PHELT qualifications

The University offers training and qualifications for tertiary teachers through the Postgraduate Higher Education Learning and Teaching (PHELT) programme.

PHELT is a research-based programme at Master’s level run by Victoria University of Wellington’s Centre for Academic Development.

Working alongside academic colleagues, you'll learn about higher education theories and examine how they relate to your learning and teaching philosophy.

The programme can develop your teaching abilities, prepare you for future higher study and help you advance your academic career.

Flexible study options include:

  • two achievement levels: Certificate and Diploma
  • the option to build up to higher qualifications gradually
  • Certificates of Proficiency available for some individual courses
  • full-time and part-time study.


We recommend you speak to the programme director before you apply to enrol. They can discuss your expectations for the programme and how it will fit into your workload.

Please note: the PHELT programme is currently being revised. While this takes place no new enrolments are being accepted. Anyone part way through the qualification should contact the programme director for advice.

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PHELT is open to new and experienced tertiary-level teaching and teaching support staff (for example, librarians, lab demonstrators, student learning support professionals). We recommend you be active in your role while you study. You must:

  • be in the Wellington region
  • have a Bachelors degree with Honours or equivalent
  • be accepted by the director of the Centre for Academic Development as capable of completing the course of study.


If you work at Victoria University of Wellington, you can do PHELT courses for free with approval from your head of school or programme director. You need to supply written approval before you apply to enrol. Your fees will be paid by the Centre for Academic Development.

The costs for each PHELT course are outlined on the individual course pages.


You can study full time or part time. It usually takes one to two years to complete the certificate and one to four years to complete the diploma.

Time commitment

You can expect to spend 7–11 hours per week on each course on average. That includes 2–4 hours in meetings with your colleagues in class. Some courses meet weekly, others fortnightly.

Qualifications and courses

The qualifications are structured so that each is a stepping stone to the next. You can choose to start small and work gradually towards a higher qualification. This lets you spread the work out over more time and gives you more flexibility if other priorities come up.

You can also pick the qualification that matches your goals and complete it in one go.

See a full list of PHELT courses and details about what you’ll learn.

Certificate of Proficiency

You can enrol in a single 30-point PHELT course and receive a Certificate of Proficiency. You can select one of these courses:

  • HELT 501 Foundations of learning and teaching in higher education
  • HELT 505 Special topic: Higher education in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • HELT 507 Learning and Teaching with Digital Technology

A Certificate of Proficiency in HELT 501 is a good option if you want to see what the programme is like. If you decide to continue, your 30 points will be carried over and counted towards your next qualification.

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Learning and Teaching

The certificate is a 60-point Master’s level postgraduate qualification. It is made up of two 30-point courses:

The Certificate is designed to give you a good grounding in the professionalism of teaching and supporting learning in higher education.

What you'll learn

You'll learn to reflect on your teaching beliefs and practices in relation to higher education theories. You’ll also learn to use reflective practice to improve learning, teaching and curriculum design. The Certificate will help you become a more professional teacher.

Next steps

You can use the postgraduate certificate as a stepping stone to the diploma. Your 60 points will be carried over, so you'll be halfway there.

Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education Learning and Teaching

The Diploma is a 120-point Master’s level postgraduate qualification. It is made up of four 30-point courses:

  • HELT 501 Foundations of learning and teaching in higher education
  • Choose three other 30-point HELT courses from this list
  • You may be able to substitute 30 points from another postgraduate-level course. Talk to the PHELT programme director about getting approval.

The Diploma focuses on the scholarship of learning and prepares you for doing a Master’s or Doctoral degree.

What you’ll do

You’ll critically examine a variety of educational research methodologies and practices. You’ll have the opportunity to undertake a research investigation into a learning and teaching topic of your choice. You can submit your results to a conference or journal in the higher education field.


Centre for Academic Development