Postgraduate Higher Education Learning and Teaching (PHELT) Programmes

Have you ever wondered why you thought you'd taught one thing, but your students seemed to learn something else?
Would you like to know more about the way your beliefs about teaching affect what you do in the classroom?
Are you interested in improving student learning in your courses?
Would you like to learn about higher education with and from people who feel the same way?

If so, the Centre for Academic Development (CAD) offers two postgraduate qualifications which might interest you.

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Learning and Teaching (PGCertHELT)

The PHELT Certificate is a 60-point Master's level postgraduate qualification for teachers in higher education.

The focus of the PGCertHELT is professionalism of teaching and supporting learning in higher education.
This 60-point Certificate is made up of two 30-point HELT subjects, including HELT 501 (Foundations in Higher Education Learning and Teaching).
The PGCertHELT is designed to help new and experienced tertiary-level teaching staff and other teaching-related staff (such as librarians, lab demonstrators and student learning support professionals) to become more reflective and successful in practising and/or supporting learning and teaching, within a research-based programme.

In the PGCertHELT you will learn to reflect on your teaching beliefs and practice in relation to key higher education theories and to use reflective practice to improve learning, teaching and curriculum in your context. The PGCertHELT supports professional development in teaching, and may lead to greater employability in the higher education sector in countries where professional teaching qualifications are required.

"We learned from the seminar leaders, and readings, but also from one another. We all brought a variety of perspectives and experiences, and gained a whole lot more. I certainly feel I am a better teacher (and learner) as a result of this programme, I’ve gained resources, colleagues, friends and inspiration." (Senior lecturer, Marketing)

Graduates may progress to research-focused study by continuing to the PGDipHELT.

Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education Learning and Teaching (PGDipHELT)

Building on the PGCertHELT, the PGDipHELT focuses on the scholarship of learning and teaching.
This 120-point Diploma is made up of four 30-point courses, HELT 501 (Foundations in Higher Education Learning and Teaching) and three other 30-point HELT courses (with an opportunity to substitute 30 points from a Director-approved postgraduate-level course).
In the PGDipHELT, you will critically examine a variety of educational research methodologies and practices. You will be given the opportunity to undertake an independent research investigation of a learning or teaching question that concerns you, which will result in a publishable research output in the higher education field.
The PGDipHELT is available for all academic staff and those in other tertiary teaching-related positions (for example, lab demonstrators, librarians, student learning support professionals).

"PHELT has enabled me to articulate and review my understanding of my teaching philosophies. Looking forward, I know I will apply and reapply the practical, academic, and critical thinking skills about teaching and learning to my planning and practice of academic learning advising. I feel PHELT has sharpened what I know about teaching and learning yet it’s also given me new tools to explore with." (SLSS advisor)

The PGDipHELT will enhance your teaching and open up new research areas. This can lead to greater employability in the higher education sector in countries where professional teaching qualifications are required. The PGDipHELT will help prepare you for stronger academic leadership roles in teaching development within the institution, by building your understanding of the principles which underpin effective learning and teaching.

"Thanks to the PHELT programme, my teaching has developed more in the last two years than it did in the previous ten. This has enhanced my enjoyment of teaching enormously, and instilled me with confidence in the value and impact of my work as an educator... My students see benefits too, because they now realize that assessment has a greater purpose than determining a mark, and they can more easily see me as someone who is there to help them learn and prepare them for professional life, not a judge with the power to determine their future by labelling them with a letter grade." (Lecturer, SEFTMS)

This programme will also prepare you for future study of higher education at master’s or doctoral level.

Information for Prospective Students

  1. Currently staff members from VUW, who have Head of School/Director support have their fees paid by the Centre for Academic Development (CAD).
  2. Those who completed a PGCertHELT before 2012 may enrol for the PGDipHELT, but will be unable to enrol in HELT 501 or 502.
  3. Some HELT courses are available for Certificate of Proficiency enrolment

For further information, please contact: Bernadette Knewstubb.

Email: Bernadette Knewstubb

Telephone: 463 6416

Course information

  • HELT 501 Foundations of learning and teaching in higher education (available as Certificate of Proficiency)
  • HELT 502 Portfolios for professional practice
  • HELT 503 Researching in higher education
  • HELT 504 Individual research project
  • HELT 505 Special Topic: Higher education in Aotearoa New Zealand (available as Certificate of Proficiency)
  • HELT 506 Special Topic: Learning and teaching with digitial technology (available as Certificate of Proficiency)

visit the Course Catalogue

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