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 are looking to work or currently working in an educational setting with international students at the core of its operation.
Read full overview

Principally this course will enable you to develop, extend and deepen your knowledge of theory and practice, whether you are working with international students in support services or international offices; in the independent sector in English language schools or public schools, or in higher/further education.

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

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has chosen the 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 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 wellbeing of students and the international activity of their institution.

Beatrice Merrick, Director of Services and Research, UKCISA


The staff listed above are supported UKCISA staff.

Alumni profiles

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

I feel compelled to express my gratitude for delivering such a thought-provoking and useful weekend of material. I really enjoyed the course and learned a lot.

Ashleigh Hough

I used the Gestalt model on a student this morning and I can't believe how well it went! ...It was really eye-opening. So different from my usual compliance led meetings.

Elizabeth Witter

Key facts


Course details

This course is made up of four 15-credit modules. Each module is delivered in an intensive block, spanning 15 hours over two-and-a-half days. This typically includes an induction event on Thursday, followed by four hours on Friday, seven hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday.


Each 15-credit module is assessed by a 3,000-word written assignment. To complete the PGCert, you must achieve a pass of 50 on each assignment.


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

Important dates
Start dateApplication deadlineFee year
8 November 2018 18 October 2018 2018/19



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 compliance with 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.

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.

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 adviser's 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 you develop confidence and competence to access and interpret ethical and legal frameworks; to discern what you may or may not advise students to do, and where you 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 your 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, you will learn to make judicious risk assessments and identify competent practice within given limitations.

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 your leadership skills.



You can download the timetable for 2017/18, but please note this is subject to change.

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 and can also be found on the Graduate School website.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans of up to £10,609 for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.



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

Employability and average starting salary

99.2% of postgraduates from the School of Education who were available for employment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £22,797 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £44,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career and professional development

Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects or develop your knowledge, a postgraduate degree from the University of Nottingham can help take you where you want to be.

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service offers specialist support and guidance while you study and for life after you graduate. They will help you explore and plan your next career move, through regular events, employer-led skills sessions, placement opportunities and one-to-one discussions.

Explore it - Virtual Nottingham

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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