PgCert Academic Practice

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration: Part-time; face-to-face and online learning with some independent study

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This course is a flexible, academic development degree. If you're looking to enhance your academic and professional understanding of knowledge exchange, this is the course for you.

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Why this course?

This course is a flexible, academic development degree. You'll study part-time, across one or two years. It's ideal for university knowledge exchange professionals, academics, and researchers. If you're looking to enhance your academic and professional understanding of knowledge exchange, teaching & learning and research, this is the course for you.

The course takes a broad view of the role of academics in higher education. You'll delve into the themes, policies, opportunities and challenges that drive teaching and learning, research, and knowledge exchange activity. You're also encouraged to draw from your own area or discipline, and explore your personal development across teaching, research and knowledge exchange in higher education.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

Who's the course for?

This course is particularly aimed at members of staff seeking a route to a traditional academic post, that combines teaching, research, and knowledge exchange activity: Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, etc.

Mode of learning

All classes involve a face-to-face element comprising of roughly 16 hours in addition to blended learning elements and individual study. Online elements are conducted through MyPlace, the University's online learning environment.

Classes are interactive and make great use of reflection as a tool. This helps with understanding and improving engagement with researcher development.

Learning & teaching

Classes are taught using experiential and reflective techniques. This ensures learning outcomes are applicable, useful, and based on authentic activity. 

All classes involve a face-to-face element comprising roughly 16 hours in addition to blended learning elements and individual study.

Online elements are conducted through MyPlace. We're currently working on a fully-online version of the course.


Assessment differs from class-to-class. We aim to provide students with a variation in assessment approaches that align constructively with teaching and learning aims. Essays, presentations, individual projects, and other methods are commonly used.

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Course content

Registration: applicants can register to attend classes upon acceptance into the programme of study

To obtain a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) you must complete three classes:

Understanding and Exploring Knowledge Exchange

This class provides the core learning experience for the Knowledge Exchange pathway of the SPARK programme and is also mandatory in the Academic Practice path. The class is an elective learning opportunity for participants on both the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and Researcher Development pathways.

The aim of this class is to understand the development of knowledge exchange and how this understood (including how this is influenced by disciplinary conceptions, the innovation ecosystem, and external influencers) as well as to explore the value of, and drivers for, excellence in knowledge exchange practice.

Building a Successful Research Career

Building a Successful Research Career is run by OSDU (the Organisational & Staff Development Unit). It is designed for existing and aspiring research staff, particularly those in the early part of their career. This module provides an opportunity for research staff to fulfil these aspirations. It provides a structured but flexible framework for researchers Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Teaching Learning and Assessment within the Disciplines

This class provides an opportunity for participants to consider disciplinary perspectives on the main theories of how students learn, and by reflecting on this to consider what this might mean for their teaching practice. Participants will have an opportunity to practice and experience a number of teaching styles and methods, including google hangout, blended learning, peer observations etc. Finally, participants will be supported in considering how to design effective methods of assessment through taking an ‘Assessment for Learning’ perspective.

Interested in SPARK?

Come along to one of our academic development information sessions which run throughout the year.

Register for information session
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

An Honours degree or an equivalent qualification. 

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Fees & funding

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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Internal applicants

Staff with contracts totalling 12 months of longer: free of charge
Staff employed for less than 12 months at Strathclyde: £861 per 20 credit module

External applicants

Bespoke training can be designed for external clients on request, for an additional fee. Please contact

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

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All SPARK classes are designed and delivered to help you enhance your current and future practice, providing opportunities for both career and personal development.

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