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Education (MSc)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

Our Education (MSc) programme enables you to explore key challenges in education and gain insights into educational practices, policies, and organisations from across the world.


Global perspectives

Examine contemporary education practices and contexts from national and international perspectives.


Wider debates around education

Study education inside and outside classroom settings, laying the foundation for a wide variety of careers.


Interdisciplinary study

Develop your critical analysis, intercultural communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills, and your critical understanding of evidence-based approaches to education policy and practice.


Independent research

Dissertation includes a small-scale independent piece of research on a topic of your interest.

On our MSc Education, you will gain an in-depth understanding of education as a field of study and you will explore connections between education and other social institutions that play a role in tackling education problems, from a comparative perspective.

You will study complex issues faced by teachers, education leaders, and decision-makers in an increasingly globalised context. These issues include, amongst others, the search for relevance, efficiency, and inclusion, all of which require innovative solutions.

Working together with classmates and academic staff, and through participation and debate in seminar and class discussions, you will gain new skills, deepen your knowledge, and benefit from perspectives across education, sociology, policy analysis, and psychology.

You will be challenged to evaluate and clearly formulate recommendations for educational practice and organisations, and to design innovative interventions that will empower learners by improving the quality and relevance of their education.

The MSc Education allows you to explore the practical areas of curricular design, planning for teaching and learning in a rapidly changing world, the effects of globalisation on educational ideas and practices, and the future of education. It will enable you to develop your knowledge of teaching and learning, and your capacity to understand and conduct research in education contexts.

The programme primarily focuses on primary and secondary education, but provides opportunities to discuss education from a broader perspective; from pre-primary and higher education to adult learning and non-formal education. Your dissertation can focus on any level of education.

So, if you are interested in education practice, organisation or research, and are motivated to find new ways to develop as a professional and bring about change in education, we encourage you to apply.

Please note: whilst this programme is suitable for candidates seeking to develop their careers in an educational context, this is not a practical teacher training programme. It is suitable for those who have little or no professional experience of education-related work to mid-career professionals engaged in teaching, educational leadership and organisation or other education-related activities.

This programme gives students exposure to a broad range of perspectives to develop unique insights into education. You will study the latest developments from a variety of disciplines in ways that will transform how you understand educational challenges and solutions.
Professor Manuel Souto-Otero, Programme Director, MSc Education

Where you'll study

School of Social Sciences

Our degrees are delivered by internationally recognised experts with a track record of influencing policy and practice around the world.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 5179
  • MarkerKing Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:2 honours degree in a relevant subject area such as education, sociology, social policy, psychology, geography, history, law, philosophy, and politics, or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in all other subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.

If you do not have a degree in a relevant area, your application may be considered on the basis of least 3 years full-time equivalent relevant professional experience in teaching, educational administration/planning, educational research, or a related area. You must provide a professional reference, which should be signed, dated and less than six months old at the time you submit your application.

Application Deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled.

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This is a one year full-time programme. You’ll study a total of 180 credits - 120 credits of core and optional modules and a 60 credit Dissertation.  

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

You will take five compulsory 20-credit modules – one 20 credit optional module and a 60 credit dissertation on a topic agreed with your supervisor – to make up the full 180 credits you need to complete the programme.

Taught modules

The five compulsory modules include core social skills and substantive topics in education. The optional module allows you to tailor your degree to suit your own interests. Each taught module is worth 20 credits, which means it should take approximately 200 hours to complete including formal teaching, independent student and time spend on assessment tasks.


Following successful completion of the taught modules, you will be asked to produce a 60 credit dissertation on an education-related topic of your choice.

This dissertation involves a small-scale independent piece of research that 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 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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

You will learn from scholars who are contributing to the future of their fields. Our courses reflect both the core ideas of their disciplines and contemporary debates, theories and research.

Teaching methods include a mixture of lectures, seminars, independent study and self-directed learning that use online resources, individual work and group tasks. Lectures generally provide an overview of the relevant topic, introducing key concepts or research, and highlighting contemporary issues or debates. In contrast to lectures, seminars give you the opportunity to discuss particular readings, research or topics in detail. This allows you to consolidate your understanding and get feedback on your individual learning. Seminars also enable you to hone your communication, presentation and collaborative skills as you take part in group discussions and other tasks.

As social science develops in response to the social world, so our curriculum also changes.  Our students play an important role in these developments, with the Student-Staff Panel being consulted about major changes and all students completing module evaluations and an annual student survey.

How will I be assessed?

Typical assessment formats include individual assignments, coursework, projects, presentations or class tests. The most common form of assessment is the production of coursework. Deadlines are spread throughout the academic year.

