Plymouth Institute of Education

MA Education

Our MA Education programme focuses on educational practice using methods of practice-related inquiry. Building on our recognised excellence in postgraduate teaching and research, this programme offers a structured pathway for professional development and scholarship in general education, including option module choices, as well as three possible subject specialist pathways: Early Childhood Studies, Mathematics Education, or SEN and Inclusion.

Please note that specialist routes and option modules on offer may change, so contact Admissions teams to check availability for your year of application.

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Key features

  • Take the opportunity to research through a specialised pathway, tailored sustainability and outdoor learning modules, or your own area of interest.
  • Benefit from Saturday, weekday and evening face-to-face provision and tutorials offering flexibility for professional practitioners.
  • Learn from experienced educators who have first-hand familiarity with the challenges and possibilities of educational practice.
  • Further develop your expertise in specific educational issues of interest to you.
  • Develop the ability to undertake systematic inquiries and the capability to respond to ethical issues through critical analysis and decision making.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • The programme provides a clear framework for study, designed to suit both professional practitioners and those interested in the scholarship of Education. Classes are either on campus or delivered through our Digital Learning Environment. The general MA Education route and modules are available to those studying at a distance. All students take the core modules: Researching Education Practice in Context module (30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

    Our specialist and optional modules are designed to allow you the opportunity to pursue your own areas of interest, supported by knowledgeable and research-active academics. All of our general MA Education modules run every year, but subject-specialist modules may be subject to demand and availability. Practice-related inquiry modules are a special feature of the programme where you negotiate a topic of study, supervised by one of the teaching team.

    Core modules
    • MAED701 Researching Education Practice in Context

      This module aims to use and examine different approaches to researching education practices and promote understandings of the potential place and role of research in education settings. It critically explores the differentiated nature of education research, ways in which it might interact with professional practice and how professional educators can undertake effective and appropriate research in their own settings.

    • MAED702 Masters of Arts in Education Dissertation

      This is the dissertation module for the MA Education. Students must successfully complete a research proposal including ethical protocol and materials. Students engage on their own dissertation research projects. They receive supervisory support through formative assessment of three tasks prior to the proposal and during their research, wider reading and dissertation writing. (380 with spaces).

    Optional modules
    • MAEC722 Developing Leadership Skills in Early Childhood Settings

      This module is intended to support early years practitioners with appropriate knowledge and skills to develop their theoretical understanding of leadership theory and approaches suitable for the early years context, together with reflective practice and efficient and effective management understanding.

    • MAEC723 Enabling Learning in Early Childhood (EYFS & KS1)

      This module will enable students to systematically explore and critically analyse a range of learning theories and approaches that underpin an enabling learning environment for young children (0-8 years). There will be opportunities to consider how national governments¿ curriculum and how practitioners¿ interpretations of these shape the learning experiences provided for young children. Students will critically consider the role of the adult in enabling young children¿s learning and the relationships between the people and the places that the children move between.

    • MAED711 Thinking About Contemporary Education

      This module aims to examine critically the different ways in which we can make sense of educational practice. It encourages participants to conceptualise and develop theoretical frameworks with which to understand contemporary issues in education of particular relevance to practitioners, thereby allowing them to critically and creatively challenge and improve their own practice.

    • MAED717 Practice Related Inquiry 1

      This module affords students the opportunity to propose, formulate and undertake a self-contained Masters level study highly relevant to practice while learning about methods of inquiry. With content being agreed between student and tutor via the proposal form, they will undertake a structured programme of practice-related inquiry through tutorials, reading, short tasks and assignment writing.

    • MAED718 Practice Related Inquiry 2

      This module affords students the opportunity to propose, formulate and undertake a self-contained Masters level study highly relevant to practice while learning about methods of inquiry. With content being agreed between student and tutor via the proposal form, they will undertake a structured programme of practice-related inquiry through tutorials, reading, short tasks and assignment writing.

    • MASE741 Critical Perspectives on Inclusive Education, Disability and Diversity

      This module provides participants with an overview of SEN, inclusion and disability. Participants will have an opportunity to explore the key concepts and ideas relating to special and inclusive education. It will introduce participants to the main critical perspectives, issues and the debates which surround special education. Participants will draw on their own practice, and be able to relate theoretical perspectives to their practice contexts.

