Army Higher Education Pathway (AHEP)

A message from Major General Paul Nanson CBE

"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"

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Major General Paul Nanson CBE

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


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).

The degrees will start during the Commissioning Course at Sandhurst and will continue during the early stages of an Army career, linking training, education and leadership experience.

‘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.

An Introduction to AHEP

Lead and Learn - Degrees While You Serve

The AHEP is an innovative and flexible mechanism that optimises Officers' professional development. 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 will provide opportunities for non-graduates at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) to achieve a BSc Leadership and Strategic Studies and for selected graduates at RMAS to achieve an MSc Leadership and Strategic Studies. The degrees will be awarded by the University of Reading (of which Henley Business School is part).

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

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"We pride ourselves in committing to partnerships where we can make a significant contribution to the wider world and this project is a natural fit for us, working to support the Army’s world class reputation of producing future leaders and expert strategists."

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Dr Claire Collins

Academic Director for the Army Higher Education Pathway at Henley Business School

The Rationale for AHEP

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.

By developing conceptual and intellectual capacity, Officers will enhance the Army's ability to protect the Nation and meet the challenges of the future, both at home and overseas. The critical thinking skills acquired will enable Officers to approach novel situations and develop creative and effective solutions to volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous problems.

This pathway will strengthen and enhance Officers' existing excellence through-life career leadership and professional development opportunities. It supports people to confidently develop their intellectual capability, ready to meet challenges of the future with absolute commitment.

Leadership is vital in all activity, and AHEP will provide the platform for increasing the understanding of leadership concepts and developing personal leadership effectiveness.

The commitment of Henley Business School and the development will enhance Officers’ careers and the success of future endeavours.

Accreditation of Existing Army Courses

For the first time, the majority of early career courses from RMAS CC to ICSC(L) will be academically recognised. The academic credits allocated to them, however, will only count towards the degree when the extension module that follows each of the mandated courses is completed. The extension module will include appropriate level assessments of material created by students 'on the job' or 'for the job'.

Online Learning

Student officers have flexibility in choosing the timing of these non-residential online extension modules. The AHEP is flexible. It takes into account that student officers will be deployed, both in the UK and overseas, at times during their career.


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Key Features of AHEP

This course will integrate Henley’s specialist areas of knowledge in leadership, developing others, organisational studies and strategic studies, with the areas of expertise of the University’s School of Politics, Economics and International Relations.


Research Project

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

There will also be opportunities to develop theory in a particular area of knowledge through assignments and dissertations.


Learning Style

The AHEP uses the very latest in digital learning delivery. There is a dedicated AHEP Portal which provides access to all practical elements of the programme: enrolment, tutor and 1RO support, assessments, learning materials access and individual/group learning activities. It can be accessed via tablets, laptops and smart phones. Learning can therefore be integrated into the practical demands of military life. Student officers can learn at their own pace, while on regimental duty and when deployed overseas (circumstances permitting).


Professional Leadership Portfolio (PLP)

The PLP is the collection of learning materials that each student officer will build throughout participation in their AHEP degree. Student officers will capture examples of individual and group learning projects and activities, in any suitable media format, and upload these into their Portfolio, via the Portal. The Portfolio is then presented as part of the assessment process. Because these degree programmes are so closely integrated into military life, the content of the PLP will provide a valuable resource for personal career development going forward.

The AHEP Portal will support officers in the following way:

  • provide a visual record of key learning points (KLP), it will act as a ‘learning log’ for courses undertaken
  • provide a gateway for students to access the Canvas VLE, which will host the learning materials for their extension modules
  • encourage reflection and support a Personal Leadership Development Plan
  • enable them to capture and share real-time lessons learned (operational security permitting)
  • capture ‘material’ to be uploaded for academic assessment
  • store downloaded documents and files such as course materials and articles of interest


How to apply

The Army will select candidates for funded places. Meeting the baseline entry requirements will form part of the consideration for selection for AHEP.


To be considered for the BSc or MSc Leadership and Strategic Studies programme you must be a regular member of the British Army and have completed the full Commissioning Course since CC151. For the MSc you will normally need to hold an undergraduate degree at a suitable level.

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

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

To be considered for AHEP please contact APSG-EdBr-Accreditation@mod.gov.uk for application details.


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 APSG-EdBr-Accreditation@mod.gov.uk

Find out more

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

Serving personnel should search 'Individual Development Branch' on the Defence Intranet.

All other queries should be directed to ahep-admin@henley.ac.uk.

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Contact Us

For more information, please contact The Army Higher Education Pathway (AHEP) Admin team by email at ahep-admin@henley.ac.uk .

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