Education (Flexible) MA


Fact file

MA Education (flexible)
2 years part-time plus dissertation
Entry requirements
2:2 (or international equivalent)
Other requirements
Applicants should have one year of full-time work or volunteer experience in an educational setting; a teaching qualification that includes a substantial placement-based component (eg. PGCE) will be considered acceptable experience
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
September or February
Jubilee Campus
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


This is a flexible online-based course and reflects the needs of individuals or organisational cohorts, and deepens and refines your capacity for critical reflection on your practice.
Read full overview

The overall purpose of the MA Education (flexible) masters programme is to deepen and refine your capacity for critical reflection on your practice as well as on the mental models which inform your work. Systematic practitioner inquiry is therefore an organising principle that underpins all modules on the programme, and you will be encouraged to identify issues that are significant to your professional practice.

While each module has its own particular focus, all are concerned with investigating contemporary educational issues in the light of historical, political and social contexts, appropriate literature and the shared experience of course members.

A hallmark of the Education MA is its commitment to equity and diversity, and its flexibility to meet the needs of individuals and organisations. Flexibility is evident in terms of offering students a range of:

  • module options to create a personally and professionally meaningful qualification
  • modes of delivery to take account of individual needs and professional contexts
  • exit points en-route to a full masters programme

Find out more about online learning with the School of Education.


The staff listed below are module convenors for the 'Education' modules. They are joined by a much larger team of other tutors teaching on elective modules.

Key facts

  • 200 years of experience in the field of education
  • 4th in the UK and 22nd worldwide for education in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
  • 3rd in the UK in the latest Research Excellence Framework, with 84% of our research considered world-leading or internationally excellent

Course details

The taught element of the MA Education (flexible) can be completed part-time over approximately two years, with a further eight months for the dissertation stage. To help you plan your time and gain the most from your studies, you can choose to start the MA Education (flexible) in either September or February.

The MA comprises four 30-credit modules (or equivalent) and a 60-credit dissertation. There are also Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma exit points.

You will be required to commit 10-15 hours per week, all year round. You will need to work collaboratively, for example, by contribution to online discussions within a specified time frame. You can view an example timetable but please note this is subject to change.


Each 30-credit module is assessed by a written assignment of 6,000 words. To complete the masters programme successfully, a mark of at least 50 must be achieved on each assignment.

The dissertation is an original piece of work and should be 15,000 words related to one of the selected modules on an approved topic.

Online course materials and support

Our online materials provide an interactive learning experience, and allow you to make decisions about which aspects of a module to work on when, at what pace, and in which order. You will be encouraged to interact with other course participants, and the module units will involve group activities such as using blogs, wikis, and discussion boards.

To ensure you have the appropriate computer requirements to enable you to study online, please view our computer specification guidance notes.

Please note: If you are based in China, you may encounter restrictions on software used in some of our online modules. Please contact us to discuss this further.


To ensure your application is considered in time, please note the following deadlines apply:

Important dates
Start dateApplication deadlineFee year
4 September 2017 7 August 2017 2017/8
12 February 2018 22 January 2018 2017/8

Nottingham graduates

If you are a University of Nottingham PGCE graduate and started your course between September 2010 and September 2013, you will have received an automatic offer for the MA Education course and so will not need to submit a new application to us. You will need to contact our Admissions Office to accept your offer and to confirm the date you wish to start your MA. Whilst on the PGCE the automatic offer you were given was valid for five years, and so if you are out of this time frame, you will need to follow through with the online application process.

If you have previously studied the PGCEi course with The University of Nottingham, then you will not have received an automatic offer and so will need to submit a new application to us for consideration.

As a Nottingham graduate, you will not have to pay for your application.

Recognition of Other Learning (ROL)

If you have prior learning or experience at an appropriate level, you may apply on entry for exemption for credit requirements of the course. Please visit our ROL pages for further information.



There is one core module plus the dissertation and a selection of elective modules. All modules are 30 credits unless otherwise stated.

Please note: each individual module requires a minimum number of participants to run and we reserve the right to cancel a module if we do not meet the required number.


Practice-Based Inquiry

The content will involve students in active critical consideration of participating in and leadership of practitioner inquiry in relation to professional context mapping and workplace learning.

These processes will be achieved through: conceptualising different kinds of practitioner inquiry relevant to work-based understanding and development (purposes, processes, contexts, dilemmas, outcomes); examining a range of approaches to educational inquiry, with an emphasis on action research; developing an inquiry into your professional context.


Practice-Based Inquiry is normally studied just before the dissertation, although you need to take this module at a time when you have access to an appropriate professional context.


This involves the researching and writing of a substantive piece of scholarship within the field of the course.

You will choose a topic in consultation with your course leader and an appropriate supervisor. The topic will normally be based on interests and skills you have developed in the course of the modules already studied.



Candidates must take a minimum of 60 and a maximum of 90 credits from the following list:

Leading Learning

The module will address the essential features of effective learning (as relevant to the participants' sector by examining: the process of learning; supporting learning (for example through adults, peers and technology) both within and beyond the educational organisation; an overview of approaches to improvement and raising achievement in educational organisations; monitoring and evaluation of learning: the use of data, target-setting, monitoring.

