Professional Standards Framework and Fellowship
1. What is the Professional Standards Framework and fellowship?
The Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF 2011 and updated PSF 2023) for teaching and supporting learning in higher education provides a general description of the main aspects of the role carried out by professionals that teach and/or support learning within the higher education environment.
The PSF has two components: Dimensions and Descriptors.
Advance HE operates the Fellowship scheme and aligns its fellowships to the PSF Descriptors as follows:
- Descriptor 1 (D1) aligned to Associate Fellow
- Descriptor 2 (D2) aligned to Fellow
- Descriptor 3 (D3) aligned to Senior Fellow
- Descriptor 4 (D4) aligned to Principal Fellow
2. Should I apply under the Professional Standards Framework 2011 or the updated Professional Standards Framework 2023?
In 2022, Advance HE, as custodian of the Professional Standards Framework (PSF) reviewed the PSF on behalf of the sector. This sector-led review led to the creation of a revised framework which built on the strengths of the previous framework with the PSF 2023 released on 31 January 2023.
Guidance for fellowship applications using new PSF 2023 will be available on our website here from 1 March 2023. Applications for fellowship using the new PSF 2023 will open from 12 April 2023.
Advance HE is conscious that individuals may be already in the process of writing an application to Advance HE using UKPSF 2011. Please be assured that we will continue to welcome applications in the UKPSF 2011 application format any time before 31 December 2023. For access to the UKPSF 2011 application journey please go to our website here.
From 1 January 2024, Advance HE will only accept new Fellowship applications based on the PSF 2023.
3. How do I gain fellowship?
Complete an Advance HE accredited programme or scheme; Advance HE accredits organisations to award fellowship on our behalf. Only Advance HE accredited member institutions are entitled to accredited provision; a list of member organisations is available on our website. If your organisation is accredited to award one or more of the four categories of fellowship, you will be able to apply internally for one of these without a fee. See questions 30-33.
4. Where can I find the guidance notes for a direct application using PSF 2023?
Advance HE applicant packs include all the guidance and resources you need to be able to develop and submit your application. Please request the relevant PSF 2023 applicant pack from the links below for each category:
Applying for the right category of fellowship
5. How do I know what is the right category of fellowship for an application?
We recommend that prior to starting your application you use our free online Fellowship Category Tool (FCT). Answering the online questions about your work in teaching and learning should help you to check that Fellowship is the best match for your current practice and prompt your thinking about different aspects of your practice as you plan your application.
Once you complete the FCT, request a supporting guidance pack for the relevant category of fellowship. Read the guidance to check that this category is a good match for your current and recent practice; if not then request a different guidance pack.
If, after reading through the PSF, guidance documents and completing The Fellowship Category Tool you are still unsure about which is the appropriate category of fellowship for you, then please email email@example.com for advice.
6. How much experience do I need to apply for a category of Fellowship? How long should I have been teaching and/or supporting higher education learning?
This very much depends on the range of experience you have in higher education teaching and learning. Associate Fellowship and Fellowship relate to your effective teaching and learning practice with HE students; Senior Fellowship relates to your sustained influence and impact on the teaching and learning practices of your colleagues; Principal Fellowship relates to your sustained strategic leadership of higher education teaching and learning.
Advance HE applicant guidance advises about the types of practice appropriate for each category of fellowship and please read this guidance for further information.
Application fees, employment status and eligibility for member rates
7. How much does it cost to apply?
The fee for a direct application for Fellowship is on the Advance HE website and is subject to annual review. Fees for individuals working in an Advance HE member organisation are subsidised (50% of the direct fee).
8. As a PhD student or a work place educator, am I eligible for the member rate?
HE Providers may operate a range of different contracts of employment e.g. permanent, fixed term, part-time, fractional, Associate Lecturer, etc. Clinical educators or industry-based professionals working directly with an accredited member institution’s HE students may be classed as ‘employed’ by the institution for the purposes of fellowship, whether paid or unpaid for the educational role they take. Postgraduates may have a role in teaching and supporting learning as part of their PhD studentship/bursary; these individuals are deemed to be employed by the institution as they are contracted to deliver teaching but may not necessarily be paid for their work. Any undergraduate students able to make a successful claim for a category of fellowship are also covered by the institution’s Advance HE membership when accreditation services are part of this membership.
9. What if I am not sure about my employment status?
If you are unsure about your employment status, Advance HE recommends that that the Human Resources Department at your organisation should be consulted before seeking further guidance from the Advance HE Fellowship team (firstname.lastname@example.org).
