Online PGCert Higher Education Policy into Practice

Start date
February, June, October
1 year
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Distance learning, Taught
Total tuition: £4,440/£740 per module.

Shape global higher education futures with our online part-time PGCert programme.

If you want to help shape the future of global higher education systems and institutions, our Higher Education Policy into Practice Postgraduate Certificate is for you.

Our course examines the purpose of higher education and how, through policy and practice, it can be more equitable for all students. You will explore the impact of new technologies and adopting appropriate data science approaches to inform decision-making. There are opportunities to collaborate with others around the world so you can build a global network.

With content covering higher education studies, design, data science, policy studies and the broader social sciences, the course will equip you to become an innovative leader in the higher education sector.

On the course you will learn:

  • How policy is formed at different levels, how this impacts upon practice and also how practice can impact policy.
  • The way higher education has grown globally, current forms of universities and possible futures.
  • How the concept of equity has been articulated in academic literature, policy and practice.
  • The processes involved in design and the associated contemporary theories of design, plus how these ideas and ways of working can be used in context.
  • Data tools and frameworks to evaluate teaching, learning and institutional practice.
  • Sociotechnical perspectives of learning environments connecting the social, physical and digital.


The Higher Education Policy into Practice Postgraduate Certificate is designed for working professionals. It is 100% online, you will complete 60 credits (split into 6 courses and 8 terms), dedicate 12.5 hours a week to your studies and graduate within a year.

Core modules


The total cost of this programme is £4,440 GBP. You can pay in full or in instalments of £740 per module. All costs are listed to help you make an informed decision.

Programme fees are reviewed annually and are subject to change each academic year. The fees listed above are for the academic year 2023-2024.

Flexible payment options

We provide a range of payment options to meet students where they are and lower the barrier to higher education. The fee can either be paid in full or spread over manageable instalments by Direct Debit.

No hidden fees

With no application fee and no hidden costs, you will know the full cost of your tuition before you join the programme.

The total tuition fee includes full access to any required online resources. This includes access to the online learning platform, course materials and required digital reading materials. The fee does not include any personal expenses for new technical equipment or office supplies. It does not cover the cost of flights, visas or personal expenses incurred on any of the immersive modules.

Alumni discount

If you are a University of Birmingham alumni, you are eligible for a 10% discount off the total tuition fee. If you believe you are eligible for an alumni discount, please speak with your recruitment coordinator.


While we do not offer scholarships for this programme, you may be eligible for a scholarship from your country. Explore the postgraduate scholarship and funding database.

There may also be other UK-based scholarships you can apply for too. Contact The British Council or Embassy in your country to find out more.

Postgraduate loan

If you are a UK or EU student, you may be eligible to apply for a non-means-tested loan from the British government via the Student Loans Company (SLC).

Private postgraduate student loans may also be suitable. You should consider sources and types of funding carefully and ensure that it meets your precise needs.


Request information or call +44 (0)800 032 7101.

How To Apply

Getting started

Support and guidance is available to help you apply for the online PGCert Higher Education Policy into Practice. Use our checklist below for a step-by-step guide on the requirements for submitting your application.

Application checklist

If you meet standard entry criteria, you will only need to include the following documents as part of your application. Other documents are optional:

  • Certificates/Transcripts: To assess your academic eligibility, you will need to upload documentation which confirms your final overall grade of previous academic study. You can upload either a copy of your bachelor’s degree certificate (or alternative qualification), or a copy of your transcript.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Résumé: Demonstrate your academic and work experience, or any other skills that may support your application. This will help our recruitment team ensure you have the right experience for the programme.

If you do not meet standard entry criteria, you will also be required to submit:

  • A Personal Statement: Draw attention to your skills, experience, and goals, and explain why you wish to apply for this programme. This should be no longer than one page of text.

One Reference: Send details of your reference either as a letter of recommendation or a recorded transcript by email or by post to our recruitment team. These must be signed on letterheaded paper or supplied with your referee’s business card.

