PGCert Tertiary Education with Teaching Qualification (Further Education) - in-service

Already teach in a further education college or similar organisation? Complement your experience and qualifications with a postgraduate degree in teaching for further education. This course is currently only open to students domiciled in the UK.

Tertiary Education with Teaching Qualification (Further Education) - in-service

Key facts

  • Award Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date August 2024
  • Duration PGCert part-time: 9 months
  • Mode of study part time
  • Delivery on campus


General Teaching Council for Scotland

GTC Scotland Logo


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 (2018), 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

Course objectives

  • Enhance awareness of appropriate professional values, attributes and aspirations of the vocational educator.
  • Encourage innovation and creativity in teaching/learning and wider professional practice.
  • Support the development of a ‘practitioner enquiry’ approach throughout and beyond the programme.
  • Develop digital practitioners who are confident in employing digital technologies where appropriate.
  • Support the growth of a ‘leader of learning’ mindset in support of students, colleagues and self.

Professional accreditation

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

Flexible learning

The course employs a range of teaching/learning approaches including on-campus teaching sessions, online synchronous and asynchronous interaction, small group workshops and large group sessions. 

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 overview

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, Educational research at the University of Stirling was ranked top 20 in the UK for impact and research environment, with 100% of our research impact and environment in Education classed as 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

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.

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

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 Academic or UKVI 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 59 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these 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.

Course details

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 information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the academic year that starts in September 2024. Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details


The course is taught using a combination of lectures,  small-group workshops and materials made available via the University of Stirling's online learning environment.

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 workshops during the rest of the day. In the 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.


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 ten teaching sessions (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 small-group workshop.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

This course is only available to students with a tuition fee status of UK.

  2024-25 fee

Full course fee


20-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 or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

This fee is charged as a module fee. For more information on courses invoiced on a modular fee basis, please read our tuition fees policy.

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.

Scholarships and funding


Eligible international students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

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.

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.

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.

International (including EU) 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

After you graduate

91% of Education students at the University of Stirling felt their course has enhanced their employability

Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2021

As the recognised teaching qualification for people already employed in Scottish further education or similar organisations, 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.

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.

What our students said

Ciaran O’Neill
Ciaran O’Neill
Scotland, United Kingdom
PGCert Tertiary Education with Teaching Qualification (Further Education) - In-service
Wonderful location and setting – excellent, knowledgeable academic staff and fabulous use of various resources available. The combination of lectures and workshops / seminars was what I liked most. Theory and practice is, in my opinion, the most potent form of learning.
Read Ciaran's story
Fraser Hainey
Fraser Hainey
PGCert Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) - In-service
The TQFE lecturers were very helpful and informative. Due to the nature of the course, a lot of work was done outside the University, but the teaching staff had plenty of communication with me. This was very helpful and reassuring.
Read Fraser's story
Susan McIntosh
Tertiary Education (TQFE)
I have met lots of new friends and its great being around like-minded people.
Read Susan's story

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