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MA Professional Practice in Higher Education
School of Education
Campus or location
Newton Park and Corsham Court (Newton Park only from 2023)
Course length
Three to five years part-time.

Entry requirements

You must be working, or a research student, in a Higher Education Institution (including HE in FE) during your part time study on this course.

See 'Interested in applying?' for more information.

A programme to help staff and research students address the key challenges of working in higher education.

  • Opportunities for accredited professional development designed to meet the needs of those working in higher education contexts, by building on prior relevant credit or HEA fellowships.
  • Undertake professional development at your own pace. We offer flexible patterns of enrolment, course delivery and credit accumulation.
  • Learning activities and assessment tasks have a practical orientation and can be tailored to reflect the needs of your work environment.

How to apply

Please contact the programme team at to discuss your work in Higher Education and desired study. For any admissions enquiries please contact

This flexible Master’s course is designed to support your continued professional development through a range of module options, and offers both intermediate qualifications and external (HEA) accredited status (for those with suitable teaching practice in HE only). You'll choose modules based on your role and interests and study over a two to five year period.

The course is suitable for academics, professional services staff and research students and can build on previous relevant PGCerts (in HE practice) or HEA Fellowships via accreditation of prior learning. As a staff member or research student, the PPHE programme will help you meet the key challenges of working in the rapidly changing world of higher education while gaining credit and postgraduate qualifications for your professional development.

These challenges – of teaching, supporting student learning, employability, sustainability, new technologies, team management, enterprise, quality assurance and external accountability – range across the whole business of higher education, and can rarely be addressed in isolation. They raise many questions about how best to enhance teaching and research within particular contexts, and about how managers and administrators can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of current practices, not least in terms of addressing students’ needs and aspirations, enriching their learning experiences, and raising the enduring value of their learning outcomes.

What you'll learn


By sharing ideas, knowledge and expertise about our professional practices, we can deepen our understanding of the challenges we face, and realise opportunities to make improvements through innovations and the adoption of best practices.

The PPHE programme will help you evidence your commitment to professional development, and enhance the quality of your work, as well as the development of higher education in your workplace.

Course structure

The programme is based on a credit system; you’ll select modules and patterns of study to suit your needs and interests. All modules are credit rated and lead to the following possible exit qualifications:

Postgraduate Certificate requires 60 credits from any combination of modules. A further 60 credits will give you your Postgraduate Diploma. Finally, the Master’s award requires 180 credits in total including 30 credits on research methods, plus 60 for a Research Project / Dissertation.

Most modules (subject to availability) can be taken in any order and in any combination, though we'd advise new teachers (including professional services staff who engage in suitable teaching) to include the Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education module among their initial options. A small number of modules is available only to those with specific teaching or research responsibilities. The Master’s Project or Dissertation should be taken as the final module. Tutorials will be available to help you plan your course of study.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document for more information on which modules are core, required or optional.

  • Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education
  • Technology and Innovation in Higher Education
  • Researcher Development
  • Supervising Research
  • Mentoring and Coaching in Higher Education
  • Digital Learning in Higher Education
  • Independent Study
  • Education and Society
  • Leadership in Practice
  • Research Methods in Social Science
  • Research and the Professional Part 1
  • Research and the Professional Part 2
  • Dissertation


How will I be assessed?

Assessment for all modules is by coursework, based on the completion of assignments designed to promote understanding, enhancement and/or application of professional practices in higher education for your own practice.

How will I be taught?

Most modules are delivered through three/four half-day sessions, including mini-lectures, seminars, workshops and presentations, supported where appropriate by online discussions and activities. Throughout the programme, you’ll be supported by individual and small-group tutorials.

Sessions are designed to promote the sharing of ideas, expertise and experiences within a professional community of practice, so we will encourage participation and contributions from everyone. One module ('Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, for new teachers) includes some teaching observation sessions, and some modules provide opportunities for peer mentoring. Dissertation and Independent Study modules will be primarily supervision supported

The teaching sessions for some modules will be delivered within a few weeks, some over a period of several months, and some throughout the academic year. 

To find out more about how we teach and how you'll learn, please read our Learning and Teaching Delivery Statement.


Network and share knowledge

You’ll have opportunities to network, and share knowledge and experience within a community of practice focused on understanding and enhancing higher education.

Career development

The PPHE programme is designed to support the development of both academic and professional staff, teaching, managing or supporting HE students, at a time when evidence of professional development is increasingly expected of all staff, not least for new appointments and promotions.

Some of the modules are accredited with the Higher Education Academy and there is the opportunity, if a participant’s professional practice entails appropriate responsibilities, to gain Associate/Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (A/FHEA), a nationally transferable professional status.

New academic staff at Bath Spa will take a core selection of the modules to gain a specific PGCHE qualification and FHEA status as part of their contract, but are welcome to continue with the PPHE programme to gain higher qualifications, as are those who have gained HEA fellowships through PRO-SPACE or similar recognition schemes.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

The course is taught at our Newton Park campus.


Learning resources for the programme will be available through the University's library and information services.

Modules have been designed to make the most of the wide range of scholarly material that is now freely available online, and participants will have access to the online resources and learning opportunities afforded by the University's Virtual Learning Environment (Ultra), which will provide links to key resources for each module.


The programme is led by the Programme Leader, Higher Education Practice, in the School of Education, and is supported by tutors with a wide range of teaching, research, management, and leadership experience within and outside higher education.


2024 entry
Student Annual tuition fee
UK part time £4,298

Fee notes

Fees are funded by the University for those working or researching at Bath Spa University.

Fees are paid module by module at proportional cost to the credit size. Fees stated for part time study are based on 90 credits (per year).

Interested in applying?

Entry requirements

You must be working, or a research student, in a Higher Education Institution (including HE in FE) during your part time study on this course. Activities and assessments are based on your current HE professional practice. This includes both academic and professional services staff. Enquire with the course team to discuss.

You’ll normally be required to possess an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education institution, or equivalent qualification from overseas. Applicants who do not possess an undergraduate degree, or equivalent professional qualification, but who have at least two years of work experience relevant to the programme are also welcome to apply and will be invited to attend an admissions interview. See our Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) web page to learn more.

If you already hold a qualification such as a PGCert in HE (learning and teaching or academic practice), or a fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, the course can build on this towards a higher qualification. This course is consequently suitable primarily for those living and working in the UK, able to travel to Bath regularly for part time study alongside their work in HE.

How do I apply?

Please contact the programme team at to discuss your work in Higher Education and desired study in the first instance. For any admissions enquiries please contact

Course director: Dr. Giles Martin

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