TC503      2.0 Units
Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Colleen Mckenna


The PGCertHE is practice-based programme and is aimed at early career academics, including assistant professors, LSE fellows, assistant professorial lecturers and graduate teaching assistants who have completed the Introduction to Teaching: Associate Fellowship Programme (TC501) as well as other colleagues who have substantive responsibilities for student learning.

The PGCertHE is a requirement for newly appointed career-track colleagues with fewer than 3 years of teaching experience. Additionally, colleagues who are experienced academics but relatively new to UK higher education are encouraged to join the programme.


This is a practice-based programme. You need to be teaching at least 20 hours across the year in a context in which you can be observed – once by a member of LSE Teaching and Learning Centre and once by a peer. The observations can occur either in Michaelmas or Lent terms.

You are eligible to join the programme if you:

  • can attend at least 20 hours of PGCertHE sessions. Please note: the completion of the ‘Introduction to Teaching’ (TC501) counts for 10 hours towards this total*. 
  • can be observed teaching at LSE, and
  • have at least 20 hours of scheduled teaching during the year of enrolment (not including preparation time or office hours). 

*For career-track participants, completion of the New Academic Induction Programme fulfils your attendance requirement.

Course content

In this programme, you will work on 3 modules:

  • Module 1: Teaching in our Disciplines (required) *
  • Module 2: Course Design (required)

plus one module from the following list:

  • Module 3: Student learning
  • Module 4: Assessment and feedback
  • Module 5: Contemporary issues in HE
  • Module 6: Independent enquiry

*If you have previously completed the TC501 ‘Introduction to Teaching’ pathway, this module will be carried over and does not need to be repeated.

To complete the programme, you will:

  • Develop an opening year statement (OYS) in which you reflect on your approach to teaching and student learning
  • Participate in workshops
  • Prepare written assignments (or equivalent) for the 3 modules
  • Have 2 teaching observations – one from a member of LSE Teaching and Learning Centre and one from a peer
  • Develop an end of year statement (EYS) in which you reflect on how the teaching year has gone and your intentions for future development.

These materials are drawn together, along with feedback on your teaching from both TQARO and formative surveys, into a portfolio that is submitted in Summer Term or the following Michaelmas Term.  Once the portfolio is deemed complete it is submitted to a Board of Examiners.


Modules 1 and 2 are compulsory and your final number of teaching hours will depend on which optional module you choose.

  • Module 1, 12hrs, MT
  • Module 2,  8hrs,  MT or LT or ST
  • Module 3,  6hrs,  LT
  • Module 4,  6hrs,  MT or LT
  • Module 5,  4hrs plus an Atlas workshop,  LT
  • Module 6,  4-8hrs,  MT, LT and ST
  • Reviewing your teaching year, 3hrs, ST

Teaching for this course will take the form of interactive workshops. Moodle will also be used as a learning environment.

Additionally, participants have the opportunity to attend regular workshops offered as part of LSE's Atlas programme, which explore different aspects of teaching and learning linked to assignments.

Formative coursework

There are formative feedback points for each of the summative assignments.

Additionally, there are formative reflections at both the start and finish of the programme. These formative reflections, combined with the coversheets on the summative essays, make up the learning log element of the course and contribute to the final portfolio submission. Finally, participants present their course design work and receive formative feedback from both members of the PGCertHE teaching team and peers.

Throughout, the formative pieces are designed to encourage a reflexive approach to academic practice.

Indicative reading

Ashwin, P. (2015) Reflective teaching in higher education. London: Bloomsbury.

Berk, R. (2005) Survey of 12 strategies to measure teaching effectiveness. International journal of teaching and learning in higher education. 17 (1) 48-62.

Biggs, J (1996) Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher education  32 (3) 347-364.

Biggs, J.  & Tang, C. (2011) Teaching for quality learning at university. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill Open University Press.

Carless, D. (2015) Excellence in university assessment. London: Routledge.

Carlisle, O. & Jordan, A. (2005) It works in practice but will it work in theory? The theoretical underpinnings of pedagogy in Emerging issues in the practice of university learning and teaching.  Dublin: AISHE.

Case, J. (2008) Alienation and engagement: development of an alternative theoretical framework for understanding student learning. Higher education 55 (3)  321–332.

Healey, M., & Jenkins, A. (2006) Strengthening the teaching‐research linkage in undergraduate courses and programs. New directions for teaching and learning, (107) 43-53.

Hounsell, D. & Anderson, C. (2005) Ways of thinking and practising in biology and history: disciplinary aspects of teaching and learning environments. Higher education colloquium. Edinburgh.

Hughes, G (2013) Ipsative assessment: motivation through marking. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Laurillard, D., (2002) Designing teaching materials in  Laurillard, D., Rethinking university teaching: a framework for the effective use of learning technologies. London: Routledge.

Merry, S., Price, M., Carless, D. & Taras, M. (2013) Reconceptualising feedback in higher education: developing dialogue with students. London: Routledge.

Meyer, J. & Land, R. (2003) Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: linkages to ways of thinking and practising within the disciplines. Occasional report 4: ETL project. Edinburgh.

Nicol, D. & Macfarlane Dick, D. (2006) Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice, Studies in Higher Education, 31 (2) 199-218.

Rust, C. (2007). Towards a scholarship of assessment. Assessment & evaluation in higher education, 32 (2) 229-237.

Wilson, M. & Scalise, K. (2006) Higher education.  52: 635 - 663.


  • Written assignments for Module 1, Module 2  and for your optional module
  • A practical written assignment for module 1 (34%, 2300 words) in January.
  • Project for module 2 (33%, 2000 words) in the MT, LT or ST*.
  • Essay, project or blog posts depending on the module (33%, 2000 words) in MT, LT or ST*.

*Participants have flexibility as to when they undertake this project.

The assignments include both essay-style written texts and reflective pieces. Additionally there are some opportunities for choice within the assessment diet. Depending on module selection, participants may also prepare a poster, blog posts or podcasts.

This course is assessed entirely by coursework - formative and summative. There are no exams.

All assignments are marked on a Complete/Not Yet Complete basis and all assessment are viewed as developmental opportunities. Participants are offered detailed feedback on all work and, where appropriate, they have the option of developing assignments further based of feedback from the teaching team and peers (Course design module).

Key facts

Department: Teaching and Learning Centre

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Value: 2.0 Units

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills