MA Education

More than 165 years' of experience in education and teacher training.

6th in the UK for world-leading & internationally excellent research in Education (REF 2014).

Top 150 for Education in the Global QS World University Rankings 2017

MA Education

About the University of Exeter's online MA Education Programme

Enhance learning. Redefine education.

The online MA Education (Master of Arts in Education) is an innovative programme designed to equip you with the skills to succeed in a wide variety of educational contexts. It offers a rich curriculum examining theory, research, policy and practice in the field of education globally, and provides a unique student experience.

As an MA student, you will gain an insight into teaching methodologies and ways of shaping the future of education. At the heart of the programme is an understanding of learning as a complex and dynamic process. This understanding is reflected in the use of teaching, learning and assessment strategies designed to support collaborative and dialogic learning.

A diverse learning community

The programme is ideally suited to students from a diverse range of subject, professional and career backgrounds including: teachers; educators; lecturers; administrators; education advisors; education officers; education specialists working in NGOs; trainers; youth workers; mentors; and those involved or interested in leadership and management in education.

The MA Education is also appropriate for students with limited prior experience but with a keen interest in education and educational issues, and who are seeking employment/promotion in a wide range of educational settings. This programme can significantly enhance your career and promotion prospects by helping you to become a more effective and innovative educator.

Please note, this programme does not qualify you to be a teacher in England as it does not lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Why Exeter’s MA Education?

University of Exeter Online prides itself with providing world-class faculty staff and curriculum. Upon completion of our MA Education programme, graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed and seek employment, progression or leadership roles within a variety of occupations with an educational remit.

  • Top 150 in the world for Education (QS World University Rankings 2017)
  • 6th in the UK for world-leading and internationally excellent research in Education (REF 2014)
  • Ranked 3rd amongst university providers of initial teacher training in The Good Teacher Training Guide 2017
  • More than 165 years’ of experience in Education and teacher training

Interested in learning more about the programme? Fill out the form on this page to connect with an Admissions Adviser.

MA Education programme structure

The programme integrates four core themes and ideas which underpin the curriculum content within each module.

  • Theory: Critically examine educational theory such as theories of learning and models of leadership
  • Practice: Connect theory to real-world practice
  • Research: Engage with current research in the field and develop your own skills as a researcher
  • Policy: Develop an understanding of the policies and regulations that shape education and learning in schools, communities, businesses, and other organisations

You will complete four core modules, each worth 30 credits, and can select two optional modules (30 credits each) to gain the 180 credits needed to complete your degree. You can also choose to follow a named programme, providing you complete the required number of credits in one of the following pathways:

  • Educational leadership
  • Language and literacy
  • Special Educational Needs

The MA Education is delivered 100 per cent online in a virtual learning environment and you can download free course materials at any time. Each module is delivered in a variety of interactive ways including lectures, discussions and written assignments, as well as individual and group projects.

As the programme is designed to suit students from a wide variety of backgrounds, you will be encouraged to select directed study tasks that relate to your particular context or area of interest. In this way, you can immediately apply theory to your professional practice. A Student Support Adviser will work with you throughout the programme to support you right through to graduation.

MA Education online admissions


A 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject
or;
a 2:2 Honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject with relevant educational experience.

International Students:
If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements:
IELTS At least 6.5 overall and no less than 6.0 in any other section
TOEFL IBT
Overall score of 90 (internet-based) with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.
Pearson Test of English (Academic)
58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests:
Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page

Applicants will be required to submit the following before commencing their programme of study:

The original certified transcripts and certified translation if they are not in English.
Accepted English language tests are IELTS, TOEFL IBT, Pearson Test of English Academic, and other tests. A full listing of tests and accepted scores can be found here. You can also find information on our international equivalency pages to see if existing qualifications match the entry requirements for our programme.

Transfer credits:
Transcript evaluations are completed after being received, and results are provided to the applicant with the admission decision.

MA Education fees


UK and International: £15,000

Cost per module: £2,500

To learn more about fees and funding, as well as financial aid, visit our Financial Services page.

MA Education online curriculum

Core modules - 120 credits

Careers and outcomes

The online MA Education programme can help you to find a position in traditional and non-traditional educational settings, including:

  • Schools
  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • Education Departments
  • NGOs
  • Youth work
  • Prisons
  • Museums
  • Consultancy
  • Curriculum development
  • Training and development
  • Education Policy development

As an online student, you will have full access to the Careers and Employability team who can offer support in terms of skills training, internship opportunities, job vacancies, employment fairs and other events.

Would you like more information? Call +44 808 164 4020 to speak with an Admissions Adviser today.

