• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 1 year
  • School: Education & Social Work
  • Study Abroad: No
  • Study Mode: Part Time+Distance Learning

This is an in-service part-time programme, delivered by distance learning via the University of Dundee's Virtual Learning Environment. It is offered in partnership with participating colleges, educational institutions and professional training organisations. In the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework, it is worth 60 credits at Level 11 (Masters) at postgraduate level or Level 9 at undergraduate level.

At University of Dundee, the TQFE programme is delivered almost entirely online, allowing you to fit your studies around your professional and personal commitments. Our virtual learning environment is open 24/7 and you are encouraged to complete the well-structured programme at your own pace. As well as our highly accessible and attractive virtual learning environment, you will benefit from a range of social media and online conferencing tools.

The TQFE team is comprised of a group of academics, some of whom are also employed in the college sector. The programme materials are kept fully up to date; our virtual learning environment gives us the agility to respond quickly to new developments in the field. Members of the team are engaged in research into a wide range of topics including educational uses of social media tools; adult learners and motivation; the design of online learning environments.

Screenshot of TQFE homepage

What our students say





"I have found the TQFE to be by far the most useful professional development I have experienced in my career, as it has been the most focused on my behaviour and how I can have a more positive impact on my students' learning."  

TQFE Participant 2016








Our communications and tutoring system, TQFE-Tutor, won the prestigious University of Dundee's Honorary Graduates' Award for Innovative Teaching. The system incorporates a blog, email and a Twitter account, all badged 'TQFE-Tutor'.

The TQFE-Tutor system allows the team to guarantee that programme participants receive a timely response to any enquiries/assignment submissions.

Who should study this course?

The programme is designed for academic staff working in colleges and other educational institutions, who may be fairly new to teaching or who want to develop their existing teaching skills further. Programme participants are often sponsored by their employers. The Scottish Government recommends that all college lecturers should complete TQFE within three years of appointment.

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

Postgraduate - degree or relevant professional qualification
Undergraduate - HND or equivalent relevant professional qualification

TQFE participants are required to undertake 120 hours of teaching during the course of the programme and may – at application stage – be asked to provide evidence that this requirement will be met (e.g. in the form of a letter from employer). This is an in-service programme and applicants are normally expected to have at least two years' teaching experience.

All applicants must meet the following minimum core skills requirements:  Literacy/Communication SCQF Level 6; ICT SCQF Level 5; and Numeracy SCQF Level 4.

Credit is available for those with recognised teaching qualifications.

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall6.5
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 6.0

For non EU students

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

Staff on the programme come from a variety of backgrounds and together have a wealth of experience in teaching in a range of educational sectors. 

The TQFE programme is underpinned by the Scottish Government's (2012) Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland's Colleges which define the lecturer's role and contribution to their educational setting. In keeping with these standards, the programme recognises the role lecturers play in 'enabling people from all sections of the community to be included in education and achieve their potential as successful learners and future citizens'. The programme aims to fully prepare lecturers for the fast-changing world of teaching in the post-compulsory sector.

How you will be taught

This programme is an in-service provision offered in partnership with participating colleges and organisations. It is flexible and grounded in professional practice.

For those undertaking the full programme, there are two 30 credit modules to complete - one per semester. Credit (up to 50% of the programme) may be awarded for other teaching qualifications, upon application to the Programme Director.

Each 30 credit module requires 300 hours of notional participant effort which includes directed study via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), work-based activities, face-to-face contact at optional workshops, tutor support via TQFE-Tutor, private study and assessment.

The TQFE online induction pathway steps

What our students say


"From these modules I have learned how to hone my teaching methods for the individual students. I am now continually trying to expand and adapt my lesson plans and delivery so I can suit each and every student."

TQFE Participant 2016




The main features of the programme are:

  • distance, on-line learning
  • two highly recommended module workshops
  • support via blog, email, VLE, online tutorials and telephone
  • University tutor team and College mentor
  • observation of teaching practice
  • written formative activities and summative assignment

How you will be assessed

Participants on the Standard Entry route through the programme are given opportunities for formative feedback pertaining to reflective written tasks for each of the two modules.  In addition, participants are required to pass two practical teaching observations, at least one of which will be undertaken by a member of the tutor team (the other observation may be undertaken by an Associate Staff member within their employing institution).

What you will study

The programme provides a comprehensive teaching qualification for College lecturers, educators and trainers. Professional competences are integrated with academic rigour and coursework is underpinned by theory and critical reflection upon practice.

There are two modules in the programme - The Effective Lecturer and The Successful Learner – and these correspond to the range of knowledge and skills required for a teaching career in the tertiary education sector. 

Learning materials, workshops and literature are provided to facilitate critical thinking and generate ideas, leading to critical reflection and change in lecturers' practice.

What our students say


"The Learning Materials section on the VLE is fantastic."

TQFE Participant 2016




TQFE graphic of course information

The TQFE programme is widely recognised as a high quality teaching qualification in the post-compulsory education sector. For those wishing to build on their qualification, progression to other programmes in Education, Social Work and Community Education is straightforward.

If participants wish to undertake further qualifications, progression to BA Professional Development in Tertiary Education (UG), Master of Education (PG) or MSc Leadership & Innovation (PG) is straightforward.

As this is an in-service qualification, TQFE participants are normally employed as lecturers, trainers or instructors when they join the programme (they are required to undertake a minimum of 120 hours of teaching in the course of their studies). Some employers award contribution related salary points for employees who gain the TQFE certificate.

screenshot of a TQFE-Tutor blog page

What our students say

"Undertaking the TQFE programme has proved to be an enlightening experience."


"The TQFE programme is not simply a teaching qualification, it has given me tools with which to move forward and progress as a lecturer, encouraging creativity and innovation along the way."


Download application form (.docx)

We require a copy of your birth certificate and a copy of your qualification certificates with your application form. If you wish to claim credit for an existing qualification you also need to send a copy of the relevant certificate(s)

The programme is delivered in partnership between the University and participating colleges and allied agencies i.e. those engaged in practice teaching and the facilitation of learning. If your institution does not already have a University of Dundee Associate Staff member, you will be required to nominate someone to take on the role of your mentor. This person will support you locally through your studies and is usually a line manager or someone with responsibility for Staff Development within your institution. As mentors are themselves based within your daily work environment, they are uniquely placed to provide you with the support, guidance and additional learning opportunities you require. This mentor must be appropriately qualified to undertake one of the two teaching observations required of programme participants on the Standard Entry route through the programme. You will be asked to provide contact details of the proposed mentor before an offer of a place is made, so please do give this matter some thought when applying.

Course Contact

Admissions Administrator
Education and Social Work
+44 (0)1382 381436

Degree UCAS Code
Teaching Qualification Further Education TQFEDIRECT-0024