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MA in Education - Higher Education


School of Education

This MA Education - Higher Education programme aims to critically enquire into the meanings and purposes of higher education. Questions central to the course include:
  • What is the role and value of the university?
  • What does it mean for higher education to be 'authentic' and 'transformative'?
  • How are the 'facts' of higher education established?
  • What are the values of 'truth' and 'belief'?
  • How are roles enacted and personal identities developed within and against these roles?
We draw on the pioneering approach of the Educational Development Team in the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development (OCSLD) at Oxford Brookes University, combining work and community based social learning and teaching with rigorous, evidence based and explanatory research, evaluation and development experience.

Available start dates

September 2018 / September 2019

Teaching location

Harcourt Hill Campus / Distance learning

Course length

  • Full time: 12 months
  • Part time: 36 months, or 24 months fast-track

UCAS Postgraduate code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

This course is intended for:
  • People working in teaching and administration roles in any higher education context, such as (but not limited to) lecturers, heads of departments, administrators, policy and business planners, quality officers, librarians, learning technologists, college HE leads, and careers advisors
  • People entering higher education teaching and administration from business and other professions
  • People interested in the wider context of higher education in society and the impact that higher education has on the world.
STAGE 1: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Consists of the following modules:

Inquiry and Reflection in Higher Education
Through this module, you will explore a range of learning theories and the wider context of higher education policy. You will be expected to relate theory and policy to your practice both generally in the discipline and institution, and personally in your own work.

And 20 credits from the following options:
Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (20 credits)
First Steps into Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (10 credits)
Teaching Online, Open Courses (10 credits)
Designing and Developing an International Curriculum in Higher Education (10 credits)

If you have completed a 60 credit postgraduate award in teaching in higher education, you may be admitted directly into Stage 2 of the course.

STAGE 2: Researching and Enquiring into Higher Education

Consists of the following three modules:

Philosophy and Policy of Higher Education
This module explores higher education as one of the great institutions of society and examines contemporary contextual policy frameworks and their influences on higher education (HE), for example, social constructivism, neoliberalism, transformation, workforce attachment, and social capital. It aims to increase your repertoire and confidence in areas of your HE activity and foster engaged, participatory, critical, evidence based approaches, informed by and contributing to national and global debates.

Research Methods in Education, Childhood and Language

A further optional module from the MA in Education programme, including:

Leading and Managing People in Education
This module brings together a range of themes and concerns in the management of staff in educational organisations. Drawing on national and international examples, it combines theoretical perspectives with practical concerns about staff management and development.

Mind and Brain
This module explores previous and present developments within the field of educational neuroscience. It starts by exploring developmental changes that occur throughout the lifespan. 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.

STAGE 3: Dissertation
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.

As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules available may vary from those shown here.

Teaching and learning

Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, student and staff led seminars and project work. Teaching, learning and assessment draw on the different backgrounds, experience and knowledge of students on the course, and encourages critical reflection.

Approach to assessment

Each course module is assessed separately and is based on coursework, eg individual essays, seminar presentations, reports, portfolios, investigative research and group work.

Attendance pattern

Teaching is organised on a module credit basis, each module involving blended learning (face to face and online) equivalent to approximately 24 hours of staff contact as follows:
  • Part-time on campus: 8 weekly teaching blocks. Modules are usually taught on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (depending on choice of module), from 5pm to 8pm.
  • Full-time on campus: full-time students join part-time students in some evening modules, and complete the rest of the course through daytime sessions (currently on Thursday).
  • Distance learning: an MA qualification can be achieved by online learning but the full module offer is not available in this format (please check availability for individual modules).

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.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £5,560 2019/20: £5,670

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £610 per single module 2019/20: £620 per single module

Home/EU - distance learning fee: 2018/19: £610 per single module 2019/20: £620 per single module

International - full time: 2018/19: £13,460 2019/20: £13,730

International - part time fee: 2018/19: £1,470 per single module 2019/20: £1,500 per single module

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by up to 4% each year.

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 in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

Entry requirements

This MA course attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities, who are graduates with a recognised teaching qualification, or other relevant educational experience.

Applicants normally have:

  • a good honours degree
  • QTS (Qualified Teacher Status), other equivalent professional qualification or relevant experience

Entry with credit

Credit can be made up of appropriate work completed outside the course, for example, M level credit from PGCE awards or Postgraduate Certificates in relevant educational courses. Please contact pgeducation@brookes.ac.uk for more information.

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

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.

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

You apply for this course through UCAS Postgraduate.

Through UCAS Postgraduate, you should use the UCAS Postgraduate portal to make your application, which will then be forwarded directly to our Admissions Office. You should send supporting documentation to us directly using the email addresses on the UCAS Postgraduate application form.

Students need to apply centrally through UCAS Postgraduate.  

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.

How this course helps you develop

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.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Research highlights

Sustained excellence in research and publication has ensured that a significant proportion of our School of Education staff were entered for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 (UoA 25). Almost 90% of our research was deemed to be of international merit, with around one half either ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Contributions to the REF were spread across all of our research groups.

Our research aims to create impact on contemporary educational issues - supporting knowledge creation and developing innovative approaches to researching pedagogic practices. The School’s research strategy functions at all spatial scales, from local to global. We publish our highest quality research in leading peer-reviewed journals. Emeritus, Honorary and Visiting Research Fellows contribute to our research programmes and outputs.

The School holds two major research conferences each year - the School of Education Research Conference and the EdD Colloquium. Our Research Seminar Series (which attracts both internal and external speakers) runs annually - all students are invited to attend. We also organise a number of conferences, lectures, seminars and debates, some of which have an international reach.

Members of the School are engaged in a variety of funded and unfunded research projects; we have previously enjoyed prestigious funded scholarships (such as the Fulbright – Peabody scholarship) and, when feasible, offer funded Research Studentships to doctoral applicants. Our Centre for Educational Consultancy and Development (CECD) regularly secures consultancy and research money.

As might be expected in such a research active school, many staff are engaged as editors, editorial board members, or reviewers for various peer reviewed academic and professional journals, as well as online journals.

View all staff profiles for School of Education

Research areas and clusters

The School of Education at Oxford Brookes University is a thriving centre for educational research and teacher professional development.

The School’s six research groups reflect a thriving research community of academics, scholars and students. They exist to encourage engagement in research, publication, conference presentations, seminars and workshops. The focus for these groups are:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
  • Policy, Partnership and Leadership
  • STEAM pedagogy and learning
  • Humanistic Perspectives on Education
  • Early Years
  • Applied Linguistics

View all staff profiles for School of Education