Module information

In your first year of study you will develop a broad overview of the subject matter, allowing you to grasp the main concepts and ideas surrounding the course. The second and third years will see you develop your interests through optional modules, and hone your skills, through a work placement and a research dissertation in your final year.

The course is taught through a variety of seminars and lectures, with support on offer from your year coordinator throughout your degree. Assessments will vary from module to module, but will include group work, essays and exams. An indication of how you will learn and be assessed can be found here under the learning and assessment tab.


The modules you will take each year are listed below under three sections:

  • Core: These modules are compulsory. All students on the degree programme have to take them.
  • Approved: This section comprises a list from which you will need to select at least some of your modules for that year.
  • Unrestricted: This section identifies the number of credits you can take from other departments in The University.

Each year you will need to take modules to the value of 120 credits.

Year 1

Year 1

Core modules

You must take the following three 20 credit modules:

EDU104 - Education, Power and Society: Introduction to the Sociology of Education

This module explores the relationship between educational institutions/cultures/systems and social inequalities. We focus on class, gender, ethnicity and disability and look at the ways in which education systems serve to tackle or reproduce patterns of inequality and relations of power. The module also evaluates different policy frameworks and goals. For example, whether the focus of education policy should be placed on nurturing active citizenship (and what this would look like) or whether the main priority should be to serve the needs of the economy (and how this might be achieved).

EDU111 - Making Sense of Education, Culture and Childhood: Facts, Fiction and Data

Politics, practices and media discourses related to Education, frequently invoke 'evidence' or statistical reasoning in an attempt to persuade. These approaches can be deliberately misused or accidentally misleading. This module will equip you with the knowledge you need to become a discerning data user and critic through a mix of active learning, seminars and computer workshops. You will develop practical skills to support your engagement with 'evidence' throughout your studies, explore a range of issues in qualitative and quantitative research design, and create a foundation for your future development as a critical researcher.

EDU107 - Child Psychology

This module explores the relationship between psychological theory and educational policy and practice, considering some of the ways in which Education and Local Authority services have been influenced by ideas about children developed in psychological research. Some of the core concepts of Psychology are introduced such as cognitive psychology (intelligence, language and learning), behaviourism (including modification techniques), social and emotional development (including family and attachment, trauma) as well as the study of individual differences (with reference to psychopathologies such as autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder).

Optional Modules
You must also take at least two (but you can take three) of the following 20 credit modules:

EDU110 - The Digital University

What is it like to be a University of Sheffield student, without ever setting foot on campus? What can learners in Mumbai, Adelaide, Capetown, and Shanghai learn from each other? And what new possibilities and challenges are digital technologies opening up for higher education? These questions, and more, will be explored in this module about online, distance, and blended learning: all forms of digital learning where students can be based anywhere with an internet connection. An experience of digital learning is part of the module, and participants will both take an active role in and learn from this experience.

EDU105 - Critical Curriculum Study

The curriculum is often taken for granted by those who experience it, such as parents, students and teachers. This module poses questions about curriculum – what is it and who is it for? Different perspectives on curriculum are explored to establish a framework for critical curriculum study. After examining school curriculum reform both in England and in international contexts, the module will focus in depth on a single case study curriculum in England. This focused study will be carried out from the perspective of curriculum history, policy reform, analysis and implementation through research involving classroom-based curriculum development.

EDU108 - Social and Historical Constructions of Childhood

In this module students will explore how childhood has been portrayed across different societies and at different times, and will examine how childhoods are shaped and influenced by the societies in which children live, learn and are cared for.

Through a series of lectures, group work and individual study tasks, students will think about the ways in which childhood has changed over time and how different views and perspectives on childhood create different expectations of children.

Through the study of historical and social constructions of childhood, students will develop a fuller understanding of how ways of working with children can be shaped by external influences.

EDU106 - Histories of Education

This unit introduces students to a range of historical perspectives on education. It takes a critical historical approach to understanding the development of educational ideas, systems and practices by drawing attention to different cultural and historical contexts. In helping students question and challenge dominant ideas about education and its purposes, it will engage with and critique the philosophy of history to explore possible links between historical investigation and present day understandings of education.

Topics include: the nature of history, early conceptions of education, education in pre-modern and modern contexts, development of mass schooling, histories of education, social justice and meritocracy.

You can, if you wish, take modules to the value of 20 credits from other departments in the University.

Year 2

Year 2

Core Modules
You must take the following three 20 credit modules:

EDU202 - Understanding Education: Research and Researching

This module explores a range of methodologies, methods and styles of re-presentation and reporting that are used in educational research. It also examines a number of important philosophical and ethical issues, including: the inherently social nature of research; the moral responsibility researchers bear; and the influence of researchers' beliefs and values on the research that they do. The aim of this module is to equip students with the skills, knowledge and critical awareness needed to conduct research of their own.

EDU203 - Research Project in Education, Culture and Childhood

The aim of the module is to allow students to design and manage their own small scale research project. The objective is to give students the opportunity to engage with all the stages necessary in the planning and implementation of successful research, from the crafting of an appropriate set of research questions, through ethical review, literature search, data collection, analysis of findings and dissemination of results. Tutorial support will be provided by a supervisor, whose role will be to provide guidance and constructive formative feedback.

EDU204 - Placement

This module provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in a professional workplace setting. Support will be provided in selecting an appropriate setting, and the placement can be undertaken any time between the start of the spring semester and the end of the summer vacation. The placement will be undertaken on a voluntary basis and students will be required to produce a detailed learning journal offering a reflective account of their experiences. This is an excellent opportunity for students to gain valuable work experience that both enhances their knowledge and skills and informs their thinking about future career paths.

