. (2003) Models of Learning: a literature review. Leicester: NIACE
  • Weyers, M. (2006). Teaching the FE curriculum. London: Continuum.

Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

In-service students attend for a total of ten days over the academic year. As the course is a 'work-based' course students' professional practice in their own college environment is an integral part of the learning experience.

There is, therefore, no weekly timetable. However, on the days that the TQFE students are on campus the day consists of individual tutorial support, and then a lecture followed by a seminar and workshop.

Module titles

Academic Year 2014/15

  • Learner Identity and Diversity 
  • Teaching and Assessment 1
  • Teaching and Assessment 2
  • Professional Practice
  • Professional Experiential Learning 

Academic Year 2015/16

The TQFE course is currently in the process of being re-developed and will be updated when more detail is available. The areas/topics that will be covered within the course will be:

  • Learner Identity and Diversity 
  • Teaching and Assessment 
  • Professional Practice

Course Director

Dr Kevin Brosnan

RAE rating

The School of Education was rated number 1 in Scotland in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

Our students

The highlight of being a student at Stirling University is that I have met lots of new friends and its great being around likeminded people. It has given me the tools and qualifications I require to progress within my chosen career path. The skills and knowledge that I have obtained through both the taught and practical element of this course has been invaluable. It has given me a greater understanding of what it means to be an educator. It has also increased my confidence and belief that I have the ability to be successful in an educator role.

Susan McIntosh, TQFE student


Career opportunities

As the recognised teaching qualification for individuals who wish to undertake a lecturing career in Scottish Further Education, the TQFE provides you with a highly relevant and marketable postgraduate training course. While traditionally the course was undertaken on an in-service basis, it is increasingly the case that colleges prefer you to have completed the qualification prior to entry into the sector. The evidence available suggests that the qualification has been very successful in facilitating career access and progression in Further Education.


The course enables students to enhance their understanding and professional practice within the FE sector. This personal and professional development enables students to adopt greater responsibility and leadership within their own work environments.

Industry connections

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

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


2015/16 Overseas n/a
2015/16 Home/EU £1760
2014/15 Overseas N/A
2014/15 Home/EU £1680


You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.


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

information on possible sources of funding