Army Higher Education Pathway (AHEP)

An Introduction to AHEP

Lead and Learn - Degrees While You Serve

The Army Higher Education Pathway (AHEP) is offered by the Army in partnership with Henley Business School and the University of Reading's School of Politics, Economics and International Relations (SPEIR). The AHEP is an innovative and flexible mechanism that optimises your professional development as an Officer.

It is designed for those on the full Commissioning Course (CC) and through their early career or those at a more senior level of leadership, from the ‘Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) (ICSC(L))’.

The AHEP provides opportunities for non-graduates at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) to achieve a BSc Leadership and Strategic Studies and for selected graduates a MSc Leadership and Strategic Studies, awarded by the University of Reading.

In addition, selected Majors starting ICSC(L) are be able to pursue a fully funded MSc (Exec) Leadership and Strategic Studies.


Why the Army is investing in you ->

From the Commandant

For the individual, it offers a unique opportunity to ‘Lead and Learn’: to complete a recognised BSc or MSc in Leadership and Strategic Studies through our partnership with Henley Business School and the University of Reading's School of Politics, Economics and International Relations (SPEIR).

‘Lead and Learn’ is a pathway that will strengthen and enhance the British Army’s existing excellent through-life career leadership and professional development opportunities. It supports our people to confidently develop their intellectual capability, ready to meet the challenges of the future with absolute commitment.

The Army Higher Education Pathway is an exciting proposition. For the Army, it ensures we maximise our talent and develop individuals with higher conceptual and analytical skills to support future roles and provides our people with skills for life.


Major General Paul Nanson CBE

General Officer Commanding and Commandant Sandhurst HQ Army Recruiting and Initial Training Command

Why should lead and learn? ->

For Students - Why 'Lead and Learn'?

Be the best leader you can be and enhance your career and success as an Officer

The role of higher education in the Army is about developing individual capability to the highest standards possible – train for certainty, educate for uncertainty. Learning is a way of evolving and adapting to changing environments.

A BSc/MSc/MSc Exec degree in Leadership and Strategic Studies is:

Focused on your career stage
The BSc and MSc degrees start during the Commissioning Course at RMAS, the pathway accredits and builds on your demanding and complex officer leadership training.

The MSc Exec pathway is for those approved after ICSC(L). The course includes advanced leadership and coaching skills, exploration of British Foreign Policy and the foundations of conducting robust and relevant research. Read more and see how it all fits >>

Workplace relevant
The extension modules explore a deeper understanding of leadership concepts and by applying your learning in the workplace you’ll develop your communication skills and personal leadership effectiveness.

You will also advance your critical thinking and analytical skills, and by extending your knowledge, learn how to adapt, evolve and develop effective solutions to volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous problems.

You will be doing your work and applying what you have learnt to real situations, recording the learnings and outcomes in an online platform. How you’ll lead and learn >>

A brains-based approached
The course will develop your conceptual and intellectual capacity and so you can be best placed to enhance the Army's ability to protect the Nation and meet the challenges of the future, both at home and overseas

Flexible with no exams
It is an online course so you can study anywhere in the world. Learning at your own pace >>

A fully funded qualification
You won’t have to pay any fees and there are no additional study costs (e.g. books).

These qualifications will optimise your Army career opportunities and keep you in line with your peers outside of the Army.

The Pathway is not for everyone but you will still get a qualification
Your academic training at RMAS gives you a standalone qualification without doing any extra work. If you choose not to pursue a degree or are not selected/eligible, you will be awarded a Certificate in Higher Education (Cert HE) or a Post Graduate Certificate (PG Cert).
Find out more >>

How to apply

The application process differs depending on your course >>

Career Stage Pathways

Officer Cadets at RMAS

Your training at RMAS counts towards a BSc in Leadership and Strategic Studies, if you already have a degree, you can apply for an MSc in Leadership and Strategic Studies. During your Commissioning Course you will start your degree course and it will continue during the early stages of your Army career, linking training, education and leadership experience. After each mandatory course of Career Stage 1 the extension module you undertake counts towards your degree.


Blue: Army Career Stage 1:
JOLP3 = Junior Officer Leadership Programme 3
JOTAC = Junior Officer Tactical Awareness Course
JCSC(L) = Junior Command and Staff Course
(Land) MA(A) and MA(B) = Military Analysis A and B

: Henley/UoR extension modules

Majors ICSC(L)


Blue: Army ICSC(L) = Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land)
Orange: Henley/UoR extension modules


For all routes you must complete the application and enrolment process.

If eligible you will not have to pay any fees for these qualifications.

