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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.

Recognition of your expertise

We award 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 those 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:

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.

Associate Fellow (AFHEA)

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.
Associate Fellow

Fellow (FHEA)

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.

Senior Fellow (SFHEA)

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.
Senior Fellow

Principal Fellow (PFHEA)

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.
Principal Fellow
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Why consider Fellowship?

Fellowships are embedded in the UK and have been adopted by increasing numbers of higher education institutions globally, from the Americas to Australasia. As of November 2021, there are over 150,000 fellows across the world.

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 assurance that your institution is fully aligned with UKPSF practice and a badge of assured quality.

To make it easier for you to find out everything you need to know about Fellowship, we have created a downloadable Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document.

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Fellowship Category Tool

Our Fellowship Category Tool has been designed to help you understand which category of Fellowship most closely reflects your current practice and to reflect on your ongoing professional development and career aspirations.

After you have answered a series of choice questions, which will take around 10-20 minutes, you will be shown your results and a PDF report summarising your responses will be sent to you.

Use the Fellowship Category Tool
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Applying for Fellowship

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 Fellow:

  • Individual direct application to Advance HE - for those wishing to apply through submission of an evidence based account of practice supported by referees or advocates and which is peer reviewed.
  • Completion of accredited programmes - Advance HE accredits institutional programmes (programmes and continuing professional development schemes/frameworks) against each of the 4 Descriptors.

We have a number of services available to support you if you are thinking of applying for one of our categories of Fellowship, from our Fellowship Application Builder online course (designed for Descriptor 2 of the UKPSF) to Senior and Principal Fellow Writing Retreats designed to help you create an application that fully reflects your practice. 

Your route to Fellowship
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Do you want to support your staff to achieve Fellowship?

Advance HE offers Fellowship support to institutions through a structured process:

  • Fellowship workshops - sessions helping your staff understand Fellowship and the application process
  • Fellowship Writing Retreats - expert support providing a structured and guided environment in which to construct an application for Fellowship
  • draft Fellowship applications reviews - a consultant will review applications and provide annotated feedback, including points for further development.

All of these services can be delivered online.

Find out more
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Application fees 

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

Accredited Provision (individual from a subscribing institution) Accredited Provision (individual from a non-subscribing institution) Direct application to the Advance HE (individual from a subscribing institution) Direct application to the Advance HE (individual from a non-subscribing institution)
Associate Fellow No cost £150 £150 £300
Fellow No cost £220 £220 £440
Senior Fellow No cost £330 £330 £660
Principal Fellow No cost £550 £550 £1100
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Update to eligibility in the UK and Australasia 

Following consultation in the UK and Australasian HE sectors in 2018, eligibility for Fellowship has been extended to include specific groups of higher education (HE) practitioners working in the UK and Australasia. Please refer to the Advance HE update on widening eligibility for further details.

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We have appointed a Fellowship and Accreditation Expert Advisory Group

Advance HE has formed a Fellowship and Accreditation Expert Advisory Group to provide expert advice and guidance to Advance HE staff, our Peer Review Quality (PRQ) Committee and ultimately the Advance HE Board on matters relating to Fellowship and accreditation services.

Advance HE has appointed 14 members, including a Chair, to the Fellowship and Accreditation Expert Advisory Group made up of UK and international Advance HE member institutions with high level understanding of higher education in a wide variety of contexts.

Find out more