A while back I asked this question which was about teaching certifications. As I dig into the subject more, it seems teaching certifications are quite rare for university teachers in many countries.

  1. The UK has the PGCHE (post graduate certificate in higher education) - optional
  2. Canada has the UTC (university teaching certificate) - optional
  3. I'm unaware of the US having anything required or anything optional for university teachers
  4. In Switzerland I don't see any information on university teaching certificates

I'm curious about European countries, especially Switzerland, and what teaching qualifications are accepted or required for university teaching.

Is anyone familiar with this topic in that geographic region?

  • In Canada education is under provincial jurisdiction. The UTC seems to only be offered in Ontario, and I know of no equivalency for the Quebec.
    – Zenon
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 12:50
  • I think they are trying to get something happening here in Australia as well.
    – user7130
    Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 10:03
  • @DamienIgoe I see this and this in Australia...but I'm curious to know if anyone really cares about them.
    – earthling
    Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 13:37

1 Answer 1


Traditionally, the formal teaching requirement at universities in continental Europe is the so called Habilitation. It's a formal exam which requires submitting a thesis and defending it in a colloquium much like the PhD, but (supposedly) on a higher level. Usually it also includes a teaching-related element. The habilitation used to be a requirement for being appointed as a professor, but in recent times also other criteria, which represent a comparable achievement to a habilitation, are being used. In Germany, having passed the habilitation allows you to use the title "Privatdozent" (even before being appointed as professor), with the same teaching entitlements as an ordinary professor.

However, also other personnel may teach at the university. Even fresh graduates from one study program may find themselves in front of a class of students who could be just a year or two behind them. However, that will always be under the supervision of a professor, or on the formal commission of the department dean.

In addition, there are recent efforts to offer a more formal teaching education for university staff, including certificates for those who take part in the programs. I'm mostly familiar with the situation in Germany, for example this or this (in German), but I imagine similar efforts exist in neighboring countries. At the moment, these certificates are however not a requirement for university teaching, and I even doubt that they will become so in the near future. Yet, in some announcements for professor positions it seems to be included as a desirable applicant qualification.

  • After reading the Habilitation page I see it is for supervising PhD students (and for gaining full professorships). It is clearly quite an investment (almost a decade after a PhD). I'm wondering if there is something more teaching-oriented, that is for those wishing simply to teach, not necessarily those wishing to supervised PhD students. Something similar to the qualifications I've listed in the question. Are you aware of anything like that?
    – earthling
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 11:58

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