Teaching Qualification in Adult Education (TQAE)

Postgraduate Certificate


Admission is suspended for 2015

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.

Key information

  • Degree type: Postgraduate Certificate
  • Study methods: Part-time, Campus based
  • Start date: June
  • Course Director: Jim Bradley

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

View fees and finance

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 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.

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Entry requirements

Academic 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 course need to have 120 hour teaching experience.

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

For more information go to English language requirements

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. View our range of pre-sessional courses.


2015/16 Home/EU £1760
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.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies. View more information

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Scholarships & funding

Employer or private.

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Structure and teaching

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 course development, management and evaluation knowledge and practice. 
  • 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. 

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 during the summer semester. The second module takes place during the Autumn Semester. The third module is a work-based practice module which requires on campus attendance for one day during the spring semester. 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 carried out in the workplace will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Summative assessment for all modules will be against the common grading scheme.


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

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

Modes of study

one year

Study method


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. In addition, students will experience two observations of their practice which will be carried out by members of the School of Education or their appointees. 

Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

In The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, the School of Education had the highest quality of research outputs of any Scottish University, with 100% of research impact activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

Overall the University of Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three-quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


In The Guardian University Guide, the School of Education is ranked first in Scotland and eighth in the UK. Criteria include; Satisfaction with Course, Satisfaction with teaching, Satisfaction with Assessment Feedback, Student/ Staff Ratio, Value Added, Career after 6 months.

The Independent Complete University Guide for 2015 has rated the School of Education, as fourth in the UK as a provider of Education programmes and for its research in Education.

The Times Good University Guide recently rated the School of Education as fourth in the UK, in its 2015 update.

Careers and employability

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.


During this course students develop a fuller understanding of their personal and professional practice. They use theory to support a critical examination of their role and responsibilities, helping them develop a more theory informed perspective and preparing them for advancement in the Adult Education community.

Industry connections

The course draws on practitioners and best practice from across the Adult Education sector. This learning experience provides students with access to an innovative and sector leading award.


Online application process

Please choose a start date and study method from the drop-down list below, and click the Apply Now button below to begin the online application process. (Please make sure you have consulted the Postgraduate Study pages on the University website and the Online Application Guidance Notes before continuing).

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