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Course overview

If you’re interested in the factors that influence the way we teach and learn, and want to keep your career options open, then our BA Education is perfect for you.

You’ll be able to challenge educational practices and debate issues such as equality in education, learning in the digital age, and the ways in which cognition and development affect the way people learn. The degree covers perspectives from disciplines such as politics, history, sociology, philosophy and psychology.

The placement module provides an excellent opportunity to develop your understanding of educational theories in a practical setting, and will strengthen your CV. You could also have the chance to study abroad for a semester at our Malaysia campus.

Why choose this course?

Top 50 worldwide

and 9th in the UK for education

Academic experts

who have won awards for their teaching

Strong links

with international campuses, professional networks and partnership schools


Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level ABB
Required subjects

GCSE English and maths, 4 (C) or above

IB score 32

If you are looking to progress to PGCE Primary Education after this course, you will need GCSE science, 4 or above.

Mature students

At the University of Nottingham we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on our mature students webpage.

Notes for applicants

We are looking for students who have the ability and motivation to benefit from our courses, and who will make a valued contribution to the school and the university.

When considering your application, we will look for evidence that you will be able to fulfil the objectives of the course and achieve the standards required.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Placements

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Examinations
  • Presentation
  • Project work
  • Reflective portfolios

Contact time and study hours

You will have approximately 12-14 hours of contact time per week in lectures, tutorials, seminars and placements. You will also be expected to engage in independent study.

Study abroad

You can broaden your horizons by studying abroad for a semester at our Malaysia campus.

Students on the BA Education have benefitted from the international links between the School of Education and other universities, including Lund University in Sweden, where students were hosted for an educational visit, and have been involved in online collaborative learning activities.

Placements

Our placement module will develop your employability skills, as you will be expected to present yourself as an educational professional. You will gain hands-on experience in diverse settings such as NGOs, museums and social enterprises.

Previous students have completed placements with special schools, the Notts Refugee Forum, and Nottingham Forest Youth Team.

Modules

You will begin to study a number of strands that run throughout the degree:

  • Contemporary debates in education
  • Education and society
  • International education
  • Learning and teaching

You will also develop academic, career-focused and study skills, through individual meetings with personal tutors, group sessions and assessed work.

In order to develop a broad perspective on education, you have the opportunity to take up to 20 credits from outside of the school from languages study, Nottingham Open Online Courses (NOOC) or appropriate modules from sociology, politics or psychology.

Core modules

Big Ideas in Education: Inclusion, Equalities, Rights and Justice

This module will develop your understanding of what inclusion, equalities, rights and justice means for education, and how these ideas are used in theory, policy and practice.

The module focuses on key issues related to social justice, including marginalisation, privilege, power and voice. You will explore the complexity of these issues and the ways in which they have been understood in different times and places, how they relate to each other and how they interact in the lives of individuals and communities and across formal and informal contexts for learning.

Through participatory and discussion-based sessions, you will consider some of the ways in which experiences of injustice and privilege can be understood, from 'big data' to personal narratives. While the module examines the ways in which these perspectives are used to inform policy and practice in education, you will also be supported to develop a critically reflective personal analysis of these issues and to express their understanding in creative ways.

History of Education

This module will examine how formal education systems reflect the socio-political interests of particular times and places, how these interests have changed over time and the forms of education that result. The focus will be on the English school system, which provides the central case study, but the module will also draw on:

  • international comparisons from different historical periods
  • cross-phase comparisons, for example, with technical and higher education

The module will be structured around some key questions:

  • Who has education been for? (learners)
  • Who have the teachers been? (teachers)
  • How has their work been defined and controlled? (governance)
  • Who determines what is taught? (curriculum)
  • How and why has change occurred? (socio-political change)
  • What is the relationship between education and national identity?
  • What is the relationship between education and the economy?

As well as wide engagement with readings, the module will also explore key areas through the interrogation of a range of historical sources.

Joining the Academic Community

This module inducts you into your life as a functional social scientist. In this module you learn the academic skills you will need to complete your first year successfully. This includes developing an understanding of yourself as social scientist and reflection on your own skills.

