Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice (PG CHEP)

The Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice (PG CHEP) is a qualification for staff involved in teaching who wish to develop their knowledge, skills and expertise in academic practice.

The programme provides opportunities to plan, record and evidence your professional activity in two key areas:

  • learning and teaching
  • research and scholarly activity

Who it's for

PG CHEP is open to staff engaged in regular teaching activity throughout both modules. Fees are waived for members of teaching and learning support staff at Essex. Limited places are also available for members of teaching and learning staff at our partner institutions - please check with your institution.

If you are already a fellow of the HEA you may be eligible to proceed directly to Module 2 with a FastTrack application (contact for details).

Module 1 will be of most benefit to staff with less than three years full-time teaching and learning experience. Staff with substantial prior experience who are not fellows of the HEA should consider gaining fellowship via the CADENZA programme and then progressing directly to Module 2 with a FastTrack application.

How long it takes

The standard route for both modules is to register in October and complete the following June, so the whole programme is taken over two years. We do aim to be flexible though and each module may be spread over two years.

PG CHEP structure

The qualification comprises two 30-credit modules. Module 1 leads to Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), now called Advance HE. Subsequent completion of Module 2 leads to the awarding of the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice.

Watch this short video to find out more about PG CHEP

Module 1

What it involves

You will build a portfolio of evidence which includes:

  • a developmental goal planning discussion
  • a continuing professional development Log
  • a Review of professional activities in the UKPSF areas of activity
  • a short work-based assignment, and

You will attend a welcome event and two all-day PG CHEP professional development workshops. There will also be the opportunity to engage with the Newcomers research development events. You will also be offered individual and peer-group tutorials with the PG CHEP team, engage with the Peer Exchange Network, join action learning sets with peers and engage in regular mentoring within your department. The time commitment is notionally 300 hours, including independent study, assignment work and portfolio preparation, but this does include undertaking many of your day to day activities such as planning teaching, delivery, assessment and feedback.

The benefits

PG CHEP is a lively, supportive and enabling route to gain fellowship status of the HEA. It will provide you with the opportunity to:

  • develop a critical awareness of learning and teaching principles and how these relate to effective teaching practices
  • explore models, strategies and techniques to help you plan, deliver, manage and assess your students' learning
  • record and reflect on your day-to-day practice, facilitating the acquisition of new skills and the development of existing expertise, and
  • network with colleagues.

Gaining fellowship of the HEA can also:

  • help you to gain access to funding opportunities
  • be used as evidence of your department's commitment to excellence in education, and
  • produce sound evidence of your teaching expertise that can be included in the annual staffing review, or applications for permanence and promotion.

Module 2

What it involves

In this module, you will produce a practice-based case study submitted as a conference poster and continue to maintain your professional development records (Log and Review).

You will attend the Education Development Conference and the PG CHEP support days and professional development workshops. You will also be offered individual and peer-group tutorials with the PG CHEP team and mentoring within your department.

The time commitment is notionally 300 hours, including independent study and the preparation of work for assessment. Again, this time will include many of the day to day activities of your role.

The benefits

Module 2 leads to a postgraduate qualification in higher education practice that is recognised across the sector. By focussing on a substantial practice-based project, it allows you to work to develop advanced strategies and resources of use to both you, your department and the institution. It will produce sound evidence of your commitment to excellence in education and prepare you for further leadership activities and recognition in the area of learning and teaching.


Throughout the programme you will be supported in several ways, including:

  • a dedicated mentor in your department who will discuss aspects of your work and may observe your teaching
  • members of the PG CHEP team who will provide individual and small group tutorials and feedback on your assignments
  • a varied programme of relevant professional development and education events (plus resources)
  • a dedicated Moodle site for access to information and networking opportunities.
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PG CHEP team