The aim of the MA in Higher Education is to equip students with research skills and substantive knowledge for the study of higher education. You will enhance your ability to facilitate and lead the development of expert knowledge within your specific area of higher education including academic practice.
In an increasingly global world the study of higher education is no longer limited to local, regional or national contexts. Universities influence and are influenced by factors such as globalisation, technological change and ongoing sophistication of higher education national and international characteristics. The study pathway therefore aims to enhance practice, research and policy of higher education within these fluid contexts. The course contributes to the personal development of those concerned with the study of higher education both formally and informally in a wide range of institutional settings and locations. Coursework encourages you to bring together your personal understanding of issues relating to specific aspects of higher education with the established and current body of professional and academic research literature relevant to your professional or personal aims. Underpinned by the development of advanced, specialist research skills, the course allows you to progressively broaden the knowledge and understanding of your chosen aspects of higher education. It emphasises the synthesis of theory and practice, including academic practice, and the importance of both structure and agency when understanding interactions within higher education institutions.
The MA graduates from a wide range of backgrounds, including tutors, lecturers and academics from different disciplines and educational contexts will benefit from the provision of specialist knowledge and research methods training. The course actively seeks to support the professional development, employability and career progression of managers, administrators and academic-related, professional staff (e.g. learning technologists, academic developers). The offering of a range of specialised research skills is tailored to enhance the expertise of these professionals as well as those aspiring to progress to higher levels of management in the areas of higher education policy, widening participation and access in higher education institutions. Invited lecturers from external higher education and policy institutions will highlight possible pathways for future employment within specialist organisations or universities in a number of countries. The design of authentic course assessment tasks underlines the importance of developing specialised research and professional skills applicable in the workplace. Equally, the research skills element of the course will equip participants with necessary skills for progression to doctoral or independent research.
• National and International Perspectives on Higher Education Policy
This module examines policy and policy-making as distinct processes of implementation and change. Students will consider the approaches of different countries to important debates in the field including the purpose and nature of universities, funding, internationalisation, access and widening participation, management, quality, and regulation processes. Utilising policy analysis methods as well as key concepts and theoretical frameworks students will critically examine comparative evidence to enhance their knowledge and understanding of higher education principles, processes and practices drawing on individual national case studies. The module covers the following broad areas of higher education policy, policy-making and change:
• Access, recruitment and widening participation
• Quality assurance and regimes of (de)regulation in higher education
• Management and change at institutional, national and international level
• Tiers of higher education provision, rankings and their implications for governments and universities.
• Higher education financing and shifting patterns of funding.
• Internationalisation, global competition and cross-border flow of students and researchers.
• Universities as Contemporary Learning and Teaching Environments
This module examines the historical development of research in teaching-learning with a view to identify key contributions that influenced how we conceptualise teaching-learning in the university sector. Several theoretical traditions are presented (e.g. communities of practice, student approaches to learning, actor network theory) and emphasis is placed on the role of assessment and feedback as well as the wide-scale implementation of technological media in higher education and their impact on new modalities of learning. Students will be offered the means to enhance their critical understanding and use of relevant theory by supporting critical and systematic reflection on the changing nature of teaching-learning in higher education, on the changing management landscape, and on the relationships between them in national and international contexts.
• Special Research Methods in Higher Education
This module provides an overview of the methods and methodologies applied to research in higher education. In doing so, it provides links between higher education and educational and social research in general without losing its particular focus and applicability on higher education settings. The meanings and associations between methods are discussed and their position in wider epistemological paradigms is considered. Students will be given an overview of the development of these methods and methodologies in higher education and will develop applied research skills on methods relevant to their practice or interests. Conclusions will be drawn on the methodological opportunities and challenges of the presented research methods and their supplementary to wider educational and social research will be critically examined.
• Educational and Social Research Methods
This module provides you with the opportunity to consider the aims and intentions of educational research, critique published journal articles, and examine the role of evidence from research as a basis for improving education and social care. You will gain grounding in educational research issues, methods and strategies together with knowledge of how to match intended outcomes with specific educational questions and methods of investigation.
• Postgraduate Major Study
This module supports students in the preparation and submission of their Master's Major project and involves a dissertation of 14,000 words or the equivalent. The Major Project enables students to demonstrate the ability to raise significant and meaningful questions in relation to their specialism which may involve working at the current limits of theoretical and / or research understanding. It will involve the ability to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in their research or professional practice. The project enables students to expand or redefine existing knowledge, to develop new approaches to changing workplace situations and / or to contribute to the development of best practice. It asks the student to communicate these processes in a clear and elegant fashion and to evaluate their work from the perspective of an autonomous reflective learner. Students' research topics must be negotiated with their appointed supervisor. An application for ethical approval and ethics discussion paper must then be submitted. The project may take the form of a written dissertation, a formal presentation and full research paper, an exhibition, a performance, an artefact or the development of software, or other written, aural or visual material. The project may be formed from a combination of these modes but will normally include a written component.
You will be assessed in a number of ways, from systematic literature reviews to reflective accounts on your professional practice, to ensure you're learning effectively. Other forms of assessment may include presentations, critical analyses of existing research, producing a dissemination poster and a research project. Each module comprises of one summative assessment and one core formative assessment. The assessment of the modules places emphasis on authenticity of the assessment tasks. Assessment are designed to strengthen your ability to conduct research in higher education settings.
The Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education is the largest provider of health, social care and education courses in the East of England, with over 6,000 students from more than 20 countries.
With 95% of our students finding full-time employment within six months of graduating, you can be sure that our courses have been designed with your career in mind. We’ve been educating nurses, midwives and social workers for over 25 years.
At the cutting edge of research, we offer a range of internationally recognised undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses taught by friendly, supportive and experienced staff. With over 150 research students across our three doctoral programmes (PhD; DProf and EdD), we provide the multi-disciplinary perspective and potential for academic debate that reflects our position as a leader in practitioner-focused and practice-led research studies.
Designed to enhance your learning experience, our facilities include state-of-the-art simulated skills laboratories that mirror real-life clinical situations and UK hospital wards. Our students also benefit from our Early Childhood Research and Resource Centre; a space in which they can experiment with equipment and play activities.
You’ll study in an exciting, modern faculty which has strong links with regional, national and international organisations, including healthcare trusts, social services, local and regional authorities, schools and academic institutions.
Your enthusiasm. Our passion. Your best foot forward.