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Education - Higher Education


Key facts

Start dates

September 2020

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 £1,000 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
2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£725 per single module

Home/EU part time
£725 per single module

International full time
£1,580 per single module

International distance learning
£1,580 per single module

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£725 per single module

Home/EU part time
£725 per single module

International full time
£1,580 per single module

International distance learning
£1,580 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.

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, as well as providing locations of learning and teaching, is an important focus of much political debate. Why is this? We examine contemporary contextual policy frameworks and their influences on Higher Education such as social constructivism, neoliberalism, transformation, workforce attachment, social capital and others.

Research Methods in Education, Childhood and Language

You will develop your knowledge of a range of research approaches, methods and techniques for the study of education. The interdisciplinary nature of work in and across these areas will be explored. This module is designed to prepare you for the methodological components of your dissertation study.

Optional modules

Mind and Brain

This module explores developments within the field of educational neuroscience and engages with philosophical exploration and deliberation over the relationship between mind, brain, self and body. Current insights from cognitive neuroscience are examined in relation to a number of specific educational issues which have implications for educational practice. This module engages with philosophical exploration and deliberation over the relationship between mind, brain, self and body.

Diversity and Achievement

This module explores the factors that are predictive of educational success and failure for children and young people and explores the implications for school policy and practice. These factors will be considered at the level of the individual child, the family, the school and the neighbourhood using data from case study material drawing in part on your individual working contexts. Issues of class, gender, disability and ethnicity will be considered. This analysis will be compared to educational outcomes from national and international data sources.

The Inclusive Curriculum

This module, relevant for primary, secondary, and further and higher education practitioners and students, explores key aspects of curriculum design and delivery in relation to access, equality of learning opportunity and inclusion. There is a focus on the ways in which cultural values influence curriculum content and organization and you will have an opportunity to critically engage with theories of internationalising and decolonising the curriculum.

Independent Study: Investigating Practice

This module provides an opportunity for you to engage in independent study/practice investigation of an approved topic conducted under a supervisor. The independent study/practice investigation may be based on primary and/or secondary data.

Final project

Compulsory modules


You will complete a 60 credit (triple module) dissertation focusing on a theme or issue in higher education. This can be literature based or an enquiry into your own practice.

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.