PgCert in Higher Education Administration, Management and Leadership

Programme - April 2018

Application status for April 2018 intake: open and places filling up fast

(closing date 7 March or when places are filled)

The AUA Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Administration, Management and Leadership (PgCert) is a self-directed, independent, work-based learning programme for higher education professionals working within UK higher education administration.

The programme deepens and tests your knowledge and understanding of the HE sector whilst enhancing your skills as a reflective practitioner, incorporating the AUA values and CPD Framework of Professional Behaviours into your working life.

The programme will:

  • Engage you in a process of planned professional development, based on reflection and self-assessment of your approach and performance in professional contexts
  • Develop your understanding and critical awareness of current issues in the sector, through independent learning and research
  • Develop your understanding of leadership and management in the context of HE
  • Enhance your professional practice through critical appraisal of, and reflection on, your knowledge, skills, behaviours and values
  • Develop your reflective skills enabling you to apply your knowledge and understanding to evaluate and analyse your practice and experiences.

New structure from April 2018 – important information

From April 2018 admissions to the PgCert programme will be for a 12 month structure.

The programme developments were conditionally approved at a Nottingham Trent University revalidation event in summer 2017 and are currently under further development. 


Structure and assessment

The programme is self-directed and delivered as distance learning via an online workspace. You are supported by three mandatory study days and assigned a mentor who is a HE professional, an AUA member and works at a UK HE institution or within the sector.

The programme comprises two compulsory modules at level 7 that make up the 60 credit PgCert award. These modules will run concurrently over the 12 month period. You must successfully complete both in order to achieve the full award, but credits are awarded for any successful module completion.

Programme duration: 12 months

Programme mode: part-time, self-directed, distance learning

Assessments and study days for both modules will be staged throughout the 12 month period and are as follows:

Module 1 – Higher Education in Context 

Formative assessment to aid development

2000 word – literature review

3000 word – knowledge assignment

Module 2 – Professional Practice in Higher Education

Formative assessment to aid development

2000 word professional planning assignment

3000 word assignment reflective assignment with a supporting portfolio of evidence

More information on the programme structure, expectations of study and the content is available in our prospectus.

Cohorts and study days

There are two intakes per academic year in October and April.

April 2018: Cohort PGC60 

Study Day 1 – 25 April 2018 – NTU, Nottingham

Study Day 2 – 11 July 2018 – NTU, Nottingham ***UPDATED***

Study Day 3 – 21 November 2018 – NTU, Nottingham

October 2018: Cohort PGC61 – applications for this cohort will open in May 2018

Study Day 1 – 24 October 2018 – London

Study Day 2 – 9 January 2019 – London ***UPDATED***

Study Day 3 – 22 May 2019 – London

Admissions to our April 2018 cohort will open on 13 November 2017.

We operate a waiting list system if we’re over-subscribed and recommend that you apply as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Entry requirements


  • A UK or Republic of Ireland undergraduate degree or equivalent and
  • At least 6 months’ experience of working in the HE sector, preferably at a higher education institution, in an administrative or managerial capacity and hold a current position within the HE sector in an administrative or managerial capacity

If you do not hold a first degree you may be admitted to the programme if you have:

  • At least 12 months’ experience of working in the HE sector in an administrative or managerial capacity, and/or
  • Equivalent professional or other qualifications

Applicants whose first language is not English must be competent in written and spoken English up to the following standard: IELTS 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in reading and writing) or TOEFL iBT 83 with at least: Reading 18, Listening 17, Speaking 20, Writing 17.

If applicants do not meet the language entry requirements, they will be directed to the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course provided by Nottingham Language Centre prior to the start of the programme. A range of language courses are available.

All applications are considered on an individual basis.  Your personal statement, supporting professional reference, qualifications and experience are all taken into account. If you are unsure of your suitability, please contact the Programme Manager.

The programme is based on the UK higher education sector and therefore only eligible for applicants who live and work in the UK or ROI.  Unfortunately it is not possible for anyone outside the UK or ROI to apply. It is a requirement to be a member of the AUA throughout your registration on the programme.  Applications are open to non-members.

Please note, the fee includes two years’ AUA membership so membership will be automatically applied at the point of registration.


Programme Fee for 2017/18 academic year

2017/18 fees are £2,475 (includes membership of the AUA for two years, existing members will have their membership extended by two years)


The full programme fee will be invoiced 30 days before the first study day (date of registration).

Where applicants are self-funding fees can be paid in instalments but 50% of the fee must be paid before the first study day.

Fee arrangements must be confirmed at the point of accepting your offer of a place. Please refer to the payment terms and conditions for more information.

Invoices can be raised to you, your employer or a third party.

If you would like your fees to be invoiced earlier than the 30 days or need any more information about payment options, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Further study

As a graduate of the programme you are eligible to complete further qualifications:

Stage one – the AUA PgCert (60 credits; two modules each of 30 credits)

Stage two – direct entry to the NTU PgDip (60 credits; two modules each of 30 credits)

Stage three – direct entry to the NTU MSc (a 20 credit research methods module and a 40 credit work related project/dissertation)

For further information and to apply for the Postgraduate Diploma visit NTU’s website or contact NTU’s Executive Education and Corporate Relations Team on +44 (0)115 848 8139, or via email:

How to apply

You will need:

A reference from someone that can comment on your suitability for the programme.
This is likely to be your current line manager and should be submitted on letter headed paper at the point of applying.

A completed application form, which includes a 250 – 500 word personal statement on why you’re applying.

We recommend that you read the prospectus before you start your application so you understand what the programme entails and the expectations of a self-directed, independent learner.  We also bring your attention to our payment terms and conditions.

We consider and accept applications in the order that we receive them.  Applications will close when the cohort is full or six weeks before the first study day.  You will need confirmation of funding at the point of accepting your offer of a place on the programme. We are unable to consider applications until a full application has been received which includes a reference. If you have any queries regarding this process please contact the Programme Team.

Provided that all required documents are included the outcome of your application will normally be confirmed within 10 working days of receipt.  If your application is successful, we’ll send you an offer and payment schedule form.

As the programme is run collaboratively with Nottingham Trent University, you will be enrolled as a student with NTU and are able to obtain a student ID card.

The AUA is committed to providing equal opportunities for all members.   We are committed to providing equality of opportunity through the best possible level of support to disabled participants.  You can contact the Programme Manager to discuss any specific needs.

Submit your application

Please find the application form here: Application Form (click to download)

Once you have completed your application form please upload this below with a copy of your supporting reference. You will need to complete the name, email and institution fields before you are able to submit.

You will receive an automated email reply to confirm we have received your application.


  • Accepted file types: doc, docx.
  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf.


For further information on the PgCert programme please contact us.

Tel: +44 (0)161 275 2063 Email: