Triangle

Course overview

Through critical reflection upon the way you work and teach, our online MA Education (flexible) course enables you to develop your teaching knowledge and practice.

Underpinned by systematic practitioner inquiry, you will be encouraged to identify issues that are significant to your professional practice. This course is ideal if you are looking to take the next step in your career within the education/teaching sector. 

Designed to meet the needs of individuals, this online course is extremely flexible in its study. We offer a range of optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree to your personal and professional interests. 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.

With an advanced education degree from the University of Nottingham, you will graduate with all the knowledge, practical skills and confidence to pursue your career goals.

We also offer a face-to-face version of this course, studying in Nottingham – MA Education

Please note that this course is not a teacher training course, there is no placement and graduates do not gain Qualified Teacher Status. Please visit our website for postgraduate teacher training if this is the route you wish to follow.

Why choose this course?

Study fully online

Learn in an interactive digital learning environment and study at your own pace

Flexible study

Select modules that reflect your career goals and interests

Top 50

in the world for education

Learn from experts

who are internationally recognised for their research in this area

Over 100 years

of experience in the field of education

Excellent research

The majority of our research outputs are assessed as internationally excellent.

Course content

The taught element of this course is made up of 120 credits, plus a 60-credit dissertation. It can be completed part-time over approximately two years, with a further eight months for the dissertation. You can choose to start in either September or February, and there are PGDip and PGCert exit points.

During this online course, you will study two core modules. The rest of the course is your choice. You will select up to three optional 30-credit modules from a range that covers many of the key areas of education. Current areas include:

  • Creativity, Arts, Literacies and Learning
  • Education
  • Educational Leadership and Management
  • Learning Technology 
  • Special and Inclusive Education

General course reading

  • Swales, J. M. and Feak, C. B. (2012). Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills (third edition). University of Michigan Press.
  • Bryman, A. (2016). Social Research Methods (fifth edition). Oxford University Press.
  • Clark, T., Foster, L. and Bryman, A. (2019). How to do your Social Research Project or Dissertation. Oxford University Press.
  • Biesta, G. (2020) Educational research: An Unorthodox Introduction, London : New York, Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2018) Research Methods in Education (eighth edition), London ; New York, Routledge.
  • Townsend, A. (2013) Action Research: The Challenges of Understanding and Researching Practice, Maidenhead, Berkshire; New York, Open University Press. 

Other texts you will engage in will be dependant on your optional modules.

Course leader

Tingting Yuan (contact for academic enquiries)

Modules

Core modules

Practice-Based Inquiry

The content will involve you 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

 

Dissertation

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.

Optional modules

Up to three from a selection that may include:

Leading Learning

The module will address the essential features of effective learning, as relevant to your 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

 

Successful Leadership and Change in Education

This module will address the nature and practice of leadership in education. It will look at six themes:

  • Concepts of leadership
  • Change
  • Leadership qualities, behaviours and competencies
  • Power and authority
  • Organisational cultures and distributed leadership
  • Professional development

 

Responding Mindfully to Challenging Behaviour

This module considers:

  • 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: for example, restraint, exclusion from school, sex and relationship education
  • supporting students with ADHD
  • workforce issues: self-care, partnership working
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
Educating Students on the Autism Spectrum

This module will explore key issues related to the education of students on the autism spectrum. These include: 

  • What you need to know to teach and support individuals on the autism spectrum and their families
  • Insider perspectives; the spectrum; neurodiversity; and gender
  • Diagnosis and core difficulties of autism
  • Whole school approaches to planning for students on the autism spectrum
  • Environmental issues; working with families and community; outside agencies
  • Education theories associated with autism: theory of mind; central coherence; and executive function
  • Communication
  • Sensory sensitivities and accommodations
  • Links between sensory and motor functions and difficulties associated with autism
  • Social and emotional challenges and supports
  • Educational interventions for children on the autism spectrum
  • Value of interventions to learning of all children in a mainstream class
  • Transitions; small and large scale
  • Focusing on strengths and interests
Communication and Literacy

This module considers:

  • typical and atypical development of communication by looking at means, opportunities and reasons for communicating, along with the influence of expectations
  • typical and atypical development of cognition and literacy 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, Down's 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'
Social Contexts of Learning

This module focuses on how people learn together in pairs, teams, small groups, the classroom, or an informal community. It works through classical and modern theories of social learning, explaining the social aspects of almost any type of learning and mechanisms that boost the power of learning together.

Equipped with these theories, it explores the various technologies mediating and supporting social learning, such as social media, participation in the World Wide Web, online communities, online communication platforms and virtual reality.

Learning Theories for a Digital Age

This module looks at how people learn and how learning is supported in a digital age. It explores current and historical theories of learning and how they inform the design of learning technologies. It will help you understand the potential of digital technology for learning in a variety of contexts (such as schools, colleges, workplaces, museums, both face-to-face and online) and help you develop an ability to critically reflect on examples of learning technologies in current use.

Critical Perspectives on Curriculum and Pedagogy (part-time)

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.

The Future of Digital Education

This module looks at how digital technologies are changing how we teach and learn. It explores learning tools such as mobile phones, virtual learning environments, serious games, robotics, and immersive/augmented reality environments.

It will help you understand how to choose appropriate digital tools, how to support students to learn with them both face-to-face and online, and what the future of teaching and learning might look like.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 21 September 2022.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Independent study
  • Discussion group
  • Tutorials

We hope that you will enjoy the flexibility of studying online, enabling you to attend to modules and engage with materials at times to fit around your other commitments. Online modules on our courses are managed through the Moodle virtual learning environment (VLE) and combine module content, reading lists and materials, online activities, discussion forums and access to tutors.

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

How you will be assessed

  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Personal reflections

Each 30-credit module is assessed by a 6,000-word written assignment or equivalent. You must achieve a pass of 50% on each assignment to complete the masters.

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

Contact time and study hours

Each module requires an equivalent of 30 hours of online engagement, plus 270 hours of private study, assignment preparation and tutorial support.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:2 (or international equivalent)
Work experience

Applicants should have:

  • one year of full-time (or equivalent) work or volunteer experience in an educational setting
    or
  • a teaching qualification that includes a substantial placement-based component, for example a PGCE will be considered acceptable experience.

Applying

Start date Application deadline Fee year
13 February 2023 16 January 2023 2022/23
4 September 2023 4 August 2023 2023/34
12 February 2024 15 January 2024 2023/24

Recognition of other Learning (ROL)

If you have prior learning or experience at an appropriate level, you may apply for exemption from some of the credit requirements of the course. Applications for ROL should be made at the time of application for admission to the university and at least four weeks before the start of the course. Applications for ROL are processed free of charge. Late applications will not be considered. Please visit the School of Education ROL pages for full information and how to apply.

References

Applicants are asked to provide one academic reference and one professional reference along with a current CV as part of their application. Please note that these requirements do not apply to University of Nottingham PGCE and PGCEi graduates.

University of Nottingham PGCE and PGCEi graduates

You are required to apply for the course, but will find a streamlined application process and you will be automatically accepted.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2023 entry to be confirmed in August 2022.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, we do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, however, you may wish to purchase your own copies, which you would need to factor into your budget.

Funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

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.

Career progression

90.9% of postgraduates from the School of Education secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £29,124.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" I am passionate to lead the MA Education (Flexible) course and proud to see the diverse and rich experience among our students. Here we have a virtual space to critically reflect on the past and future of education, the role of different forms of education, the changing discourse and practice in education, and in particular, our own perceptions of learning, teaching and societies. "
Dr Tingting Yuan, Course Leader

Related courses

This content was last updated on Wednesday 21 September 2022. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.