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What is PFHEA?

Principal Fellow for the Higher Education Authority (PFHEA)is awarded to professionals who demonstrate they meet the criteria of Descriptor 4 of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for teaching and supporting learning in higher education.

Principal Fellow

Principal Fellow is relevant for experienced staff with strategic leadership responsibilities for learning and teaching. This encompasses both academic leadership and related activities for learning and teaching. Principal Fellow is relevant if you have experience of developing and implementing strategies, policy making and informing approaches to enhancing student education within the University.  You will also be able to demonstrate wider influence and impact in learning and teaching, for example leading developments nationally or internationally in the context of your discipline, profession or topics of expertise.

Applying for PFHEA

Applications for Principal Fellow are by direct submission to Advance HE (AHE). This is different to the process for staff applying for any other category of Fellowship - Senior, Fellow or Associate - these can be applied for using the University’s PRiSE scheme, accredited by AHE.

Getting started

  1. To assess your suitability for principal fellow, we recommend you complete the AHE Fellowship Category Tool (link takes you to AHE website)– this provides immediate feedback on your current strengths and weaknesses in relation to the Fellowship criteria.
  2. Next, download the Principal Fellow applicant pack from the AHE website

Support for your application

We facilitate an online PFHEA community to provide peer support as you work on your application.

We can cover the fee for your PFHEA application (currently £550), provided you sign up for our support provision. Please contact for further information or if you would like a conversation about your potential application. 

You can also read about some of our other Principal Fellows at Leeds in these articles, case studies and blogs:

Be Inspired