Professional Standards Framework

The BCU Fellowship Scheme

BCU’s scheme is aligned to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) and is accredited by AdvanceHE (previously the Higher Education Academy; HEA). The scheme is in place to support colleagues across the University in gaining Fellowship recognition on the UKPSF.

AdvancedHE and Higher Education Academy Logo

Fellowship is becoming increasingly important across the HE sector and gaining this recognition of your professional practice provides the following benefits:

  • Entitlement to use nationally and internationally post-nominal letters (AFHEA, FHEA, SFHEA PFHEA)
  • Evidence of a commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience
  • Confirmation of a commitment to personal, professional and career development

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to all BCU staff or students who teach or support learning; this includes academic staff, postgraduates, technicians, lecturers and support staff. You may apply for the Fellowship category that best matches your experience and role aspirations.

Our scheme has both an experiential route and a certificated route to gaining Fellowship.

The certificated route

If you are eligible to study the Academic Professional Apprenticeship (APA), this certificated course is accredited for Fellowship recognition. Successful completion of this course will automatically entitle you to Fellowship (FHEA).

If you completed a PGCE, APA or similar, at another institution, but are unsure if you gained Fellowship recognition, you should contact the provider to ask if their course was accredited, or contact AdvanceHE for advice.

The experiential route

The non-certificated route is through submission of a reflective commentary on your professional practice of teaching and/or supporting learners in HE. The specific content will be determined by the category of Fellowship you are applying for. This site and Candidate Support Packs explain these Categories, provides links to relevant resources and sets out information on the BCU scheme - the process methods and documentation - to support you in your application.

What are the Fellowship categories?

There are four different Categories of Fellowship, with UKPSF Descriptors defining the various dimensions and appropriate evidence required for each. The table below shows the four Descriptors (D1- D4), the Category and the associated Post-nominal letters.



Post-nominal letters


Associate Fellow






Senior Fellow



Principal Fellow


Note: for PFHEA (D4), an application is made directly to AdvanceHE. BCU can meet the application cost of the application, but please contact us at before you apply, to avoid being charged the fee directly. Full guidance and an application pack for PFHEA is available for download from the AdvanceHE site under the Fellowship menu

What do I do now?

Carry out some research - explore the AdvanceHE site and use the Fellowship Category Tool to help decide on the most appropriate Category to apply for. If you’re still unsure, perhaps your line manager could advise, as your decision may also depend on whether there is a targeted date for gaining your Fellowship.

Your School/Faculty Lead (Fellowship) may also be able to advise on this; contact details are on ICity.

Ready to find out more?

The other tabs on this site provide an overview of the processes and documents for the experiential route, as well as setting out the guidance and support that’s available.

I think I already have Fellowship…

If you have previously completed study which awarded Fellowship or if you gained recognition at another institution, do update your MyAcademy account on AdvanceHE to show BCU as your current employer; this will ensure records are up to date.

If you have a query on previously awarded recognition or can’t remember your login details for MyAcademy, you can contact AdvanceHE at or on 01904 717 530.