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Masters degree in Education

This flexible masters degree is suitable for education professionals who wish to acquire qualities and transferable skills that are highly prized by employers. You’ll have the choice of four specialist routes – learning and teaching; leadership and management; inclusive practice; and applied linguistics. You’ll also have the option to change your specialism after Stage 1, giving you the opportunity to study two specialisms within one qualification. Your final dissertation module (with the exception of the applied linguistics route) gives you the choice of a small-scale inquiry on a topic of your choice, or you can opt to complete an extended literature review and research proposal relevant to your own educational professional interests and practice.

Key features of the course

  • Choice: a rich choice of specialisms to suit a range of interests.
  • Flexibility: change your specialism after Stage 1 and complete in three or up to six years.
  • Optionality: choose from a small-scale inquiry or an extended literature review and research proposal to fit with your own personal and professional circumstances.
  • Opportunity: work your way up from a postgraduate certificate and postgraduate diploma to the MA in Education (MA Ed) or Master of Education (MEd). Plus you the option to count your previous study towards this qualification, helping you pay less and finish sooner.
  • Engage with issues, concepts and debates that enrich your knowledge and improve your professional practice.
  • Develop and consolidate advanced scholarship and independent learning in the context of your own practice.

Masters degree

Course code
F70
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
180
How long it takes
3–6 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

You’ll choose ONE of four specialisms:

  • applied linguistics
  • inclusive practice
  • leadership and management
  • learning and teaching

And study one 60-credit module at each stage:

Stage 1

This is the first stage of any route and introduces some of the big ideas in education and their specialist domain(s). You will engage with concepts, current debates and issues in the area of education relevant to your chosen route. It focuses on generic learning outcomes but retains a subject-specific focus. There is emphasis on collaborative learning and the development of digital information literacy. Students are encouraged to bring together their personal understanding of issues relating to specific aspects of education with the enduring and current body of professional and academic research publications relevant to their professional/personal agenda. It also provides for the development and consolidation of advanced scholarship through practice and refinement of independent learning inherent in the academic literacy and conventions of academic writing required for successful study at master’s level.

Stage 2

This stage offers you the opportunity to progressively broaden your knowledge and understanding of your chosen aspects of education. You'll explore the full range of educational research in current practice and develop an understanding of the role and limitations of research for informing educational practice. You will explore conducting a literature review on a topic of your choice and have the chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the literature, ability to critically read and synthesize research, and write according to standard academic protocols. You will have opportunities to present your work/ideas to other members of the Masters and OU academic community through online collaborative activities. The flexibility within the qualification allows you to change your specialism after Stage 1 if you wish, giving you the opportunity of studying across two specialisms (However, if you intend to progress to the MA, your choice at Stage 2 will commit you to that specialism as your Stage 3 dissertation topic).

Stage 3

In the final module, you are required to submit a 12,000 word dissertation in a chosen area (based on what has been studied at Stage 2) which is situated in your practice and which will contribute to organisational development and/or effectiveness. This will take the form of either a small-scale inquiry on a topic of your choice situated within your own educational practice or setting. Or, for all pathways excluding applied linguistics, there is the option of completing an extended literature review and research proposal relevant to your own educational professional interests and practice, if undertaking a small-scale inquiry is not possible in your setting.

Applied linguistics

180 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
Stage 1
Applied linguistics and English language (EE817) 1

This module explores how the English language works in different professional contexts, and how knowledge about language can illuminate aspects of the social world.

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Register
60 01 Oct 2022
Stage 2
Language, literacy and learning (EE818)

This module is for people interested in exploring English language, literacy learning and teaching in today’s world with its increasing linguistic and cultural diversity and rapid technological development.

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Register
60 01 Oct 2022
Stage 3
MA Ed dissertation: applied linguistics (EE819)

This is the final module in the MA Ed applied linguistics study route in which you will carry out a research project and produce a 12,000-word dissertation.

See full description

Register
60 01 Oct 2022
1We strongly recommend you study this module if you intend to choose this specialism; however, you may choose any Stage 1 module. Or, if you have successfully completed EE806, H880, or the discontinued modules E805, E854, E855, E891, EE880, EXA884, EXC884, EXG884, EXL884, EXM884, EXN884 or EXP884, you may also count any of these modules towards Stage 1.

Inclusive practice

180 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
Stage 1
Addressing inequality and difference in educational practice (EE814) 1

This module explores issues of equality within the professional practice setting by way of broad themes which apply internationally – for example, ethnicity, disability, religion and gender.

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Register
60 01 Oct 2022
Stage 2
Understanding literacy: social justice and inclusive practice (EE815)

This module focuses on literacy and literacy difficulties from different perspectives to develop inclusive pedagogies and practices for enhancing literacy development and supporting learners who experience literacy difficulties.

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Register
60 01 Oct 2022 FINAL
Stage 3
Masters multi-disciplinary dissertation: education, childhood and youth (E822)

Conduct an enquiry into an education, childhood or youth topic of personal and professional interest to complete your MA.

See full description

Register
60 01 Oct 2022
1We strongly recommend you study this module if you intend to choose this specialism; however, you may choose any Stage 1 module. Or, if you have successfully completed EE806, H880, or the discontinued modules E805, E854, E855, E891, EE880, EXA884, EXC884, EXG884, EXL884, EXM884, EXN884 or EXP884, you may also count any of these modules towards Stage 1.

Leadership and management

180 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
Stage 1
Educational leadership: agency, professional learning and change (EE811) 1

This module explores aspects of educational leadership and management, linking theory and practice. The focus is on models of leadership, leading professional development and management of change. 

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Register
60 01 Oct 2022
Stage 2
Educational leadership: exploring strategy (EE812)

This module explores current thinking on educational leadership and its research evidence. Through effective integration of theory and practice, it will develop your leadership skills.

