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Degree Apprenticeships were launched in 2015 with approximately 1,000 students across a very small number of universities. Fast forward to 2022, 87 higher education providers are offering degree apprenticeship programmes and over 82,000 students started a higher level apprenticeship in the UK in 2020-21. Despite this phenomenal growth, the pedagogical nuances of designing and delivering them remain largely understudied.


Universities develop degree apprenticeship programmes against standards of Knowledge, Skills, Behaviours (KSB) written by industry and business-led Trailblazer groups and validated by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE). Other distinguishing features include independent synoptic end-point assessments, regulation by OFSTED, and higher proportions of mature and non-standard-entry students than traditional undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes.


Apprentices/students are full-time employees spending around 20% of their employment hours at a provider of higher education and the rest in on-the-job learning activities.


Effective pedagogy must consider the above factors. However, there are very few studies investigating relationships between different delivery models, pedagogical approaches, and student outcomes. Given the lack of good practice guidelines, degree apprenticeship providers have evolved diverse approaches: few investing heavily in new co-designed curricula, others repurposing or encasing existing undergraduate and postgraduate programmes into degree apprenticeship courses with additional bolt-ons.


Addressing the urgent need to develop evidence-informed pedagogy for degree apprenticeships, this project will capture voices from teaching staff and students to systematically analyse the following challenges:

  • developing, delivering, and evaluating degree apprenticeship programmes
  • institutional, practitioner and student motivations which drive pedagogical processes
  • lessons learned (including the use of digital technology in response to Covid-19)
  • strategies enabling student success.

The project team, which comprises 5 leading degree apprenticeship institutions and the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC), which represents over 80 universities involved in the provision of degree apprenticeships, will analyse motivations and challenges of students and teachers across the UK sector in order to develop and disseminate good practice guides for delivering degree apprenticeships which offer positive student outcomes.


Staffordshire University


Kingston University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Middlesex University, University of Bolton and University of Wolverhampton

Other Collaborative Enhancement Projects

QAA supports a number of projects every year, covering a range of topics and interest areas. Each is led by a QAA Member, working in collaboration with other members institutions. You can find more information on all projects, and access resources and outputs, on our website.