What is Scholarship?

Background and definitions of scholarship

All the resources in the framework are centred on advancing relevant forms of scholarship within technical and professional college higher education curricula and aim to enhance the learning experience for students. They were created as a result of the Scholarship Project, a HEFCE catalyst funded project. The resources in the framework can be adopted or adapted by all colleges.

In creating the Scholarship Framework, there was no pre-conceived notion of what scholarship is, but the creation of the resources was conceptually underpinned by the work of Ernest Boyer on the four scholarships (Boyer 1990) - of discovery, of application, of integration, and of teaching - with the intention of exploring how each form of scholarship might be developed, monitored and evaluated within a college higher education context.

For example, the project has provided opportunities to explore ways in which curricula and pedagogies have encouraged forms of interplay between knowledge contexts – interdisciplinary and work/academic knowledge (the scholarship of integration); encouraged staff, students and local employers to develop productive knowledge exchange networks (the scholarship of application); and sought ways to enhance peer support and evaluation of teaching (the scholarship of teaching).

The project also had the aim of exploring how scholarly activity can avowedly enhance the learning of college higher education students, and was informed by the following typology, which outlines how Boyer’s four scholarships can be related to student learning activities:

Types of scholarship Illustrative example of ways of engaging learners
Scholarship of discovery Engage in inquiry-based learning; undergraduate research and consultancy projects; co-research projects with staff.
Scholarship of integration Engage in integrating material from different sources, including across disciplines; integrate life and work experience with academic studies; reflect on implications of studies for personal development.
Scholarship of application/engagement Engage with local, national, and international community service projects; volunteering; knowledge exchange projects; apply knowledge and skills in work-based placements.
Scholarship of teaching and learning Engage in mentoring; peer support and assessment; collaborative group work; learners as explicit partners in educational development and inquiry.


Boyer, E.L. (1990) Scholarship Reconsidered: priorities for the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Healey, Jenkins and Lea. (2014) Developing research-based curricula in college-based higher education. York: HEA, p56