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MA Education: International Education

Course Description

The MA Education: International Education offers the opportunity to work with researchers who have developed leading perspectives in understanding comparative and international education policy and practice. The programme is particularly relevant to students from developed and developing countries who plan to work in professional, management, and education roles in both national education systems and internationally.

The programme situates the study of international education within a complex and changing world where education and education professionals are called upon to play equally complex and challenging roles in promoting economic growth and competition, while at the same time supporting the development of sustainable and cohesive societies and promoting equity and social justice.

Course structure

The course is structured over three trimesters and totals 180 credits (90 ECTS). It is available in campus-based mode, low-residency mode or online-only. You can start in September or February and will study for 60 credits per trimester. In your first trimester you will study the MA Education core module Education: Economics, Politics and Society (30 credits) plus your award core module (30 credits). In the second trimester you will study the core module Social Science Research (30 credits), plus two 15-credit elective modules, one of which may be a shared elective from another MA award. In your third trimester you will research and write your Dissertation (60 credits) on a topic relevant to your award. If you take the low residency option, the face-to-face teaching of all modules will take place during two 2-week intensive blocks (typically in September and February).


Trimester 1
In your first trimester you will study two compulsory core modules totalling 60 credits.
Core Module:
Education: Economics, Politics and Society (30 credits) explores how education can be understood in a complex and globalised world where it is seen by many governments as a significant factor in economic growth and competition. You will learn how to question the policies and organisations involved in defining the purposes, content and outcomes of education.
Award Core Module:
International Education and Globalisation (30 credits) looks at education within a global context and deals with issues such the role of international organisations, anti-globalisation critiques, cultural hegemony and the political economy of education within the global knowledge economy.
Trimester 2
In your second trimester you will study one compulsory core module, and two 15 credit elective modules, one of which may be a shared elective from another MA award. This will total 60 credits.
Compulsory Core Module:
Social Science Research (30 credits) sets educational research within the broader context of the social sciences and introduces a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and methods from which you can select the most appropriate for your dissertation.
Elective Modules:
Education and Development (option 15 credits) considers the relationship between education and international economic, social and human development. It focuses on patterns of international investment in education, key aspects of the discourses of education policy and key challenges to ensuring a quality education for all in both developed and developing countries.
Education, Conflict and Peace (option 15 credits) looks at the role of education in violent conflict before moving on to consider humanitarian and development initiatives to deliver education in conflict and emergencies. It explores issues of gender, displacement, children’s experience of conflict, and educational policy for peace and citizenship.
International Higher Education (shared option 15 credits) develops understanding of contemporary international higher education. Specific aspects of policy (widening participation; research, creativity and innovation; New Public Management) are explored through case studies of international Higher Education reform and management.
Trimester 3
In your third trimester you will research and write your Dissertation (60 credits) on a topic relevant to your award.
Dissertation (60 credits) enables you to study and research an aspect of education theory, policy or practice in depth, guided by an expert to arrive at your own synthesis of a topic to take forward into your career.

Teaching methods

For the campus-based mode of study, some lectures and seminars will take place during the day, whilst others may be in the evening or at weekends. For low-residency students the teaching will be concentrated into two 2-week blocks (typically around 6 hours per day). The course also makes extensive use of online teaching, particularly for the low-residency and online only modes. This will include a combination of individual and shared learning using the Bath Spa University virtual learning environment.

Staff / Tutors

-Dr Peter Jones: Senior Lecturer in International and Global Education: Peter has an extensive research and teaching background in International and Comparative Education. His research has addressed the role of the European Union in developing education policy for Higher Education, Early School Leaving and the Knowledge Economy. He is interested in Education in Post-Socialist and Transition Countries as well as the role of the EU in Central Asia.

-Dr. Julia Paulson: Lecturer in Education Studies: Julia’s research interests are in education and conflict and in education and development. She has worked on these issues with NGOs in Latin America, West Africa, the UK and Canada. She has also worked as an education consultant for international organisations like UNICEF, UNESCO and the World Bank. She has published on education and reconciliation, transitional justice, teaching about violent conflict and education in emergencies. She is editor of Education and Reconciliation published by Bloomsbury in 2012 and she completed her doctoral research at the University of Oxford on the role of Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in educational reform in 2011.

Course assessment

There are no written exams on this course; each module is assessed through coursework. This typically involves an essay of 2,500 words for a 15-credit module or 5,000 words for a 30-credit module. For some modules assessment may be by verbal presentation or online activity. The dissertation is 15,000 – 20,000 words and focuses on an area agreed with a specialist tutor.

Visit the MA Education: International Education page on the Bath Spa University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Students will typically have an undergraduate degree in Education or a related Social Science discipline which will have provided some preparation for developing understanding of policy in its political, economic and social context. Some applicants will have a background in international or development work, which may include overseas education. The programme is designed to meet the employment needs of those who are likely to work nationally or internationally in education-related fields. For international, non-native speakers of English, a minimum language level of IELTS 6.5, or equivalent, is required.

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