MEd Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Photograph of Postgraduate students

Part-time, campus based Masters Programme

An academic programme to support reflection and development on your teaching and learning in higher education. This two year programme is designed to follow your specific interests and research questions.

About the course

The University of Sheffield was one of the first institutions to respond to growing concerns about the quality of higher education teaching in the 1990s. In January 1992 it launched the MEd for University Lecturers course to provide professional development for lecturers which would be recognised by the award of a higher degree in education. The main aim of this course was to develop a growing network of lecturers interested in innovation and change in university teaching. The name of the course was changed in 2007 to the ‘MEd Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’. This reflects a growing recognition that a wide range of professionals are involved in supporting learning in universities not simply ‘lecturers’.

Course aims

The course aims to fulfil the following purposes through close examination of our work as university staff:

  • Making practice public: practitioners observing their own practice, writing about it, interpreting and sharing.
  • Understanding learners: finding out how students perceive their learning experience and understand the subject matter.
  • Values: discerning and critiquing the values which underlie the practice of teaching and the subject matter.
  • Developing a community: working together in ways which facilitate support for on-going critique of practice and developing and testing new ideas for teaching.
  • The relationship between teaching and research: : exploring ways in which teaching and research can support each other.
  • Students as evaluators of their own learning: developing strategies for student evaluation and considering the implications for lecturers, assessments and views of students as learners.


The programme is now well established and has a national and international reputation. Participants in and graduates from the programme have found it supportive in developing their teaching practices, in enhancing their prospects for career progression, and for obtaining development through the UK Professional Standards Framework. Applications for Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, including those through the University's Learning and Teaching Professional Recognition Scheme, are well-facilitated through participation in the MEd, and sessions within the programme explicitly support this application process.

What our students say

The course has provided me with the opportunity to reflect on my practice in a way I wouldn't and couldn’t have imagined. I am an experienced teacher and yet had not recognised the usefulness of reflecting on practice in a supportive and systematic way within a group process and responding to new (new to me) educational writing. This has enabled me to enhance and develop both my own teaching and to explore critically what I feel I can contribute to my course and my interdisciplinary area. As a result of being on the course I have developed both my confidence and thinking. I now know more about both the wider context of my practice as well as some of the more hidden and unexamined elements; I also have been introduced to and will continue to explore a whole new area of research and writing, namely that in higher education teaching, learning and curriculum design. The assessments provide opportunities for both breadth and depth and the portfolio format has allowed me to go way outside of my comfort zone and usual practice in terms of exploring and then presenting my reflections on practice.

The course is structured in module format and the group meets regularly throughout the module, extra online connectivity means that students can remain engaged with the group and part of the course no matter what pattern of attendance they make. Having a group that attends at set times and days has been very important in making space for the work; it seems to provide a core to the learning experience that has been a real asset to my learning.

In addition the course Leader Tim Herrick sets a wonderful tone of exploration and openness and manages in an expert way to combine space for a diverse range of professionals to talk about practice with a mindful eye on keeping us all on track with the content and important areas of discussion.

Alison M McCamley, Graduate MEd Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

"Like most professionals I had always admired those who were able to teach well in their field and regarded this as an essential and desirable skill. Within surgery my experience as both a teacher and a learner had been variable but I recognised this as an aspect of my professional practice that I wanted to be good at in the future. In particular I was interested in the principles and theory behind the practical delivery of a teaching experience rather than those narrower issues in higher education related to medical education specifically.
As such, participation in the MEd course allowed me to gain a wider perspective of my place in higher education and drew on the variety of experiences of other course participants from other disciplines to help shape my own practice. Now I have a much clearer vision of my own character both as a teacher and a learner and how this can be located in my daily clinical practice. I hope this realisation of education as central to professional life will be of benefit to those surgical trainees that I encounter in my future career particularly with the continuing evolution of formalised training in this practical profession."

Adam Farquharson, Graduate MEd Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

“As I was already a Senior Research Fellow a number of years at Sheffield, I had the opportunity to diversify my skills by undertaking the MEd Expectations were to use the course as a stepping stone for a move from research to an academic career. The outcome was a life-long engagement with educational research and enquiry that has enriched all aspects of my teaching and hopefully the learning of my students.

A highlight of my study included meeting with a group of fellow students with diverse backgrounds and experiences, which were willing to share engage with each other. I also enjoyed entering the parallel universe of educational research (to my previous one of Scientific Research).

I am now currently a Senior University Teacher, Director of The Science & Engineering Foundation Year, Senior Fellow of HEA, IEEP Fellow (International Enterprise Educators Program) and achieved SEDA Accreditation (Staff and Educational Development Association Professional Development Framework) in Leading and Developing Academic Practice, among other things. The MEd gave me a great start and set me on the road to a life of educational research, reflection and continuous personal regeneration and re-invention.”

Dr. Plato Kapranos, Graduate MEd Teaching and Learning in Higher Education