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Frequently asked questions

This page seeks to answer your frequently asked questions regarding all aspects of LEAP. Topics include:

  • registering on LEAP and what you need to know before joining the programme
  • questions you may have when working on and completing your LEAP application
  • what happens after I've submitted by LEAP application and achieved my fellowship

If we haven't answered your question here please contact us at

Registering on the LEAP

Answers to your frequently asked questions about joining the programme and what you need to know before you register on the LEAP.

What is the difference between applying for fellowship through LEAP and applying directly to Advance HE?

By applying for fellowship through LEAP you’ll have access to the online resources and support mechanisms that have been developed to support you with your application. LEAP is also free to staff and students registered at the University (and to practice educators employed by our partner organisations) whereas there is an application fee for each application submitted directly to Advance HE (see Advance HE direct application costs for further information). The application format is also slightly different, although the fellowship criteria is the same.


Please note Advance HE launched the new Professional Standards Framework (PSF) 2023 in January 2023. We will be continuing to use the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) 2011 until 1st September 2024. If you apply directly to Advance HE you now have to map your experience to the new PSF 2023.

How long do I stay on the LEAP?

Once registered on the LEAP you will retain your place for two years or until the current accreditation runs out. After two years on the programme or after the current accreditation with AdvanceHE expires (whichever comes first) your registration on the programme will expire and you will need to re-register on the programme at the next available date. Please note that our current accreditation expires on 31st August 2024.

If you are completing LEAP through a bespoke cohort (e.g. LEAP for the NHS or LEAP for PASS Leaders and Peer Mentors) please contact your cohort lead for further advice. 

Do I have to start at Descriptor 1 / Associate Fellowship?

No. We recommend that you identify and apply for the level of fellowship that is most appropriate for your current practice and experience. You also don't need to work through the categories sequentially for example, if you have Associate Fellowship you can jump straight to applying for Senior Fellowship as long as you can evidence against the Descriptor.

I already have a teaching qualification. Can I still apply for LEAP?

If you already have a teaching qualification (e.g. a PG certificate) you can still apply for LEAP and Advance HE fellowship to support your professional development activity and development as an educator. Your previous qualifications and experience can be useful tools in helping you to produce your fellowship application.

Should I undertake a taught programme or one of the fellowship LEAP pathways?

LEAP has been designed to support you in evidencing your existing experience in teaching and/or supporting learning against the descriptors of the UKPSF. You should discuss your options with your line manager/supervisor to determine which type of development programme best suits your professional development goals and teaching and learning needs. Depending on your experience completion of the New Academics Programme, the PGCert in Higher Education or the PGCert in Medical and Healthcare Education may be more suitable.

How long will it take to produce my application?

The time it takes for an individual to complete their application varies depending on where you are in your teaching and learning journey. We recommend setting some time aside where possible so that you can work on your fellowship application but also appreciate that this can be difficult particularly during busy times. To help you block out some time, you may want to consider booking on to one of the Institute of Teaching and Learning's Pomodoro sessions.

How do I decide what fellowship pathway to take?

The fellowship category you choose to apply for will depend on how much of the Professional Standards Framework (PSF) that you can evidence against. If you are unsure which category of fellowship to apply for, we recommend that you complete the Advance HE fellowship category tool. If you're still unsure you can also talk to LEAP alumni within your local area, your line manager/supervisor or the LEAP team.

If you are interested in applying for Principal Fellowship, please watch the 'What is Principal Fellowship?' video from Prof Judy Williams.

Can I use this for promotion?

You can evidence your fellowship award in your promotion application as this forms part of a national teaching recognition framework and enables external benchmarking of your activities. In recent reviews of the University promotions criteria for example, there has been careful consideration of the UKPSF when considering teaching and so it may help you when drawing evidence together.

I have applied for a LEAP fellowship in the past and am now ready to apply for a higher award. Can I use the same referees or case studies?

Using the same people as referees is fine, but they will need to write a new reference that is relevant to the level of fellowship and the experience detailed in your application. You can help your referees by talking them through the points that you’d like them to cover and by providing some pointers but you should take care to ensure that your references are different from one another and any submitted previously to avoid any risk of academic malpractice. Similarly, you can use the same teaching experience in your case studies but should take care to write/present this in the lens of the descriptor for which you are now applying, avoiding any direct duplication from a previous application.

Choosing your evidence

Answers to your frequently asked questions about choosing your evidence for your LEAP application.

Is there a time limit between completing teaching and applying for fellowship and can I use experience from another institution?

The teaching and learning practice that you evidence in your application should be current (i.e. from the last five years) and linked to your activities teaching and/or supporting learners registered on University of Manchester higher education programmes. However, you can use teaching experience that is older than five years or from another institution as long as you can clearly demonstrate how you are using that experience to inform your practice now at the University.

If you are only using experience that does not directly influence or support learners registered on University of Manchester programmes as evidence in your application, you will need to apply directly to Advance HE. Please note that applications made directly to Advance HE incur a cost (see AdvanceHE direct application costs for further information).

Am I able to use experience from widening participation activity in my application?

Advance HE fellowships are eligible to those who are teaching and/or supporting learning in higher education. From February 2018, this has also included teaching and/or supporting learning on:

  • Foundation Year programmes;
  • Pre-sessional English courses for international degree students designed to develop academic skills;
  • Professional CPD programmes that are designed to develop and extend existing graduate/postgraduate level skills, knowledge and understanding, e.g. GP training, etc.

