PGCert Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) - In-service
Already teach in a further education college? Complement your experience and qualifications with a postgraduate degree in teaching for further education (TQFE). This course is currently only open to students domiciled in the UK.
- Award Postgraduate Certificate
- Start date August 2022, August 2023
- Duration PGCert part-time: 12 months
- Mode of study Part-time, Campus based
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
This course is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.
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.
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.
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.
English language requirements
Due to disruption in English Language testing caused by COVID-19, we are accepting alternative English Language tests (including online English Language Tests).
If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:
- IELTS Indicator 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 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) 62 overall with 60 in each sub-skill
- IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
- IBT TOEFL Special Home Edition Test 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
- Aptis (4 skills) CEFR B2 overall and B2 in all sub-skills
- Duolingo 105 overall with a minimum of 95 in each sub-skill
- LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator - High Pass with a minimum of 152/200 overall and 33 in each sub-skill
Last updated: 20 December 2021
If you are from India, Bangladesh, Ghana or Nigeria please also check your country/region specific page for any additional, or changes to, English language requirements.
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 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 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.
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.
In-service students attend for a total of seven days (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
For 2022/23 entry, this course is only available to students with a tuition fee status of UK.
|Fee for UK students|
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
European Union 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.
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, 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.
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
Scotland, United Kingdom
Read Ciaran's storyWonderful 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.
PGCert Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) - In-service
Read Fraser's storyThe 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.
Tertiary Education (TQFE)
Read Susan's storyI have met lots of new friends and its great being around like-minded people.