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Course content

The Policy Studies in Education MA will introduce students to ways of critically analysing education policy within a broad social, economic and political context, considering contemporary developments in education policy in institutional, local, national and global contexts. It will enable them to explore existing policy issues and practices, and apply the insights provided to their own experiences.

About this degree

Students have the opportunity to engage with a broad range of perspectives and develop a comprehensive theoretical understanding of education policy. Students will study major and topical themes within social science (such as globalisation, markets and managerialism) with a particular emphasis on their effects on and relevance to education.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), two optional modules (60 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits), or a report (30 credits) and a third optional module (30 credits).

Core modules

  • Sociology of Education
  • Understanding Education Policy

Optional modules

  • Understanding Education Research
  • Sociology of 'Race' and Education
  • Rights and Education
  • Gender, Sexuality and Education
  • Theoretical Foundations of Educational Ideas
  • Minorities, Migrants and Refugees in National Education Systems

Students can also choose from a wide range of Master's-level optional modules across the IOE offering.


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

Teaching and learning

This programme delivery includes face-to-face Saturday or evening sessions and interactive online learning. It is assessed by coursework assignments of up to 5,000 words and a 20,000-word dissertation or 10,000-word report.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Policy Studies in Education MA


For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as teachers, while others have jobs as educational policymakers. Graduates can also be found studying for PhDs.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Research Co-Ordinator (Curriculum and Assessment Unit), Ministry of Education - Chile
  • Associate Director of Professional Development, Institute of Education
  • Secondary School Teacher (Head of Citizenship), Unspecified High School

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Department of Education, Practice and Society at UCL Institute of Education is the home of an interdisciplinary grouping bringing together high-quality teaching and research in the history, sociology and philosophy of education, international development, post-compulsory and vocational education and higher education.

The MA is taught primarily by sociologists within the department who have expertise in policy analysis, gender, 'race', sexuality, youth, and social class. Those teaching you are active researchers and will introduce you to the latest research and developments in their fields. Linking research, policy and practice, the result is an extraordinarily powerful learning community.

The MA attracts both home and international students, with a range of backgrounds and experiences thus providing excellent educational and networking opportunities.

Visit the Policy Studies in Education (MA) page on the University College London website for more details!





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