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Higher Education (MA)

Course Description

The MA Higher Education is a practice-based flexible learning course designed principally as professional development for people with at least 72 hours of teaching per year at the University of Westminster. External applicants must have at least 72 hours per year teaching in a higher education setting and be able to secure a mentor to observe their teaching during the course.

The course is delivered substantially online supported by some face to face elements, with flexible ways of accessing and contributing to activities, although it is possible to complete the course wholly through distance learning. Read the minimum hardware requirements (pdf).

As this is a part-time only course, it is not eligible for University of Westminster scholarships. It is also not suitable for those not currently teaching at least 72 hours per year in a higher education setting.

The aim of the course is to develop your practice as a teacher and then to expand your practice to include educational research related to your discipline and interests.

The course develops your learning and teaching process set against the wider context of policy, research/knowledge and societal developments. It is designed to support those who wish to take a lead in the development of learning, teaching and assessment in their own context and to contribute to the wider field of research and developments in learning and teaching.

Please note that there are no scholarships available for external candidates who wish to take this course.

Course content

The MA HE is designed to help you explore conceptual underpinnings of educational practice and pedagogy. The core modules provide you support in understanding research practice in Higher Education and the option modules offer opportunities to focus on specific interests. You'll bring this together through you own scholarly practitioner research in the form of a 60-credit dissertation.

Core modules

- Supporting Student learning
This module provides the opportunity for participants to reflect and develop their professional practice in teaching and/or supporting student learning in HE. It provides the opportunity to explore key concepts, challenges and the application of evidence informed practice in teaching and supporting learning

- Curriculum Development, Assessment and Feedback
This module examines the role that assessment plays within the overall learning process. It covers two main areas: firstly, assessment and quality assurance and secondly, the role of assessment and feedback in the learning process locating assessment and feedback as an integral part of the teaching and learning process.

- Developing Educational Research Practices
In this 40-credit module you'll be introduced to a range of concepts, frameworks and debates in which educational literature is positioned, and will familiarise yourself with the distinctive ‘ways of knowing’ and scholarly conventions that characterise educational discourses. You'll explore the application of these concepts and frameworks within educational research, reviewing a range of approaches for capturing and analysing evidence – drawing on quantitative and qualitative traditions – so that you may both read research literature critically and make critical and informed decisions when designing educational inquiries.

- Dissertation
The Dissertation provides participants with the opportunity for sustained work of an independent nature, in an area of personal or professional interest. The dissertation is intended to be the culmination of a programme of study.

Option modules

- Using Technology to Enhance Learning
This module will examine how technology can impact on the major teaching and learning activities on a taught course. Module delivery will draw on the experience of participants, either as a teacher or a learner, to determine and evaluate opportunities for the use of technology in face to face or blended environment.

- Blended Learning: Engaging Students and Transforming Curricula
The aim of this course is to enable participants to develop an informed personal view of the issues involved in preparing for the online aspects of blended learning, chiefly designing curricula, organising activities and managing online participants. The approach is practical, aimed at enabling the development of participant's own blended learning teaching practice.

- Supervising Student Research
This module provides a framework within which participants may evaluate and develop their practise of research supervision – at any level of Higher Education but with a particular focus upon their current and/or future supervision of students researching at doctoral level.

- Leadership in an Academic Context
The aim of this module is to encourage participants to demonstrate and develop their practice in leading the development of effective approaches to teaching and learning. You'll do this through critical reflection on theory, research, and practice relevant to academic leadership, through development of an e-portfolio of their personal experience and through participation in online mentoring activities as part of a collaborative learning community.

- Continuing Professional Development (Negotiated Study)
This module is a vehicle for an individually negotiated project that builds on work that the participant is engaged with, but that is contextualised through Higher Level (M-level) intellectual skills and practice.

NB Not all options modules will necessarily be offered in any one year.

How to apply

Both external and internal applicants (including University of Westminster staff and PhD students) need to apply through UKPASS.

- External applicants
Before applying, please make sure you work through the following steps:
- prepare a short statement with your reasons for applying for the course (typically 250-500 words)

- have electronic copies of your Bachelor, Master’s and any other relevant Higher Education level diplomas, professional qualifications, transcripts and certificates

- consider how you intend to pay your fees, including a sponsorship letter if applicable

We'll also need two references, one academic and one related to your current work with students in Higher Education.

Please note that it's your responsibility to contact your referees and provide us with a reference letter.

Please provide us with full details of your experience of teaching at University level (applicants not teaching at University level will not be accepted) and of any qualifications you currently hold for teaching at this level.


At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.

Visit the Higher Education (MA) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally hold a first degree from a recognised institution (minimum Lower Second Class Honours or international equivalent) and demonstrate interest and motivation in the subject area. Alternative professional qualifications with at least three years' relevant professional experience will also be considered. Directly relevant degree disciplines include business studies, economics, geography, management, and operations research.

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