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MA in Social Justice and Education

Course Description

What is the course about?

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.

Who is it for?

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. Applications are welcomed from both home and international students. Information about some of our alumni are shown at http://www.york.ac.uk/education/postgraduate/taught-masters/citizenship/profiles/.

Examples of what our graduates have done following related programmes: PhD research, becoming an academic, working in business.

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.


Students will complete:

four assessed coursework essay assignments (each 4,000 to 5,000 words in length)
an exam in Research Methods in Education
an assessed presentation + dissertation outline + ethics audit

a dissertation of 12,000 words in length


The wide variety of module options available on our taught masters programmes allows you to mould a particular route in accordance with individual interests and professional goals.

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.

How to apply


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

Entry Requirements

Typical Degree requirements - UK: 2.1 or above.USA: grade point average 3.2 or above.P.R. China: average degree score 80 or above. The score you will need will depend on which university you attended and which subject you are applying for.Country specific information: View Website Teaching experience requirements: One year full-time language teaching experience is required for the MA in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching and the MA in Applied Linguistics for English Language Teaching. For English Language requirements please View Website

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