The Higher Education Studies (HES) suite of courses has as its aim the professionalising of teaching and learning practice in higher education.

Courses are offered to equip academics to improve as educators in a rapidly changing higher education environment. These can be taken as stand-alone courses or can accrue towards a postgraduate qualification. These courses are seen as an important contribution to the professional development of academics who seek the opportunity to critically examine their practice in the context of transition and change.


This CILT programme offered through the School of Education, consists of four modules covering:

*Note:  these courses are offered in block release format (i.e. 6 full days per course and eight weeks of readings and assignment) - a combination of face to face and online format.

For more information on the programme or each of the above courses, contact the administrator Mrs Avrill Dawson avrill.dawson@uct.ac.za or the PGDip convenor: Dr Tabisa Mayisela tabisa.mayisela@uct.ac.za


Like the Post Graduate Diploma in Higher Education Studies, the Masters is an opportunity to take your understanding of teaching and learning in Higher Education to an advanced level. The courses in the Masters are designed to offer an in-depth perspective on issues that constitute academic practices – for example, disciplinary knowledge, curriculum, or academic literacies. These issues will be approached from a range of theoretical perspectives borrowed from sociology of education. In addition to theory, the other focus of the coursework is to introduce you to methodological considerations for doing research in higher education studies. Through these courses you will be prepared to do systematic research at a Masters’ level in the form of a minor dissertation. In all respects the course requires through the discussion and the assignments an engagement with teaching and learning practices, your own or others. See http://www.students.uct.ac.za/students/study/handbooks/current for further information about admission to the Masters and descriptions of the courses in Humanities Post Graduate Handbook.

Master’s Courses:

  • EDN45404F* Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LTHE)
  • EDN5514S Knowledge and Curriculum in Higher Education
  • EDN5511F Researching Higher Education
  • EDN5501W Advanced Research Design
  • EDN5500W Minor Dissertation

*if not completed before

For more information on the programme or each of the above courses, contact the administrator Mrs Avrill Dawson avrill.dawson@uct.ac.za or the Master’s convenor: A/Prof Kasturi Behari-Leak, kasturi.behari-leak@uct.ac.za

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LTHE) (EDN4504F/ HES)

“In relation to higher education teaching, another site of decolonization is the university classroom. We cannot keep teaching the way we have always taught… in an age that more than ever valorises different forms of intelligence, the student-teacher relationship has to change” (Mbembe, 2016)

Transforming pedagogies to enhance mindfulness, critical reflection and responsible action as teachers in the university classroom.

LTHE at a glance… is a compulsory and core course in the HES PGDip/ Master’s offering. As an induction course into higher education studies (HES), the LTHE supports the development of self- reflective and critical knowledge, generated by a strong socio-cultural theory and learning component. It is complemented by a pedagogical approach that is commensurate with the ontological turn in higher education, the need for epistemological access and success, links to relevant literary texts as well as the embedding of a critically reflective practice and gaze.

Epistemologically, the theoretical spine that guides the internal logic and coherence of LTHE curriculum, draws on sociologist Margaret Archer’s work on structure, culture and agency but contextualises and frames this sociological theory to induct university teachers into their roles as critical agents of change in their classrooms and other pedagogical spaces. The LTHE supports a OneBook Project, which involves using a key HE text, namely Critically Reflective Teaching in High/er Education (Ashwin et al, 2016) as its core text, complemented by more current readings as needed.

“I don't think I've been as stimulated in a classroom as I have been on the LTHE journey” (LTHE student, 2017).

Pedagogically, the LTHE has a strong focus on participatory learning and action (Chambers, 2010) through which students apply theoretical tools (structure and culture) in their teaching contexts, to increase their primary and collective agency. We invite a diverse range of disciplinary experts into the seminar space to share their diverse insights, perspectives and experiences of using key approaches and theories in teaching and learning.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say that I am loving the class. It’s really stretching me mentally, and also watching how you facilitate conversation rather than lecturing to us is inspiring me to incorporate that more into my theoretical lectures!” (LTHE student, 2018).

Methodologically, the LTHE places a strong emphasis on the Critically Reflective Practitioner Model of professional/ academic development. It is designed to enable lecturers to engage with their teaching practice by engaging in critical reflexivity.

“I’ve been having an amazing time in your lessons. They are so stimulating. The 2 hours seem to fly by and I always drive home with so many thoughts and ideas. I really like how you have little reflective tasks in class. They help me absorb and engage with the material” (LTHE student, 2017).

Axiologically (i.e. values and beliefs), the LTHE grapples with educational theory and its application to practice in the context of transformation of the HE sector by analysing key texts that pertain to issues of transformation and decolonisation of pedagogies, in light of current contestations in HE.

“I am thoroughly enjoying the LTHE course. While it is uncomfortable at times, particularly with all the new terminology and theories, I appreciate that you acknowledge, guide and encourage us. I can see a big shift in my awareness of my role in the classroom and beyond, without LTHE I’m not sure if the shift would have happened this soon or at all. I appreciate your patience, care for our well-being and the wisdom that you can share about teaching” (LTHE student, 2018).