An important part of assessment is feedback. Feedback exists in any process, activity or information that enhances learning by providing students with the opportunity to reflect on their current or recent level of attainment or their understanding of a topic. It can be provided individually or to groups and can take many forms. It is responsive to the developmental expectations of our programmes and disciplines.

The range of feedback includes: one-to-one individual feedback; generic feedback; peer feedback; informal feedback; self-evaluation to submit along with the assessment.

Academic staff and peers can use a variety of methods to deliver these types of feedback: written feedback; annotation of a text; oral feedback; seminar discussion.


How will I be supported?

A personal tutor will guide you for the duration of your studies and will be available to discuss progress and provide advice and guidance on your academic studies. The Student Hub, and the Taught Programmes Office, both located in the Glamorgan Building, can also provide advice on how to access university services.

All modules within the course 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 relating to assessment tasks including, for example, assessment criteria, links to past papers (when applicable), and guidelines for submitting assessments.

Additional module-specific support is provided by seminar tutors, lecturers and/or module convenors.  Support for the dissertation is provided by a supervisor who will meet with you regularly.

Formative Feedback

Formative feedback is feedback that does not contribute to progression or degree classification decisions.  The goal of formative feedback is to improve your understanding and learning before you complete your summative assessment. More specifically, formative feedback helps you to:

  • identify your strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work;
  • help staff to support you and address the problems identified with targeted strategies for improvement.

Formative feedback is routinely provided in seminars. In addition, modules may include specific formative assessment designed to help you prepare for the subsequent summative assessment.

Summative Feedback

Summative feedback is feedback that contributes to progression or degree classification decisions.  The goal of summative assessment is to indicate how well you have succeeded in meeting the intended learning outcomes of a Module and will enable you to identify action required (feed forward) in order to improve in future assessments.

All feedback on coursework is provided electronically to ensure it is readily accessible and easy to read. Verbal feedback is provided for presentations but written feedback will also be provided if/where the presentation makes a significant contribution to the module mark.

Feedback on class tests is usually provided as written feedback for the whole class but you are also able to discuss your individual test paper and the mark it was awarded with the module convenor.

All marks and feedback are made with reference to the relevant marking criteria.

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

On completion of the programme you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a deep and systematic understanding of core theories and concepts related to education policy, organisation and practice
  • Analyse and situate local and national education practices and policies within their broader global and historical contexts
  • Demonstrate a high level of knowledge of methodological and ethical considerations relevant to undertaking research on education issues

Intellectual Skills:

On completion of the programme you will be able to:

  • Systematically identify complex connections between aspects of education theory and policy and practice (in education and related areas)
  • Critically evaluate existing research and scholarship on education issues, and make informed judgements between competing claims and theoretical perspectives
  • Describe and critically reflect upon policy and practice relating to complex educational issues, and upon the connection between education and other social institutions
  • Effectively collect, evaluate, synthesise and interpret various forms of complex data –including in the form of a project dissertation

Professional Practical Skills:

On completion of the programme you will be able to:

  • Articulate original solutions to tackle both familiar and unfamiliar problems, to enhance education policy and practice
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of evidence-based approaches to the design, implementation and evaluation of education interventions

Transferable/Key Skills:

On completion of the programme you will be able to:

  • Communicate (in writing and orally) research findings clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences, work in an international context, problem solving, time management, ICT and individual and teamwork skills
  • Evaluate your own work and be self-critical

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £10,450 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £23,200 £2,500

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

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

You should be prepared to invest in some key textbooks and to cover the costs of basic printing and photocopying. You may also want to buy copies of other books, either because they are particularly important for your course or because you find them particularly interesting.

If you have a laptop computer you will have the option of purchasing software at discounted prices.

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

What the student should provide:

You do not need any specific equipment to study on this programme. Access to a laptop computer would be advantageous as many readings are available electronically and most assessments are prepared using standard word processing software.

What the University will provide:

Networked computers with appropriate file space and all necessary software. Access to essential and background reading for each module plus a wide range of journals and other online resources. Course documents will be available online (via the VLE) and hard copies of essential documents will be provided if requested.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Career prospects

We encourage our students to think about life beyond University from day one, offering modules and support to give you a competitive advantage on graduating. Turning theory into practical application and providing experience of the working world are important aspects of all our degree schemes and help prepare our graduates for life after higher education.

Graduates of this programme may work in education-related areas within formal or non-formal education organisations, in government departments and regulators, in non-governmental organisations including foundations and think-tanks working, in charities, the media or as social entrepreneurs in the area of education.

Next steps


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2023 dates.

Make an enquiry

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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.