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UCC Postgraduate courses

Teaching & Learning in Higher Education - Third Level Education

Course Fact File
Duration1 Year Part-time
Teaching ModePart-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateTBC
Start DateTBC

Course Outline

The MA in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (for third-level education teachers) is designed to build on the Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and to encourage you to research your teaching and your students’ learning in more depth. Teachers will identify a research topic to pursue and will write a publishable paper for a specific teaching and learning journal in their own disciplinary field or in the broader educational field of the scholarship of teaching and learning. The focus of the Master’s is to encourage you to identify with your teaching as research, to peer review your teaching, to network with peers interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and to publish in this field.

On completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • identify and apply principles of a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in the college classroom
  • critically evaluate your teaching in light of your students’ learning
  • articulate with increased awareness your epistemological perspectives and values in relation to SoTL practice and how it informs your academic identity and sense of belonging as a higher education professional
  • design a research project around a teaching and learning issue
  • apply appropriate research methodologies to harness data about student learning
  • research a teaching and learning issue to a professional standard, equivalent to that of a publishable paper/article
  • communicate effectively with other scholars in the field of teaching and learning
  • peer-review your teaching within a SoTL community

The MA in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education is normally taken over one academic year. It comprises two modules:

  • TL6001 Research Methods & Approaches for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (15 credits)
  • TL6002 Dissertation in Teaching and Learning (45 credits)

TL6001 focuses on introducing you to a variety of research methodologies designed to harness student learning. You will be encouraged to investigate and target teaching journals in your own disciplinary fields and to identify and critique methodologies used in the articles in them. You will write a 5,000-word essay discussing and critiquing your chosen methodology.

TL6002 focuses on the key elements necessary to build a publishable research article/paper, including the identification and profiling of the research journal chosen; the rationale for such a journal in the context of the research question; the writing of a literature review to interrogate the research question; the selection and exploration of research methods designed to investigate student learning; the collection and analysis of data and the identification of implications and interventions for future practice and research. The research project will culminate in the writing of a publishable article/paper.

See the Postgraduate Calendar for further programme details.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

This course may be taken over a minimum of one academic year or a maximum of two academic years from the date of first registration for the programme.

  • Research Methods & Approaches for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (TL6001) consists of 24 contact hours. The resources guide you through developing an understanding of the SoTL literature through engagement with key teaching and learning journals.
  • Dissertation in Teaching & Learning (TL6002) focuses on working within a community of practice and peer review in addition to guidance from your supervisor with the objective of developing your research project and drafts of your research paper.


The programme is assessed via an inquiry portfolio made up of a series of reflective entries which focus on the design, the enactment, and the results of your research to a total of approximately 20,000 words. The inquiry portfolio charts your journey in investigating the research question and its context and rationale, the profiling of a targeted journal, the exploration of the literature review, the analysis of research methodologies necessary to interrogate the question, the collection and analysis of data, and the discussion of the research findings and implications.

Who teaches this course

Dr Anna Santucci, Dr James Cronin and Teaching Fellows drawn from the four colleges of the University and related centres.

Why Choose This Course

This programme provides staff who teach in higher education with an ideal opportunity to develop and deepen their practice by researching their teaching to enhance learning while working towards a publishable paper. Such continuing professional development has the potential to build confidence in teaching and learning and enhance career opportunities.


The minimum academic entry requirement is a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours BA degree (NFQ, Level 8) or equivalent, and MUST have attended and satisfactorily passed the UCC Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, or equivalent. The programme is open to all staff who meet these requirements and also teach in the third level education sector. (This could include supervision, placement work, lab-based work, in the field or in an online context).

In exceptional circumstances, and subject to review by the programme team, applicants with a primary ordinary degree (NFQ, Level 7) may also be considered subject to meeting the teaching requirements.

English Language Requirements for the MA in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

For applicants from non-native English-speaking backgrounds, proof of English language certification is not required if currently employed in the third level education sector where the main language of instruction is English. Applicants who fall into this category are required to show proof of employment, e.g. a letter from your director of Human Resources, which is evidence of working in a third-level educational setting where the main language of instruction is English.

Additional Requirements

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.
  • Describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.
  • What is your current occupation/specialty?
  • Briefly describe a research question that may form the basis of your thesis. This can be included as an attachment or as part of your motivation statement.
  • Please detail your research interest(s). 

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

  • In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


If your course requires a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second-semester fee payment in January.

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

IMPORTANT NOTE: the MA in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education is aimed at third-level teachers (who have completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, University College Cork or equivalent). 

Graduates must complete the Professional Master of Education (PME) to qualify as a secondary school teacher. See the PME page ( for further details.

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact