2021 start

Psychology and Education

School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences

With a focus on psychological theory, this MA will encourage you to examine the challenges facing education in the 21st century.
Postgraduate education student, Yan Wu

Course description

This one-year, full-time course examines the challenges facing education in the 21st century, focusing particularly on psychological theory. You will look at the contribution of psychology to education policy and practice in changing international and global contexts.

How to apply

You'll need to include a personal statement with your application.

Your personal statement: what to include

Apply now


There are four compulsory modules, two which are studied in the autumn semester and two studied in the spring semester. From April to August you will carry out your independent study.

Critical Issues in Education and Educational Research

This module introduces students to key issues in education and educational research that will underpin their studies, regardless of which pathway they take through the full-time masters programme.

It outlines historical approaches to educational research and introduces the key paradigms of educational research. The module moves on to consider critical issues in education and educational research, drawing on the research strengths of the module team and focusing in particular on educational psychology and globalisation, enabling the module to provide a foundation for other modules on the programme.

The module thus offers students an opportunity to develop a critical stance towards some of the most pressing issues in educational research in contemporary societies.

30 credits
Developmental Psychology

Recent years have witnessed increased focus on the importance of reforms in curriculum, assessment and pedagogy in national education systems, reforms premised in the imperatives and opportunities of the Knowledge-based Economy, the Information Society, and more generally our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. This module examines changing conceptions of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy policy and practice in international contexts. Key areas explored include: the relationship between curricula and assessment; international assessment measures and their influences on curricula; the historical contexts of curricula; constructivist pedagogies; teaching and learning with ICT; English Language Teaching; pedagogy and multiliteracies; and internationalizing teaching and learning.

This module examines the core concepts of Developmental Psychology, for example, cognition and emotional development (intelligence, language, learning), behaviour, social 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). The ways in which psychological research and theory has affected a range of governmental policies, services and professional practices and wider societal attitudes to young people will be considered within transnational contexts.

30 credits
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.

20 credits
The Practice of Research

This module introduces students to the processes involved in designing a research project, conducting the study and completing the research report.

The module focuses on research design, on identifying issues, formulating research questions and choosing appropriate methods to use in particular instances and settings. It explores various approaches to data analysis and outlines issues to be considered in the writing-up process.

It aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge required to complete a dissertation in an education-related field.

30 credits

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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.


Teaching and learning takes place via lectures, weekly seminars, individual tutorials, discussion, active inquiry and investigations. Regular meetings with a personal tutor support and encourage your learning and understanding.

A weekly tutorial accompanies the taught modules.


There are no formal written examinations. Assessment is by coursework and a dissertation.


1 year full-time

Student profiles

I will always remember the people I have met on the course, the stories and experiences I have heard from them I will never forget

Brittany Milnes
MA Psychology and Education Student

Entry requirements

A good honours degree in a related field is required.

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

How to apply

You'll need to include a personal statement with your application.

Your personal statement: what to include

Apply now

+44 114 222 8177

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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