Course overview

Our online MA Education (Online) course is designed to help you develop your teaching knowledge and practice through critical reflection on the way you work and teach. It is an ideal choice if you're looking to take the next step in your career within the education/teaching sector. This course is underpinned by systematic practitioner inquiry and encourages you to identify issues that are significant to your professional practice.

One of the key benefits of this online course is its flexibility. It is designed to meet the needs of individuals, allowing you to tailor your degree to your personal and professional interests. With a range of optional modules to choose from, you can study at your own pace and at times that suit you. Some of the key areas of education include digital teaching, leadership and special and inclusive education.

Throughout the course, you'll investigate contemporary educational issues in the light of historical, political, and social contexts, appropriate literature, and the shared experience of course members.

Our online modules are managed through the Moodle virtual learning environment and include module content, reading lists, and materials, online activities, discussion forums, and access to tutors.

With an advanced education degree from the University of Nottingham, you'll graduate with all the knowledge, practical skills, and confidence to pursue your career goals. We hope that you'll enjoy the flexibility of studying online, enabling you to study modules and engage with materials at times that fit around your other commitments.

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.

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

Alumni profile

Take a look at our alumni profiles, to see why our students chose to study at the University of Nottingham, their experience of the course and how it has helped develop their career. 


Why choose this course?

Study fully online

Learn in an interactive digital learning environment and study when it suit you

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. 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:

  • Education
  • Educational leadership and management
  • Digital teaching and learning
  • 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

Dr Tingting Yuan (contact for academic enquiries)


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



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
  • the role of self-awareness and mindful practice s an essential classroom management
  • 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
Education for 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
  • identification 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 support 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.

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

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.

Global Perspectives on Early Childhood Education

This module brings together international scholars in education to introduce contemporary and global topics on early childhood education (ECE). Through attending lectures delivered by both University of Nottingham lecturers and guest speakers from across the world, you will then engage in interactive activities and critical discussions on how global perspectives on different topics embed in your own societal contexts. You are further encouraged to reflect on how to ‘localise’ global perspectives into your everyday practice working in ECE contexts, developing culturally-sensitive and -reflective approaches to ECE pedagogy and practice.

The module will cover broad topics relating to:

  • Globalisation and ‘globalisation’ in ECE
  • National ECE curriculum policy frameworks across countries
  • Social justice issues and sustainable development goals in ECE
  • International approaches to pedagogy and practice in ECE
  • Children’s perspective on quality of ECE
  • Teacher development and ECE workforce globally
  • Parenting in intersectional contexts
Social Theories and Conceptual Frameworks in Education

This module critically examines leading examples of social theories and frameworks that both inform and help conceptualise key issues within the field of education. It will draw on theories that have originated within the field and also from different disciplines which have application to a study of education.

Throughout the module, you will engage in considering the origins of particular theories of knowledge and of how these help us to understand educational issues and debates across time and in contemporary society. The module will incorporate epistemological issues from a range of historical and global perspectives and will consider the implications of these for educational theorising, conceptualising and research.

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 Tuesday 27 February 2024.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Independent study
  • Tutorials
  • Distance learning materials

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.

Our interactive virtual learning environment includes text, audio and video materials, online discussions and reflective tasks. The programme is designed so that you can work at your own pace in an asynchronous way, within the study plan and assignment timetable for each module.

For each module, you will have an academic tutor who will be active online. They contribute to discussions as well as supporting you through the assessment process. There is an online masters-level toolkit to support all aspects of academic study, a dissertation preparation module available to you from the beginning of the course, and one-to-one dissertation support from your supervisor, usually via Microsoft Teams.

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 2024 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
  • a teaching qualification that includes a substantial placement-based component, for example a PGCE will be considered acceptable experience.
Additional information

Other requirements
A personal statement is required that demonstrates both a clear understanding of and relevant motivation for pursuing this course.


Start date Application deadline
2 September 2024 1 August 2024
10 February 2025 13 January 2025

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.

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

How to apply


Qualification MA
Home / UK £9,700
International £14,700

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.



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 School of Education graduates include education advisers, language tutors, primary/secondary teachers, vocational/industrial trainers and instructors and those working in the caring professions including counsellors.

A number of our graduates are already in employment while undertaking part-time study for professional development in their chosen career.

Career progression

87.8% 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 £26,130.*

* 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, postgraduate, home graduates 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 Tuesday 27 February 2024. 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.