Optional Modules
You must also take at least two (but you can take three) of the following 20 credit modules:

EDU205 - Children and Digital Cultures

Digital technology has transformed the lives of many, impacting on culture and society. Many young people have quickly seen ways of extending and deepening social networks through their uses of technology, and immersed themselves in Virtual Worlds, Facebook etc and enjoyed browsing on shopping sites. This module examines new technologies and associated social practices impacting on children's lives, considering the nature of new digital practices and how these affect identity, society and culture. Educational implications of new technologies is a developing field of research and students will engage critically with debates within the field alongside examining websites and new practices.

EDU206 - Psychology and Learning Communities

This module explores learning as conceptualised by different approaches within the broad umbrella of psychology. It examines how and why these different approaches emerged, how they compare to one another, and how they have come to inform different understandings of what learning is, how it happens and how it might be facilitated. It also explores how these different conceptualisations have come to impact individual learners, and particular learning communities. Critical attention is drawn to the way in which language facilitates social practices including those involved in the construction of different kinds of knowledge. In this sense, knowledge relates to formal conceptualisations of learning provided by developments in scientific disciplines (e.g. psychology) and the social sciences (e.g. education and sociology). It is also concerned with informal understandings such as the continual constitution of learner's identities through social engagement. The module aims to challenge notions of learning as an individual enterprise and to support students in critical reflection upon their own learning experiences in connection to the approaches discussed.

EDU207 - Dimensions of Education Policy

This module looks at key issues in education policy. We will explore the origins and evaluate the success of the comprehensive system; look in detail at the debates surrounding grammar schools, faith schools, academies and free schools; assess a range of policies designed to tackle educational disadvantage; critically explore the politics of teaching and assessment; and reflect more generally on the discourse of choice and diversity that frames current education policy as a whole.

EDU209 - Critical Issues in Teaching

This module introduces you to key issues and roles involved in teaching. It is suitable for those who definitely want to teach and those who have not yet considered teaching as a career. The focus of the module is teaching in England. It covers teaching across the age range, with sessions devoted to early years, primary, secondary and further and higher education. The module also deals with issues such as assessing students’ learning, managing challenging behaviour, working with parents and other professionals. By the end of the module you should have a clear idea of what’s involved in being a teacher.

You can, if you wish, take modules to the value of 20 credits from other departments in the University.

Year 3

Year 3

Core Modules

You must take the following two modules:

EDU310 - Philosophies of Education

This module will explore the importance of philosophy to the study of education. It covers key moments in the history of Western philosophy, focusing on the question of modernity (What is modernity? What are its ramifications for education?). It will investigate the consequences of late modernity for present day education, a period in which the aims and purposes of education have become increasingly unclear, leaving education open to the rise of instrumentalism and the forces of capital.

Overall the module will offer a critique of common assumptions in education, provoking questioning about its nature and purposes.

EDU303 - Dissertation

(40 credits)

The aim of the dissertation is to enable students to advance their knowledge of education and childhood studies by pursuing an independent research project on a relevant chosen topic. Students completing the dissertation will have examined a subject in substantial depth, shown evidence of an ability to undertake sustained critical analysis, developed and improved their research skills, and produced a long piece of written work that demonstrates a detailed and sophisticated understanding of a particular area of relevance to the Education, Culture and Childhood BA. Students will study a dissertation of their choice that relates to their programme and staff expertise.

Optional Modules

You must also take at least two (but you can take three) of the following 20 credit modules:

EDU311 - Psychoanalytic Perspectives of Infancy and Childhood

This module explores the relationship between psychological theory and experience. Students drawn to the study of psychology are presented with a curriculum comprising subjects (memory, perception, language, cognition, development, emotion) they have spent a lifetime experiencing. Hence psychology as a scientific study presents a unique experience for the student, learning what in an experiential sense is already known. This module introduces reflective models of inquiry in which psychological understanding is sought through the exploration of preconceptions transmitted within psychology and psychological education. This module also explores psychological approaches that illuminate different orientations to childhood experience and the implications for these different approaches for the knowledge generated.

EDU304 - Education@Sheffield

In Education@Sheffield students are invited to explore and evaluate the rich and diverse research taking place within the School of Education. Through a series of seminars presented by active researchers, students are encouraged to critically engage with research—and the researchers themselves—in the fields of educational and childhood studies. The Education@Sheffield module enables students to acquire a critical understanding of various themes, settings and methodologies which shape contemporary educational research.

EDU305 - Participatory Research with Children and Young People

(optional module now added to Spring Semester)

This module explores the methodological and ethical issues involved in engaging children and young people as active participants in the research process. Students will analyse critically a number of case study research projects that have attempted to ensure the active participation of children and young people and will design a group research project that engages children and young people as active participants in the research process.

EDU306 - What is Learning?

What is learning? Everyone does it but how does it happen? How can it be influenced? That last question is asked by parents, educators, advertisers, partners, politicians, the media and others. Current understandings about learning are influenced by perspectives from the European Enlightenment of the 18th century and, perhaps surprisingly, from ancient Greece. But there are recent, more radical and challenging perspectives on learning that this module will also explore – perspectives that challenge the practices of educators and others and even call into question ideas about truth and reality.

EDU309 - Globalising Education

This module considers the extent to which education might be viewed as a global context with a shared meaning. Moving outwards from the dominant concepts, principles and practices which frame `our own´ national, or regional responses to education, the module explores other possible ways of understanding difference. By examining `other ways of seeing difference´, in unfamiliar contexts, students are able to examine the implications of globalisation for education and explore the opportunities and obstacles for the social justice agendas within a range of cultural settings.

You can, if you wish, take modules to the value of 20 credits from other departments in the University.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.