1 year full time, 2 years part time
Starts September 2017


This Masters is designed to meet your needs if you’re working – or want to work – in teaching, management, education and development contexts.

This course:

  • is grounded in research
  • recognises and builds on your prior knowledge and experience in your own personal area of education
  • develops professionally relevant knowledge, skills and understanding
  • introduces new knowledge and research about educational issues
  • leads to further qualifications to enhance your career prospects.

Our MA is innovative, highly regarded and flexible, with a significant research component. 

“I’m really looking forward to using what I’ve learned at Sussex – about the importance of dialogic talk to children – with the teachers at my school in Zambia.” Leffie BampaningaSenior Education Standards Officer – Social Sciences, Southern Province, Zambia
Education MA graduate

Key facts

  • Develop your knowledge of a broad range of educational issues and theoretical perspectives on practice and policy in a global context and specialise in the areas that interest you most.
  • Develop your skills as a researcher and your expertise in planning, conducting and achieving impact for your research. 
  • Join a thriving research and learning community through one of our three research centres. Our Centre for Teaching and Learning Research, for example, runs seminars and events.

How will I study?

You have the personalised support of a tutor. Tutorials – face-to-face or virtual – can be arranged at your mutual convenience.

The form of assessment varies and includes written critical reflection, literature review, a poster presentation, minor project, essay and dissertation.

Widening participation

This course strand is designed for those working in any context aiming to widen participation and improve fair access to university. This includes professionals in Higher Education or the voluntary sector and teachers or staff working in schools, college and universities.

You follow the same full- or part-time course structure as students on the MA in Education but your work is focused on WP and fair access. You develop your understanding of theory, research and policy, and learn how to apply this to Widening Participation practice. Find out more about the Widening Participation (WP) Strand

Full-time and part-time study

Choose to study this course full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. 

On the full-time course, you study two core modules in the autumn term and choose two options in the spring term. This includes a research methods module preparing you for academic writing and your dissertation. Your dissertation topic will be an area of your choosing and can be either empirical research or a literature-based study. Modules for the full-time course are listed below.

The part-time course is designed to suit busy professionals, with taught sessions taking place on Wednesday twilights (5pm-7pm). The course culminates in a dissertation on a topic of your choice, typically linked to your professional context. For details about the part-time course, contact us at

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • Critical Reflection: Professional and Context-bound Learning

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This first module requires you to begin the process of critical reflection that underpins the entire course.

      In this module, you select an area either from your recent professional learning if you have prior experience as a professional, or from your entire educational experience if you're a recent graduate.

      You critically reflect on this area, analysing and evaluating its significance to your learning, in terms of wider conceptual frameworks.

      You also identify areas for deepening your understanding on this area through scholarship and empirical inquiry.

      This module is assessed via submission of a 3,000-word essay.

      The first two modules of your course, including this module, are taught in a block of unified teaching. The learning outcomes for both modules are combined as befits the nature of these linked modules, both on aspects of critical reflection—gaining an increasing depth of knowledge and understanding through reading research literature on the substantive area of education—and on the process of critical reflection itself.

    • Educational Theory and Practice: Critical Reflection

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module provides the foundation for the entire MA along with the accompanying 15-credit module Critical Reflection: Professional and Context-bound Learning.

      These modules begin the process of relating theory to practice by analysing and evaluating the literature on critical reflection. In addition, you gain knowledge of substantive topics in education, and apply the process of critical reflection to some aspect of your professional life and practice.

      In this second module on Critical Reflection, you deepen your theoretical and conceptual knowledge and understanding of a particular area of education identified in first of the two modules, by more extensive reading of the literature.

      In doing so, you evaluate its significance to your own professional or context-bound learning. For example, you might choose to deepen understanding of any of a broad range of areas of education, such as theories of:

      • children's learning and motivation (psychological, sociocultural, etc.)
      • supporting students with English as an additional language or special educational needs and disabilities
      • teacher development
      • assessment
      • learner-centred pedagogies
      • curriculum development
      • pedagogy for creativity.

      As a full-time student, you're taught these two modules in a block of unified teaching. The learning outcomes for both modules are combined as befits the nature of these linked modules, both on aspects of critical reflection.


