The role of the PGT Programme Director

The role of the Programme Director in Taught Postgraduate Programmes

Team Members:  Gill Aitken, Sarah Henderson, Anna Meredith, Sharron Ogle, Elizabeth Stevenson, Ruth McQuillan, Paul Travers, Jenna Fyfe

School:  Edinburgh Medical School (Centre for Medical Education)


Taught postgraduate programmes are recruiting increasing student numbers and the role of the Programme Director (PD) is key to this development. This role continues to evolve and develop, but lack of investigation or definition means this work is timely.

The aim is to investigate how PDs at the University perceive their role and specific objectives are to:

  • Describe the complexity of their role and how PDs perceive their academic identity
  • Investigate the career pathways of this group that have enabled the development of an academic leadership role
  • Investigate what PDs perceive as important factors in PTES scores

PDs across the University will be invited to participate in an iterative interview process; with a target of 20 interviews. Interviews will be audio-recorded, transcribed and will be subject to analysis with a constructivist approach.

In acknowledgement of the ‘leadership in teaching’ strand of the current University strategic plan, the leadership aspects of the PD role will be explored as this appears to be an area of importance in the provision and development of PGT programmes. Academic identities will also be considered as many PDs come from a non-traditional career trajectory.

We also wish to investigate how PDs facilitate meaningful relationships with PGT students, and what aspects of this relationship contribute to the PTES scores. Extrapolation of the elements of good practice may be of benefit to undergraduate teaching.

Findings from all strands of the project should aid future planning and development of the skills required for the PD role

Final Project Report

Download the final project report (PDF)