Higher Education Academy Fellowshipsupporting individual professional development

<strong>Higher Education Academy Fellowship</strong>supporting individual professional development

Higher Education Academy Fellowship demonstrates a personal and institutional commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education. Across four categories, from Associate to Principal, Fellowship provides individuals with recognition of their practice, impact and leadership of teaching and learning. HEA Fellowships are embedded in the UK and have been adopted by increasing numbers of higher education institutions globally, from the Americas to Australasia.

Fellowship brings you a range of benefits: 

  • Consolidates personal development and evidence of professional practice in your higher education career;
  • Provides a valuable measure of success and is increasingly recognised by international institutions;
  • Demonstrates commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience, through engagement in a practical process that encourages research, reflection and development;
  • Fellowship is increasingly sought by employers across the education sector as a condition of appointment and promotion;
  • For individuals, to identify their expertise with the entitlement to use post-nominal letters (AFHEA, FHEA, SFHEA, PFHEA);
  • Provides institutional assurance that Fellowships are an important indicator that your institution is fully aligned with UKPSF practice and a badge of assured quality throughout your institution.



Read our series of Talking Teaching blogs or watch the videos below to learn about people's experiences with Fellowship:

Learning through Fellowship - Edinburgh Napier University

There are over 90,000* individuals from across the world who have become Fellows of the Higher Education Academy

*as of June 2017

Recognition of your expertise

The UKPSF is made up of four descriptors (UKPSF 2011, pages 4-7), which set out specific criteria, and three Dimensions:

- Areas of Activity which describes what a teaching and learning professional does;
- Core Knowledge outlines what they need to know;
- Professional Values outlines the manner in which they should carry out their activity.

The Higher Education Academy awards four different categories of Fellowship, Associate Fellowship (AFHEA), Fellowship (FHEA), Senior Fellowship (SFHEA) and Principal Fellowship (PFHEA).

These four categories reflect the wide range of professional practice carried out by individuals who teach and/or support learning in higher education; from those who have a partial role in teaching/supporting learning through to senior professionals with strategic impact on teaching and learning in an organisational, national and/or international setting.

The four categories of Fellowship are awarded on the basis of evidence of personal professional practice which meets the requirements of one of the four Descriptors of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF). The UKPSF has been developed as a standards framework for the higher education sector that sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours demonstrated by thoses teaching and/or supporting higher education learning.

Fellowships are awarded on the basis of a successful and effective demonstration of one of the four UKPSF Descriptors. In deciding which category of Fellowship to apply for at this stage in your career, you will need to determine which of the four Descriptors of the UKPSF is most appropriate to your practice and professional experience:


If you are able to provide evidence of effectiveness in relation to your professional role which will typically include at least some teaching and/or learning support responsibilities, by applying for Associate Fellowship you will present an understanding of specific aspects of effective teaching, learning support methods and student learning.


If you are able to provide evidence of broadly based effectiveness in more substantive teaching and supporting learning roles and can demonstrate a broad understanding of effective approaches to learning and teaching support as a key contribution to high quality student learning.


If you can demonstrate a thorough understanding of effective approaches to teaching and learning support as a key contribution to high quality student learning. You may be an experienced member of staff able to demonstrate impact and influence on other colleagues through, for example, responsibility for leading, managing or organising programmes, subjects and/or disciplinary areas.


If you can demonstrate a sustained record of effective strategic leadership in academic practice and development and you are highly experienced with wide-ranging strategic leadership responsibilities in connection with key aspects of teaching and supporting learning.

Applying for Fellowship

Higher Education Academy Fellowships are awarded on the basis of a successful and effective demonstration of one of the four UKPSF Descriptors. There are two different routes to becoming a Higher Education Academy Fellow:

Direct application

Apply for Fellowship directly to the Higher Education Academy using experience and evidence of your career so far. You will need to apply online by creating a MyAcademy account. Full details and guidance about how to apply can be obtained by requesting an information pack.

Accredited Route

The Higher Education Academy accredits initial and continuing professional development (CPD) programmes delivered by higher education providers both within the UK and internationally. 

Application fees 2016/17

Application fees vary depending on the route you take to Fellowship, with individuals from subscribing instutions benefiting from discounted fees.

  Accredited Provision (individual from a subscribing institution - strategic or accredited) Accredited Provision (individual from a non-subscribing institution) Direct application to the HEA (individual from a subscribing institution - strategic or accredited) Direct application to the HEA (individual from a non-subscribing institution)
Associate Fellow No cost £100 £100 £200
Fellow No cost £200 £200 £400
Senior Fellow No cost £300 £300 £600
Principal Fellow No cost £500 £500 £1000