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Register
60 01 Oct 2022 FINAL
Stage 3
Masters multi-disciplinary dissertation: education, childhood and youth (E822)

Conduct an enquiry into an education, childhood or youth topic of personal and professional interest to complete your MA.

See full description

Register
60 01 Oct 2022
1We strongly recommend you study this module if you intend to choose this specialism; however, you may choose any Stage 1 module. Or, if you have successfully completed EE806, H880, or the discontinued modules E805, E854, E855, E891, EE880, EXA884, EXC884, EXG884, EXL884, EXM884, EXN884 or EXP884, you may also count any of these modules towards Stage 1.

Learning and teaching

180 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
Stage 1
Learning and teaching: educating the next generation (EE830) 1

This masters module will challenge you to think through the purposes of education and how it can be made fit for the future.

See full description

Register
60 01 Oct 2022
Stage 2
Learning and teaching: understanding practice (EE831)

This module focuses on the fundamental concepts of learning, pedagogy, and assessment and explores them from the perspectives of learners, teachers and whole school issues.

See full description

Register
60 01 Oct 2022
Stage 3
Masters multi-disciplinary dissertation: education, childhood and youth (E822)

Conduct an enquiry into an education, childhood or youth topic of personal and professional interest to complete your MA.

See full description

Register
60 01 Oct 2022
1We strongly recommend you study this module if you intend to choose this specialism; however, you may choose any Stage 1 module. Or, if you have successfully completed EE806, H880, or the discontinued modules E805, E854, E855, E891, EE880, EXA884, EXC884, EXG884, EXL884, EXM884, EXN884 or EXP884, you may also count any of these modules towards Stage 1.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you may be able to count it towards Stage 1 of this qualification, by applying for credit transfer, reducing the number of modules you need to study. Credit transfer will impact the time you have to complete this qualification, and the six-year time limit will start from the time the qualification submitted as credit transfer was completed. So, for example, if you use as credit transfer a qualification that you were awarded two years ago, you would need to complete the remaining 120 credits in four years.

We particularly welcome credit from the following diplomas which may be counted towards Stage 1 of our MA in Education (Applied Linguistics)/MEd (Applied Linguistics): those who hold a Cambridge Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Delta) (course entry from September 2008) or the Trinity College London Licentiate Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (LTCL Diploma in TESOL) (course entry from March 2007).

You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Master of Arts in Education or Master of Education. You’ll be entitled to use the letters MAEd (Open) or MEd (Open) after your name.

If you choose a specialist route, your degree title will show that:

  • MA in Education (Applied Linguistics) or MEd (Applied Linguistics)
  • MA in Education (Leadership and Management) or MEd (Leadership and Management)
  • MA in Education (Learning and Teaching) or MEd (Learning and Teaching)
  • MA in Education (Inclusive Practice) or MEd (Inclusive Practice)

If your masters degree is awardable with a distinction or a merit, the qualification regulations explain how you can achieve these.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

You may be able to claim the related Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Studies in Education (K27) – although this is not available if you have used credit transfer or counted previous study towards your qualification – and/or the Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Studies in Education (E88).

To gain all three qualifications you must study them in sequence (postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma and then the MA/MEd).

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 


We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2021.

Entry requirements

To study for this masters degree course you must hold a bachelors degree from a UK university or other recognised degree-awarding body, or a qualification at equivalent level.

The multi-disciplinary dissertation at Stage 3 – Masters multi-disciplinary dissertation: education, childhood and youth​ (E822) – provides optionality (as do other modules in the qualification in which you are required to engage with research activity), to either undertake a small-scale investigation or an extended literature review and research proposal.

Please note: It is a legal requirement in the UK, rather than an Open University requirement, that you must obtain Enhanced DBS clearance (or equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) in order to work with children on the module, Masters multi-disciplinary dissertation: education, childhood and youth​ (E822). This is the responsibility of you and your employer and not The Open University. If you are in doubt about your eligibility, or to find out more, you should contact the relevant agency in the country in which you are proposing to conduct your study for more information.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 7 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

You will need some experience of working with learners, for example in either the teaching, tutoring or a professional development capacity, the education advisory service, educational administration or an allied field. This may include informal as well as more traditional formal learning settings.

You will be encouraged to relate the content of the modules to your own experiences therefore you will need experience of or access to an educational setting either through employment or other means such as volunteering and/or special arrangements undertaken for the purposes of your study. Apart from schools and colleges, other organisations providing educational services – such as health and care education environments, youth, play, or early years work, armed forces, business and commercial environments – all could provide suitable settings to apply your learning and later carry out your dissertation. The various activities embedded in the study guide and supporting examples and literature will help you develop skills of independent study and enquiry.

If you are not sure whether your qualifications and experience are suitable, please contact us for advice.

How long it takes

The minimum time to complete is 3 years, the maximum time to complete is 6 years.

Career relevance

Throughout the world there is an increasing demand for creative, innovative education professionals who have highly developed skills and a deep understanding of learning. In many countries a masters degree is becoming essential for career advancement in education, training and professional development settings.

This qualification is designed to enrich your knowledge and improve your professional practice. On completing your studies, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems at a professional or equivalent level
  • reflect critically and constructively, in the light of ideas and frameworks presented in the modules, on how these apply to your practice and organisational context.
You will also acquire qualities and transferable skills that are highly prized by employers within education and related fields, such as:
  • exercising initiative and personal responsibility
  • the ability to make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations
  • the ability to draw on appropriate research and ethical understanding
  • the production of reports/outputs for academic and professional purposes.

You will be guided through the materials on how you can recognise and acknowledge these additional skills.

Please note that this masters degree does not qualify you for teacher registration in any country.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.