The key skills and knowledge will include:

  • note-taking
  • accessing resources
  • academic referencing
  • information management
  • project planning
  • effective academic writing
  • seminar participation
  • collaborative working

The module will include professional integrity ethical behaviour.

Learning and Development

The module integrates psychology, educational studies, linguistics and neuroscience to provide an introductory overview of human development and learning. It will outline some of the biological, cultural, social and cognitive factors that shape the course of human learning. It will include:

  • major theoretical frameworks that explain key concepts in learning and development
    • the architecture of mind and brain and how learning is bound by context
  • how children develop
    • how they come to perceive, reason, and understand the word around them
    • how they learn to communicate with peers and parents and how the social relationships they form are fundamental to their development
  • how people learn
    • what are the key aspects of the cognitive system that support learning (such as perception, attention, memory and reasoning) as well as how learning is shaped by social contexts
  • how learners differ from one another
    • what makes an individual learner unique
    • how are motivation, personality and intelligence currently understood
The Purposes of Education

This module deals with the most basic, but most important and controversial, question in education: 'What is education for?' We are also interested in the supplementary question: 'Who decides?'

Education can have many purposes, from developing the future workforce, to promoting a more equal society. However, different objectives may be in tension with each other, whilst even apparently simple questions are often complex:

  • What is the 'world of work' that education is preparing people for?
  • What are the skills that people need for employment?
  • Should education prepare people to be 'good employees' in a precarious labour market or be more critical and challenge and transform the status quo?

In this module we will explore a number of issues relating to education and equality, the economy, and the role of education, both as a citizenship right and in developing citizens. We will analyse these issues drawing on philosophical, historical and socio-political perspectives.

Modules from outside the school or:

Literacy, Learning and Education

This module considers the different ways in which literacy is conceptualised, how we learn to read and write and the significance of this to people's lives. It will include:

  • case studies from education policy in order to examine the ways in which these have shaped practice in the teaching and learning of literacy across international contexts
  • key academic studies of literacy which have contributed to our understanding of its role in wider contexts, such as in homes and communities
Mathematics and Science in Schools

In this module, you will take a critical stance in exploring the organisation of mathematics and science as subject disciplines and consequently how they are perceived as school subjects and in society more widely.

You will have opportunities to draw on a range of international studies and research to consider the role of mathematics and science as fundamental areas of knowledge and human endeavour and high-status subjects in the school curriculum, given their economic and social importance in the modern world.

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 Friday 26 February 2021.

As well as the core modules, you can also undertake an assessed work placement either in a school or a wider educational environment.

You will complete a reflective portfolio using a Placement Module Guidance Booklet, and will focus on aspects including:

  • Context of learning
  • The role of educators
  • The learning environment
  • Transferable/professional skills developed while on placement
  • A learner case study
  • Your legacy – what contribution have you made?

While on placement you will be fully supported by a mentor and your personal tutor.

Core modules

Curriculum and the Politics of Knowledge

The aim of this module is to subject the fundamental ideas of curriculum and knowledge to close scrutiny, and in doing so explore important questions such as: 

  • What should be taught/learnt and why?
  • Why emphasise learning of some knowledges and not others, and who decides?  
  • What is the difference between curriculum and a national curriculum?
  • What factors influence curriculum change? 
  • How do learners experience the curriculum and how does assessment influence this? 

Exploring these questions will show how the curriculum is subject to a range of social, cultural and political influences and that the relationship between the curriculum and knowledge is complex.

Although the focus for the model is on school curricula in England, understanding of the issues will be enhanced by comparative analysis of curricula in other educational phases, national contexts and historical times.

The Developing Ethical Professional

In this module, you will develop the academic skills you will need to successfully undertake independent study and research in education. These include methods of information management, critical evaluation and effective academic writing. You will also explore possibilities for postgraduate study and/or employment and gain experience in employment-related forms of writing and communication. This will include work on career planning.

Ethics and values in professional life are a key focus of the module. The module explores how educationalists may find fulfilment and satisfaction through developing an ethical, values-based stance on their work.

Education Beyond Borders

This module explores education theory and policy debates beyond the UK. It has three main strands. Firstly, it critically examines major accounts regarding the purpose of education as they are found in international policy, activist and academic debates.

