Academic Practice MA AP | PGDAP | PGCAP – Online Course

Programme duration: approximately30 months for MA AP(part-timeand online)
Upcoming starts: 8 October 2024, 14 January 2025
Awarding body: University of Liverpool
Delivered by:

Develop your academic practice and gain global perspectives on higher education with this professional postgraduate teaching qualification designed to enhance your career in higher education. 

What is academic practice?

Academic practice is the term used to define any work that uncovers, researches, and teaches information, knowledge and learning materials. Academic practitioners include researchers, higher education and university lecturers, professors, teachers, analysts, librarians, and academic laboratory technicians – their contributions go toward providing students in higher education with a better standard of knowledge within their field. 

The University of Liverpool’s online Master of Arts in Academic Practice is a qualification for those who wish to enhance their academic practice and develop their higher education teaching career, providing students with invaluable teaching methods and techniques, informed by global pedagogical viewpoints.

About the programme

Our online academic practice programme benefits students from diverse backgrounds by providing those with or without prior experience teaching in higher education (HE) an opportunity to develop their academic practice, academic leadership, and scholarship-related knowledge and skills to enhance their careers and support students’ learning. 

There are three study awards for the programme – starting with the Postgraduate Certificate Academic Practice (PGCAP) and progressing to the Postgraduate Diploma Academic Practice (PGDAP) and full Master of Arts Academic Practice (MA AP).  

The online PGCAP programme has two pathways depending on a student’s background. For those who do not hold a substantive teaching position in higher education, our first pathway is a route to gaining a PGCAP that will provide an excellent grounding in the theory and practice of teaching and supporting learning in higher education in a global context. 

For those students who do hold a substantive teaching position which would enable them to demonstrate Descriptor Level 2 of the Professional Standards Framework (PSF 2023), our second pathway enables you to earn a PGCAP and simultaneously gain recognition as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) through our unique partnership with Advance HE, the UK’s foremost agency for driving excellence and developing leadership in higher education. 

The Postgraduate Diploma Academic Practice builds on learning from both pathways of the PGCAP to further develop academic leadership, scholarship, and pedagogic research in preparation for progression to the MA AP which gives participants the opportunity to complete a supervised academic practice project. 

Active learning plays a fundamental part in the programme structure on all awards. You will have opportunities to demonstrate your understanding of educational concepts and barriers to learning and your ability to apply pedagogical theory from varied global perspectives to the classroom. Furthermore, you will be encouraged to utilise international educational frameworks to design lessons, set assignments and design learning outcomes that can be applied to your own context or to a global teaching space. 

The online interaction with international peers and those working within higher education will also provide you with opportunities to give and receive feedback relevant to academic practice and develop your knowledge from peers who may have different experiences across a variety of educational contexts. By the end of your studies, you will be prepared to take your practice to the next level within the ever-changing higher education sector. 

Download a prospectus for more details on this programme including module information. 

Programme structure

This programme consists of the following modules. Participants are required to complete 60 credits to achieve the PGCAP (both pathways), 120 credits to achieve the PGDAP and 180 credits to complete the MA AP.     

Under all pathways, students will be encouraged to contribute to learning, providing case studies and perspectives from their local contexts. This will create a strong global and active learning experience and a global network of contacts.   

FHEA Pathway
Standard Pathway
Foundational Approaches to Learning and
Teaching in Higher Education (15 credits)
Pathway Dependent Pathway Dependent
Contemporary Approaches to Teaching in a Global HE Context (15 credits)

Designing Learning and Assessment in a Global HE Context (15 credits)
Enhancing Academic Practice in a Global HE Context (15
Pathway Dependent Pathway Dependent
Developing Your Career in a Global HE Context
(15 credits)
Pathway Dependent Pathway Dependent
Developing Academic Leadership (15 credits)
Evidencing Academic Leadership (15 credits)
Developing Scholarship (15 credits)
Pedagogic Research Design (15 credits)
Academic Practice Project (60 credits)

PGCAP Award 

Students without relevant experience teaching in higher education will complete all modules, including one optional module, in PGCAP Pathway One (Standard Pathway). Applicants with relevant experience currently teaching in higher education will complete all modules in Pathway Two (FHEA Pathway) and be required to demonstrate Descriptor 2 of the Professional Standards Framework (PSF 2023) to achieve PGCAP and FHEA. 

