Teaching Qualification in Adult Education (TQAE)

Study Teaching Qualification in Adult Education (TQAE) and graduate with a university degree

Postgraduate Certificate

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Teaching Qualification in Adult Education (TQAE)
  • Type Part-time
  • Start date June

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

TQAE has been developed for tutors, trainers, development or support workers who deliver formal or informal learning or training courses across the Adult Education sector. TQAE is open to colleagues in community learning and development; community based adult education; adult literacy and numeracy; work place and work based learning; further education; health care, police and emergency services; trades union education, third sector or voluntary sector; independent schools; museums and libraries; private training providers and prison education, and staff from other relevant organisations or areas.

Course objectives

The Teaching Qualification in Adult Education provides a professional teaching qualification for staff delivering education and training in Adult Education in the UK and in Europe. The course is open to all adult educators in community based learning and community learning and development; further education colleges; prison education; workplace and work based learning; trades union learning and adult educators in the voluntary sector.

The course explores the diversity that exists in the traditions, theories and practices of education across the differing areas of Adult Education and then requires students to examine critically these differing aspects, using their learning to understand, inform and shape their own teaching practice. The coursework and assignments will require students to engage critically with both theory and practice and then apply their learning to their own teaching context.

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 work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

Applicants to this programme need to have 120 hour teaching experience.

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

one year

Course start date


Structure and content

You will complete the following three modules:

  • The Principles and Practice of Adult Education: enables students to establish an understanding of the principles of Adult Education and then examine how these principles impact on their practice. The focus of this module is to provide students with the opportunity to explore and recognise this diversity of influences and help them establish a fuller understanding of the place of theory and practice in adult education. Students from different Adult Education traditions will research and examine the range of practices making up the sector and consider whether a common framework of understanding of principles, theories and concepts for the field is practicable and desirable. It will also help students develop an understanding of the diversity of approaches to the design, development and delivery of adult education provision. In this way this introductory module provides the prerequisite knowledge and understanding for the remainder of the course.
  • Teaching and Assessment: focuses on the theory and practice of curriculum design, learning delivery, assessment and course evaluation. Adult Education courses, in particular, focus on the concept of a learner centred provision and the negotiated curriculum. This module will enable students to explore and examine theory surrounding curriculum development, learning and evaluation, allowing them to develop their own programme development, management and evaluation knowledge and practice. The module is classroom based and will be assessed through coursework.
  • Workplace Practice in Adult Education: enables students to reflect on, and demonstrate, their practice and how the skills and experiences gained through the first two modules has impacted on and informed their practice. The students are required to undertake a work-based project which will demonstrate effective practice in one of the following five areas: Support and Guidance in Adult Education; Diversity and Inclusion; Learner Success and Progression; Determining Quality in Adult Education Programmes: Developing, Designing and Managing an Adult Education Provision. Successful students will be eligible to progress to the Master of Education programme at the University of Stirling.

Delivery and assessment

The course is part-time and consists of three modules offered over one calendar year. The first module is offered over three consecutive days in mid- June at the University of Stirling. The second module takes place over four days in the autumn semester (usual two days in September and two days in December) and third module is a work-based practice module which requires on campus attendance for one day. Students will undertake the rest of this module in their own workplace with tutorial support being offered online or by telephone. Additional on campus support days can be arranged if required by the students on the course and this will be subject to negotiation to ensure that these days take place at a mutually convenient time.

Assessment is 100% coursework. This coursework will involve a combination of written assignments, case studies and work-based observations. Normally the observations and assessments carried out in the workplace will be graded on a pass/fail basis.

Recommended reading

  • Brookfield, S, (1986), Understanding and facilitating Adult Learning, Milton Keynes, Open University Press
  • Derrick, J, Field, J, Howard, U, Lavender, P, Meyer, S, Niussl von Rein, E, and Schuller, T, (2010), Remaking Adult Education. London, Institute of Education
  • Ecclestone, K, (2002), Learning Autonomy in Post-16 Education, London,
  • RoutledgeFalmer
  • Hillier, Y. (2002) Reflective Teaching in Further and Adult Education, London:
  • Continuum,
  • Illeris, K, (ed), (2010), Contemporary Theories of Learning, New York, Routledge

Example timetable

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

The course is offered both as a campus-based and work-based provision.  Students will attend a two-week summer school in June of each year which will cover the first two modules through lectures, seminars and workshops.  They will then undertake a work based module. In addition, students will require to undertake two observations of their practice which will be carried out by members of the School of Education or their appointees. 

Module titles

  • The Principles and Practice of Adult Education - TQAPE1
  • Teaching and Assessment - TQFPE2
  • Workplace Practice in Adult Education - TQAPE3

Course Director

Jim Bradley

RAE rating

The Institute was rated 1st in Scotland in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

Career opportunities

This Teaching Qualification offers those working in the Adult Education field a unique opportunity to undertake a blended course of learning which draws on their existing knowledge and skills, and through critical reflection, discussion and access to current theory develops and enhances their teaching practice in Adult Education. The TQAE course focuses on theory informed practice, recognising the value of both in the development of effective professional practice. Delivered by experienced staff from the Adult Education field, the course has been developed to enhance the professional practice of those currently working within Adult Education and further develop the quality of adult education provision, generally.



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.


Employer or private.