International Student Advice and Support PGCert


Fact file

PGCert International Student Advice and Support
1 year part-time
Entry requirements
2:2 (or international equivalent) or a relevant professional qualification
Other requirements
Applicants should have experience of working with international students within an educational institution
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
Jubilee Campus
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


This course addresses the needs of a range of professionals who work or seek employment in educational settings where the recruitment and personal, academic and professional support of international students is core business.
Read full overview

Principally the PGCert International Student Advice and Support programme will enable individuals working with international students (for example in student support services and international offices) in the independent sector (eg. English language schools, public schools), and in higher and further education to systematically develop, extend and deepen their knowledge of both theory and practice.

In a pervasive climate of local, national and international change, such professionals require expertise in interpreting changing political, social and legal frameworks, alongside the cultural and psycho-social aspects of helping and advice work with a variety of international students. This programme will address the central issues facing international student advisors in their day-to-day working lives.

The UK Council for International Students Affairs (UKCISA) has chosen The University of Nottingham's School of Education, with its expertise in counselling and international education, as their preferred institution to deliver this innovative qualification for professionals working in the sector.

We're delighted to be working with The University of Nottingham on this exciting new opportunity for enhancing the professional development of International Student Advisers and related staff. The role of the ISA has never been more crucial to the well-being of students and the international activity of their institution.


Beatrice Merrick, Director of Services and Research, UKCISA


University staff are supported UKCISA staff

Course Alumni

Read about our students' experience of the course and how it helped with their career development.


Course details

The course comprises four 15-credit core modules. Each module is delivered in a two and a half day intensive block totalling 15 hours (generally four hours on Friday, seven hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday).

You are also required to attend an induction event on the Thursday preceding the first module. You can view an example timetable but please note this is subject to change.



  • Thursday 1-6pm
  • Friday 9.30am-12.30pm

Module delivery

  • Friday 2-6pm
  • Saturday 9.30am-4.30pm
  • Sunday 9.30am-1.30pm


Each 15-credit module is assessed by a written assignment of 3,000 words or equivalent. To complete the Postgraduate Certificate programme successfully, a pass of 50% must be achieved on each assignment.


To ensure your application is considered in time for the start date, please note the following deadline applies:

Application deadlines
Students Start date Application deadline 
Home/EU and international 14 November 2016 24 October 2016




The four 15-credit modules are:

Cross-Cultural Aspects of Advice and Support (delivered in November)

The capacity to work in a culturally attuned, sensitive and yet robust manner with international students is fundamental to the role of the international student advisor in education. This cultural aspect is heightened in a policy context where the requirements of compliancewith Tier 4 regulations may equally require cultural sensitivity to the specific needs and situation of some international students.

This module is therefore primarily concerned with the international student experience and the role and responsibility of the international student advisor to ensure that the student experience is articulated, honoured and responded to in a culturally appropriate, and where necessary, robust manner.

The module considers: the student experience of cross-cultural differences at different levels of the institution and the impact on their well being and capacity to engage in learning; enhancing advisers' awareness and sensitivity to cultural issues and how their use of (acculturated) self impacts the effectiveness of their work with students, colleagues and the wider institution; approaches to handling sensitive issues within a cross-cultural environment; reflective practice.

Advice-Giving and Client Care (delivered in February)

Central to the role of the professional advisor working with international students in education is a high degree of self-awareness, emotional resilience and maturity, and sound communication skills. The process of self reflection and critical self-analysis by the advisor is central to the development of an effective working alliance with their international clients.

This module sets out to create a working environment in which students are able to work with others to develop their understanding of theoretical models of support and advice giving, and their awareness and knowledge of self as a practitioner. This process is facilitated through an in-depth exploration of the nature and effect of difference on self, other and relationship and the phenomenology of transition, stress and growth.

Particular attention will be paid to the application of advanced intrapersonal and interpersonal skills to support the development of reflective practice. The skills of reflective journal and case study writing will be explored.

The module therefore considers issues of theoretical models; the role of emotional, practical and cognitive coping; resilience and vulnerability; identity formation; enculturation; reflective practice; structured advice giving; counselling skills; case study writing.

Ethical and Legal Frameworks and the role of the International Student Advisor (delivered in April)

Central to the role of the professional working with international students in an advice and guidance capacity is the ability to access, understand and translate legal documents to ensure compliance. Good practice suggests this is mediated by the advisers' understanding of ethical principles guiding the interpretation of frameworks, and discernment in the management of individual casework.

This module creates a working environment in which students develop confidence and competence to access and interpret ethical and legal frameworks; to discern what they may or may not advise students to do, and where they may or may not challenge decision-making and procedures.

This learning is facilitated with reference to the specific role of the international student advisor and draws on participants' professional experiences, within the context of compliance requirements on the one hand and Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) regulation of advisors on the other. Further, participants will learn to make judicious risk assessments and identify competent practice within given limitations.

The module invites students to consider: Their personal positioning in terms of values, beliefs and principles that relate to ethical decision-making; navigating and translating legal documentation (eg rules, guidance, case law); understanding legal procedures: tribunals, appeal processes etc; compliance issues; undertaking risk assessments; and report writing.

Managing Complexity: Enhancing the Student Advisor's Influence and Impact (delivered in June)

The international student adviser plays a key role in balancing institutional compliance re immigration frameworks with the advice and guidance needs of the individual. They have a responsibility to reflect on their work and discern key themes, recurring issues and challenges which warrant further action on the part of the institution, and develop the awareness and understanding of others in order to influence attitudes, procedures and policy in the wider institution.

This module sets out to create a working environment in which you develop the confidence and competence to influence awareness and understanding of others and contribute where necessary, to policy and procedural review within the institution. This learning will be facilitated with reference to the role of the international student advisor as a manager of complex dynamics related to role, responsibility leader and therefore attend to the development of their leadership skills.

Particular attention will be paid to the application of advanced intrapersonal and interpersonal skills to deepen reflective practice.Influential presentation and report writing skills will be explored. The module therefore considers issues of: change leadership; reflective practice; influencing skills; self-care; and report writing.



The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



Funding information is available on the school website. Funding information can also be found on the Graduate School website.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Applications for 2017 entry scholarships will open in late 2016. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



Career destinations for our graduates include counsellors, education advisers, language tutors, primary and secondary school teachers and vocational and industrial trainers and instructors. A number of our graduates are already in employment while undertaking part-time study and study for professional development within their chosen career.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 91% of postgraduates in the School of Education who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation.*

* Known destinations of full-time home higher degree postgraduates 2014/15.

Career prospects and employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential.

Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.

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