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Graduate Certificate in Quality Assurance

Apply by 1 July 2016.

Course overview

The Graduate Certificate in Quality Assurance (course code GC-QA in the University of Melbourne handbook) is a one-year, part time course designed for educators, administrators and quality assurance practitioners seeking to extend their knowledge and skills in tertiary education quality assurance.

The course offers expert perspectives on quality assurance (QA) issues, policies, national systems and institutional approaches in both national and international tertiary education contexts, drawn from the best and latest research and resources. It aims to provide concepts, insights and practical skills for designing, analysing and operating QA systems. Participants will also gain access to an international network of practitioners facing similar challenges.

Participants can expect a structured suite of readings, study tasks, moderated online discussion groups and regular lecturer feedback with a strong cohort experience.

Those who successfully complete the course (earn 50 credit points) will be awarded the Graduate Certificate in Quality Assurance by the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education.

Suitable for

This course is designed for QA professionals within the tertiary education sector. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Staff of tertiary education institutions responsible for quality assurance
  • Trustees or governors of tertiary education institutions that are establishing or improving their quality assurance systems or needing to understand systems of external quality assurance and accreditation
  • Those employed by existing or emerging external quality agencies and require education in the basic structures and implications of quality assurance
  • Board or commission members of external quality agencies
  • Evaluators or reviewers associated with external quality agencies.

Learning outcome

Upon completion, successful participants will have acquired insights and perspectives on QA systems, approaches and challenges in tertiary education contexts.

Benefits for Individuals

  • Flexibility to schedule course requirements around work/life commitments, through blended and online delivery study options
  • Gain knowledge of new frameworks, cases and exercises for leading and managing quality assurance processes in tertiary education settings
  • Greater capacity to improve institutional quality assurance policies and processes
  • Opportunities to share insights and experiences through active learning with peers from different parts of the sector.

Benefits for Institutions

Agencies and institutions considering this course as a professional development strategy for staff can expect the following transformative benefits for their organisations:

  • Staff with a more thorough understanding of the specific quality assurance needs, issues and challenges of the tertiary education sector in a global context
  • An increase in staff confidence and capability to plan and implement strategic quality assurance initiatives
  • More seamless and effective transitions of staff into promotional positions, due to their enhanced capacity and shared language and understandings of institutional quality challenges, policies and processes; and
  • Increased level of professional collaborations due to an expansion of staff internal and external networks.

Course structure

To gain the Graduate Certificate in Quality Assurance participants must complete two compulsory and one elective subjects totaling 50 credit points.

Compulsory subjects

Tertiary Education Policy and Management (MGMT90113)

This subject is taken in semester one via blended or online mode (more on delivery modes below). Successful completion equates to 25 credit points.

External Quality Assurance (MGMT90117)

This subject is taught online and taken in semester two. Successful completion equates to 12.5 credit points.

Elective subjects

One to be chosen from the list below, worth 12.5 credit points. All electives are taught online. Please refer to the links provided for University of Melbourne Handbook information on each subject. This list is current as at August 2015.

Operating an External Quality Agency (EDUC90605)

Maintaining Quality within Institutions (EDUC90602)

Institutional Research in Tertiary Education (MGMT90170)

Risk Management (MGMT90020)

Electives can also be taken as single subjects for continuing professional development. Please refer to our Single Subject site for more information.

Delivery modes

Blended mode

Blended mode subjects involve:

  • A residential school* featuring lecturer presentations, group exercises and group presentations by participants
  • Two-hour interactive webinars
  • Online discussion board tasks during set periods where participants engage in peer-to-peer interaction.

* Residential schools in Australia are held on the University of Melbourne campus.

Online mode

Online subjects typically involve:

  • Two-hour online webinars featuring lecturer presentations
  • Online discussion board tasks during set periods where participants engage in peer-to-peer interaction.

Teaching dates

2016 teaching period is March to November. Dates are subject to confirmation. Please
contact us for details on teaching dates and contact hours.

Teaching faculty

(In alphabetical order)

Dr Jeanette Baird, Adviser to the Office of Higher Education, Papua New Guinea and former Executive Director, Regulation and Review, Australian Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA). Jeanette teaches the Operating an External Quality Agency subject.

Professor Vic Borden, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Indiana University Bloomington. Vic teaches the Institutional Research in Tertiary Education subject with Hamish Coates and Marian Mahat.

Professor Hamish Coates, Professor, Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne. Hamish teaches the Institutional Research in Tertiary Education subject with Vic Borden and Marian Mahat.

Dr Vernon Crew, Fellow, LH Martin Institute. Vernon teaches the Maintaining Quality Within Institutions subject.

Dr Heather Davis, Program Director – Awards, LH Martin Institute. Heather is the coordinator of this course and teaches in a number of its subjects. Including both compulsory subjects and its governance subjects.

Mr Jon File, Director, Development and Consultancy, Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente, Netherlands. Jon teaches in the Tertiary Education Policy and Management subject.

Ms Marian Mahat, Research Fellow, Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education and PhD Candidate, LH Martin Institute. Marian teaches the Institutional Research in Tertiary Education subject with Vic Borden and Hamish Coates.

Mr Tom Phillips, Director, Soutenir Ltd and former accreditation consultant to the Dutch Ministry of Education and the Roosevelt Academy, Utrecht University, Netherlands. Tom teaches the External Quality Assurance subject.

