Introduction to Academic Practice for Doctoral Researchers (IAPDR)

Suitable for: Postgraduate researchers with confirmed regular teaching responsibilities concurrent with the module, ideally a minimum of two hours a week, who are able to make independent decisions about content and/or delivery. The teaching could be seminars, labs, other practicals, lectures, supervision, assessment, mentoring, 1-1s, etc.

This is a 20-credit Master’s level assessed module. It includes compulsory Canvas courses, tutor and peer-led workshops, observed teaching, tutorials, independent study, and professional development over a period of about twenty weeks.  

Participants will be required to identify a mentor in their department and to complete a formative and a summative (4000-word) assignment. Participants will  gain professional recognition as an Associate Fellow of the HEA after successful completion.

How to apply for IAPDR

Applications Application windows for the 2024.25 academic year will be confirmed soon

Forms need a signature from your supervisor, and need to be returned by to the HEFI Administrative Team via email to

You will hear within a working week from the deadline if you are successful.

Entry Requirements and Other Conditions

Entry Requirements

  1. You must be a doctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham during the delivery of the module and its assessment, and still be with the University when your results are ratified (usually the July of the same academic year, after the exam board has been held).
  2. You must have confirmed teaching / supporting learning responsibilities concurrent with the module. These teaching duties must comprise a sufficient range of teaching experience to enable you to meet the requirements of the assignment brief and fulfil Descriptor 1 of the UKPSF.
  3. They must include regular teaching activities, ideally a minimum of two hours a week, in a context in which you are able to make independent decisions about content and/or delivery, to allow for experimentation with teaching approaches, the evaluation of these, and continued reflection. 

These activities comprise seminars, practicals, lectures, supervision, assessment, mentoring, and 1-1s. 

These requirements are non-negotiable as they will enable you to meet the assignment and accreditation requirements for Associate Fellowship.  We ask your department to confirm teaching responsibilities (and ask for a contact name on our application form). 

Priority is given to people nearing the completion of their PhD, and those with more previous teaching experience / more current teaching hours.

Other Conditions for Participation

  1. Before applying, make sure you can attend all the compulsory taught sessions (see next page) and are aware of the assessment and workload requirements.
  2. Please note that under the University’s Code of Practice on teaching and academic support provided by registered students
    • you should already have been assigned a co-ordinator in your department who is responsible e.g. for observing and reviewing your teaching sessions.

On acceptance onto this module, please ask them or another member of staff to (also) take on the role of Teaching Mentor for the duration of the module. 

They should be an experienced teacher in Higher Education who can support and guide you with discipline-specific advice. Your mentor could play a key part in teaching observations, organising regular meetings for reflective discussion of your teaching and potentially writing a supporting statement for you to be submitted with your final assessment. A mentor with Fellowship of the HEA would be preferable, as it would mean that they are also aware of the HE context, the HEA and the UKPSF. Please provide the guidance in this document [to be uploaded] to the person you are asking to be your mentor.  

  • you must ensure that the work you take on permits you to complete your research degree in time.

Please familiarise yourself with the taught content, assignments and independent study / professional development requirements of this Module to ensure that this will be the case. 

Spaces are strictly limited. We will review all applications after the deadline. If we are oversubscribed, we  give priority to those who are nearer the end of their PhD and who may not be able to apply again, and those with more current / previous teaching hours. In case of queries contact the HEFi Administrative Team: E-mail:

Choosing between the IAP course and the Beacon scheme

Although you will find that these options have things in common, and both lead to AFHEA*, there are major differences for example in entry requirements, format, learning experience, and assessment. 

Compare IAP and Beacon
 IAPDRBeacon Scheme, category D1

What is it?

A credit-bearing academic module

A written submission

Outcome if successful

· 20 credits at Master’s level



Entry conditions

Regular teaching in the same semester as the module, a minimum of two hours a week

· Limited spaces: priority is given to those with more teaching hours and nearer the end of the PhD.

None, but teaching and related activity in the past year will need to be evidenced in the application

Typical participant

Participants must be experienced PGTAs and actively and independently teaching at UoB (all formats/ teaching-related activities)

Anyone who has recent (relatively limited) experience of teaching at UoB; more experienced teachers can apply for category D2/D3

Time requirement

200 hours

It depends; has been reported to take two to three days


· One orientation workshop (3 hours face to face in your group with up to 15 others)

· Four ILT workshops (total 12 hours online)

· Four to five continuous professional development sessions about teaching of your choice (up to 10 hours)

· One Learning theories workshop (3 hours online)

· One Assignment writing workshop (3 hours online)

· Two face-to face sessions (6 hours total) in which you do a mini-teaching session and give feedback

· Identifying and working with a mentor in your department

· A formative assignment to prepare for the summative one

· Independently researching and writing your summative assignment

· An observation of your teaching which you arrange in your department

· One orientation and one writing workshop (online)

