The MA in Education provides outstanding opportunities to study a wide range of educational issues. It will provide you with a clear understanding of the nature and significance of policy and practice in education, relevant to researchers as well as professionals in schools, colleges and universities.
A key feature of the programme is the facility for you to draw on your own professional and personal as well as academic and theoretical interests, through being able to choose from a range of optional modules to study (see below). And you will also be able to explore your own interests in depth through the completion of a dissertation.
In all of our modules, we aim to introduce you to key ideas and ways of thinking that enable you to engage with related issues in contexts that are relevant to you. Our programme is constructed in such a way that contexts as diverse as science education in schools, informal learning in the workplace and the management of schools outside the UK, can be explored through module assignments as well as the dissertation.
The degree has been designed to meet the needs of educational professionals, especially those in teaching, management or administration at all levels of education. Students likely to benefit from the programme are those who are interested in education, often teachers or people planning to become teachers, with a commitment to pedagogy, and educational managers in schools, colleges and higher education institutions, as well as those working in educational administration, in the UK and overseas.
Through its flexible delivery routes the MA in Education is suitable for students from all backgrounds and countries. In addition to a traditional full-time study route, the course is available via part-time and International Summer Postgraduate Institute routes. On the part-time route, teaching is delivered through intensive teaching weekends scheduled around (Durham) school half-term holidays making the programme more accessible for those working full-time. Meanwhile, the part-time International Summer Postgraduate Institute (ISPI) route is delivered through an intensive summer school teaching programme. The ISPI summer teaching runs in Durham throughout July each year and attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and countries, including the UK, and is ideal for those seeking part-time study in a truly international context. ISPI students benefit from a range of extra academic and cultural activities organised by the School of Education.
Students who have successfully completed the PGCE at Durham in the previous academic year have the option to use 90 credits they have accredited on this course. These students will only need to do the core modules, Education Enquiry and the Dissertation (if part-time, over 2 years), to complete the programme.
Full-time students study the four taught modules plus the dissertation over one year.
Part-time students normally study two taught modules per year in years one and two and the dissertation in year three.
You must select 60 credits from a list of optional modules which may include:
The above are examples of modules we have run in previous years. Modules are continually developed in response to student feedback and interests, as well as to reflect the changing nature of academic research within the department.
In all of our postgraduate taught programmes we place an emphasis on empowering students to be autonomous, independent learners. The taught modules provide an introduction to module content which is then developed and extended through our use of online resources, key reading and independent study and research. We consider the development of independent learning and research skills to be one of the key elements of our postgraduate taught curriculum and one which helps our students cultivate initiative, originality and critical thinking.
On the MA Education programme you will take compulsory core modules worth a total of 60 credits plus two optional modules worth 60 credits. Modules are offered either mid-week or at weekends, which provides flexible study routes and a wide choice of options. Modules are delivered using a combination of lectures, seminars workshops, and tutorials. The core modules are designed to provide you with a critical understanding of theories, research and issues relevant to your chosen programme of study. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to devote significant amounts of time to reading, discussing and preparing for classes, assignments and project work.
In addition to the taught core and option modules all postgraduate taught students following a Master’s programme will undertake a 60 credit dissertation. This crucial piece of work is a significant piece of independent research that constitutes a synthesis of theory, method, and practice in education and is supported by an individual supervisor, specialist dissertation workshops and the Dissertation Coordinator.
Throughout the programme, all students meet regularly with an Academic Advisor, who provides academic support and guidance. In addition, Programme Leads have regular office hours where they meet students to discuss any issues. Module staff are also happy to meet with you to discuss module specific issues as needed.
In term time, the department also has an extensive programme of departmental and research group seminars which postgraduate students are encouraged to attend. Before the academic year starts, we provide information on preparation for the programme. On arrival, we have induction sessions and social events, headed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies and attended by both academic and administrative staff.
Career opportunities in education are wide and include classroom teaching, educational leadership and management, administration and policy development.
The MA Education programme is aimed at educators and education professionals who want to gain additional knowledge and skills to help improve their practice through a general, rather than specialised, programme of master's level study. It draws upon the expertise across the School of Education giving candidates access to the knowledge and experience of leading researchers across a diverse range of topics. Thus, you will be in a great position to pursue your interests and focus on the topics that suit your career ambitions.
MA Education is unique in the School of Education insofar as there are no modules dedicated to, or associated with, the programme; instead, you select modules that interest you from the other specialised MA programmes offered. These may be modules that explore different aspects of educational leadership, the use of technology to support learning, child development, or teaching English to speakers of other languages among others.
With your own experience of working in an education context, the teaching sessions and our excellent library resources you will soon build your knowledge of educational research methods and apply them to your own dissertation on a related topic. You will also improve your skills in written and oral communication, research and analysis, and leadership: all vital qualities for a career in any sector of education.
This flexible programme may also be studied part-time, but it is important to emphasise that we offer no special provision for part-time students. Teaching sessions and meetings generally occur during the working day so, if you are considering applying for part-time status, you must ensure that you are able to attend at these times.
You’ll take a core module that explores the principles and methods of educational research, and introduces you to issues such as research ethics and the use of research to improve educational practice for individuals and organisations. You’ll also study two of three additional modules on research methods to expand and sharpen your skills.
You’ll apply your new understanding of the concepts and benefits of educational research to your own dissertation, in preparation for which you'll consult regularly with your appointed supervisor as you independently research an educational topic that may or may not be related to your own practice. We can only accept you onto the programme if, at the application stage, you propose a dissertation on a topic or issue that matches the available supervisory expertise within the School of Education.
There are two compulsory modules on this programme. You have to study and pass at least two of the three optional research methods modules, and you’ll normally take two or three from the full range of other optional modules available. Some modules are only available in alternate years. You must select modules that represent a general and balanced programme of study, rather than a specialised one. You will not be permitted to follow modules from one MA programme only, or to focus on one narrow subject or topic, since this will result in a specialised course of study rather than the general one that the MA Education is intended to provide.
We use a variety of teaching and learning methods including weekly seminars, group learning, tutorials, fieldwork, online learning and lectures. The methods of teaching and learning that you will encounter depend on which specific modules you choose. Independent study is also vital, as it allows you to pursue your interests and develop high-level skills.
Most assessment is by written essay. Occasionally, we use other assessment approaches, such as poster presentations or reflective logs.
This programme has been designed to meet the needs of candidates who plan to use the knowledge and skills they will gain in a wide range of careers in education and related sectors. You will develop your skills in research and analysis, and the insights gained from your studies will help to inform your professional practice. If you are already established in the field of teaching or a career in education, developing your skills in educational research and analysis can lead to early promotion. Many of our students receive sponsorship and support from their employers or governments as part of their continued professional development. MA Education also provides a pathway, for students who achieve at least a merit, for further study and research at doctoral level, either a PhD or the EdD.