PGDAP and MA AP Awards 

Students on both pathways progress to the same modules for the PGDAP and MA AP. Students who progress to the final award, the MA AP, will engage in an Academic Practice Project relevant to their higher education careers and develop their scholarship of learning and teaching. 

For more information on the modules, including syllabus and learning outcomes, please download our programme booklet

Entry requirements

All applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you want to discuss your previous qualifications and experience before applying, please contact us now via LiveChat.  

For both PGCAP pathways, applicants must have:  

  • A degree equivalent to a lower-second class UK bachelor’s degree or equivalent. 

For pathway two leading to Fellowship (FHEA), applicants must also: 

  • Hold a teaching position in a higher education institution with sufficient depth and breadth of practice with learners that enables them to demonstrate all Dimensions of the Professional Standards Framework (PSF 2023).

If you are unsure about which pathway is best suited to you, please contact our admissions team to discuss the options open to you. 

All applicants from outside the UK must provide evidence that they have an English language ability equivalent to an IELTS (academic) score of 6.5 (with all parts of the score being above a minimum of 6) 

If you don’t have an IELTS or equivalent certificate, you can take our free online English test to assess your proficiency. You don’t need to prove your English ability if you are a national of or have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in, any of these countries.

Fees and funding

Fees for the academic year 2024/25

MA: £16,868
PGDAP: £11,246
PGCAP: £5,623

This fee* is fully inclusive of all costs, including all teaching materials, core textbooks, assessments and resits.   

Scholarships and discounts

You may be able to benefit from the following scholarships and discounts:

  • Regional Scholarships of up to 20%. To find out the scholarship offered in your region, please make an enquiry now
  • 10% discount for University of Liverpool alumni.
  • 5% discount for up-front full tuition fee payment. 

Further support

We aim to make it as easy as possible for you to cover the costs of your studies. You could benefit from:

  • Simple monthly payment plan provided to spread the cost over the duration of study 
  • Students living in England may be eligible for a postgraduate loan to cover some of the programme cost. 

Please speak to our admissions team for more details of fees, scholarships, discounts and support.

*All tuition fees shown are net of any applicable sales tax payable by you in your country of residence. Where we are required to add sales tax at the local statutory rate, this will be added to the tuition fees shown and confirmed.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment 

The learning, teaching and assessment strategies for all online programmes are aligned with the three University of Liverpool Hallmarks of research-connected teaching, active learning and authentic assessment – as well as the three University of Liverpool Graduate Attributes of confidence, digital fluency and global citizenship. 

Teaching methods 

Studying online allows you to study in your own time and from wherever works best for you – whether that is from your home, during your lunch hour or anywhere else you have internet access. 

All our online programmes are delivered through a specially designed online learning platform. This allows 24/7 access to your study materials, which includes: 

  • innovative lecturecasts consisting of audio recordings, infographics, videos, animation, short tasks, and written content 
  • a comprehensive eLibrary of ebooks and academic journals 
  • forums for you to discuss programme content with peers 
  • support from academic staff and a dedicated Student Support team 


Online programmes are assessed based on work carried out in the virtual classroom. Reflecting the hallmark of authentic assessment, this may include report writing, reflective practice, research projects, and individual or group presentations that represent the kinds of tasks you would be expected to undertake in a professional setting. 

We are committed to: 

  • providing frequent and transparent feedback 
  • ensuring our assessment criteria are simple and clear 
  • making it easy for you to clearly view your marks in your gradebook when you log into the learning platform 
  • delivering provisional marks and feedback of assessed work usually within seven days for taught modules 
  • ensuring academic support through weekly lecturer office hours 
  • providing access to our Student Support team, with whom you can discuss any concerns or issues 

Online learning experience 

We will support your online learning experience with high-quality learning materials and resources, which can all be found on our state-of-the-art virtual learning platform. 

Typically, your learning experience will include the following: 

  • directed learning including participation in virtual discussions with peers, led by the lecturer, working through relevant and specially prepared videos and lecturecasts; completing interactive exercises on the learning platform; appointments with your lecturer during office hours 
  • self-directed learning – including wider reading and research in your subject area to further develop your knowledge and understanding 
  • assessment – time taken to prepare and complete assignments and activities which contribute to your overall assessment 

On average, you will need to dedicate a minimum of 15-20 hours of study per module, per week. 

Study duration 

Our master’s award has an approximate study duration of 30 months, studied online and part-time. Our PG Diploma award has an approximate duration of 20 months, our PG Certificate has an approximate duration of 10 months, and our PG Award has an approximate duration of five months.  