· Working independently on your submission (with a mentor, who is assigned)


Assessment method

A 4,000 word researched piece of work at master’s level: case study and literature review about a specific pedagogical change you implement and evaluate during the module, plus an account of your continuous professional development; and evidence of having been observed

‘portfolio’: a reflective, literature-informed, 1,700 word narrative looking back on your practice, and an authentication of practice statement from a more experienced colleague in your department

Timing of assessment

Module runs over about 20 weeks, summative assessment deadline is at the end of the module, with accreditation received after the academic year ends

Three submission points per year, accreditation received 4-6 weeks later

Other info

Learning from peers / educational community and from doing research

Learning from reflection on completed work

For more information:


Beacon Scheme

Advance HE has identified the roles and experience people that may want accreditation in the ‘Associate Fellowship’ category typically have (which would be either through Beacon or IAP for you):

  • an early career researcher with some teaching responsibilities (e.g. PhD students, GTAs, contract researchers/post doctoral researchers etc.);
  • new to teaching (including those with part-time academic responsibilities);
  • a member of staff who supports academic provision (e.g. learning technologists, learning developers and learning resource/library staff);
  • a member of staff who undertakes the role of demonstrator/ technician with some teaching-related responsibilities;
  • an experienced staff member working in a relevant professional area who may be new to teaching and/or supporting learning.

Module Structure

The module attendance requirements are as follows: 

  1. Four relevant sessions (12 hours) chosen by you from the Introduction to Learning and Teaching open programme:

[If you have already done these before the programme starts, you do not have to take them again.]

  1. Face-to-face workshops (9 hours): an orientation followed by two sessions in which you will micro-teach/observe others micro-teaching.
  2. Canvas modules (6- 8 hours in total): a writing workshop and a learning theories workshop.
  3. Tutorials as and when necessary; at a minimum one that will consist of formative feedback on your assignment plans.
  4. Five professional development activities of your choice related to teaching and learning (estimated as 10 hours).

There is a formative assignment (in the form of a proposal), and a 4000-word summative piece of academic writing about your practice and related theory. 


The work will run over about 4 months, roughly from around October to January or from January to April. More details about dates can be found on the application form. Only apply if you will still be a student (with a student ID) at the university in July of the same academic year, or you will not be able to receive credits or Associate Fellowship. 

The Horizon Award

You are encouraged to participate in additional course activities, including further tutorial support, and optional module workshops. For this course you need to take four workshops from the ILT programme; note that if you take a total of five sessions on the ‘open ILT programme’, you are entitled to the 'Horizon Award', a HEFi certificate of attendance. 

After your fifth ILT, contact to request your certificate.

Learning Outcomes and Assessment

Learning Outcomes 

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  1. Explain and critically evaluate key concepts and theories in learning and teaching in higher education
  2. Identify and analyse a range of good practices in learning and teaching, and explore their applicability to your own professional practice
  3. Critically evaluate your teaching practice based on a range of evidence
  4. Demonstrate your commitment to appropriate professional values when facilitating student learning
  5. Demonstrate engagement with relevant continuing professional development opportunities and explain how these have influenced your teaching and learning practice


The assessment requirements are as follows:

  1. Formative assignment: a plan for your final assignment of 500 - 1000 words
  2. Summative assignment: 4000 words, consisting of:
    • A reflective case study about an aspect of your teaching or assessment practice, evaluating it and discussing changes you made with reference to relevant literature, and incorporating evidence in the form of student and peer feedback
    • A critical discussion of a key pedagogic concept or theory that has informed your approach to teaching, learning and/or assessment, e.g. in the form of a literature review for the case study
    • A critical reflection on 4-5 professional development activities (CPD) and a plan for further development
  3. Authentication of practice: 

    (1) via a lesson observation. We provide a form, which is aligned to the PSF, and which we encourage you to use, although we will also accept the forms that may be in use in your department. You need to submit your completed observation form as part of your summative assignment.


    (2) via a statement. The senior colleague reads your completed summative assignment draft and writes an additional statement about your practice in response and addition to it. We provide a form for them to complete and sign.


As well as course contact time and the time you teach, you need to spend time on independent study to prepare for workshops and assignments. It is a 20-credit module so you should plan to spend 200 hours on it in total. This is of course challenging while you are doing your PhD.

We do know that some participants have managed to do successfully it in less than 150 hours, by adding 50-100 hours of independent study to the course time, which is estimated to be 40 hours (four ILT Canvas courses (12 hours), another 6-8 hours spread over two Canvas workshops, 9 hours of face-to-face workshops (orientation and micro-teaching sessions), 1 hour of tutorials, 5 CPD sessions of your choice (estimated at 10 hours). However, don't underestimate the commitment on top of your PhD, teaching, and other commitments.



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