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Education (Higher Education)


Key facts

Start dates

September 2021 / September 2022

Course length

Full time: 12 months

Part time: 24 months - Distance Learning option available


School of Education


Our Oxford Brookes MA Education - Higher Education (HE) course is a top up route to progress to an MA and Professional Doctorate in Education Studies. It focuses on policy, purposes and practices in HE.

The course is ideal if you are interested in the role of higher education in society, and the impact of higher education on the world. You should have completed:

  • our Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PCTHE)
  • an equivalent Postgraduate Certificate.

We draw on the pioneering approach of our Educational Development Team in the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development (OCSLD). This combines:

  • work and community based social learning and teaching
  • and rigorous, evidenced and explanatory research, evaluation and development experience.

You will critically examine the purposes of higher education and its role in the wider world. And you will develop as a higher education professional, an educational researcher and take on specialist areas of professional expertise. 

Two male students studying together

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

This MA course is only available as a ‘top-up’ route for holders of the Oxford Brookes Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education or an equivalent Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits Level 7) gained in the last five years

Applicants normally have a good first degree.

Entry with credit

Please see above. A Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education or an equivalent Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits Level 7) is required.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS level 6.5 or above with a minimum 6.0 in reading and writing and 5.5 in speaking and listening.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

International students hold a conditional offer until payment of a deposit of £3,000 is received.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£745 per single module

Home (UK) distance learning
£745 per single module

International / EU full time

International / EU distance learning
£1,655 per single module

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£745 per single module

Home (UK) distance learning
£745 per single module

International / EU full time

International / EU distance learning
£1,655 per single module

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Financial support and scholarships

There are International Student Scholarships available for 2020 and other scholarships and funding options for postgraduate international students.

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

Learning and assessment

You will take three compulsory modules, including a dissertation. And choose one optional module from the list below.

Female student studying with headphones

Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Policy and Purposes of Higher Education

Higher education (HE) is one of the great institutions of society. As well as providing places of learning and teaching, higher education is the subject of  much political debate. Why is this? We examine contemporary policy frameworks and their influences on HE.

The MA in Education (Higher Education) pathway is intended for:

  • People working in senior administration and learning, teaching and research or support roles in HE – such as subject librarians, learning technologists, student support coordinators, quality assurance officers, admissions tutors, business development officers, academic and institution managers.
  • People entering HE from business and the professions.
  • People interested in the wider context of higher education in society, the impact that HE has on society and that society has on HE.

Through this module you can develop your knowledge and confidence in all areas of your HE activity, helping you to make informed decisions in the workplace.


Research Methods

You’ll develop your knowledge of research approaches, methods and techniques for the study of children and childhood, education and language. You’ll explore the interdisciplinary nature of work in and across these areas. After taking this module, you’ll be well prepared for the methodological aspects of your dissertation.


Optional modules

Mind and Brain

You’ll explore fascinating developments in educational neuroscience, beginning with developmental changes that occur throughout our lifespan. We’ll discuss pre- and post-natal development, followed by the changes that occur in childhood, adolescence and beyond. 

You’ll explore current insights from cognitive neuroscience that have implications for education, in areas like creativity, and gaming and ICT in learning. You’ll also think about the relationships between mind, brain, self and body using philosophical perspectives. And you’ll investigate case studies, opening up discussion and debate about this complex and controversial field.


Diversity and Achievement

How are children’s and young people’s achievements affected by factors like class, gender, disability and ethnicity? In this module, you’ll analyse the factors that predict educational success and failure for children and young people. You’ll then explore the implications for school policy and practice. 

You’ll look at data from case study material, which may draw on your own working context, or your peers’. Using these data, you’ll consider issues at the level of the individual child, the family, the school and the neighbourhood. You’ll go on to compare the analysis at the level of an individual in a particular place to educational outcomes from national and international


The Inclusive Curriculum

You’ll explore key aspects of curriculum design and delivery, in relation to access, equality of learning opportunity and inclusion. You’ll look at how cultural values influence curriculum content and organisation, and explore theories of decolonising the curriculum. The module content is relevant whether you’re a primary, secondary, FE or HE practitioner.

Independent Study: Investigating Practice

This is a chance to carry out an independent study/practice investigation. You’ll choose your own topic, with approval from your module leader / subject co-ordinator. The topic will be relevant to your own practice, but areas of investigation might include (for example):

  • developing pedagogical approaches or curriculum materials 
  • evaluating learners’ achievement levels
  • reviewing the evidence base for changes to educational practice
  • appraising learning environments and learning opportunities.

It’s also possible to carry out retrospective evaluation of a project, provided the project took place within the last five years. This might be on:

  • the impact of a professional development programme or initiative
  • the experience of designing and delivering a new scheme of work 
  • the process of implementing an educational change or project.

Final project

Compulsory modules


In your dissertation or project, you’ll carry out a sustained piece of educational research. You’ll analyse and report your findings at a high critical level, justifying and supporting them with detailed reference to relevant theories and concepts. This work will comprise one third of the work for your degree.  

If you’re writing a dissertation, you'll focus on a research problem of particular interest. If you’re enrolled on a named route of the MA Education, your topic will be relevant to your route (e.g. childhood and youth, L&M, SEND, TESOL, higher education). 

If you’re working on a project, you’ll undertake a shorter piece of independent investigative or literature-based research. You’ll also produce a creative piece or artefact.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching methods, including:

  • lectures
  • directed reading
  • workshops
  • project work.

You will draw on the different backgrounds and experience of other students on the course. The course is available both on-campus and online.


Assessment methods used on this course

Each coursework-based course module is assessed separately. This includes:

  • individual essays
  • seminar presentations
  • reports
  • portfolios
  • investigative research
  • group work.


We establish higher education institutional research, publishing outcomes and providing support to relevant research projects.

We provide time and opportunity for all OCSLD developers to engage in scholarship and collaboration. This is related to their specialist areas of research.

We provide sector-leading consultancy arising from our research activities.

The main areas of activity in the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development (OCSLD) are:

  • higher education institutional research
  • specialist research and scholarship
  • knowledge exchange and public engagement
  • OCSLD’s Research strategy guides the centre’s activities.

After you graduate

Career prospects

Studying the MA Education: Higher Education will bring depth and insight into your professional thinking. You will meet students who are at various levels in their careers and you will learn from each other's experiences.

Completion of the course shows commitment to professional development and should lead to improved prospects for career progression.

Alternatively, you can develop your professional practice in specialist areas through our range of Postgraduate Certificate Awards.

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.