Understanding education: global perspectives (30 credits)

The principal aim of this module is to enable you to develop a stronger theoretical understanding of current issues and debates within education in a global context and provide you with the opportunity to examine the implications of these for your own educational context. You will consider a variety of perspectives informed by research, theory, policy, and practice and examine key questions, such as:

  • What might be meant by education?
  • What are the aims and purposes of education?
  • How do answers to these questions vary according to the educational context?
  • How do answers to these questions vary according to the discipline through which education is being viewed?
  • What is the relationship between educational policy, theory, research, and practice?
Understanding learning: global perspectives (30 credits)

The purpose of the module is to explore theory and practice related to learning in both formal and informal educational contexts. The module will introduce you to a wide range of issues relating to learning and will consider the theoretical basis, research, and global perspectives and how these inform educational policy and practice. You will also critically consider the applicability of theory and research to your own learning experiences and those of learners across the life course.

The principal aim is to facilitate critical examination of a range of issues related to learning in a global context. In relation to these issues, you will consider theories of learning, relevant research, individual and cultural differences, and how this informs learning in practice. This module will examine key questions, such as:

  • What is learning?
  • How do we assess learning?
  • Does learning differ between individuals and groups, and across time and setting?
  • What key factors hinder and facilitate learning?
Preparing for educational enquiry (30 credits)

This module will provide you with an opportunity to develop your understanding of a range of methods of educational enquiry and the necessary theoretical background to carry out your own research inquiry. You will examine key questions such as:

  • What is meant by educational research?
  • What methods are commonly used to undertake research in this field?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of these methods?
  • How do researchers know which methods to use?
  • What are the ethical implications of educational research?
  • How do researchers collect, analyse and draw conclusions from their data?
  • How do educational researchers usually present their research?
Undertaking educational enquiry (30 credits)

This module will provide you with an opportunity to design and conduct your own educational enquiry on a topic of your choice and present your findings in the form of a dissertation. Please note, if you wish to emerge with an award in a particular pathway (eg SEN), you will need to complete your dissertation in that field. It will help you to:

  • Conduct a rigorous enquiry into a relevant and approved area of study within a particular field of education
  • Identify and develop an appropriate theoretical framework for the enquiry
  • Design an appropriate enquiry, select suitable methods for the enquiry and justify these in theoretical terms
  • Interpret evidence and discuss its relevance to existing theory
  • Develop a critical understanding of the ethical and other issues involved in the selected area of enquiry
  • Present your research in the form of a written report (dissertation)
Optional modules (select two from the following list of modules)
If you choose two optional modules from the same pathway, this title will be included on your degree transcript. (eg MA Education - Special Educational Needs). If you select two modules from different pathways, you will graduate with an MA Education.
Educational leadership

Leadership: Fostering learning communities (30 credits)

Leadership: Coaching and mentoring as models of leadership (30 credits)

This pathway will enable you to explore concepts and issues underpinning effective leadership in a variety of educational contexts. It will introduce you to models of leadership and help you to critically examine these in the light of theory and practice. It will provide you with opportunities to explore what might be meant by effective learning communities, and how models of coaching and mentoring might contribute to an understanding of effective leadership. You will examine key questions such as:

  • What does it mean to be an effective leader?
  • Which skills are most associated with effective leadership?
  • Which model(s) of leadership are most effective and why?
  • How does context affect approaches to leadership?
  • What is meant by collaborative learning communities?
  • Which models of leadership best contribute to fostering collaborative learning communities?
  • Language and literacy
    Language and literacy: Writing matters (30 credits)


    Language and literacy: Reading rights (30 credits)

    This pathway will provide you with an opportunity to deepen your understanding of educational issues related to reading and writing, both the theoretical ideas which underpin being a writer and being a reader, and the pedagogical implications for the teaching of reading and writing. You will examine key questions such as:

  • What are the theoretical models of reading?
  • What is progression in comprehension?
  • How do books written for children develop them as readers?
  • What are the interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives on writing?
  • How does explicit metalinguistic understanding support writing development?
  • What does it mean to be creative in writing?
  • What does it mean to ‘be a writer’?
  • Special Educational Needs (SEN)

    SEN: Learning, teaching and assessment (30 credits)

    SEN: Critical international perspectives on special and inclusive education (30 credits)

    This pathway will enable you to explore concepts, approaches, and issues relevant to the teaching and learning of students with special educational needs and disabilities around the world. You will critically examine:

    Theory and practice – current thinking in relation to need, intervention, diagnosis, and assessment; models of learning; curriculum models; personalisation and differentiation; and design and evaluation of materials

    Inclusive education – integration, segregation, exclusion, and inclusion

    Teaching and learning – best practices depending on the needs of the learner

    Systems and management of SEN – models of provision; the role of special schools; national agencies; voluntary groups