How and what you'll learn ->

Workplace Relevance

The aim of the programme is to enable you to learn as you lead, underpinning your professional understanding and analysis. Developing you intellectually to support professional activity and agile thinking.

Extension modules

The extension modules are relevant to your work environment, as they focus on leadership, developing others, organisational studies and strategy; as well as politics and international relations.

The modules studied and how they work with the Army’s academic syllabus are laid out in the overall qualification specification.

Research projects

You will be required to complete a research project within each of the degrees, based on work-related issues. This will be underpinned by a comprehensive ‘Research Methods’ module, equipping you with the investigative and analytical skills needed to create impactful research, both of which are deeply relevant to Army leadership practice.

The ‘Negotiated Learning’ module will provide opportunities to develop theory and knowledge in a specific topic through assignments and dissertations.

Use the AHEP Portal and App to support your learning ->

How to apply

The application process differs depending on your course >>

Online Flexible Learning

The course integrates with the practical demands of military life. You can learn at your own pace, while on regimental duty or deployed overseas. A BSc, MSc or MSc Exec degree will optimise your Army career opportunities and keep you in line with your peers outside of the Army.

Online learning

Learning is through the AHEP Portal and can be accessed via tablets, laptops and smartphones. Within the portal you can:

  • Access your learning materials
  • Register for modules
  • Review progress on your modules
  • Upload on the secure file store, also called the Professional Leadership Portfolio (PLP)
  • Submit your assignments

Learn on the job

You’ll capture examples of your learning and activities and save them in your Professional Leadership Portfolio (PLP).

The PLP App is designed to help you do this. You can add reflections in the form of written documents, photos, videos and voice recordings. As well as set up reminders and tag your reflections.


There are no exams. You will be assessed through assignments and dissertations.

Your research project will be based on work-related issues and reflect the depth of your investigative and analytic skills.


All courses

You have six months to complete each module. A 10-credit module = 100 hours of study, 20 credits is 200 hours etc. These hours are split between ‘online’ work, private study and assessments. After completing a module, you can take up to six months before registering for the next.


You have 18 months from the last day of the Commissioning Course to finalise enrolment (if applicable) and register for the first module of learning.

You have up to seven years to complete the programme, but realistically most will achieve it within the first three to five years of commissioned service.

MSc Exec

If you are studying on the MSc Exec, you have between 24 and 60 months to complete your course.

How to apply

The application process differs depending on your course >>

How to Apply

The Army selects candidates for funded places, if you are selected there are no fees or additional study costs. Meeting the baseline entry requirements will form part of the consideration for selection for AHEP.

Applying for the Cert HE, PG Cert, BSc or MSc

  • At RMAS

Officer Cadets should apply for either a PG Cert or Cert HE whilst at RMAS and will be considered for AHEP at a selection board, once commissioned.

  • Post RMAS

You can still apply for a PG Cert or Cert HE, or if selected AHEP once commissioned.

To be considered for the BSc or MSc in Leadership and Strategic Studies programme you must be a regular member of the British Army and have completed the full Commissioning Course since CC151.

All officers (including international officers) who successfully meet the entry requirements for AHEP are able to receive a Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) or Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) on successful completion of the full Commissioning Course. However, international officers may not enrol on to the full AHEP BSc or MSc pathway.

Each cohort has an enrolment window, usually open for 18 months post commissioning, visit Defence Gateway and please click on the red button below to visit the Portal for details.


If you’ve had your first salary payment apply now by going to the Defence Gateway

Applying for the MSc Exec

To be considered for the MSc (Exec) Leadership and Strategic Studies programme you must be a regular member of the British Army with at least five years’ leadership experience (within the Armed Forces) and currently studying the full Initial Command and Staff Course (Land) (ICSC(L).

For further information and an application form for the MSc (Exec) please contact:

Once you have been accepted you will need to register on the AHEP Portal via the Defence Gateway.

Entry Requirements

Cert HE/BSc - GCSE Maths and English Grade C (4) or above.

PG Cert/MSc - Bachelor’s Degree at 2:2 level or above MSc Exec – ‘5 years leadership experience’ within the Armed Forces

You will need to have a digital copy of your degree certificate (if applicable). You will not need evidence of your GCSEs.

International Cadets

  • English language requirement level
    • Cert HE - IELTS 6.5
    • PG Cert – IELTS 7.0

For further assistance and queries with the application process please contact the AHEP team at Henley:

Find out more

UK armed forces personnel should refer to the MoD website for further information

Serving personnel should search 'Education Branch' on the Defence Intranet.

All other queries should be directed to

Contact Image

Contact Us

For more information, please contact The Army Higher Education Pathway (AHEP) Admin team by email at .

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