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Education - Policy and International Development MSc

Course Description

The Policy and International Development pathway focuses on the relationship between education policy and practice and international development. It probes the influence of global policy agendas on education and the contribution that education makes to social justice, economic growth and sustainable development. In line with the sustainable development agenda, development is treated as an international issue and the pathway considers case studies from countries around the world as well as from within Bristol. It includes study of formal and informal education through diverse institutions and organisations, including schools, universities and community organisations.

The pathway takes a critical look at ideas about social development, such as human rights, the capability approach and peace building, and their implications for education policy and practice. There will be opportunities to explore how educational theories and practice travel between and are adapted to the specific contexts. You will analyse the role of key organisations involved in the global governance of education, including civil society, international non-governmental organisations, development agencies and commercial bodies.

The pathway develops skills for using international and comparative research, both in education and in analysing education policy. You will be supported to develop your own reasoned position and distinctive critical voice for commenting on education policy and education’s role within social development at international, national and local level. You will have access to first-class library and information services, allowing you to study the specific ideas, issues, initiatives and policies that you are interested in.

Programme structure

Core units
-Introduction to Educational Inquiry
-International Development, Comparative Research and Education
-Education, Peace and Sustainable Development
-Education Policy in a Global Context

Optional units
-Students studying this programme will be able to take optional units from across the school.

-You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation.


We offer the academic and personal development opportunities to equip you for the intellectual, social and personal challenges that you will encounter during your career. Our overarching goal is to enable our graduates to display the following characteristics:
-Equipped to demonstrate impact, excellence and distinctiveness in their chosen field.
-Visionary, imaginative, innovative, reflective and creative.
-High ideals and values, including a strong sense of social justice.
-Highly employable throughout the world.
-Adaptable, with the potential to be a leader in work and in the community.

Visit the Education - Policy and International Development MSc page on the University of Bristol website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Namy Yu

5258.jpg Studying at the University of Bristol has been a great experience: challenging as well as thought provoking. I am learning new things every day and it is such a great feeling!

I chose my major because I am interested in international development area, especially Education. I am lucky to find this course because it is a specialist course which is specifically designed to provide knowledge/experience/information for students who are interested in international education.

Living in an ever growing globalised world, it is pertinent to learn, compare and evaluate how other countries develop their education. Studying my course helped me to understand the importance of education and critical thinking to put theory into policy and practice. After finishing my course, I would love to find a job related to international educational development area as it has been my dream since I was in secondary school. I do not know if it will come true or not, but finding my long lost dream is definitely one of the unexpected and pleasant outcomes of my study. For that, I am grateful.

My tutors have been all friendly and helpful whenever I needed them. I think this is one of the merits of my department. Since my course has many international students, tutors are very understanding towards our problems. In our department, students are from England, China, Ghana, Japan, Korea, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Uganda. What a various group! I love having discussions with my classmates learning new things about their countries every time.

Of course, there are difficult moments as well. Some students (especially international students) have hard times adjusting to a new environment and studying style (such as frequent group discussions, student centred learning, the concept of critical thinking…etc). My first term was pretty tough to get used to those problems and also reading articles with unfamiliar terminologies was pretty challenging. However, it does get better if you try harder. I think most important thing studying in postgraduate course is taking the initiative to research and read things that you are interested in. You cannot expect tutors to tell you what to do all the time. After all, it is your study and research. Coming from a different culture, it was hard to get used to first. However, I do enjoy studying here and I do feel the depth of my knowledge is getting deeper than before.


Entry Requirements

A UK undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent).

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