Vaal University of Technology

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Home Faculties Human Sciences Post Graduate Diploma in Higher Education

Post Graduate Diploma in Higher Education


  • Admission Requirements:

To be admitted to the Post Graduate Diploma in Higher Education (PG Dip HE) the candidate should have the following qualifications:

A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)

In addition, Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) will apply

  • Duration of the Study:

The duration of the PG Dip HE will be one year full time or two years part time.

  • Delivery Mode:

The PG Dip HE will be offered in block mode to full time and part time students.


  • Implementation:

The programme commenced in January 2013.


  • Assessment:

Assessment shall be in accordance with the general regulations of the Vaal University of Technology:

Continuous Assessment: 15% for each assignment (at least 2 assignments per module)

Reflective Journal: 20%

Final Portfolio: 50%


Curriculum and Course Structure


The PGDHE subsumes eight core modules:

Module 1: Learning Facilitation in Higher Education

The purpose of the module is to provide students with a conceptual and theoretical background to student learning facilitation that is provided within a technology-rich enhanced learning environment, where pedagogical content knowledge is driven by inter, intra and multi-disciplinary perspectives that will enable students to critically examine their transformative roles in society as engaged citizens. The learning facilitator should be able to grasp that what constitutes quality learning and success in HE is an imperative that accommodates increased student diversity and considers processes that contribute to holistic student development. Learning facilitation will privilege the constructivist and socio-cultural approach with an understanding that is anchored in contexts that are personally meaningful to the student by connecting learning to the context of application.

Module 2: Leadership and Management in Higher Education

The purpose of this module is to provide students with a conceptual and theoretical background to leadership and management of higher education and the role it plays in national human and economic development and competitiveness, and it familiarizes students with the various discourses of leadership development. The main area of focus will include: organisation behaviour, strategic leadership and management, creative leadership and change management. The module explores the new architectures of imagining possibilities of a creative leadership as a way of dealing with and managing in a challenge HE environment. Given that the university is a knowledge industry that has a tremendous influence on many people, if it has to have any credibility as a public sphere it must recognise that teachers play a crucial role in shaping and re-shaping the identities, values and beliefs of students.

Module 3: Assessment in Higher Education

This module provides students with the knowledge and skills on key concepts in and guidelines for the assessment of student learning, as well as different forms, methods, instruments and tools of / for student assessment in higher / further education. It focuses on the contemporary shift in paradigm from traditional to alternative assessment practices in a student-cantered learning environment in higher education which emphasises active, interactive and deep learning among students. The module emphasises the interrelatedness of assessment with learning facilitation and the importance of the constructive alignment of all components of the teaching-learning situation with the learning outcome of a course / module. Besides providing a conceptual framework for assessment of and for the learning in higher education, it also includes the hands-on practical application of contemporary perspective and practices of student assessment.

Module 4: Professional Development as Researcher in Higher Education

The module deals with research processes in qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. The module will assist students to be able to understand how to search for information; discover new knowledge in a specific field; define diligent inquiry and systematic observation of phenomena and explain testing the effect of changing conditions on the results. Some professional skills that are improved include the student’s ability communicate research results orally and in writing to other peers, mentors, faculty members, and members of the scientific community at large via the following informal group meeting presentations, reports to mentor, poster presentations at the VUT staff conferences and colloquia, regional, national or international meetings; formal oral presentations at scientific meetings; or journal articles prepared for publication.

Module 5: E-Learning in Higher Education

This module offers students a unique opportunity to engage with the interface between information and communication technology (ICT), as well as pedagogical practice. The flexibility of the programme allows the student to select his / her own specific area of interest and expertise as the implementation fields in which theoretical knowledge is applied in a practical way. The module consists of three related units that deal specifically with e-learning theory, the design of e-learning environments, and the implementation and management of such environments.

Module 6: Innovative Student Learning in Context in Higher Education

The module deals with the psychological and social factors impacting on student learning. The module outlines and compares earlier as well as recent learning theories, learning styles and learning dimensions within the context of teaching. Some professional skills that are improved include the student’s ability to demonstrate knowledge and awareness of essential individual difference among student with regard to their learning styles and to also critically reflect on how special needs in the main stream of higher education can be accommodated by the learning facilitator as well as by the institution of learning.

