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Professional Development Course for External Examiners

Practical approaches to reinforcing UK standards of external examining.

External examining is a key feature of the UK higher education system. This course has been developed as part of the Degree Standards project on external examining that has run from 2016 to 2021.

The overarching aim of the Professional Development Course is to contribute to maintenance of degree standards and their reasonable comparability across the UK higher education systems by providing training for external examiners. This is the only training course for external examiners in the UK. It has been developed in collaboration with a range of HE providers.

Find out more

If you would like to know more about the course, please complete the form by clicking below and we will send you an information sheet with further details.

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An excellent, informative and thought-provoking course that captured the essence of the external examining role while underlining the complexity and variation in applying standards equitably across institutions.”

PDC Participant

Who should attend?

Any academic colleagues with an interest in external examining. The course is suitable for academic colleagues who are external examiners (whether new or experienced) and for those who would like to take up a role as an external examiner.

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What participants receive

Upon completion, participants will receive:

  • a certificate of completion (this will be replaced by a digital badge in due course)
  • an entry on the searchable list of certificated External Examiners on the Advance HE website
  • membership of the External Examiners’ Community of Practice on Connect.
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Content of the course

  • The roles and responsibilities of an external examiner
  • Variation in academic standards
  • Sources of variation
  • Dilemmas faced by external examiners
  • Social moderation and calibration of standards
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How the course is delivered

Three different modes of delivery are available:

  • blended (on-line preparation and one-day face-to-face workshop)
  • remote delivery (on-line preparation and two half-day workshops delivered on ZOOM)
  • fully online (on-line preparation and 6 weeks of synchronous and asynchronous activity on the Advance HE VLE).
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Course dates

Remote PDC

27 January - Book now and 14 February 2022 - Book now

14 and 21 February 2022

11 and 18 March 2022

28 March and 4 April 2022

6 and 13 May 2022

7 and 14 June 2022

Blended PDC

26 April 2022 - Manchester - Book now

12 July 2022 - Birmingham

Online PDC

1 February 2022 - Book now

16 May 2022


Delivering the course within an institution

The PDC can be delivered to staff within an institution either by Advance HE staff or by institutional staff who have successfully completed the Develop the Developer programme. The latter programme involves the following:

  • Participants complete the Professional Development Course for External Examiners
  • Two or more facilitators complete the Develop the Developer programme
  • Institution is sub-licensed by Advance HE to deliver the PDC with the developers delivering the course

Find out more about the Develop the Developer programme.

Courses such as this are an invaluable asset for external examiners. The ability to connect with peers and develop understanding, roles and responsibilities is extremely useful.”

PDC Participant

Hear from previous participants


Making external examining fit for the future

Dr Lia Blaj-Ward, senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, points to 'the emphasis on the importance of calibration across the sector' as the highlight of Advance HE's external examiner course.


What can early career researchers gain from External Examiner training?

Dr Melissa Jogie shares her experience as an Early Career Researcher (ECR) of attending External Examiner training.