    • MASE742 Researching Theory and Practice of Inclusive Education, Disability and Diversity

      Participants focus on examining current research, theory and practice within areas related to Inclusion, SEN, Disability, Equality and Diversity. Participants will undertake literature ¿research based study and/or a practice based study to investigate, theorise, critically reflect on and examine the definition of identification and assessment processes, or teaching and learning in depth within a specified area.

    • MASU751 Alternatives in Education and Society

      This module aims to provide a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of the current issues, challenges, new insights and opportunities in the field of alternative education, pedagogy and unorthodox approaches to research. It will critically and creatively evaluate the emergence of utopian societies and consider their role alongside alternative education for developing new knowledge and research, as well as providing critical ways of understanding, being, living and researching.

    • MASU752 Learning for Sustainability and Global Literacy

      This module looks critically at notions of ecological and sustainability literacy, and learning contexts and systems in which individuals, institutions and communities gain these skills, examining the ideas of interdisciplinarity and interconnectedness, with a dynamic and experiential link between theory and practice. This includes all sectors of formal and non-formal education, whilst emphasising the links between our lives and those of people throughout the world and considering ways to achieve a world in which power and resources are more equitably shared.

    • MASU753 The Experience of Outdoor Learning

      This module discusses key concepts within outdoor learning as well as its connection with experiential learning and its value and potential from early years to adulthood. Consideration is given to the value that the natural environment has in education as well as to personal development and wellbeing. Participants are encouraged to deepen their own experience and critical thinking in relation to the subject as well as to the means by which they would like to develop their own practice.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MA Education Programme Specification 2017 18 5776

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements


A relevant degree with honours or an equivalent professional qualification. Other qualifications accompanied by substantial experience in an appropriate field may also be considered. Non-standard applications will be considered on a case by case basis.


Please view the country specific pages for further information regarding the equivalency of your degree. International applicants will be required to provide evidence of their English language ability, for example by achieving an IELTS score of 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in each element) or equivalent. Pre-sessional English language courses are available if you do not meet these requirements.


Scholarships are available for postgraduate taught programmes. Tell me more about scholarships and bursaries.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £7,500 £7,725
International £14,000 £14,400
Part time (Home/EU) £420 £430
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Full-time or part-time study modes available

We offer this programme in both full and part-time mode. If you choose to study on a part-time basis then you'll complete the course at a pace appropriate to your needs normally within two to five years. If you choose to study in full-time mode the programme runs for a year.


If you want to bring existing level 7 credit in to the programme then the application for this should normally be made as part of the admissions process prior to registration on the programme. If you have already enrolled on the programme then you may be able to make an exceptional application. Please contact the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Administration team for more information.

Programme design

The programme is designed to offer you maximum curricular choice within a clear structure by asking you to:

  • choose from a limited range of modules in one of the three specialisms or the general education pathway
  • set your own assignment topic related to module content within all modules
  • undertake optional modules in practice related inquiry and negotiate topics of personal interest with your lecturer
  • design your own research project on your chosen aspect of educational practice for your dissertation module. 

The way we assess work is through carefully constructed assessment modes that will prepare you for the different elements of dissertation work.

Kip Pratt

This MA helped me enormously in my practice as a music teacher and lecturer. It makes me think critically about my work, and question some of my long held assumptions about what education is.
Learn more about Kip Pratt

Oliver Quinlan

It’s really exciting right at this moment in time, being part of a movement which supports people across the world who are developing opportunities and solving problems in their own communities with digital technology.
Learn more about Oliver Quinlan

Teaching methods

We use a wide range of pedagogies to support inclusion and participation in higher education. The following is a list:

  • onsite whole class or tutorial sessions with module lecturers
  • online contact with lecturers and/or fellow students
  • directed study (specific tasks related to the module and set by lecturers for completion in your own time)
  • self-directed inquiry, research or scholarship (which may include undertaking a project, reading, work with children, work with colleagues, investigation of topic of interests, etc).

Networking and socialising

As a postgraduate student in Plymouth Institute of Education you will be kept informed of postgraduate conference events and socialise with other masters and doctorate students at tea breaks on our taught Saturdays. 

There is a history of inviting masters dissertation students to attend the annual on-campus Institute of Health and Community/Plymouth Institute of Education postgraduate conference.