10. What additional elements will I need to complete when I complete my application in MyAdvanceHE?
You will need to register with the Advance HE’s portal MyAdvanceHE if you do not already have an account.
When you start a new application using the online MyAdvanceHE system, you will be asked to:
- review the terms and conditions and indicate that you accept before proceeding. Once you have accepted the terms and conditions;
- reflect how your wish to pay for your application. Question 23 reflects the full payment options available to you.
- reflect ‘Your name as you would like it to appear on your certificate’.
Submitting an application
11. How do I submit my application?
Prepare and write your application in the draft application template offline; this template will be in your applicant pack. Obtain the Supporting Statements/Advocate Statements from appropriate referees/advocates (see applicant guidance for details) and have these ready to upload as pdf files.
When you have all your application documents and payment arrangements ready to progress, you are ready to submit your application.
Sign into the MyAdvanceHE portal and click on “Fellowship” within the Welcome menu and then click on “Fellowship applications” and choose the appropriate category of fellowship from the menu.
Copy and paste your application text from your draft application template onto the online system. This will be saved automatically as you progress.
Please note that the Advance HE online application system only accepts plain text; it will remove any formatting from your text and will not accept diagrams, images, hyperlinks or any other documents/appendices such as curriculum vitae/resume.
Upload your Supporting Statements/Advocate Statements as pdf files.
12. What should I do if I cannot find my organisation?
When adding an employing organisation to your record you will be asked to search for it by name. Please ensure it has the correct spelling as the system will only find exact matches to our database entries.
When searching for your organisation, sometimes it is easier to search for *Poppleton* (note the stars before and after the word) rather than “University of Poppleton” as the system will then show you options that you can choose from to save you time.
If the system cannot find the organisation, an option “Organisation not found?” will appear and you will be invited to send us its name. The Fellowship team at Advance HE will then check the database to avoid a duplicate organisation being created, before adding it into the system records. When doing this they will add the organisation to your record.
13. Who do I contact if I am having issues signing into MyAdvanceHE?
Advance HE transferred in October 2020 to a new system called MyAdvanceHE, if you had an account with our previous web portal then you will need to re-register with the new MyAdvanceHE system. To re-register go to the MyAdvanceHE system and click on ‘Sign up now’ under the purple ‘Log in’ box. The system will authenticate your email address, ask you to set a password and allow you access:
If you have forgotten your password please click on the “Forgotten your password?” link at the bottom of the MyAdvanceHE log in page. If you have any issues in accessing the system please email email@example.com and a member of the Fellowship team will assist you in accessing your account. You can also contact Advance HE through the contact us page on our website. Please complete the form and choose ‘Fellowship’ under the type of support requested and then you can see a more extensive list of categories that will assist us in supporting your query.
14. What are the deadline dates for review panels for Fellowship?
Advance HE runs review panels for all categories of Fellowship throughout the year to support applicants. There is no set deadline to ensure that individuals can apply at any point and it typically takes around 12 weeks from submission of your application to receiving your outcome, depending on the demand on the fellowship application service at the time of your application.
Advance HE does not provide a fast track service and all applicants are assigned to the next available review panel to ensure fairness.
15. Can I download a copy of my application?
You can download a copy of your application at any point during the application process. Your application record will remain on our system, which means you can return to it at any point. You are strongly recommended to first complete and save your draft application offline using your draft application template (in applicant pack).
You will receive an automated email every six months from Advance HE to remind you that your draft application is waiting to be completed. If you are still in the process of completing your fellowship application then please delete this prompt but if you are no longer using the draft application function and wish to stop these emails then please sign into MyAdvanceHE to delete the current draft.
Please be reassured that the system will not auto-delete your draft application but Advance HE may delete the draft after a two-year period to support cleansing of our database to comply with GDPR and the Advance HE retention policy.
16. What format should my Supporting Statements/Advocate Statements be written in?
All Supporting Statements /Advocate Statements must include verifiable information and should be written on the appropriate Supporting Statement/Advocate Template provided in your information pack for Associate Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow and Principal Fellow (see question 4 for links). Please ensure that each of your referees/advocates has dated their statement and provided contact details, as we may contact them directly to clarify points in their statement.