Please note, that the actual study duration may be longer depending on study options chosen, speed of study, and module availability. 

Students pursue the programme in a linear fashion, which is organised into modules, typically with a one or two-week break between modules, and a three-week break for the Christmas period. You will receive an indicative module timetable during the enrolment process.  

On successful completion of your degree, and payment of any outstanding tuition fees, you will receive an invite to attend an in-person graduation ceremony in the vibrant city of Liverpool  

Academic staff 

We are committed to delivering an enriching online study experience, and all our lecturers are experienced subject specialists with demonstrated learning and teaching proficiency.  

They play an integral part in ensuring the latest theories and research feature in our programmes and are dedicated to providing a high level of support throughout your studies.  

All lecturers and supervisors are honorary faculty at the University of Liverpool. 

Discover more about our key academic staff and their experience. 

Quality and assurance  

As one of the Russell Group’s 24 members, the University of Liverpool is recognised as a world-class, research-intensive institution, that adheres to strict quality standards. 

The University is registered with the Office for Students and an established member of the Quality Assurance for Higher Education.  


Apply for this course by completing a simple online form.

In order to apply, you will need to provide copies of the following supporting documentation:

  • University transcripts and certified translations if applicable
  • Degree certificates
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (EU and international applications only)
  • Personal statement
  • An up-to-date CV

Acknowledgement of your application

The admissions team will acknowledge receipt of your application and will pass it to the Department Head and/or appropriate academic department(s) for consideration.

Students with disabilities

We welcome applications from students with disabilities and consider them on the same academic grounds as those of other students. If you have a disability, medical condition and/or support needs it is important that you inform the University so that you receive appropriate support.


We have regular start dates throughout the year with regular application deadlines. Applicants are encouraged to apply in good time, particularly if they have special needs.

Career prospects

The PGCAP programme design is aligned to the Professional Standards Framework (PSF 2023).  Participants who meet the admission requirement of holding a substantive higher education role that enables them to demonstrate Descriptor 2 of the PSF 2023 are eligible to take Pathway Two of the PGCAP which enables them to simultaneously gain a postgraduate certificate and professional recognition as Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) 

The PGDAP enables participants to develop knowledge and skills relevant to academic leadership and scholarship. Participants with relevant experience leading teaching and supporting learning in higher education will be able to draw on their learning from the Postgraduate Diploma Academic Practice in direct applications to Advance HE for Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. 

The MA AP enables participants to develop employability skills to enhance their teaching careers in higher education in the UK and around the world.  The authentic assessments throughout the programme are relevant to higher education and will enable participants to develop their academic practice, leadership and scholarship.   

Alongside the subject-specific knowledge gained, you will also develop professional skills such as communication, digital literacy, teaching and research, which could improve your career prospects and open access to new opportunities. 

About us

Academic Development is part of The Leadership, Organisational, Professional & Academic Development Academy (The Academy) at the University of Liverpool. The Academy supports higher education professionals to develop their academic practice in relation to teaching and learning, as well as enhance their skills in research, leadership and management within the sector. 

By studying online with Liverpool, you can gain a highly regarded qualification from a prestigious redbrick university and a member of the Russell Group, a group of 24 research-led UK universities committed to maintaining the highest possible standards of research and education. You will acquire new skills and knowledge, all while continuing to work in your current role.  

The University of Liverpool has been offering online programmes since 2000. We are recognised as one of Europe’s leading providers of wholly online postgraduate degrees. All our programmes are designed for online delivery, and our state-of-the-art learning platform encourages collaboration with fellow professionals from around the world.

Study Online with the University of Liverpool

Student testimonials 

In these two student testimonials, Assoc. Prof. Mark Oliver S. Llangco from the University of the Philippines Los Baños and Asst. Prof. Kathleen M. Morales from Xavier University talk about their experiences on the online PGCAP programme taken as part of the Transformative Academic Practice for Higher Education in the Philippines (TAPHEP) project.   

The TAPHEP Project was launched in 2021 and aims to support related capacity building of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, and other selected higher education institutions in the country, via postgraduate education and certification from the University of Liverpool and Advance HE. 

Assoc. Prof. Mark Oliver S. Llangco – the University of the Philippines

Asst. Prof. Kathleen M. Morales – Xavier University

More student testimonials from the TAPHEP project are available to watch on our group testimonials webpage.