Online PGCert Higher Education Policy into Practice

Now is the time. Activate your future.

By 2030, 17% of the global workforce will hold jobs that require higher qualifications.1 Academic organisations and institutions need practitioners and leaders to meet this demand. Prepare to influence and manage higher education policy with our postgraduate certificate, Higher Education Policy into Practice.

World-leading Russell Group university

Interdisciplinary content

12 months completion time

Three intakes per year

£780 per module

Make Birmingham yours

Complete the form below for detailed programme and pricing information and to be contacted by phone and email.

Experience our interdisciplinary programme curriculum

This PGCert looks at the evolution of global higher education linking both policy and practice as well exploring a breadth of applicable technology and data analysis. This is all with the aim of a better understanding the many facets and potential futures of higher education in your own and a global context.

Graduate ready to play a vital role in higher education and influence equitable outcomes for students, staff, universities and wider society in both policy and practice.

Programme modules

  • Design and Design Thinking
  • Applied Data Science for Learning Environments
  • Sociotechnical Learning Environments
  • Higher Education Futures
  • Equity in Education
  • Policy into Practice

Excellence in distance learning

The University of Birmingham’s online courses encourage students to elevate their ideas and reshape the world. You’ll have the freedom to study whenever and wherever it works best for you while benefitting from world-class instruction delivered by the same lecturers and faculty experts who teach on campus. Enjoy the flexibility of online learning with convenient modules that prioritise immersive activities and lively discussions. Graduate poised to step into your desired role with new knowledge and skills gained from a research-informed, career-centred programme.

We welcome applicants from around the world

Our online PGCert Higher Education Policy into Practice is ideal for anyone who wants to shape the future of global higher education.

The PGCert programme offers three intakes per year, plus flexible entry criteria with multiple pathways to enrolment.

Academic entry criteria

Requirements for academic entry:

Certificate/transcriptsStudent must have obtained (or be predicted to obtain) an upper second-class degree or postgraduate diploma from a UK university OR an equivalent qualification from a recognised institution.
Additional Documentation
  • Complete the online application.
  • Supply an up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV) demonstrating your academic and work experience, plus any other skills that may support your application.
  • Optional: submit a personal statement.
Evidence of language (if applicable)If English is not your first language, you must also submit proof of proficiency. For more information, please review the International Entry Criteria section below.

Alternative paths to entry

Students seeking non-standard academic entry may pursue the following routes.

  • The degree or equivalent qualification must be from a UK university or recognised institution.
  • You must provide evidence of at least two years of relevant work experience in policy development, university administration and/or leadership.
  • You must also submit one reference. Your reference can be uploaded to your application by your referee or emailed directly to your Student Recruitment Coordinator.
  • Optional: Submit a personal statement uploaded in PDF format.
  • Without a degree, the student must provide evidence of 5+ years of experience in policy development, university administration and/or leadership.
  • You must also submit one reference. Your reference can be uploaded to your application by your referee or emailed directly to your Student Recruitment Coordinator.
  • Optional: Submit a personal statement uploaded in PDF format.

Learn from a well-established global university

Our online PGCert Higher Education Policy into Practice can help you shape the future of higher education no matter where you live.

  • Academic IELTS certificates with a score of 6.5, and no less than 5.5 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

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

  • You’re from a specified majority English-speaking country
  • You’ve 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 grade 4/C equivalent taken, then they do not need to provide a test and there is no validity period for their degree or GCSE equivalent.

Nationals of 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

Transparent tuition costs

The estimated total cost of this programme is £4,680 GBP. You can pay in full or in instalments of £780 GBP per module. All costs are listed in order 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 academic year 2024-25.

Flexible Payment Options

At Birmingham we recognise that students need flexibility when paying fees. We provide a range of payment options to suit everyone. The fee can either be paid in full or spread over manageable instalments by Direct Debit. Learn more.

No hidden fees

Studying for your PGCert at Birmingham means knowing the cost of tuition before you enrol. Our tuition includes all fees required by your programme, so you won’t encounter any hidden fees on your path to graduation.

Expand the scope of your higher education career

Our online PGCert Higher Education Policy into Practice bridges the gap between professional and academic roles. You could aim for roles ranging from head of department to academic dean, vice chancellor or the leader of a professional service. You might pursue one of many roles in government or for commercial partners.

Why University of Birmingham?

Birmingham’s 100% online degree programmes are designed to the same standards as our on-campus courses, with research-informed content and the latest digital learning techniques. Study whenever and wherever it suits you in flexible, career-centred modules with instruction from the foremost experts in your field. Explore our programmes today to take the first step in transforming your career.

We inspire. We activate.

World top 100
(QS 2025)6

#4 in the UK for online learning in 2022.7

A world-class
Russell Group

11th in the UK
for Social Policy
(QS 2023)8

Learn more today

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  1. Statista. “Share of Global Workforce Working in Occupations That Require Higher Education in 2020 and 2030, by Economy.” Retrieved Oct. 11, 2023, from
  2. Fortune Business Insights. “Higher Education Technology Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis.” Retrieved Oct. 11, 2023, from
  3. Payscale. “Department head salary in United Kingdom.” Retrieved Dec. 19, 2023, from
  4. Payscale. “Dean salary in United Kingdom.” Retrieved Dec. 19, 2023, from
  5. Times Higher Education. “Average vice-chancellor pay rises to £325,000 despite sector crisis.” Retrieved Feb. 6, 2024, from
  6. QS Top Universities. “QS World University Rankings 2025.” Retrieved Jun. 21, 2024 from
  7. Beckett, Max. “Online Learning Index.” Uswitch. Nov. 2, 2022. Retrieved Dec. 18, 2023 from
  8. QS Top Universities. “QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023: Social Policy & Administration.” Retrieved Dec. 18, 2023 from