17. Why can’t I upload my Supporting/Advocate Statements?
You will not be able to upload a document if it exceeds 1.5 MB in size. You will need to amend the document to reduce its size. Documents can sometimes go over this size if they include icons and pictures. The online portal will only allow you to upload your Supporting/Advocate Statements as a PDF. If your file is in another format, you must convert it to PDF before you upload.
18. What are the word counts for each category of Fellowship?
Please see the table below for the word counts for each category of Fellowship:
|Category||Requirements for Advance HE direct application|
|Associate Fellowship||1,400-word limit for Reflective Narrative plus Context Statement (300 words) and citations (up to 200 words)|
|Fellowship||3,000-word limit for Reflective Narrative plus Context Statement (300 words) and citations (up to 500 words)|
|Senior Fellowship||6,000-word limit for Reflective Narrative and two Case Studies plus Context Statement (300 words) and citations (up to 500 words)|
|Principal Fellowship||7,000-word limit for Case Studies plus Statement of Context and Strategic Leadership (500 words), Record of Strategic Educational Impact (RSEI) (250 words) and Citations (500 words)|
19. Can I apply in a language other than English?
All applications for fellowship including accompanying Supporting Statements/Advocate Statements must be written in English. Advance HE is unable to accept applications or Supporting Statements/Advocate Statements written in another language.
If English is not your first language and you are not able to provide your application in English, by prior arrangement we are able to accept a certified translation accompanied by the certification of translation. Please contact Advance HE’s Fellowship team at firstname.lastname@example.org for further guidance.
20. What do I do if my referees/ advocates cannot write in English?
Advance HE will accept a certified English translation of your Supporting Statements/Advocate Statements. It is the responsibility of your referees/advocates to provide a certified translation for you to submit. They will be required to agree and accept the Declaration in the Supporting Statement Template upon completion. Where an application/supporting statement has been translated into English prior to submission to Advance HE, please also provide the certification of translation by sending it through to email@example.com.
21. How do I pay the fellowship application fee?
When you upload your application and choose to submit, you will be asked to pay the application fee. Once the fee is paid, your application will be allocated to the next available review panel.
Payment is required by debit or credit card when you submit your application in MyAdvanceHE. You can pay this yourself at the time you submit or, if you are receiving financial support from your institution, there is an option for someone else to pay on your behalf (please see below).
The fee for a direct application for all categories of Fellowship is on the Advance HE website and is subject to annual review. Employees of Advance HE Member institutions will be charged a subsidised rate. If you are unsure of your institution’s Advance HE membership status, please check the list of Advance HE member institutions on the Advance HE website. If you are still unsure, please contact Advance HE’s fellowship team, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that if an Advance HE Member institution chooses to make participation in an institutional Advance HE accredited programme or scheme contractual, any individual wishing to apply directly to Advance HE should choose ‘self-employment’ as their employment status and use a personal email address. They will be required to pay a full fee for the application; i.e. the fee will not be subsidised by the institutional membership.
If you experience any issues in paying for your application through the online system, please contact email@example.com and a member of the team will work with you to resolve the payment element of the process.
22. My institution is paying my Fellowship application fee on my behalf, how does this work on My Advance HE?
If your institution is paying for your application, you will need to have selected that option when you started to complete the online application form. You can copy a payment link from MyAdvanceHE and forward it to the individual at your organisation responsible for making the payment. They simply follow the link to pay online with a credit or debit card.
If your organisation is unable to pay by card, Advance HE can raise an invoice for them to pay by bank transfer. For payment by this method your organisation will need to provide you with an electronic copy of a Purchase Order, which you upload to MyAdvanceHE, in the Invoices area of the My Profile section.
Some institutions pre-pay for multiple applications in advance. If your institution has pre-paid for your application in this way, the contact at your institution should notify Advance HE when you are ready to submit. This will enable the Advance HE team to confirm payment and allocate your application for review.
23. If I am a UK resident, can I claim tax relief on my application fee?
You can claim tax on fees or subscriptions you pay to some approved professional organisations but only if you must have membership to do your job or it’s helpful for your work. You cannot claim tax back on fees or subscriptions you have paid to professional organisations not approved by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), or for life membership subscriptions; or fees or subscriptions you have not paid for yourself. Advance HE is on the approved list of professional organisations and learned societies so if you are self-employed or if you paid your application fee personally you will be able to claim tax relief. Please see the HM Revenue & Customs website for further details.
24. How can I check if my application has been submitted successfully?
At the end of the application process, you will have clicked the “Submit” button to finalise the submission. After a few moments the screen will refresh and the status of your application with change to “Submitted (awaiting payment)”. You will have received an automated email, which will confirm the receipt of your application at this point.