Secondly, it goes on to look at the increasingly transnational nature of education policymaking, examining prominent examples and major theories about how policies spread.

Thirdly, it draws attention to critiques of these globalising trends by looking at case studies of resistance; examining arguments that education can be a public and private "bad" as well as "good"; and considering debates about whose knowledge counts in national and international education policy debates.

Learning in the Digital Future

This module explores how digital technologies are changing the way people learn – as well as how they play, make friends, qualify in a field, gain employment and participate in the world around them.

It does this by:

  • exploring both well-researched and cutting edge technologies, from multimedia through educational games and massive open online courses (MOOCs)
  • focusing on how people learn with technology by considering the ways that it supports different learning activities
  • addressing a variety of contexts for digital based learning including schools, universities, galleries and museums and the workplace
  • providing opportunities for hands-on design experiences to prototype and develop digital learning environments
  • considering complex social aspects of technological change to explore how technology is affecting equity in educational outcomes and whether technological change in the workplace and home is fundamentally changing what education should achieve
Researching Education: Key Studies and Methods

The researching education module will provide you with an introduction to the principles and concepts which underpin research in education. We ask what research is (and what it isn't), where it is located, how it is used, by whom and to what ends.

We will build on the research components of other modules in which the key studies and theories in those areas were introduced. As well as learning how to access, read and interpret research, in this module, you will also examine the practices and skills associated with the conduct of research. 

You will be taught the core research skills of critique, argumentation and analysis. You will also be introduced to research methods covering the collection, manipulation, analysis and presentation of data about education in research. Using these skills, you will examine and reflect upon key studies of education and explore how knowledge of education - including its effects and its relationships to learning, culture, technology and society - is believed to arise from research.

You must take a maximum of 20 credits from this group:

Placement (Year Long)

This module will provide you with the opportunity to develop your personal and professional skills through a practice-based placement in a local education setting. Those interested in a career in primary and/or Early Years teaching may undertake a placement at a local school. Other settings will include museums and galleries as well as third sector organisations and local government.

During the course of the placement, you will gain experience of the ways in which theories, policy and debates related to education are enacted in practical contexts. The module will also develop your employability through experience of a workplace and the opportunity to apply the hard and soft skills developed through your degree in a professional context. Skills developed in placement contexts, and through reflection upon this experience, will also support study across future modules on the degree.

Placement (Autumn Semester)

This module will provide you with the opportunity to develop your personal and professional skills through a practice-based placement in a local education setting. Those interested in a career in primary and/or Early Years teaching may undertake a placement at a local school. Other settings will include museums and galleries as well as third sector organisations and local government.

During the course of the placement, you will gain experience of the ways in which theories, policy and debates related to education are enacted in practical contexts. The module will also develop your employability through experience of a workplace and the opportunity to apply the hard and soft skills developed through your degree in a professional context. Skills developed in placement contexts, and through reflection upon this experience, will also support study across future modules on the degree.

or:

Alternative Educations

This module introduces you to educational practices that occur outside of traditional, mainstream institutional settings such as schools or universities in order to question the role of education in society.

Lectures and seminar activities will focus on a range of alternative and non-traditional educational practices in different international contexts, including home schooling, Saturday schools, unregistered schools, segregated schools and re-education camps.

You will explore the philosophical and ideological perspectives underpinning alternative approaches to education. We will consider the extent to which decisions about educational choice are made by children, individuals, families, the state or society and discuss whether alternative educations challenge or reproduce the outcomes of more traditional educational pathways.

Inclusive Education

This module will encourage you to consider the notion of inclusion in mainstream education as a philosophically, ideologically, politically and socially constructed ideal. Using debates and dilemma analysis you will lead discussions that focus on some of the key issues and questions raised about inclusive education.

The module will look at inclusion from the perspectives of students, parents, teachers and others involved in the school community and evaluate what the policy and practice means for them.

The concept of Universal Design for Learning will be introduced as an approach that assumes the needs of all students can be met through a well-planned and developed system. It acknowledges the idea that it is the curriculum and the environment that can be disabling or exclusionary for some students and provides a framework for curricula that seeks to change the approach to learning rather than the individuals.

