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    School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences

    With our flexible course you can study a broad range of educational and pedagogical concepts, gain an understanding of recent trends and debates within educational research, explore changing conceptions of education and schooling, and consider the implications for education of disciplines such as history, language, psychology and philosophy.
    Group of postgraduate education students in the students' union

    Course description

    During this one-year, full-time course you will explore theory and research relating to learning, teaching and assessment and educational policy.

    The programme is suitable whether or not you have professional experience in teaching.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    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 current and historical and theoretical approaches to education and introduces the key paradigms of educational research. The module also considers critical issues in education and educational research, drawing on the research strengths of the module team focusing on a range of areas including educational psychology, globalisation, disability and inequalities, 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
    The Practice of Research

    This module introduces students to the processes involved in designing an educational research project, conducting the study and completing the research report. The module focuses on research design, identifying and refining a research topic, reflecting on a researcher's philosophical perspective and positionality, formulating research questions and choosing appropriate methods to use in particular instances and settings. It explores the principles of data analysis and outlines issues to be considered in the presentation of findings from a research process. It aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge required to complete a dissertation in an education-related field.

    30 credits

    Optional modules:

    Early Childhood 1: Development, Learning and Curriculum

    This module enables students to develop critical understanding of learning, development and curriculum in early childhood education. Students will analyse theory, policy and research to evaluate a range of historical, contemporary, national and global perspectives on young children's learning. The module provides students with opportunities to think critically about the location of early childhood education within the broader contexts of social, cultural and political values and priorities. Students will learn about approaches to early childhood education that draw upon examples from Global South and the Global North contexts.

    30 credits
    Early Childhood 2: Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Education

    This module introduces learners to recent ideas related to contemporary issues in Early Childhood Education. Sessions to be taught include the following: children's rights; quality in Early Childhood Education and care; creativity in arts and contemporary communication practices; popular culture; digital literacies; gender; traditional and digital play; including children in research. This will be followed by student-led presentations on topics related to the above. It is intended that this will prepare students for their assignment.

    30 credits
    Developmental Psychology

    This module examines the core concepts of Developmental Psychology, including cognition (intelligence, language, learning) and emotional development, behaviour and well-being, social development (including family and attachment, peer relations and trauma) as well as the study of individual differences (with reference to developmental differences such as autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and mental health conditions). The increasing digitisation of learning and online media is explored across a range of educational contexts and childcare professions. 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
    Critical Psychology and Education

    This module introduces different approaches to conceptualising learners and learning which fall within the broad field of critical psychology. The module begins with an introduction to the development of mainstream psychology in Europe and America, and an exploration of the subsequent development of alternative and critical psychological perspectives. Within the broader critical psychology landscape are a number of different threads (such as discursive psychology, indigenous psychology and feminist psychology). This module will examine the key principles of these various critical psychological perspectives with particular attention to their concepts of learning, learners, and learning communities. It will offer a challenge to some of the dominant ideas around learning which have emerged from mainstream fields of psychology since the 19th Century.

    30 credits
    Language Acquisition, Learning and Pedagogy

    This module will explore key theories and approaches in language acquisition, learning and associated pedagogies. Various theoretical and empirical issues will be addressed together with learner-internal and learner-external factors that influence the processes of second language development in education.

    The course provides students with an opportunity to consider critically theories of second language acquisition (SLA), motivation, and the role of the self. The theory and application of new technologies in language acquisition, learning and research are addressed. The application of theory and research to aspects of second language teaching and learning is also explored.

    30 credits
    Language, Society and Education

    The Language, Society and Education module provides students with an advanced understanding of the relationship between linguistic structures and social categories. It covers key research methods in the interdisciplinary field of sociolinguistics and their application to a range of areas including language and identity, discourse, performance and social interaction, ideologies and social structure, culture and education. By the end of the module, students will have developed solid theoretical knowledge in a range of research traditions as well as an advanced competence in qualitative research methods for the study of language, society and education. Students have the opportunity to explore topics relating, to the evolution and transmission of culture, intercultural communication, bi/multilingualism, attitudes to language varieties, voice, narrative and inequality in ordinary and institutional settings, media representations of social worlds, global spreads of language and cultural forms with specific reference to English and new media.

    30 credits

    The dissertation is a major part of the MA in Education and associated programmes. The dissertation topic can develop a theme raised during the taught part of the course, or an issue which relates to the specialised research areas covered by the students' own interests. The Course Team provides guidance on the choice of a suitable topic for investigation and advice and support throughout the study period (December to August). A wide variety of study is possible, including empirical studies, theoretical reviews, historical or philosophical investigations. The dissertation is 12,000-15,000 words in length. Each student is allocated a supervisor - a specialist in the research area. Students and supervisors work together over the four months of the dissertation period before submission of the thesis.

    60 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.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    1 year full-time


    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.

    Your career

    95% of our postgraduates are in graduate level work or further study within 15 months of graduating Graduate Outcomes Survey, 2020-21 cohort, 2023.


    School of Education

    We're proud to welcome a vibrant and diverse community, with students based locally, nationally and internationally. Our research has a direct impact on educational theory, policy and practice; we're supporting the development of children, families, schools and learning communities.

    Our seminars are interactive and everyone is encouraged to take part. The course director knows every student personally, and you will get a lot of individual support across all of your modules.

    Our team of tutors at the School of Education comprises of experts in early childhood education, policy and practice, psychological theory of education, and languages and education. Many of our academic staff are internationally recognised in their specialist areas.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a relevant subject.

    We will consider your application if you have a 2:2 degree in a relevant subject and at least one year of relevant work experience

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

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

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

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

    How to apply

    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    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.

    Our student protection plan

    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.