Spotlight on Postgraduate Certificate Academic Practice (PGCAP)

The Postgraduate Certificate Academic Practice (PGCAP) is a master’s level qualification designed to support the professional development of higher education staff involved in teaching and supporting learning, particularly those who are in the early stages of their career.

In this blog we discuss why you might consider studying for a PGCAP, what you can do with the qualification and answer other frequently asked questions. 

The University of Liverpool is pleased to be able to offer an online PGCAP programme, developed with Advance HE, the UK (United Kingdom) agency with responsibility for driving excellence and developing leadership in higher education. As part of this blog, we will also discuss the educational aims of the course and the reasons you might consider studying for a PGCAP online.

Who is a PGCAP qualification for?

The PGCAP qualification is designed specifically for early-career academics teaching in higher education. The content of the University of Liverpool online PGCAP programme includes the necessary knowledge, skills and values to teach effectively in higher education to enhance student learning outcomes and experiences.

The programme takes into consideration the diverse nature and location of participants and their diverse disciplinary and teaching contexts. Students are expected to contribute to the content by sharing their knowledge and experience of their own global perspectives of academic practice in higher education.

Why should I study a PGCAP?

The overall aim of the University of Liverpool online PGCAP is to support and enhance the development of a rich, diverse learning and teaching practice in a global context. The programme does this in the following ways:

1. By encouraging the development of high-quality academic practice that enables you to gain a teaching qualification and professional recognition as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy aligned with descriptor two of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF).

2. By supporting you to develop the knowledge, skills, expertise and values necessary to sustain effective academic practice and support student learning in higher education.

3. By fostering communities of practice that enable you to engage with global perspectives of academic practice.

4. By raising your awareness of opportunities and skills to develop to enhance your career.

What are the educational aims of the PGCAP?

The educational aims of the PGCAP are to:

1. Enable you to demonstrate effective academic practice at descriptor two of the UKPSF.

2. Enable you to engage in high quality professional development in support of excellence in learning and teaching.

3. Develop reflective and reflexive learning practice that supports the continuous enhancement of your academic practice and career development.

4. Give you the opportunity to build effective professional networks in order to engage in advanced peer-learning and enhance your career development.

Is the PGCAP a degree and what level of study is the PGCAP?

The PGCAP is a Level 7 qualification which means it is classed as master’s level study (the level above an undergraduate degree). A postgraduate certificate is worth 60 credits at Level 7, so it has less study commitment than a postgraduate diploma (120 credits) or full master’s degree (180 credits) but is at the same level of education.

On the University of Liverpool online PGCAP course, students complete four 15-credit modules to earn the award. This is on a part-time basis where it takes approximately 10 months to complete all 60 credits.

Is the PGCAP a global qualification?

Developed as part of a unique collaboration between the University of Liverpool and Advance HE, this PGCAP is the first programme of its kind to offer both an academic qualification (Postgraduate Certificate) and professional recognition Fellowship (FHEA), awarded by Advance HE on successful completion

Globally there are now 135,000 Fellows across almost 100 countries. Fellowship is something that a lot of higher education institutes look for in their staff and it’s becoming an increasing requirement for teaching staff to have in higher education.

The global emphasis of this programme will be particularly helpful to those with an interest in transnational education and in developing skills to work with international participants and faculty.

Can I register my academic staff for the PGCAP?

Not all higher education institutions (HEIs) provide early career academics with high quality accredited academic development. The University of Liverpool’s partnership agreements enable individuals and institutions in a global context to access high quality academic development and gain teaching qualifications and professional recognition, flexibly online in less than one year. 

There is potential for international consortiums and individual HEIs without the capacity to offer in-house academic development to their early career educators to develop their teaching staff by registering them on the online PGCAP programme. If you are a consortium or international HEI who would like to discuss this further, please contact our team.

What are the benefits of studying for a PGCAP online?

The University of Liverpool has been offering online programmes for over 20 years and with this comes extensive experience in creating excellent online learning experiences where students are nurtured and supported from enrolment through to graduation.

The online delivery method of the PGCAP programme means that it can be studied on a part-time basis alongside your other commitments. Our virtual learning environment (VLE) is accessible anytime from anywhere with an internet connection and gives you access to all the resources you need to complete your programme.

Studying online doesn’t mean that you are going it alone. All University of Liverpool online students are supported by a dedicated student services team who are available to offer support and guidance throughout your time studying with us. Academic support is provided by our experienced and passionate subject tutors, who are each expert in their own field.

With interactive classes and regular contact with faculty members and fellow students from across the globe, studying for the online PGCAP is a highly engaging and stimulating experience. In addition, the qualification can be completed in less than one year – taking approximately 10 months of study from start to finish.

How is the online PGCAP taught and assessed?

The PGCAP is delivered using the latest and most innovative online teaching techniques and includes a range of interesting and thought-provoking activities and exercises. Core information is developed by subject-leading experts in the field and closely aligned with both industry and academic best practice, underpinned by rigorous theoretical and relevant topics, examples and cases. Leading-edge materials are supported by specially trained tutors, who are not only professionals in the discipline, but who have an exceptional knowledge of supporting online students.

Teaching activities consist of specially designed lecturecasts, synchronous seminars, carefully curated reading lists, and asynchronous discussions to enhance peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Assessment is by coursework only – there are no examinations. Assessments align with the University of Liverpool commitment to have relevant, authentic and varied activities and are designed to lead directly to enhanced professional and personal objectives as well as being appropriate to the academic discipline.

To find out more about the online PGCAP, including modules fees and entry requirements, visit our programme page. For comprehensive information, including module learning outcomes, download a programme booklet.

Want to learn more about Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)? Read our blog post about Fellowship.

Keywords: PGCAP, FAQs, Spotlight

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