Evidence of language (if applicable)

If English is not your first language, you will also need to supply an up-to-date English language test certificate which meets the entry criteria.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

You will need to have achieved (or be predicted to achieve) an upper second-class degree or equivalent from a UK university or an equivalent qualification from a recognised institution.

This programme combines modules from multiple disciplines and you can expect to cover some coding and maths, starting at secondary schooling level.

Professional entry criteria

If you do not meet standard academic entry criteria, we will accept applications who have:

  • Obtained a second-class degree or equivalent qualification from a UK university or recognised institution with evidence of at least 2 years of relevant work experience in policy development, university administration and/or leadership.
  • No degree but 5+ years of work experience in policy development, university administration and/or leadership.

English language requirement

Standard English language requirements also apply. If English is not your first language, you must also have an up-to-date English language test certificate. Please see details below:

  • Academic IELTS certificates with a score of 6.5, and no less than 6.0 in any band
  • TOEFL with a score of 88, and no less than 21 in ‘Reading’, 20 in ‘Listening’, 22 in ‘Speaking’, and 21 in ‘Writing’
  • Pearson PTE with a score of 67 and no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge Advanced English with a minimum overall score of 176 and no less than 169 in any component
  • Language Cert ESOL SELT B2 ‘Communicator’ test certificate with a minimum score of 33 in each skill
  • Trinity ISE III with a ‘Pass’ in each skill
  • HKDSE with a minimum score of 4 overall, to include three bands at grade 4 and one band at grade 3
  • India Standard XII with a minimum pass of 80% in ISC, CBSE, Maharashtra or 75% in West Bengal, or 85% in other state boards

English language exemption

You may not need to provide evidence of your English language abilities if:  

  • You are from a specified majority English-speaking country
  • You have completed a degree in English in a specified country within two years of your intended start date

If nationals from the following countries have a degree or GCSE English grace 4/C equivalent, they do not need to provide a test and there is no validity period for their degree or GCSE equivalent.

Nationals from other countries can be exempt if they hold a degree from one of the below countries within the last two academic years:

  • Australia
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • British Overseas Territories
    • Anguilla
    • Bermuda
    • British Antarctic Territory
    • British Indian Ocean Territory
    • British Virgin Islands
    • Cayman Islands
    • Falkland Islands (and Dependencies)
      • South Georgia
      • South Sandwich Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Montserrat
  • Pitcairn
  • Henderson
  • Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Saint Helena (and Dependencies)
    • Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Brunei
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guyana
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Kenya
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • West Indies
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Bahamas
    • Barbados
    • Dominica
    • Grenada
    • Jamaica
    • Saint Kitts and Nevis
    • Saint Lucia
    • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

The modules in the Online PGCert Higher Education Policy into Practice are taught by both academics and practitioners who are experts in their fields.

Throughout the programme, you’ll be encouraged to draw on your skills to influence and promote change, policy and practice.

The programme consists of 60 credits and you can expect to dedicate about 12.5 hours per week to your studies. There will be an average online class size of 25 students and a 12:1 staff ratio. Our staff will help mentor you, answer questions, offer advice and ensure you feel supported.

While our Online PGCert Higher Education Policy into Practice is primarily online, there are opportunities for optional live lectures, which are recorded with a discussion forum afterwards. Assessment is 100% coursework.

Secure your future with the PGCert Higher Education Policy into Practice.

Whether you are aiming for a position in senior management at higher education institutions and related sectors or looking to bridge the gap between academic and professional services roles, our programme can help you achieve your ambitions.

You can stand out from the crowd when you apply for top roles at universities, governments and EdTech companies.

By choosing this programme you will be joining a large, diverse and vibrant postgraduate community, and will benefit from the same sector leading employability support as on-campus students.

Our Postgraduate Careers Network will provide you with expert preparation to help you advance you career. As well as employment advice, our teams help you foster valuable networks and identify relevant opportunities. We will ensure you are ready to take your next step and equipped to demonstrate your achievements.

  • One-on-one career advice for up to two years after graduation.
  • Free access to LinkedIn Learning to continue to learn and grow