    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • Dissertation (MA Education)

      60 credits
      All Year Teaching, Year 1

      This module requires you to design, conduct, evaluate and report on an empirical study (15,000 words), typically conducted in your own professional context. It enables you to synthesise and apply all the learning achieved over the entire course, meeting all the key learning outcomes.

      The module requires a highly specialist focus on an individual area of education, showing deep subject-specific and research knowledge, understanding and skills, in addition to professional learning. The module also requires you to develop a systematic and rigorous approach to the entire research process, working in a highly independent way, supported by small-group and individual supervision by a specialist tutor in your research field.

      The module includes designing an empirical study with appropriate research questions, conducting an ethical review and conducting the data-collection, data-analysis and evaluation at the required level, producing findings and recommendations for practice that could inform other professionals' understanding in this area of education.

      This module can be started in Teaching Block 1, 2 or the May summer term and lasts for two terms.

    • Contexts and Values - Literature Review

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module requires you to conduct a systematic investigation and interrogation of the literature on a particular topic in education, including theoretical and empirically-based studies in addition to regulatory, policy and professional literature.

      You will demonstrate the ability to critically appraise literature, including current scholarship and developments in your chosen field, evaluating the validity of conclusions and arguments. You will, therefore, be able to show a critical understanding of the issues, processes and problems in your specialist area and be able to apply this knowledge to complex professional contexts.

    • Psychology in Education

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      In this module, you address the role that psychological research can play in understanding and supporting educational processes.

      In your lectures, you are introduced to material on broad theoretical perspectives concerning children's learning (e.g. cognitive development, socio-motivational factors) as well as specific aspects of children's academic development (e.g. key curriculum areas such as reading and mathematics; special educational needs).

      You have an opportunity to share your evaluations of empirical research with other students in seminars, and submit a portfolio of engaging assignments on a variety of topics.

      Throughout the module, you are encouraged to consider the implications of psychological research for designing and implementing practical strategies to support learning and socio-emotional development in the educational context.

    • Overseas Dissertation

      60 credits
      Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Childhood and Youth in Global Perspective; Rights, Protection and Justice

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will explore legal and rights frameworks relating to children and young people with a particular emphasis on international conventions and perspectives. The first part of the module will involve an exploration of three areas of law: children's rights, child protection/welfare and youth justice/offending. 
      Explorations of these topics will include an examination of ideas of globalisation and post-colonial critiques where relevant. In the second part of the module case studies will be used to critically explore these issues in relation to practice with children and young people drawing upon examples from the developed and developing world.

      An indicative list of practice topics for exploration includes: 

      • Children/young people and work
      • Children and poverty
      • Children and homelessness
      • Children and criminal justice
      • Children and refugee status
      • Children and the family 

      The module will make connections between policy and practice approaches to children and youth in majority and minority worlds as well as linking themes such as migration, adoption and child trafficking. We will, however, pay particular attention to the specificities of work within a development context including an exploration of the practice issues asssociated with work in refugee camps and with street children.

    • Critical Higher Education

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module is an exciting interdisciplinary offer taught by experts in the fields of the cultural, feminist and policy studies within the higher education studies. It brings together world class scholars and researchers within the Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER) to meet the demand from Department of Education students for a specialist module on inter/national higher education.

      During the module you explore the global landscape in higher education alongside large social and economic patterns. You do this without losing sight of the 'students at the heart of the system' who are pursuing their goals inside increasingly diverse and complex educational processes. The module offers key concepts with which to examine the changing historical, technological and social forms of higher education, and we provide a 'live commentary' on the process, purpose and point(s) of higher education. 

      CHEER will lead on this educational initiative, offering an interdisciplinary curriculum examining higher education in theoretical, policy, practical & equity terms. The module is suited to students, staff, administrators and policy analysts who are trying to develop productive understandings and/or devise inclusive policies and practices in this new socio-economic and cultural landscape. Topics covered include:

      • the signifance and purposes of HE (citizenship and inclusion)
      • HE in the global knowledge economy in the context of internationalisation 
      • HE as a public and private good (the benefits or disadvantages of private provision)
      • HE as a space and place for reproducing or contesting structured inequalities 
      • HE's role in social mobility and the reproduction or disruption of elite formations
      • managing a changing sector (key discourses and practices - leaderist turn)
      • disqualified discourses (affect, bodies and the other) 
      • pedagogies and epistemic inclusion (diversity, difference and norms)
      • the formation of new modes of enquiry inside new technologies of teaching and learning (ethical, intellectual issues)
      • futurology in a molten world - what is to become of higher education?
    • Curriculum, learning and society

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The aim of this module is to study how the curriculum, learning, and society interrelate in low- and middle-income countries. It will engage with the major issues, concepts, and theories relating to curriculum development, pedagogy, and social inclusion in education. These will be related to policy and practice. It will address questions such as:

      • What are the patterns of curriculum worldwide and how is curriculum reform being accomplished in different settings?
      • To what extent are equity and social justice enacted through the curriculum and how might this be furthered?
      • What are the processes of curriculum development and what power do teachers and other stakeholders have in deciding what knowledge is included? 
      • What do different definitions of educational quality say about what is valued in education? 
      • What pedagogies are espoused and practiced in low- and middle-income countries and how appropriate are these for different kinds of learners? 
      • What are the pedagogical and social effects of different systems and practices of assessment?
      • How are instructional materials incorporated in educational practice at national and local level? 
      • How does the curriculum relate to local and global cultures and teacher and learner identities? 

      The module will engage with these questions at various levels, including especially a study of how macro issues are played out in the micro/meso contexts of classrooms and other educational institutions.

    • Foundations of Education Policy, Planning and Development

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The changing roles of government in relation to education services have multiple implications for stakeholders in education. This module explores approaches to educational planning and policy issues, and considers the implications of contemporary governance concerns associated with designing and implementing educational reform.

      You will gain practical experience in developing education strategies aimed at achieving education and development targets. The module pays particular attention to the various dimensions of the changes in the governance of education.

      The module considers key aspects of policy and planning covering the changing international agenda regarding good governance:

      • the changes to educational planning and reforms aimed at ensuring sustainable financing
      • the role of NGOs and communities in designing and implementing change
      • reforms and governance of education paying attention to decentralisation and its impact on how schools are managed and function
      • and approaches to monitoring and evaluating education interventions and programmes.
    • Minor Project

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module requires you to design, conduct, evaluate and report on a very small-scale empirical study (6000 words), typically conducted in your own professional context. It enables you to develop your practical and theoretical understanding of research methods and your critical understanding of a particular topic, in preparation for tackling a more substantial and complex research project in the Dissertation. You may choose to link the Minor Project and the Dissertation, for example, conducting the reconnaissance phase of an Action Research project for your Minor Project, leading into the 'intervention' phase for your Dissertation, but the two must also stand alone, in terms of meeting the learning outcomes for each module.

      The reason for this module being an 'option' only is that a significant proportion of students applying for the MAES have Advanced Standing of 30 credits from a similar Minor Project conducted at M-level in another context (e.g. on a PGCE programme) and can, therefore, move straight to the Dissertation, bypassing this module.

    • Practical Teaching Techniques and Observation

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This practical module explores and critically evaluates teaching methodology and classroom techniques and includes observation of experienced teachers. You will have chance to observe and discuss a range of different teaching styles, and supervised teaching practice will enable the development of their teaching skills as well as understanding of the different methodologies and techniques. You will normally be grouped according to previous teaching experience. They will also be expected to keep a reflective learning/teaching journal.

    • Research Methods

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module is an introduction to Research Methods and involves testing a research instrument empirically and evaluating the entire process, critically engaging with and applying methodological literature throughout.

      You will, thereby, develop a practical and intellectual understanding of key research paradigms, enquiry methods and processes, including the importance of ethical considerations, reflexivity and researcher positioning and other key research concepts. The method of assessment is a poster presentation, combined with oral presentation: you will display your poster and talk to an audience of other MAE students about your piloting of a research instrument, exploring ideas on your poster presentation and being prepared to respond to spontaneous questions, presented by assessing tutors.

    • Teachers: policy and practice in lnternational contexts

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module focuses on how teacher education can be organised to best enable teachers to improve their practice. In addressing this, it is necessary to consider how teachers learn to teach. The importance of the teacher to the teaching/learning process has never been in doubt and yet it is only relatively recently that the spotlight has been put on teachers, rather than on pupils, to examine the ways in which teachers learn and the theories and motivations that underpin their practice. Understanding how teachers learn to teach and how best to facilitate their learning are crucial issues to consider when designing policies to improve education in developing countries.

