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PGDip Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) - Pre-service

Considering a lecturing career? Our accredited Pre-Service TQFE course is the recognised qualification to become a lecturer in Scottish further education (FE).

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

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Key facts

  • Award Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date August
  • Duration PGDip full-time: 12 months
  • Mode of study Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules
  • Accreditations General Teaching Council for Scotland

The Pre-Service TQFE course is the recognised qualification for people who want to go on to be a lecturer in Scottish further education (FE). 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. The course supports you in developing your capacity as a professional educator so that you can make a positive contribution to the modern further education sector.

You’ll gain valuable work experience in one of our partner colleges across Scotland, and enhance your understanding and professional practice within the FE sector.

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.

  • Work placements

    You’ll gain valuable work experience in one of our partner colleges across Scotland. The work-based placement provides a rich, context sensitive, learning experience for you. Support is provided by university tutors and also by experienced college staff who act as mentors in introducing you to the complexities of the modern further education college.

  • 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.

  • Academic requirements

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

    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)
    • completion of either of the PDAs for Initial Teacher Training (PDA Teaching Practice in Scotland’s Colleges’ or the ‘Developing Teaching Practice in Scotland’s Colleges’) satisfies the entry requirements in respect of literacy and numeracy skills
    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.

  • 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

    The deadline for submission of applications for 2020 entry is Saturday 29th February 2020

  • 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 sub-skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with 56 in each sub-skill
    • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
    • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills

    Last updated: 5 December 2019

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on 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 this TQFE postgraduate degree 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 modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

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.

    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

    Core modules are assessed through academic assignments that require you to make links between theory/concepts and aspects of your professional practice.

    Placements are assessed as part of the Link Practice module. The assessment requires you to maintain an online journal, write reports on your placement and have reports written about them by your college mentors.

    Placements are arranged by the University of Stirling for students on the pre-service course, a commitment of two to three days per week is needed to satisfy the placement requirements.

  • Course director
  • Fees and costs

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

    2019/20 fees

    Fee for Home/EU students

    Full course fee


    20-credit module fee


    40-credit module fee


    2020/21 fees
     Fee for Home/EU students

    Full course fee


    20-credit module fee


    40-credit module fee


    You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every module you enrol on. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    For more information on courses invoiced on a modular fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

  • Scholarships and funding

    Pre-service students may be eligible for the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) funding. Check out the SAAS website.

    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 who want a lecturing career in Scottish further education, the TQFE provides you with a highly relevant and marketable postgraduate qualification.

Graduates are able to confidently seek employment as a further education lecturer. They 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

    As a graduate from the TQFE diploma you’ll confidently be able to seek employment as a further education lecturer. Previously some of our TQFE postgraduate diploma students have been offered employment by their placement college before completion of the course.

    The work-based placement in one of our partner colleges within the FE sector in Scotland provides a rich, context sensitive, learning experience for you. Support is provided by university tutors and also by experienced college staff who act as mentors in introducing you to the complexities of the modern further education college.

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

  • Companies we work with

    Previous placement partners we’ve worked with include:

    • Ayrshire College
    • City of Glasgow College
    • Edinburgh College
    • Fife College
    • Forth Valley College
    • Glasgow Clyde College
    • New College Lanarkshire
    • SRUC – Scotland’s Rural College
    • South Lanarkshire College
    • West College Scotland
    • West Lothian College
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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