If your experience in teaching and/or supporting learning is from a different context, e.g. widening participation activity at a further  education (FE) level or through access to higher education initiatives such as The Brilliant Club or the Manchester Access Programme (MAP), then you can reference this experience in your application however, you must be able to demonstrate how this experience has influenced teaching practice in a higher education setting e.g. how this has shaped your own teaching practice in higher education and/or how you have supported peers and colleagues by cascading your learning to others.

Further detail about levels of teaching and eligibility for Advance HE fellowship is available from the Advance HE website – eligibility.

I have been involved in delivery teaching as part of a team. Can I use this experience in my LEAP application?

You can use evidence from team teaching in your personal application however, do take care to clearly present your role and input throughout your application whilst also clearly highlighting the role of others.

I have applied for LEAP but would like to change the category of fellowship that I initially applied for. Is this possible and how would I go about this?

Yes, it is absolutely fine for you to change the category of fellowship that you wish to apply for. You can do this at any time during your registration on the programme and you don't need to tell us until you submit your LEAP application. We know that individuals often change their fellowship category once they start working on their applications. When you register on the programme you'll be given access to resources for all fellowship categories. When you submit your LEAP application please make sure you tick the category of fellowship that you are applying for on the cover sheet and we’ll update your LEAP record. 

Producing your application

Answers to your frequently asked questions about producing your LEAP application.

Which Professional Standards Framework (PSF) should I use?

Advance HE launched the new Professional Standards Framework (PSF) 2023 in January 2023. However we will be continuing to use the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) 2011 until 1st September 2024.

Do my supporting statements have to be from a person with the same fellowship I am applying for and do they need to be working/studying at the University of Manchester?

Applications for Associate Fellow, Fellow and Senior Fellow must include two supporting statements. We recommend that at least one supporting statement is from someone internal to the University. They do not need to hold an Advance HE fellowship. Supporting statements can be provided as a reference letter or referees can complete the LEAP referee report form.

Applications for Principal Fellow must include three supporting statements. At least one of the supporting statements must be from a colleague external to the University and at least one referee must hold an Advance HE fellowship or National Teaching Fellowship.

What is included in the word count if I am writing a portfolio?

All text is included in the word count except a reference list/biblography at the end of the portfolio.

Can I use teaching and/or supporting learning experience to evidence more than one criteria?

Yes, you can use the same experience to evidence more than one criteria.

Can I provide additional case studies or supporting statements?

No you should stick to the required amount of case studies and supporting statements. This will reduce your workload, give you more space within your word count / time limit to go into detail with your other case studies and keep everything fair between applicants.

Which is best, portfolio or presentation?

Neither route is better than the other and both are equally successful. You should choose the route that plays to your strengths or you feel most comfortable with.

How early can I submit my application?

The application submission form will open 3 weeks after the previous deadline and will remain open until 11:45pm on the day of the deadline. You can submit your application at any point during this window but it will not be assessed until after the dealine along with all the other applications from that submission window.

Support available

Answers to your frequently asked questions about the support available for you whilst completing your LEAP application.

Do I have to attend any workshops or access the online learning resources?

You do not need to engage with any of the support available on the LEAP in order to submit your application for fellowship, attendance at the pathway workshops is not compulsory. However, we do strongly recommend that you engage with at least one form of support if possible as those who do are significantly more likely to be successful on the first attempt.

What are the first-time success rates for LEAP applicants?

We review our first-time pass rates each year. In 2021-22 the first-time success rates for LEAP applicants were:

  • Associate Fellow - 98%
  • Fellow - 95%
  • Senior Fellow - 96% 
  • Principal Fellow - 100%

Can I view any examples of previous applications?

Yes, we have examples of previous successful applications in the LEAP online resource.

I don't have access to the LEAP online resource, what do I do?

You can gain access to the LEAP online resource by registering on the programme via the online form. You will receive the link to the resource in the email. If you still don't have access to the online resource please get in touch with the LEAP team at

I've submitted my LEAP application what happens next?

Answers to your frequently asked questions about what happens after you've submitted your LEAP application. 

How long will it take for me to hear back after submitting my application?

It can take approximately 12 to 14 weeks from the submission deadline for you to receive the outcome of your application. All applications are either double or triple marked (depending on the level of fellowship applied for) by trained LEAP assessors. Once all applications have been reviewed, the LEAP recognitiona panel reviews all assessor recommendations before ratifying the outcome of your applications. After the panel meeting, the LEAP administrator will be in touch via email to inform you of the outcome of your application and any next steps.

What are the possible outcomes for your application?

There are three possible outcomes for your application - award, minor refer or refer.

  • Award - your application meets all the criteria for the category of fellowship you are applying for.
  • Minor refer - your application is missing a few pieces of evidence and does not quite meet the bar for an award. Either your assessors or the LEAP team will contact you to request additional information that will give you the opportunity to provide the missing evidence. Minor additions will usually have a limit of no more than 500 words and you will be provided with clear feedback on the points you need to address. If your assessors have recommended a minor refer, we will aim to contact you before the LEAP recognition panel. However, this isn't always possible and the request for additional information could come to you after the panel has taken place. Please don't worry - this doesn't mean you will have to wait for the next panel as your additional information can be assessed via Chair's actions.
  • Refer - your application is missing a significant amount of evidence that cannot be resolved through a minor refer. For example, you may need to reframe your application or rewrite one of your case studies. You will be provided with feedack to help you develop your application. You can resubmit your revised application at a later deadline.

Do I have to be working/studying at the University of Manchester to receive my fellowship?

Yes, you need to still be a registered student or member of staff employed by the University of Manchester at the time you receive your fellowship award. If you are on a fixed-term contract or your programme end date is approaching, please consider this when choosing the deadline you wish to apply at. If you are concerned, or if this poses any difficulties, please get in touch with the team as soon as is possible at