      The aim of the seminars in the first part of the term is to give you a broad overview of some of the major issues, concepts and theories in teacher education and how they relate to practice. In the second part the module looks at contemporary issues related to culture and teacher development, teacher mobility, teacher motivation, supervision and mentoring, and teacher education by distance including the use of ICTs. These are all considered in the context of a variety of developing countries, and include consideration of the role of international aid in shaping the practice of teacher education.

Entry requirements

A lower second-class (2.2) undergraduate honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification, plus either a minimum of one year of experience of work in teaching, education or a related context, or a degree in this area.

English language requirements

Higher level (IELTS 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?


Home: £7,700 per year

EU: £7,700 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £7,700 per year

Overseas: £15,100 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

PGCE First-Generation Scholars Award (2017)

£600 maintenance award to PGCE students with a household income below £42,875

Find out more about the PGCE First-Generation Scholars Award

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


You’ll benefit from the expertise of our tutors who are both experienced researchers with diverse research interests and excellent teachers.

Many hold university awards for ‘excellence in teaching’ and ‘outstanding support for the student experience’.

  • Faculty profiles

    Dr Andy Chandler-Grevatt
    Teaching Fellow In Science Education

    View profile

    Dr Barbara Crossouard
    Reader in Education

    Research interests: assessment, Citizenship and youth, doctoral education, education in contexts of postcoloniality, gender, higher education, identities, researcher development

    View profile

    Dr Naureen Durrani
    Senior Lecturer in International Education and Development

    Research interests: Citizenship and youth, Curriculum and textbooks, Education, Education & peacebuilding, International education & development, Pakistan, pedagogy, South Asia, Teacher Education

    View profile

    Dr Louise Gazeley
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: Educational inequalities, Exclusion from school, Fair access and widening participation, Inclusive education, Parental involvement in education, Social class and educational disadvantage, Teacher Education

    View profile

    Prof Gillian Hampden-Thompson
    Professor of Education

    Research interests: Educational inequalities, Quantitative methods, Secondary Data Analysis, Social rights and social justice, Sociology of Education, Student outcomes, Teaching and Learning

    View profile

    Dr Nigel Marshall
    Senior Lecturer in Education

    Research interests: Developing concepts of gender, International music education, Music and Dementia, Music and early childhood, Music and wellbeing, Music Psychology

    View profile

    Dr John Parry
    Teaching Fellow

    Research interests: environmental education, Social inclusion, Sustainable development

    View profile

    Dr Robert Rosenthal
    Senior Teaching Fellow in Education

    Research interests: Education

    View profile

    Dr Jacqui Shepherd
    Lecturer in Education

    Research interests: Autism Spectrum Disorders, disability, Education, Inclusive education

    View profile

    Dr Julia Sutherland
    Senior Lecturer in Education

    Research interests: Education

    View profile

    Dr Simon Thompson
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: Education

    View profile

    Dr Rebecca Webb
    Lecturer in Early Years and Primary Education

    Research interests: action research, Anthropology and ethnography, Feminist and qualitative research methods, participatory methods

    View profile

    Dr Jo Westbrook
    Senior Lecturer in Education

    Research interests: adolescence in literature, Ethnographic Methods, International education & development, pedagogy, qualitative research methods, reading comprehension, Teacher Education, Teacher Education Policy

    View profile


This well-established course develops your skills in:

  • research and analysis
  • presentation and communication
  • critical reflection.

This MA also deepens your knowledge and understanding of educational theory and practice.

Our graduates succeed in a wide range of educational careers, nationally and internationally. For existing professionals, this course provides excellent career development and enables progression to leadership.

Graduate destinations

100% of students from the Department of Education were in work or further study six months after graduating. Our graduates are employed as educators all over the world, and recent graduates have gone on to jobs including:

  • head of creative arts faculty, Gipsy Hill Federation
  • international student advisor, University of Oregon
  • programme manager, United Nations Children fund UNICEF.

(EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015 for postgraduates)

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Contact us