Structurally, the LTHE runs over the first semester each year and is offered as a 2.5 hour weekly, face to face session with online support. It typically draws a group of 10-12 participants each year; usually 50% from UCT and 50% from HEI’s in the region. There are 5 assignments, including 1 x oral presentation.

“The assignments have forced me to work on my writing skills, I have not written a full academic piece in years! The feedback that you provide is immensely helpful. The offer to read my assignment before handing in, is an immense help” (LTHE student, 2016).

All applicants are required to complete the UCT Online Application for Admission together with additional information. For the LTHE, contact the convenor: A/Prof Kasturi Behari-Leak: Kasturi.behari-leak@uct.ac.za; Office 021-6503498; 0837883896


Higher Education Assessment and Evaluation Practice

Are you looking for ways to think about and improve how you assess and evaluate students’ work? The Higher Education (HE) Assessment and Evaluation Practice course, which is a key component of the Postgraduate Diploma in HE Studies, is open as a stand-alone course to all UCT academics. If you are keen to discover and think about new and dynamic approaches to assessment or re-think standard written and oral examination assessments, you are invited to enrol for this opportunity to engage with others on formative and summative assessment approaches. This course will help you to examine whether your current assessment methods are aligned to what you are doing and will also help to address challenges of taking assessment and evaluation practices online. In addition, the course looks at evaluation practices in higher education contexts. Where assessment practices are focused on the student, evaluation practices are focused on the course or programme level. You are introduced to a range of frameworks against which to design an evaluation. You are encouraged to reflect on your own evaluation practice and consider all stakeholders involved in an evaluation in terms of what they contribute and in what ways they limit the conclusions that can be drawn. You will design your own evaluation framework and be introduced to a meta-analytic lens through which to evaluate your own evaluation framework.

Lectures are on Tuesday afternoons between 16h00 and 18h30.

Convener: Ms Sanet Steyn, sanet.steyn@uct.ac.za


Higher Education Curriculum and Course Design (EDN 4510F)

This course offers academic practitioners an opportunity to start designing or redesigning curricula and courses which are based on sound educational principles and respond to the contextual issues underlying curriculum and course design within the South African higher education system. Participants engage with teaching and learning concepts and guidelines that help them design/redesign their curricula and courses. Participants also get the chance to explore a range of modes of delivery in their curriculum or course design, including the appropriate use of blended learning or online provision.

The course introduces participants to a variety of curriculum models (e.g. outcomes based, problem- based learning). It includes an exploration of the core concepts from learning theory which can be applied to the process of curriculum and course design. Participants may use the selected set of conceptual tools introduced in the course to think about curriculum and course design, including learning design, technology affordances and assessment.

In addition to the participatory learning approach facilitated by the lecturers of the course, academics from a diverse range of disciplines are invited into the seminar space to share their expertise, experiences and insights in curriculum and course development. These are academics who have redesigned their course or participated in redesigning a degree programme, that is responsive to the contemporary South African higher education landscape. This is an endeavour to expose the course participants to a wealth of cases within their context as they work on their three assignments. These include constructing a situational analysis in anticipation of curriculum change in their respective courses; articulating and substantiating their pedagogical approaches and modes of delivery based on a contextual aspects; and developing a proposal for the design or redesign of their courses drawing on the design principles learned in the HECCD course.

HECCD runs in the first semester and the course sessions are held on Thursday afternoons between 16h00 and 18h30

Convener: Dr Tabisa Mayisela: tabisa.mayisela@uct.ac.za



For more information on the HES PGDip programme and the suite of courses offered please contact: 

Dr Tabisa Mayisela



How to Apply

Application process for the HES programme/courses.

Step 1:

UCT has introduced well-coordinated procedures for assessing applications as efficiently as possible, to meet strong demand for places in the University's six faculties. Applicants are asked to note carefully the procedures and deadlines involved (31st of October 2022 for the 2023 intake). Please contact the relevant convener to discuss late applications. 

Step 2:

Click here for UCT's admission application form. You may complete the form on-line or print out hard copy and submit to UCT’s Admissions Office on Middle Campus. You will need the following important information when completing your application form:

Section B: Programme of study for which you are applying

  • If you are applying as an occasional student (for non-degree purposes) the programme code is HZ002 and the plan code is HZ002-DOH01.
  • If you are applying for the PGDip the programme code is HG023 and the plan code is HG023-EDN03.
  • If you are applying for the Masters the programme code is HM042 and the plan code is HM042-EDN03
  • If you are applying for the Phd the programme code is HD001 and the plan code is HD001-EDN01

Step 3:

Once you have completed UCT's application form, we would like you to please provide us with some additional information. Please contact Mrs Avrill Dawson avrill.dawson@uct.ac.za with regard to this additional information.