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Development Programmes for External Examiners

Maintaining degree standards through the professional development and calibration of external examiners.

Advance HE led the Degree Standards Project, managed by the Office for Students, on behalf of England and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales, exploring, across those three nations, sector-owned processes focusing on professional development for external examiners. Advance HE has been granted a three-year licence by the Office for Students, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and Department for the Economy Northern Ireland (DfENI) to continue to deliver the professional development of External Examiners developed by the Degree Standards project.

The project developed three programmes in relation to external examining:

  • Professional Development Course for External Examiners
  • Develop the Developer Programme
  • Calibration Course.

So far just over 4000 academic staff have undertaken the certificated PDC; forty eight institutions have adopted the course with 94 developers having completed the training to deliver it to their colleagues. 

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If you would like to find out more about the professional development opportunities in relation to external examining, complete the form by clicking the button below and we will send you further information.

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An excellent, informative and thought-provoking course that captured the essence of the external examining role while underlining the complexity and variation in applying standards equitably across institutions."

Professional Development Course Participant

Share and celebrate your achievements with digitally recognised learning

Completion of this course is recognised by a digital badge award and
inclusion on the External Examiners’ Directory.

For much of our portfolio for 2022-23 the learning of event attendees and programme participants and conference, symposia and colloquia presenters will be digitally recognised.

This makes it easy for you to share and celebrate your achievements by adding them to your email signature or including them in your social profiles including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Your learning certificates can also be easily verified and downloaded as a pdf.

Find out more about digitally recognised learning

External Examiners Directory

The names, disciplines and contact details of those colleagues who have completed the Professional Development Course (and consented to have their data published) can be found in External Examiners Directory.

External Examiners Directory


Training for External Examiners

Professional Development Course for External Examiners

The Professional Development Course for External Examiners provides participants with practical approaches to reinforcing UK standards of external examining. The course aims to enable aspiring, new or experienced examiners to understand the role of the external examiner, develop a deeper understanding of the nature of academic standards and professional judgement and use evidence-informed approaches to contribute to impartial, transparent judgements on academic standards and the enhancement of student learning.

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Develop the Developer Programme

The Develop the Developer (DtD) programme is a sustainable approach for higher education providers to adopt the professional development of external examiners. It is a key part of the Degree Standards provision designed to contribute to the maintenance of degree standards and their reasonable comparability across the higher education systems by providing training for external examiners. The DtD trains institutional developers to deliver the professional development course for external examiners

Once completed participants from the programme are able to facilitate the Professional Development Course for External Examiners within their institution.

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Subject-Specific Calibration Course

Assessment is rooted in disciplinary practice and it is importance to bring together peers to calibrate their standards. Calibration can be seen as a form of social moderation. The course activities are usually designed in conjunction with subject associations, specialists or professional, statutory and regulatory bodies. 

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Professional Development for External Examiners: Frequently Asked Questions

We have collated a number of frequently asked questions about external examining and the training we provide. If you have any further questions please contact

Frequently Asked Questions
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