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Higher and Professional Education - MA

Course Description

The Higher and Professional Education MA will give students critical insight into the changing field of higher and professional education; reflecting on important debates in the field. It will develop their understanding of conceptual and analytical frameworks in professional practices and processes, increasing their knowledge, skills and confidence to operate effectively and creatively in diverse institutions.

Degree information

This programme provides students with the opportunity to study for an interdisciplinary, interprofessional qualification, examining higher and professional education policies and practices in relation to their own personal and professional experience.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), two optional modules (60 credits), a dissertation (60 credits), or a report (30 credits) plus a further module (30 credits).

Core modules
-Innovation and Change in Higher and Professional Education
-Higher Education: Comparative and International Perspectives

Optional modules
-Learning and Teaching for Adults
-Understanding Education Policy
-Vocational Learning: Policy and Practice
-Understanding Education Research
-Understanding Research

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 20,000-word dissertation or 10,000-word report.

Teaching and learning
Teaching is delivered through interactive lectures, seminars, group discussions, case study analysis and the use of simulations. In many modules there are opportunities for all students to participate on a variety of ways, including giving short presentations or seminar papers or leading group discussions.

Assessment is through coursework assignments of up to 5,000 words and a 20,000-word dissertation or 10,000-word report.


Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas, for example one is a university governance and quality assurance manager, while another is a government policy adviser for education. Others have jobs as academic standards and quality officer, careers and professional development consultant, learning, teaching and quality manager, and qualifications manager and students’ union officer.

The employability of students will be significantly enhanced by the development of complementary skills which will help them to efficiently connect theory, policy and practice in their day to day to jobs.
-To enable participants to understand and analyse policies and practices in higher and professional education
-To develop critical awareness of concepts, debates and issues in higher and professional education
-To be able to conduct a small-scale inquiry, and include this in a sustained exposition (dissertation or report)
-To develop frameworks and principles for action in professional settings

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Department of Education, Practice and Society is a multidisciplinary department at UCL Institute of Education bringing together a diverse community of researchers with expertise in the social sciences who have a common interest in exploring learning in all its guises (formal, non-formal and informal).

The department has extensive expertise and experience in research, knowledge transfer and consultancy in the UK, Europe and Asia, working closely with transnational bodies, such as, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, government departments (Department for Education, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills) as well as with regional organisations, employer organisations, national institutes, and international organisations.

UCL's Higher and Lifelong Education programmes provide high level academic and professional education for those working in management, human resource development, teaching, training and policy positions in any aspect of lifelong learning. They are taught by leading academics with extensive experience in research, policy and practice.

Visit the Higher and Professional Education - MA page on the University College London website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Karen Goh Pheng Li

"UCL's Institute of Education offered a comprehensive list of education-related Master's programmes that I could not find elsewhere. I also wanted to attend a top-tier research university with a strong history in academic publishing. Being in the polytechnic sector, the programme helped me to deepen my understanding of professional and higher education, and to study work-place learning and skills-education at a more systemic level."

(Student Profile)

Alexander Bols

"UCL's Institute of Education is a globally renowned institution bringing together world-leading research, academics and teaching and attracting an excellent cohort of students. This programme has helped provide a strong theoretical background to my policy knowledge giving credibility and deeper understanding of the issues that I work with on a day-to-day basis."


Entry Requirements

A minimum of a relevant second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard and relevant professional experience of higher and professional education.

Last Updated

12 October 2016

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