Researching Special and Inclusive Education

This module considers the following key areas:

  • Research purposes and paradigms
  • Epistemological influences on research design and practice
  • The reflective research practitioner
  • Participatory approaches to research
  • Criticality in reading, writing and reviewing the literature
  • Advantages and disadvantages of different methodological approaches to researching special and inclusive education
  • Planning and designing research projects
  • Ethical codes of practice and their importance in researching special and inclusive education
  • Applying research skills
Relationships and Behaviour

This module considers the following key areas:

  • Experiential learning and its relationship to reflective practice and reflexivity: exploration via a learning journal genre
  • World views and models of human behaviour
  • Theoretical perspectives on behaviour: behaviourist, humanistic and postmodern approaches
  • Social and emotional aspects of behaviour: mental well-being, shame, self-esteem
  • Punitive and restorative justice - responding to bullying and challenging behaviour, conflict resolution and peer mediation
  • The intensity/functionality of behaviour - escalation/de-escalation, communication and crisis intervention
  • Controversial issues: eg restraint, exclusion from school, sex and relationship education
  • Supporting students with ADHD
  • Workforce issues: self-care, partnership working
Communication and Literacy

This module considers the following key areas:

  • Typical and atypical development of communication
  • Typical and atypical development of literacy/learning including specific learning difficulties/dyslexia
  • Communication and literacy/learning assessments and interventions
  • Understanding autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Communication and literacy/learning for children with learning disabilities including Autism, Downs Syndrome and Dyslexia
  • Effective teaching and learning environments
Learning Through an Additional Language (EAL/CLIL)

This module considers the theories underpinning effective practice in teaching content subjects and themes through an additional language (English or another language) and how these impact on practice.

Different teaching practices and instructional materials are considered, from early years, primary, secondary and tertiary, with a focus on language, content and culture. Case studies of different teaching contexts are examined. Research fields which feature in the module include input/output theories from second language acquisition, theories of scaffolding, cognitive learning theory and communicative theory.

The intention throughout is to identify effective practice and rationalise it from these theories.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Years Education

This module considers:

  • Policy, curriculum and pedagogies issues in Early Years education
  • International models of early years education
  • The EY curriculum and the role of child initiated learning and play
  • EY assessment
  • School 'readiness'
Introduction to the Learning Sciences

The module covers:

  • associative models of learning
  • cognitive models of learning
  • constructivist models of learning
  • cultural, situated and connectionist models of learning
  • multimedia: the encoding and production of representations
  • intelligent tutoring: theories and implementations of artificial intelligence
  • variation in learners and learning
  • assessment and its electronic mediation
Educational Technology Research Methods

The module covers:

  • traditions and media of academic communication
  • practitioner and action-based research
  • relationships between research and policy
  • methods: natural history, observation, ethnography, accounting
  • methods: surveys and psychometrics
  • experimental methods
  • quantitative techniques of description
  • quantitative methods of inference
  • qualitative methods
  • attainment and intervention research examples
Understanding Individual and Organisational Development

This module will look at:

  • the understanding of self-management
  • competence and competency
  • analysis of self in relation to national standards (for school leadership or as appropriate)
  • self-development plans
  • understanding the professional development of others in the team
  • understanding the organisation and its context
  • leading and managing change
  • communication
Changing Classrooms: Policy, Research and Practice

This module critically examines contemporary debates surrounding orthodoxies in curriculum, learning and assessment in schools, and how these relate to policy and practice.

In particular it considers the way different orthodoxies frame what children and young people learn in schools, how they learn and how assessment practices inform learning processes. The module will explore these orthodoxies in terms of their origins and purposes and it will consider alternative models from an international perspective.

The module starts by considering the history, politics and ideology of the curriculum as it currently exists. It then develops understanding through application of psychological, social and cultural theories of learning and assessment. These theorised views of schooling and classroom practices enable us to analyse and critique the wide-ranging policy and research discussions about curriculum, learning and assessment that are currently under way.

You will be engaged in considering how developments of, and alternatives to, current practices will impact learning and teaching in the future.

Debating Special and Inclusive Education

This module will explore key issues concerning the field of special and inclusive education:

  • Definitions of special needs and inclusion
  • Global perspectives on diversity and access to equality of educational opportunities
  • Understanding theoretical approaches to special needs/inclusion and models of disability
  • Understanding prevalence of need and issues concerning classification and assessment
  • Exploring the impact of policy on practice and equality of opportunity
  • Examining the evidence on effectiveness of different types of educational settings eg mainstream, resource base and special provision
  • Pedagogy and creativity
  • Balancing equity and choice through collaborative and ethical problem solving
The Social Context of Educational Technology

This module provides an introduction to the interpersonal and societal contexts within which educational innovation with learning technology occurs.

In particular it positions you to understand the institutional dimension of creating and sustaining learning technology innovation. It addresses theories of effective interpersonal learning interactions and the relevance of learning technology to their mediation.

New Directions in Technology Enhanced Learning

This module will cover:

  • reviews of current innovation in ICT for learning and teaching
  • case studies of innovative practice in computer assisted learning


Face-to-face module

You may be able to study one face-to-face module as a substitute for one online module by block attendance through Summer School in Nottingham. Please see MA Education for details on Summer School modules.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



Funding information is available on the school website and can also be found on the Graduate School website.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



Career destinations for our graduates include counsellors, education advisers, language tutors, primary/secondary teachers and vocational/industrial trainers and instructors. A number of our graduates are already in employment while undertaking part-time study for professional development in their chosen career.

Employability and average starting salary

99.2% of postgraduates from the School of Education who were available for employment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £22,797 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £44,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career and professional development

Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects or develop your knowledge, a postgraduate degree from the University of Nottingham can help take you where you want to be.

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service offers specialist support and guidance while you study and for life after you graduate. They will help you explore and plan your next career move, through regular events, employer-led skills sessions, placement opportunities and one-to-one discussions.

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