Education, Policy and Society (MSc)

This MSc is an opportunity to take an interdisciplinary approach to re-thinking and re-imagining educational practices and principles. It has been designed to be relevant to students from both the UK and overseas. Sectors covered include childhood, primary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as informal learning contexts.

As education becomes increasingly globalised, schools and education systems around the world are being shaped and reshaped by what are often a common set of global education policies and ideologies.

The aim of our MSc in Education, Policy and Society is to help you develop your ability to critically analyse these dominant educational ideologies, policies and practices; to understand the forces that are driving them, their shortcomings and likely outcomes; and most importantly, to discover and engage with alternative models of education, training, teaching and learning, at the early childhood, primary, secondary and post-secondary levels, and in non-formal and informal contexts outside the formal education system altogether.

This course is designed for all students wanting to develop their capacity to critically analyse educational practice, policy and ideology, to develop a more clear “big picture” understanding of the broader structures and forces that are affecting schools, universities and education systems today, and to find out about and deepen their understanding of alternative ways of thinking about and doing education.

This may include those who have recently completed undergraduate courses of study, as well as individuals currently working as practitioners, whether in schools, colleges or universities, youth or community groups, international development organisations, workforce and skills development programmes, or in different levels of government.

Distinctive features

This course has been designed to be of value and relevance to students both from the UK and overseas; so interested individuals from all nations are encouraged to apply.

The programme is unique in that it is one of the few Master’s level courses focusing on education in the UK, or anywhere else in the world, that is offered by an interdisciplinary School of Social Sciences. As such, the approach to education offered here is shaped by a strong belief in the value of interdisciplinary social science theory and research for enhancing our collective ability to re-think, re-imagine and enhance educational practices, policies and principles, whether at the local, national or global level.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration1 year
QualificationMSc
ModeFull-time
Other ways to study this course
Academic Tutor contact(s)
Admission Tutor contact(s)

Admissions criteria

Applicants should normally hold a first or second-class undergraduate degree in a humanities or social sciences subject. However, other applicants will be considered if they can demonstrate, through recent and relevant experience, that they have the ability to undertake the course.

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to obtain a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 with at least 6.5 in writing, and at least 5.5 in all other sub-sections.

Applications should be made via the Online Applications Service. Please make sure that you explain clearly in your personal statement why you are interested in applying to this MSc in Education, Policy & Society, a course that focuses on using sociological theory and research for enhancing our understanding of education.

 In your statement, you should refer explicitly to the course and module content outlined in this course profile and should explain clearly the particular aspects of this course that most interest you, and what topics or themes you are hoping to learn more about in taking it. If this information is not included, this may cause delays in processing your application, and we may contact you with a request for further information.

The deadline for international applicants is 1 August; for UK & EU applicants, the deadline is 1 September. The different dates are due to the need to allow sufficient time for visa processing for international applicants.

This is a one year full time programme.

You will be expected to attend lectures, seminars and tutorials as set out in the timetable for MSc students.  These sometimes sit outside the regular pattern of university attendance and may include day, evening and weekend study and on occasion may fall outside the standard semester dates.  You will also be expected to undertake independent study in preparation for lectures, seminars and assessments. 

The course is organised around a sequence of up to three 20 credit specialist modules in education, two 30 credit modules in social science theory and research methods, and one 60 credit supervised dissertation on an educational topic of your choice.

A 20 credit module comprises 200 hours of study, including about 30 hours of contact time, and the MSc as a whole, 1800 hours of study.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018.

We currently offers specialist education, policy and society 20-credit modules, although these may change from year to year.

In addition to these specialist modules, you will also be required to take two 30-credit modules in social science theory and research methods.

Dissertation

Finally, you will be asked to produce a 60 credit, 20,000 word dissertation on an education, policy and society topic of your choice. This dissertation involves a small scale independent piece of research, and enables you to develop your interests in a substantive area related to the programme, and to put into practice the knowledge and skills developed through participation in the taught modules. You will be allocated a personal dissertation supervisor to assist in planning, conducting and writing up the research project.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Modules employ a diverse range of teaching including lectures, seminars, group and individual tutorials, and independent guided study. All modules within the programme make use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central, on which you will find course materials, links to related materials and information on assessment.

The programme benefits from being located in an inter-disciplinary environment so that in parts of the course, you will come into contact with staff and students from other subject areas and, in other parts of the course, with staff and students in the same substantive area.

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a personal tutor and a nominated supervisor when undertaking your dissertation. Regular contact will be maintained across the duration of the course.

You will also have access to a programme convenor to offer additional subject-specific support.

Feedback

You will have the opportunity to develop and practice advanced oral and written communication through formative tasks such as presentation of preparatory reading, group problem-based learning tasks, and group presentations. Feedback is therefore provided on an ongoing basis, as well as more formally for summative assessments.

How will I be assessed?

Modules are assessed by a combination of essays, reports, reviews and presentations.

What skills will I practise and develop?

On successfully completing the MSc in Education, Policy & Society, you will have significantly enhanced your ability to:

  • Critically evaluate policy, practice and discourse in a wide range of educational settings, and analyse competing theoretical perspectives and knowledge claims.
  • Analyse and situate local and national education policies and practices within their broader global, historical and ideological contexts.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret a range of complex social science data.
  • Communicate and present ideas and research findings effectively in both spoken and written form.
  • Apply social science theory and research in order to better understand, re-think, re-imagine and enhance educational practices and policies in your own communities and workplaces.

The programme is designed to be of use and interest to individuals who are already working or are hoping to find future roles in a wide range of occupations involving education, teaching and learning, including in primary, secondary, further and higher education; workforce development and skills training; youth and community work; and public, private and third sector programme development and administration.

Master's Excellence Scholarships

Scholarships available worth £3,000 each for UK/EU students starting a master’s degree in September 2018.

Find out more

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£6,950None

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

EU students entering in 2018/19 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2019/20 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£15,950£1,000

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

 No specific equipment will be required.

You may conduct fieldwork as part of your dissertation study as directed by, and in discussion with, your supervisor.