Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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Loughborough University

Programme Specifications

Programme Specification

MA Academic Practice (2014 to 2016 entrants)

Academic Year: 2018/19

This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if full advantage is taken of the learning opportunities that are provided.

This specification applies to delivery of the programme in the Academic Year indicated above. Prospective students reviewing this information for a later year of study should be aware that these details are subject to change as outlined in our Terms and Conditions of Study.

This specification should be read in conjunction with:

  • Summary
  • Aims
  • Learning outcomes
  • Structure
  • Progression & weighting

Programme summary

Awarding body/institution Loughborough University
Teaching institution (if different)
Owning school/department Centre for Academic Practice
Details of accreditation by a professional/statutory body

Higher Education Academy accreditation of the Certificate aligned with Descriptor 2 of the UKPSF.  The accreditation is valid from September 2014 to August 2017.

Final award MA/ PGDip / PGCert
Programme title Academic Practice
Programme code To be confirmed
Length of programme Postgraduate Certificate - 2 years part-time; Postgraduate Diploma - 1 year part-time; Masters - 1 year part-time
UCAS code
Admissions criteria

The programme is provided for Loughborough University staff who have a substantial teaching or learning support role relating to students or other members of staff.  Members of staff who already have a postgraduate certificate in higher education, or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy, may enter at diploma level, subject to satisfactory teaching observations.

Date at which the programme specification was published Wed, 11 Jul 2018 13:14:23 BST

1. Programme Aims

 The programme offers a suite of professional development opportunities which can result in Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or MA.  A model of academic practice will be followed, integrating research, enterprise and teaching, where research can be pedagogic-related and/or subject-specific.  The Programme will align with the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education in order to meet professional recognition criteria for Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.   

By the end of the programme students will be equipped to:

  • plan, deliver and evaluate their teaching, learning, assessment, feedback and student support strategies appropriate to their role and discipline;
  • consider ways of integrating research and enterprise into their subject-specific teaching and learning activities;
  • engage in critical reflection, evidence-based innovative teaching practice and continuing professional development in relation to discipline;
  • contribute to learning communities that value professional attitudes, diversity and equality of opportunity, inclusivity and ethical practice.

2. Relevant subject benchmark statements and other external reference points used to inform programme outcomes:

  • The UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for teaching and supporting learning in higher education (2011) Descriptors 1,2,3
  • Accreditation documents for professional recognition by the Higher Education Academy
  • QAA: Master's degree characteristics (2010)
  • QAA: The Framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.(2008)
  • QAA: UK Quality Code for Higher Education (2011)
  • QAA: Academic Credit in Higher Education in England (2006)
  • Loughborough University Learning and Teaching Implementation Plan
  • Loughborough University Strategy 2013-2023:Building Excellence (2013)

3. Programme Learning Outcomes

3.1 Knowledge and Understanding

On successful completion of this programme students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the following areas: 

K1       Demonstrate the core elements of academic practice in a higher education and subject-specific context including teaching, research and enterprise, and the interconnections between them;

K2       Critically assess theoretical underpinnings of learning and teaching, in general and in specific subject areas;

K3       Evaluate the professional values inherent in effective academic practice, including respect for individual learners, sound equality and diversity practices, ethical principles in research, widening participation;

K4       Analyse the national and international context in which universities operate and the implications for academic and professional practice.

In addition, for the Diploma and Masters:

K5       Critically evaluate different models of academic leadership in relation to the individual’s role in the institution.

K6       Compare, contrast and critically reflect upon a range of research paradigms and research methods and apply these to enhancing an aspect of academic practice to improve student learning.

3.2 Skills and other attributes

a. Subject-specific cognitive skills:

On successful completion of this programme students should be able to:

C1       Communicate subject specific knowledge at an academic level appropriate to the teaching carried out;

C2       Critically appraise teaching methods, assessment and feedback in their subject area and at different levels in academic programmes;

C3       Critically discuss how the norms of a subject discipline impact on student learning;

C4       Make informed choices concerning the use and value of learning technologies within their academic programmes;

C5       Appraise the implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement for academic and professional practice.

In addition for the Diploma and Masters:

C6       Critically reflect upon the role of academic leaders as agents of change

C7       Apply initiative and originality in problem solving to aid decision making in complex and unpredictable situations.

b. Subject-specific practical skills:

On successful completion of this programme students should be able to:

P1       Design, plan and evaluate learning activities and programmes of study appropriate to discipline, level of study and student cohort;

P2       Teach and support student learning effectively in their subject area, incorporating appropriate learning technologies;

P3       Design and conduct fair and valid assessments and provide effective feedback;

P4       Apply appropriate methods to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching, and to devise and implement measures to enhance their practice;

P5       Ensure that teaching, research and enterprise are integrated beneficially within their academic practice.

In addition for the Diploma and Masters:

P6       Critically evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses with regard to academic leadership and plan effective ways to continually develop their practice;

P7       Design and deliver specific time-limited projects which apply knowledge and understanding gained throughout the programme.

c. Key transferable skills:

On successful completion of the programme students should be able to:

T1        Interact with colleagues on academic matters, offering and receiving feedback in a professional and respectful manner,

T2        Enhance their practice through reflection on experience, using evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development;

T3        Display effective interpersonal skills including effective oral and written communication, listening, and networking skills;

T4        Incorporate new ideas and try different strategies, applying critical thinking and creativity to resolve problems and enhance practice.

4. Programme structure

The programme is a flexible part-time course of study taught mainly as full-day and half-day seminars and workshops, plus individual projects for the Diploma and Masters. The Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) is split into two parts: Part A (TCP001 and TCP002) will also constitute the Associate Teaching Programme.  The PGCAP will have three enrolment dates in the academic year, September, January and April.  The summative Teaching Observation must be passed in order to complete the Certificate. Students will have one automatic opportunity to have a second summative observation if the first is graded less than “Satisfactory”. Any further opportunities would only be available in exceptional circumstances following consultation between the programme director, the AD(T) in CAP and the Academic Probation Monitoring Group.   

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice 

Module Codes

Module Titles




Introduction to Academic Practice




The Responsive Curriculum




Research, Scholarship and Professional Practice




Evaluating and Enhancing Practice







Postgraduate Diploma in Academic Practice  


Module Codes

Module Titles




Academic Practice Project




Academic Leadership







MA in Academic Practice


Module Codes

Module Titles




Major Research Project




5. Criteria for Progression and Degree Award

In order to be eligible for the award of Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or MA, candidates must satisfy the minimum credit requirements set out in Regulation XXI.  To be awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, participants must achieve a module mark of not less than 50% for every module and a grade of at least Satisfactory in the summative teaching observation in module TCP004.  This ensures compliance for those on academic probation.

6. Relative Weighting of Parts of the Programme for the Purposes of Final Degree Classification


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