Module 7: History of the Transformation of Higher Education in South Africa

The module will look at the transformation of higher education in South Africa in a globalising, knowledge intensive world. The module engages the student in the complex contexts of higher education in a changing environment and it interrogates higher education policy and its achievements at a systemic and institutional level. The student should be able to demonstrate integrated knowledge about the relevant policies and transformative rationale for the current system of Higher Education in SA and the student should be able to develop a theoretical understanding of the transformation in Higher Education in SA, in particular through the theoretical lenses offered by critical race theory, cosmopolitanism and others. The student should be able to participate meaningfully in the conversations regarding internationalisation and Africanisation of Higher Education is SA and be able to critically engage with past, present and future challenges to Higher Education in SA.

Module 8: Module Planning and Materials Development in Higher Education (HE)

The module endeavours to guide the student through the process of module writing and material development. This particular module has to be integrated with the other different modules in this programme meaning that the student has to incorporate the knowledge obtained by studying other modules and incorporate the knowledge into the module the student intends to write.

This module has been developed to guide the student in the development of modules and learning material. It provides the foundation of learning and work integrated learning (WIL):

  • Guide you through the learning process.
  • Give you the necessary background information.
  • Provide you with a framework to apply theoretical principles in your teaching.
  • Highlight important issues regarding module writing and materials development.


What is the Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education supposed to Do?



The Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education (PG Dip HE) at VUT is designed for teaching staff within the institution or any other interested professional educators from higher education – whether they are new or have many years teaching experience. This qualification aims to provide grounding in the theory and an intellectually stimulating exploration of higher education as an area of study within education. The qualification is designed for professional educators who wish to enrich their understanding of the higher education environment, improve their own teaching practice for student academic success, be able to develop accessible course modules, assess student learning effectively, lead and manage within their contexts generally and in particular in higher education. The integration ICTs enables to some extent blend learning. Although the focus of the PG Dip HE at higher education, we are cognisant of the fact that all trainers and professional educators also need requisite knowledge, competences, values and attitudes that could be applied and demonstrated in their work contexts to enhance individual, team and organisational productivity and effectiveness in a highly competitive external environment. The course is thus open to any professional educators who would like to widen their knowledge and competences in specific areas this qualification provides. Professional educators holding a Bachelor’s degree, advance diploma or equivalent may register for this qualification.

Career Opportunities

Higher Education is very important in contributing to the full development of each student, and to the moral, social, cultural, political and economic development of the nation at large, both as a significant industry in its own right, and as a source of trained and educated personnel for the rest of the country’s economy. The Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education demands a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence and it is designed in such a way that it addresses, higher order inquiry skills, critical thinking, multi-disciplinary learning, mastery of course content through independent learning, with student experience recognised as a central category in the programme. In view of the above, holders of this qualification will be able to work in institutions of higher education learning and FET colleges, and secondary schools and in an environment where they will be able to:

  • Analyse the higher education context (at international, national, institutional, departmental and disciplinary levels) in order to understand the developmental needs of academic staff in their contexts and that of their own students;
  • Be able to develop a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence with regard to in-depth knowledge of the conceptual domain of the dynamic, complex higher education environment, including the philosophy of higher education, theories of learning (and teaching), theories of knowledge (knowledge management, globalisation and internationalisation, Africanisation), leadership and management strategies and module planning and materials development;
  • Critique current research and advanced scholarship in an area of specialisation; an ability to make sound theoretical judgements based on evidence;
  • Engage with knowledge and research related to the practice of teaching in higher education including curriculum development processes, assessment of student learning, integration of ICTs in teaching and learning and academic literacy;
  • Demonstrate advance reflection and development by means of a systematic survey of current thinking, practice and research methods in an area of specialisation;
  • Conduct and report on research under supervision;
  • Consolidate and deepen expertise in a particular field of higher education;
  • Present and communicate academic professional work effectively, catering for a range of audiences by using a range of different genres appropriate to higher education contexts.