PgCert Researcher Development

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Application deadline: applications are accepted throughout the year on a rolling basis
  • Study mode and duration: Part-time; face-to-face and online learning with some independent study

Study with us

  • flexible, academic development degree

  • ideal for university research staff, academics or any member of staff looking to enhance their understanding and skills relating to academic and related careers

How could the Covid-19 pandemic affect my studies?

Covid-19: information & FAQs
Back to course

Why this course?

This course is ideal for university research staff, academics or any member of staff looking to enhance their understanding and skills relating to academic and related careers. It normally takes one to two years' part-time study.

It's aimed at two principal audiences:

  • university academic professional staff interested in exploring options and opportunities that research roles can provide them to develop their careers, succeed in their current positions to benefit themselves and the university
  • any member of staff interested in investigating how research and related skills could further develop their understanding of the HE sector and their role within it

The course examines factors influencing academic careers in higher education (HE) and offers a range of intellectual and practical methods to inform, explore and develop research activities and career development. Throughout the course, you'll be encouraged to draw from your own area or discipline and explore the development of your career and research in these areas.

All classes are delivered in our in-house teaching facilities and use a diverse number of technologies to enhance learning.

Male researcher with laptop

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
Go back

Course content

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

To obtain a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) you must complete three classes – the core class, one recommended class any other class from the recommended or optional list.

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).

Research Bidding and Design

This class provides a unique opportunity for staff with no, or little, experience of research bidding and design to develop an understanding of the funding landscape, design initial questions and develop a small funding proposal appropriate to their career stage.

Supervising Postgraduate Research (Online)

This module aims to provide participants with the necessary information and reflective activities to allow them to continue to develop appropriate attitudes and aptitudes for effective research supervision in HE. 

Management and Leadership in Higher Education

This module combines theoretical perspectives and practical activities to explore the concepts and practices behind effective management and leadership in the Higher Education context.

Academic Writing

This module combines theoretical perspectives on academic writing with practical activities that should increase the participants' own writing output. There is a strong emphasis on contextualising writing in participants' academic disciplines, while recognising current trends towards interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary requirements for writing. Participants will be encouraged to choose a focus for this module: either their own academic writing or their use of writing activities in teaching at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

Enterprise, Commercialisation and Intellectual Property

This class represents a core element of the knowledge exchange experience and is a core experience demanded of professionals engaged within the area.

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.

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.

Course (re)Design

This module involves the evaluation of current course designs and the creation and development of new course designs which promote improved teaching, learning and assessment. The module will provide participants with the skills and knowledge required to engage in course (re)design, exploring the pedagogical theories behind, and practical construction of, enhanced student learning experiences.

Teaching and Learning Online (TALON Part 2)

TALON part 2 includes a summative assessment to evaluate the online course activities that you develop in TALON Part 1. The aim of the module is to allow participants to experience being an online student while at the same time exploring the implications and opportunities of teaching and learning online. 

Learning & teaching

All classes are taught using experiential and reflective techniques to ensure learning outcomes are applicable, useful and based in authentic activity. Classes are highly flexible, allowing you to make choices based on your own personal interests.

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, the University's virtual learning environment. A fully online version of the course is in development.

Guest lectures

Individual classes make use of a selection of guest lecturers who can provide the best training on specialist topics.


Assessment types differ from class-to-class, and align constructively with teaching and learning aims. Essays, presentations, individual projects and other methods are commonly used.

Back to course

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

An Honours degree or an equivalent qualification.

Back to course

Fees & funding


All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

University of Strathclyde applicants

Staff with contracts totalling 12 months or longer: free of charge
Staff employed for less than 12 months at Strathclyde: £756 per 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.

Interested in SPARK?

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

Register for information session
Back to course


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

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
Back to course

Contact us


Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 4058


Graham Hills Building (Level 4), 40 George Street, Glasgow, G1 1QE

Have you considered?

We've a range of courses similar to this one which may also be of interest.