Dr Geoff Sharrock, Program Director, LH Martin Institute. Geoff teaches and coordinates the compulsory Tertiary Education Policy and Management subject.

Course fee

2016 fee for the full graduate certificate program (50 credit points) is A$15,908.

This fee is correct as at August 2015 and may be subject to change. Please refer to the University of Melbourne fees website for a guide on fees.

Our course fee applies to both domestic and international applicants. It includes course notes, reading packs and catering during residential schools. It does NOT include text books, travel or accommodation-related expenses.

Successful applicants will be offered full fee-paying places in the course.

Australian citizens and permanent visa holders may be eligible for FEE-HELP, a loan scheme to assist eligible students with their tuition fees. Please refer to the Australian government's Study Assist website for more information on eligibility.

INQAAHE scholarship

The International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) is offering three scholarships in 2016 for outstanding candidates from lesser developed or low income countries to undertake this course. For more information on selection criteria and how to apply, please refer to the INQAAHE website or contact Applications for this scholarship close 27 November 2015. Note: the University of Melbourne and LH Martin Institute are not in a position to answer enquiries regarding this scholarship as it is entirely administered and awarded by INQAAHE.

Course prerequisites

Professional and academic requirements

To be eligible for the GCQA course applicants must possess:

  • An undergraduate degree or equivalent
  • At least two years of relevant work experience
  • Current employment and/or active involvement in the tertiary education sector
  • Proof of support for study from employer.
English language requirments

All applicants must meet the English language requirements of the University of Melbourne to be eligible for a place in this course. These can be met in a number of ways depending on personal circumstances. You can use IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Cambridge English: Advanced/Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) and satisfy the requirements in one sitting within the 24 months preceding your application.

The minimum scores required for this course are:

IELTS (Academic English only): overall 7.0 (with written 7.0 and no band less than 6.0)
TOEFL (Paper-based test): 600 + TWE 5.0 TOEFL (Internet-based test): 94 + Writing 27, Speaking 18, Reading 13, Listening 13
Pearson Test of English (Academic): 65 and written communicative skill of 65 with no other communicative skill below 50
CAE: 67 + no less than ‘Good’ in Writing and ‘Borderline’ in each other skill.

For more details and other ways to satisfy the English language requirements, please refer to the University of Melbourne website on language requirements. Pleaset note: language requirements are subject to change. Please check with us before applying.

Alternative entry options

If you are interested in this course and would like to explore alternative entry options, e.g. you do not currently meet the minimum professional and academic requirements, please contact the course coordinator to discuss your options.

Course applications and contacts

We are now accepting applications for 2016.

Please apply online (link takes you to the University's Research, Innovation and Commercialisation online application system).

The documents you will require to provide include:

  • Certified copies of testamurs and transcripts of all degrees listed in the application
  • Certified copies of proof of identity, e.g. passport or birth certificate
  • A letter of support from your employer
  • A personal statement as to why you are applying and what you wish to get out of the program
  • Your CV.

(Note: limit of 1.5 MB per document)

Please direct enquiries regarding applications to Sharnee Chislett at the University of Melbourne Research, Innovation and Commercialisation or call +61 3 9810 3179.

If you would like to discuss the course further, please contact our course coordinator Dr Heather Davis or call +61 3 9035 8648.


“I hadn’t studied for quite a while and was grateful that the program materials and resources were readily available to allow for immediate study enabling me to complete the program requirements on time. The interaction with other students was valuable, especially since they were all from tertiary education and this allowed for greater understanding and learning opportunities from each other as our employment basis was similar. I have already take advantage of some of my learning from the program to assist with an accreditation task for my School. Hearing different perspectives and theories has allowed me to approach my role in more of an informed manner allowing me to also go back to some of the GCQA resources when required.” Renata Susanj, Quality and Accreditation Manager,
School of Business, University of Western Sydney.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the GCQA as it has helped me in having a kaleidoscopic view of the system of quality in the arena of higher education. The assignments which I wrote gave me an opportunity to ponder over my Promethean ideas and experiences which in turn helped me to solve many issues in quality control. The references provided were extremely helpful in answering a few pertinent questions related to the quality issues. The comments which I was asked to write based on the inputs of the other participants of the course also aided me to have a thorough insight into the others’ experiences and their points of view. This activity equipped me with the analytical skills to critically analyse my own as well as the others’ ideas which has helped me resolve many quality issues in higher education. I hope that this kind of program would continue to be beneficial to many more in the field.” Dr M. S. Shyamasundar, Adviser, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), India.

“I joined the GCQA with a very high expectation and a strong desire to acquire knowledge and skills to enhance my productivity. I am thankful because the program has helped me to understand and appreciate both the conceptual and theoretical basis underpinning quality assurance work, issues and applications. The experience sharing aspect of the course has helped me to understand and embraced quality assurance practices worldwide. The knowledge and experience gained from such international exposure has enhanced my
confidence level and also sharpened my skills and competencies as a quality assurance practitioner. Further, the course has changed my thinking and my line of argument. I am now skillful and confident in the discharge of my work as a quality assurance practitioner. My contributions at Board and Committee meetings have improved tremendously. Above all, the course has secured my profession and work. I wish to thank the organisers and lecturers of this enviable program for their insightfulness.” Ransford Oware Nyarko, Development Planner and Quality Assurance Expert, National Accreditation Board, Ghana.

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Awarded by the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.
Awarded by the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.