Literacy, Learning and Education

This module considers the different ways in which literacy is conceptualised, how we learn to read and write and the significance of this to people's lives. It will include:

  • case studies from education policy in order to examine the ways in which these have shaped practice in the teaching and learning of literacy across international contexts
  • key academic studies of literacy which have contributed to our understanding of its role in wider contexts, such as in homes and communities
Mathematics and Science in Schools

In this module, you will take a critical stance in exploring the organisation of mathematics and science as subject disciplines and consequently how they are perceived as school subjects and in society more widely.

You will have opportunities to draw on a range of international studies and research to consider the role of mathematics and science as fundamental areas of knowledge and human endeavour and high-status subjects in the school curriculum, given their economic and social importance in the modern world.

Place, Mobility and Space in Education

This module explores how relationships to places, built spaces, and geographical movements between places structure educational experience. Fundamental questions about how education systems are geographically organised, what is meant by terms such as 'local', and how educational buildings are and have been designed, form the basis of the module content.

The module will draw on your prior study of issues of social justice, power and marginalisation, and will explore how educational inequalities can be understood in spatial terms. You will engage critically with contemporary theory from social and human geography, as well as with current educational research, to develop awareness of how your own and others' experiences of education are located within particular geographies.

The module will include analysis of education policy as well as case studies and research findings from a variety of international contexts.

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

You will develop your learning through core modules, and complete a dissertation on a topic of your choice that explores one of the central strands of the course. This gives you the opportunity to specialise in a particular area of interest and to demonstrate your in-depth knowledge and understanding.

You can also take up to 10 credits from outside of the school; from language study, Nottingham Open Online Courses (NOOCs) or modules from sociology, politics or psychology.

Core modules

Big Ideas in Education: the Datafication of Education

In an age of 'big data' and data analytics, this module examines the ways in which the collection and analysis of education (and related) data has framed education policy and practice and how this might develop in the future.

The module examines this trend within the broader sweep of the 'datafication' of capitalist, neoliberal societies. Such data is generated at international, national and organisational levels and education professionals and stakeholders - irrespective of their role - need to develop the necessary quantitative literacy to read and critique these applications and trends.

This module will investigate some of the core principles of sampling, measurement and statistical variation. Importantly, these issues will be explored in the context of some of the most common forms of quantitative/quantifiable data use in contemporary education settings. The module will also consider emerging innovations in data analytics that some enthusiasts predict might transform learning in the coming years.

Dissertation

The dissertation module builds on the Research Methodology and Design in Education module and requires students to engage with empirical and theoretical data as part of an in-depth independent study of an area of education which leads to a 10,000-word dissertation. The topic is of your choice, in consultation with a tutor, and must be approved by the module convenor.

Individual and group support will be offered to you to formulate and calibrate your research questions, develop the research design and manage the project. Workshops will offer practical guidance on approaches to the generation and analysis of data, both quantitative and qualitative. This will include the use of interviews and focus groups, questionnaires and document analysis.

New Modes and Sites for Learning

This module is focused on the nature of our learning lives and how they interact with the formal and informal places and spaces we inhabit as learners. It (re)visits theories such as experiential learning, place-based education, storythread, making, as well as critiques of these and how they may be enacted in practice.

Sites and modes examined in the module include outside learning and learning in museums, galleries and performances. You will investigate how these are usually incorporated into the curriculum - through the excursion, homework and the field trip - and think about how this might be different and/or better.

During the module, you will have the opportunity to do some primary research in sites across the city of Nottingham, critically exploring how they are represented as places for learning. This includes considering ideas about cultural capital, access and equity, which may shape the ways in which sites are used by teachers and learners.

You will have the opportunity to draw on your learning from the module, and from your own experiences of formal and informal learning contexts, to explore the potential of new sites and modes in education.