Please be aware however that your application will not be put forward for review until the fee has been settled. If you have previously elected to pay for your application the button will change to “Pay Invoice”. Once paid, the status will change to “Applicant”.
There are three options to choose from in relation to how your application will be paid for from the options:
- ‘I’ll pay myself’ (applicants will pay for the application themselves by credit/debit card);
- ‘My Organisation is paying’ (this option is for applicants who have an arrangement with their organisation to pay for their application see question 22 for further details);
- ‘My Organisation has paid in advance’ (this is only for applicants who have been notified by their institution that they have been included in the pre-payment of a number of applications purchased as part of a contract with Advance HE).
If you have indicated that your organisation will pay on your behalf (either as a one-off payment or as part of a pre-paid application bundle) one of the Fellowship team will conduct necessary checks and once satisfied will change your application status to “Applicant”.
Please note that you can download a copy of your completed application from MyAdvanceHE during and at the end of the application process so you can check how the final version appears to the review panel. Please refer to question 15 for further details.
25. How is my application reviewed?
The applicant guidance explains about the review process involving independent peer reviewers. The possible outcomes for your application are ‘Award’ or ‘Refer’. If your application is referred, you will be offered one opportunity to resubmit within four weeks, without further charge. You will receive feedback from the reviewers to indicate where you need to strengthen your application to meet the Descriptor criteria.
On second submission, the possible outcomes are “Award” or “Withdrawn”.
26. What happens if my application is withdrawn?
If the reviewers judge that despite revisions, the resubmission does not fully meet the requirements of the Descriptor then the final judgement is “Withdrawn”. Feedback will explain the judgement. This is the end of the review process; any future application would incur a full fee. Please note that any appeal would need to be related to Advance HE process not being adhered to and not the review outcome.
27. How can I check what stage my application is at?
Within the Fellowship area in MyAdvanceHE, click on “Fellowship”. Here you will see a summary of your applications from previous submissions to those currently in progress. The “status” summarises what stage an application has reached:
- Draft – your application is still in draft form and a final version is yet to be submitted;
- Submitted (Awaiting Payment) – there is payment due against the application before it can be processed. If you have previously elected to pay for your application, the “Submit” button will have changed to “Pay Invoice”. Once settled, the status will change to “Applicant”. If you have indicated that your organisation will pay on your behalf (either as a one-off payment or as part of a pre-paid application bundle) one of the Fellowship team will conduct necessary checks and once satisfied will change the application status to “Applicant”.
- Applicant – this applies to the direct application route and means your application has been paid for and is waiting to be processed and assigned to a review panel;
- Allocated to panel – this applies to the direct application route and means the application has been assigned to a panel ready for review;
- Decision Made – A decision from the Review Panel has been made. You will have received an email confirming the outcome at this point. Please note that if your application is to be referred you will likely receive a further email with your feedback and resubmission deadline date.
- Withdrawn – an application can be withdrawn for various reasons, for instance if the status of an application has been left as ‘Incomplete’ for over one year. Also, if an application is unsuccessful after a resubmission, it will be withdrawn.
28. I can’t find my certificate in MyAdvanceHE?
Please check you have logged on to MyAdvanceHE using the email address provided in the confirmation email sent to you. If you did not receive a confirmation email, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the team will send you a copy of the original email. For individuals who have applied for Fellowship via an Advance HE accredited provision, this is the email address that the programme leader will have used when adding you to a course or organisational CPD provision. Please note that sometimes an organisation may have two different spellings to their email addresses i.e. @popp.ac.uk or @poppleton.ac.uk. Please ensure when signing up to MyAdvanceHE that you use the suffix that your institution used to add you to the Advance HE system.
If you already hold a MyAdvanceHE account with a different email address and you use this email address to log on to MyAdvanceHE, it will not correspond to the fellowship record we have for you on our system. If you realise that you have two records please contact email@example.com providing details of your past contact details and we will merge the accounts on your behalf. If you continue to have problems logging on, please contact the fellowship team at +44 (0)1904 717530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
29. I have not received a copy of my certificate.
When you are successful in becoming a fellow of any category you will be able to sign-into MyAdvanceHE and request a copy of your certificate from the ‘My Profile’ and ‘request a certificate’ section. When you have requested a copy of your certificate it will be emailed to your inbox. If you do not receive a copy please check the junk/spam folder within your inbox. If you continue to have issues, please contact email@example.com.
