PG Dip Arts Learning & Teaching in Higher Education - NSCD


Type: Postgraduate

Qualification: PG Dip ALTHE

Duration: 2 years (part-time) flexible study (delivered over three 3-day intensive residencies per year)

Validated by: University of Kent

Advance your career in teaching with this professional development course and gain a recognised teacher training qualification.

  • Gain confidence and the tools to evolve your teaching practice
  • Improve career prospects and earning potential
  • Flexible learning, online and offline, to fit around your own commitments
  • Investigate aspects of teaching that interest you
  • Join a network of arts professionals and teachers and gain peer support
  • Only Postgraduate Diploma focused on the Arts in Higher Education
  • Delivered by a TEF Gold-rated institution with consistently high rates of student satisfaction for teaching quality

If you currently teach or work in a learner support role, this Postgraduate Diploma provides you with the ideal opportunity to foster an individual voice as an Arts Educator.


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"The PGDip ALTHE has given me the opportunity to re-evaluate and reflect on my teaching practice.  It has provided a much-needed chance to catch my breath, reconnect with the current literature, and think about what I value and want to achieve going forward.” - First year student

Course overview

Our PGDip ALTHE enables professionals at varying stages of their careers in the Arts to advance their understanding of learning and teaching in Higher Education settings.

The course runs simultaneously alongside your work commitments and fits flexibly around your working hours, no matter where you are based, so you can deepen your knowledge of Arts HE without interrupting your career.

You can expect to gain:

  • Evidence of your expertise and development within learning and teaching practice.
  • Knowledge of curriculum design within clear academic frameworks.
  • Increased confidence in your practice.
  • An ability to use action research and reflexive practice as mechanisms for change and development.
  • An ability to think creatively and from an evidence base about how to improve education and learner support within and beyond your practice.

Modules are underpinned by the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF).

NSCD programmes of study are validated by the University of Kent. The Programme Specification is available here: PG Dip ALTHE – Programme Specification

Who can apply?

We welcome applicants with one or more years’ experience of teaching or supporting learning in Higher Education.

Teachers or learner support officers from a wide range of artistic disciplines are encouraged to apply, including but not limited to Dance, Drama, Visual Arts, Fashion, Media, Music and Circus.

You must be working with students from either Foundation, Undergraduate or Postgraduate degrees, or higher.

Please note: We require applicants to have regular student contact hours within their current post(s) and be able to source a more senior or experienced colleague willing to act as your professional mentor as part of the Professional Practice module.

Entry is through an online application, followed by a Skype interview.

Your application will need to be supported with a reference from your workplace with recognition of who will take on the mentor role in the second year of study.

What will I study?

Level 7 (Year 1)

  • Arts Based Learning, Teaching and Assessment in Higher Education, (30 credits) Compulsory module
  • Curriculum and Assessment Design in Higher Education (30 credits) Option module

Level 7 (Year 2)

  • Professional Practice Placement (30 credits) Compulsory module
  • Independent Action Research Project (30 credits) Compulsory module
View Modules
"[This course] has encouraged me to reframe my teaching and help re-shape a potential vision for the future. It has also provided me with a fantastic community of peers from outside of my institution with whom I can share questions, challenges and exchange" - Second year student

Teaching and Learning

You will be taught by esteemed professionals in the HE sector, including Darren Carr, Francesca McCarthy and a range of established guest lecturers. Read our staff biographies here.

  • In 2020/21 this course is delivered via a taught seminar each fortnight, held at either NSCD or online.
  • Teaching will be delivered through a combination of practical workshops, seminars, lectures, and practice-based taught scenarios.
  • We provide directed study hours online, enabling you to easily schedule your studies around your own commitments.

Independent Learning

The course brings together a mixture of individual and group projects, and you will partake in filming and critical reflections of your work practice.

Our NSCD VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) allows you to contribute to peer discussion forums and debates, and you can access a wide range of resources including books and journal articles from our on-site library and online archive.

Students say:

“I have gained greater confidence in my teaching practice.  [This course] has enabled me to refine my research skills, get up to date with jargon, recognise my development process and understand curriculums better” – First year student

“This course is helping me to contextualize what I do within a broader institutional frame. I feel better equipped to fulfil my teaching role in a H.E. institution without feeling too tentative regarding procedures, paperwork and module and assessment design. On a personal level it is giving me both structures to question my teaching habits as well as useful readings and discussions to consider new teaching options” – Second year student