Research Methodology and Design in Education

This module examines the nature of qualitative and quantitative research methods of inquiry in education and builds your practical knowledge and understanding of approaches to designing and undertaking research in education. Topics covered will include:

  • frameworks for approaching social science research and research paradigms in education
  • the Literature Review
  • identifying a purpose and research question
  • the design frame:
    • Sampling, generalizability, reliability and validity
    • Action research in education
    • Case study and ethnography
    • Experiment
    • Survey
    • Comparative study
  • ethics in education research

You must take a maximum of 20 credits from this group, or you can choose modules from outside the school:

Alternative Educations

This module introduces you to educational practices that occur outside of traditional, mainstream institutional settings such as schools or universities in order to question the role of education in society.

Lectures and seminar activities will focus on a range of alternative and non-traditional educational practices in different international contexts, including home schooling, Saturday schools, unregistered schools, segregated schools and re-education camps.

You will explore the philosophical and ideological perspectives underpinning alternative approaches to education. We will consider the extent to which decisions about educational choice are made by children, individuals, families, the state or society and discuss whether alternative educations challenge or reproduce the outcomes of more traditional educational pathways.

Inclusive Education

This module will encourage you to consider the notion of inclusion in mainstream education as a philosophically, ideologically, politically and socially constructed ideal. Using debates and dilemma analysis you will lead discussions that focus on some of the key issues and questions raised about inclusive education.

The module will look at inclusion from the perspectives of students, parents, teachers and others involved in the school community and evaluate what the policy and practice means for them.

The concept of Universal Design for Learning will be introduced as an approach that assumes the needs of all students can be met through a well-planned and developed system. It acknowledges the idea that it is the curriculum and the environment that can be disabling or exclusionary for some students and provides a framework for curricula that seeks to change the approach to learning rather than the individuals.

Place, Mobility and Space in Education

This module explores how relationships to places, built spaces, and geographical movements between places structure educational experience. Fundamental questions about how education systems are geographically organised, what is meant by terms such as 'local', and how educational buildings are and have been designed, form the basis of the module content.

The module will draw on your prior study of issues of social justice, power and marginalisation, and will explore how educational inequalities can be understood in spatial terms. You will engage critically with contemporary theory from social and human geography, as well as with current educational research, to develop awareness of how your own and others' experiences of education are located within particular geographies.

The module will include analysis of education policy as well as case studies and research findings from a variety of international contexts.

Literacy, Learning and Education

This module considers the different ways in which literacy is conceptualised, how we learn to read and write and the significance of this to people's lives. It will include:

  • case studies from education policy in order to examine the ways in which these have shaped practice in the teaching and learning of literacy across international contexts
  • key academic studies of literacy which have contributed to our understanding of its role in wider contexts, such as in homes and communities
Mathematics and Science in Schools

In this module, you will take a critical stance in exploring the organisation of mathematics and science as subject disciplines and consequently how they are perceived as school subjects and in society more widely.

You will have opportunities to draw on a range of international studies and research to consider the role of mathematics and science as fundamental areas of knowledge and human endeavour and high-status subjects in the school curriculum, given their economic and social importance in the modern world.

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

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2021*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2022/23 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles which could cost up to £25.

The school covers the cost of a DBS check. If you choose to go on placement, the cost of travel will be dependent on location of placement and proximity to term-time address.

There is a compulsory trip that could cost up to £25 and some coursework may require you to buy apps or similar software, costing up to £10.

Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

Learning isn't confined to the classroom and education graduates don't all go on to become teachers. In fact, half of those working in the education sector are making a difference in a range of roles, including many you might not have imagined, such as:

  • local government
  • civil service
  • educational organisation bodies
  • education in museums and prisons
  • charities and NGOs
  • community and educational theatre
  • educational administration at school and university level
  • educational marketing, PR and journalism
  • education business and commerce
  • graduate training programmes such as IntoUniversity

This course also provides an excellent foundation for progressing to PGCE Primary Education.

The personal and academic development modules will develop self-study and reflection, while the work-based placement opportunities offer you a chance to experience working in an educational environment that will enhance your skills as an educational professional.

Average starting salary and career progression

100% of undergraduates from the School of Education secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £16,000 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £17,700.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK. HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020 data not available due to sample size.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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" The small size makes it comfortable to share ideas and participate in group discussions as well as receiving quality attention from the lecturers who are able to really get to know you. "
Alice Humphrey
The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.