30. If I am successful, what personal details are displayed on my certificate?
Only your name and unique reference number will be displayed on your certificate. If you find that the details are incorrect on your certificate then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make revisions on your behalf.
31. How do I know if my organisation has an accredited programme?
A full list of accredited programmes run by your organisation can be viewed within your MyAdvanceHE portal. Log into MyAdvanceHE and select “Fellowship” from the menu at the top of the screen. Select “Course List”. Please note that if you would like to apply to join a course you must contact your organisational point of contact.
Alternatively, please contact email@example.com and a member of the Accreditation team can assist in providing details of your organisation’s provision.
32. How do I know who is the contact within my organisation to advise me about the accredited route?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the team will introduce you to the Programme Leader within your organisation.
33. I can’t find an option to apply for Fellowship on the basis of completing an accredited programme as an individual.
All applications for Fellowship via the accredited route are made by the Programme Leader/ Administrator at the organisation where you completed your course. Please contact the Programme Leader and they will be able to add you on to MyAdvanceHE to confer your fellowship with us. Please contact the Fellowship team on email@example.com if you cannot find contact details for your Programme Leader.
34. Do I have to use my organisational scheme or can I apply through the direct application route?
Advance HE advises individuals to explore whether their organisation has an appropriate programme/scheme accredited by Advance HE which would enable them to achieve an appropriate category of fellowship. This route to fellowship will provide organisational support through programmes and schemes which have been designed to articulate with internal structures and priorities. For example, as part of the probation process, many organisations require early career staff to undertake a formal qualification such as a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE/Academic Practice which has been designed to also lead to fellowship. Equally, promotional pathways may embed both fellowship and additional internal elements, which are not part of a direct application process.
Consequently, Advance HE policy is to recommend that where organisational provision is accredited, individuals should participate in an appropriate programme/scheme at their own organisation, to ensure that any specific contractual arrangements are met and that successful Fellows become part of an establised organisational community of practice within their organisation.
Advance HE is not in a position, however, to deny an individual application, nor compel an individual to participate in an organisational scheme and the choice remains that of the individual. Please note that where an organisation chooses to make participation in an organisational programme or scheme contractual, any staff wishing to apply directly to Advance HE should do so using a personal email address and will be expected to pay a full fee for the application; i.e. the fee will not be subsidised by the organisational membership.
35. I am a Programme Leader/Administrator and would like to add completers to a course, what do I need to do?
You will need to apply to be added as a Programme Leader/Administrator first. Log into MyAdvanceHE and select “Fellowship” from the menu at the top of the screen. Select “Course List” to view the accredited courses run by your organisation. Locate the course(s) you wish to be added to and click the “Apply” button (it should become “greyed out”). You can select a number of courses at once if you wish.
Once you have applied to be a Programme Leader/Administrator through the MyAdvanceHE portal, the request will be sent to your Accreditation Key Contact who will approve the request. One your request has been approved, you will receive an automated email from Advance HE on how to access the system and supporting guidance.
36. I am a Programme Leader/Administrator and have added a completer to the wrong course/used the wrong start date for the course, what can I do?
If you have made any errors whilst inputting an individual’s details, please immediately contact the Fellowship Team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will amend the data accordingly. Programme Leaders/Administrators are provided with a seven-day grace period before an individual is send their congratulations email, which will provide time for us to resolve the issues before the individual is contacted.
37. What will happen if I add a completer who has already been awarded fellowship at the same category as the accredited course, or a different category? I may not be aware of whether they already have fellowship?
Our database will conduct a number of validation checks to avoid duplication as we appreciate you may not be aware of a completers historic Fellowship activities. If an individual completes an accredited provision which awards a ‘higher’ fellowship category than that which the individual already holds, their ‘old’ award will be replaced with the new one. If the completer already holds a fellowship at a ‘higher’ category than that which the course awards, they will retain their original fellowship award.
38. What if I have more questions about fellowship?
If you cannot find the information you need or require further assistance, please email email@example.com and one of our team will be able to assist you or you can use the ‘Contact Us’ form on the Advance HE website by adding your contact details and choosing ‘Fellowship’ as the type of support requested.
39. What if I have more questions about accreditation?
If you cannot find the information you need or require further assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will be able to assist you or you can use the ‘Contact Us’ form on the Advance HE website by adding your contact details and choosing ‘Teaching & Learning Accreditation’ as the type of support requested.