MA Applied Professional Studies in Education (Online)

PLEASE NOTE: We are developing our MA Applied Professional Studies in Education (Online) course at the University of Sheffield for the September 2018 intake. As this course is currently under development the application portal has not yet opened. However, if you would like to register your interest and receive an update as soon as the revised programme information is available, please complete this form and we will keep you informed.

The website content for the former MA Applied Professional Studies in Education (Online) course (below) provides a rough guide to the new course, but please bear in mind when reading through this content that there will be some changes to the course.

Distance Learning, Part-Time

APSE Student

The School of Education has been ranked as one of the UK´s top 5 research institutions and was also awarded the highest grade of 'excellent' in the last HEFCE Teaching Quality Assessment.

The MA in Applied Professional Studies in Education (Online) draws on this experience delivering an exciting programme designed to enable teachers to enhance the teaching and learning of their specialist subject by means of critical reflection, and through classroom-based inquiry.

Though focused on overseas students, including those from Europe, it will also provide better access to MA APSE study to some UK students.

For a number of years we have been offering a very successful MA in Applied Professional Studies in Education (MA APSE) which draws on a range of expertise from across the School. The new MA APSE (Online) course is based on a similar model, but now students are able to study the course as a unique part-time, online programme.

About the course

An innovative programme

Embarking on the MAAPSE course has really enabled me to explore my classroom practice in greater depth. The course is both enriching and stimulating and provides a balanced platter of theory and practice. The tutors provide excellent guidance and support throughout.

Daniel Lancewicz

The MA APSE (Online) includes modules on Critical Reflection on Professional Development. Students compile a professional portfolio in which they identify their own professional development needs and learn about different approaches to professional learning, before then focusing on their area of need (often focused on the teaching of their subject, rather than generic teaching issues). They also learn how to carry out classroom based enquiries (and other forms of educational research), and may then put that into practice in any aspect of their teaching that they are able to justify.

The programme thus offers a flexibility which enables newly qualified teachers, heads of department, and other managers in educational institutions, to participate and focus on areas of relevance to them and their employers, and means that the impact of their work is felt significantly.

Who is the programme aimed at?

The programme is aimed at education practitioners, and is flexible enough to cater for practitioners working with any curriculum subject in any phase of education. The current MA APSE has students who work in primary, secondary and further education, and this will also be possible in the MA APSE (Online) programme.

The MA APSE is an excellent course and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed studying. Through studying themes relevant to my own targeted areas for development, I feel that being a part of the course has really enhanced my classroom practice. Furthermore, the support that I have received from my course tutors over the last two years has been excellent - both in terms of feedback and general correspondence.


 What awards can be gained from the course?

There are a number of options available to applicants, according to the qualification you wish to pursue:

The full MA (4 x 30 credit modules, plus a 60 credit dissertation
- total 180 Masters credits)
or the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Professional Studies in Education
(4 x 30 credit modules - total 120 Masters credits)
or the Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Professional Studies in Education
(2 x 30 credit modules - total 60 Masters credits)
Students who register for the Certificate may be able to continue to the Diploma and/or the MA if they wish. Students who register for the Diploma may be able to continue to the MA if they wish.

Course background

Designed with students in mind

APSE Student 2

To help prospective students and employers to learn more about the programme, here are some further details about the course:


We want for you to be able to use the knowledge and skills you gain from the programme. At the same time, it is designed in such a way that it “applies” directly to you. We have students from all walks of life, working in a wide variety of educational contexts. The units and modules are designed to cover theoretical concepts and ideas that are applicable across all contexts, and assignments are set in such a way that you are constantly encouraged to further your own understanding of your specific teaching and learning environment. The programme includes two opportunities for you to conduct research in your own setting – once in Module 2, where students conduct a small-scale research study, and once in form of the dissertation (which is planned in Module 4). All modules have been designed so as to have a direct impact on your practice.


Nearly all of our students work full-time. They are busy people, and many juggle families on top. Following the programme shows that you are actively interested in your own professional development, and you should be able to use it to plan your career progression, too, should you wish to do so. It may be that you are taking on a new professional role, or that you are planning to do so. But it also means that we are aware of the demands professionals have when it comes to juggling work and study. We have tried to make it easy for you by building flexibility into the programme, not just in such a way that means you can focus your assignments around your professional context, but with flexible online working environments, and individual tutor support. All readings and assignment tasks are made available to you at the start of each module, allowing you to work at your own pace. Space has been created online for the whole cohort to come together for online discussions, and individual Skype tutorials and/or email contact with your personal tutor will help keep you on track.


This is a Masters programme. As such, it is academically rigorous, and built on solid pedagogical and theoretical foundations. Most students take three years to complete the programme, taking 60 credits in each year. This translates to the equivalent of a PG Certificate in Year 1, a PG Diploma in Year 2, and the full Masters in Year 3 (you will receive the certificate appropriate to the level you exit at). You will be expected to follow up Module readings with your own research, and for that, the University of Sheffield Library has tens of thousands of journal articles and books available online, for distance learners, to guide you. If it has been a while since you last studied, don’t worry! How to negotiate the online library, and how you negotiate and synthesise what you read is all part of your course.


We have already said that our students come from all sorts of educational contexts, all sectors, all subjects, but our staff have education backgrounds, too, of course. In fact, the School of Education was rated No. 1 for Research Impact in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. This means that we not only research education, but we “apply” it, too. A number of our staff are Fellows and Senior Fellows of the Higher Education Academy, and/or have won awards for teaching. We, as staff, come from all kinds of education backgrounds, and from a variety of national and international contexts, too, just like our students do. 

Online – We have already explained how the programme is designed to fit flexibly around your work schedule. The word “Online” does not appear on our certificates, it is merely a way to describe the study method. Your certificate will be for an MA in Applied Professional Studies in Education.

We hope this gives you a bit more background to the MA in Applied Professional Studies in Education (Online). If you would like to take the next step in your professional journey with us, or you have any further questions, please get in touch!