PGDip Tertiary Education with Teaching Qualification (Further Education) - 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). This course is currently only open to students domiciled in the UK.

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

Key facts

  • Award Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date August 2024
  • Duration PGDip full-time: 9 months
  • Mode of study full time
  • Delivery on campus


General Teaching Council for Scotland

GTC Scotland Logo


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 (2018), 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

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.

Work placements

Completing a placement (unpaid) with one of our partner colleges is a requirement of the pre-service course. Placements are arranged by the university.

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.

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.

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) 56 overall with a minimum of 51 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 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, and
  • 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, 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 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), and
  • 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.


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 including formal teaching observations. College-based mentors will also provide reports on your placement activity.

Placements are assessed as part of the Link Practice module. The assessment of this module requires you to maintain an online journal, write reports on your placement, undertake 120 hours of teaching and observe teaching in different subject areas.

Classroom hours

The course includes a compulsory micro-teaching week at the start of September. After the micro-teaching week, you are required to attend a further 17 teaching sessions.

Course director

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 £1,820
20-credit module fee £303
40-credit module fee £606

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.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

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.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

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 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.

Employability skills

As a graduate from the TQFE postgraduate 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
  • South Lanarkshire College
  • West College Scotland
  • West Lothian College

What our students said

Roxanne Boyd
Roxanne Boyd
Scotland, United Kingdom
PGDip Tertiary Education with Teaching Qualification (Further Education) - Pre-service
I found the small class group and mix of blended learning really helpful for the overall learning process. The support of tutors and the friendly and collaborative atmosphere amongst our cohort was crucial in helping me achieve my postgraduate goals.
Read Roxanne'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
David McShane
TQFE employer
The Stirling experience has provided our employees with the skills and attributes of academic learning to put into the classroom setting. The TQFE course offers students the ability to walk the walk and talk the talk as students can enter at either a pre-service or in-service strand as appropriate. Stirling understands the education sector and graduates can contribute effectively to issues such as evaluation of learning and teaching, Curriculum for Excellence and Sustainability and Equalities.
Read David's story

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