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Social Justice and Education - MA

Course Description

The Department of Education offers a one-year (12 month) taught full time MA Social Justice and Education.

Social justice is a vitally important goal for every member of society. Educational policy makers, researchers and teachers recognize that social justice is at the very heart of all their work in education. In this programme students will understand the fundamental, philosophical meanings of social justice in education and be able to discuss and debate relevant issues. Achievement and attainment are of course crucially important: we will explore issues about who gets what in schools and other educational contexts. We will investigate the pedagogical and professional issues about social justice – what sorts of practices are fair? All of these matters will be related to research – we will consider what we already know and we will identify what research still needs to be done.

This programme will be attractive to all those who have an interest in a fair and decent society and who wish to explore what that means in relation to education. We will explore national and international contexts. Those who are interested in diversity, inclusion, equality and other matters will be attracted to this programme. The programme will be of interest to those who see themselves as current or future teachers, researchers or policy makers.

Programme Aims

The MA programme aims to:
-Understand philosophical perspectives about the nature of education and social justice (exploring the purposes of education in relation to such theoretical perspectives as human capital theory, liberation theory etc.)
-Analyse overarching conceptual considerations to do with social justice in educational contexts (e.g. achieved by exploring educational issues through the lens of inclusion, equality, diversity)
-Evaluate the contributions made to debates about social justice in education by empirical researchers
-Understand issues about achievement and attainment in a variety of contexts (reflections of who gets what from education)
-Critique the issues associated with the pedagogical approaches proposed by advocates of social justice and education
-Develop academic study and research skills appropriate to the field
-Communicate effectively at masters level

Programme Content

Term 1
In term 1 there are 2 compulsory modules:
-Social Justice and Education (20 credits)
-Research Methods in Education (20 credits)

And one option module (20 credits) which may be chosen from the full list of modules available to all taught MA students. Modules that may be of particular interest to MA SJE students are likely to include:
-Citizenship Education
-Intercultural Communication in Education
-Motivation in Education
-Teaching World English

Term 2
-Teaching and Learning Citizenship & Global Education (20 credits), or Higher Education in the 21st Century (20 credits) or Gender, Sexuality and Education (20 credits)

One option module (20 credits) from the full list of modules available to all taught MA students. Modules that may be of particular interest to MA SJE students are likely to include:
-Contemporary Issues in Teaching
-Cross-cultural Perspectives on Language and Discourse
-Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis

Term 3
-Planning and Communicating Research (20 credits, classes spread over Terms 2 and 3)

The third term and the summer are devoted to writing a dissertation (60 credits)based on a small-scale research study to be submitted by early September. Previous studies have included an examination of global education; universities as sites of global citizenship; studying the media.


Our graduates find employment in a wide range of sectors within education and higher education, but also in journalism, information management, human resources and other careers.

Others find employment opportunities in the civil service, NGOs and other international organisations.

Visit the Social Justice and Education - MA page on the University of York website for more details!

Entry Requirements

The basic qualification is a degree or a degree equivalent relevant to the subject(s) to be taught. Where the degree title does not match a teaching subject, an applicant must be able to demonstrate that the degree contains sufficient study of the teaching subject. Applications are welcomed from candidates who have done some teaching or have been employed in some other occupation, or who have done some voluntary service, either in this country or abroad. Applications are welcomed from all ethnic groups. The University has an Equal Opportunities Policy in place to ensure fairness in its approach to all students.

Last Updated

16 February 2017

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Recipient: University of York

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