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Education Studies (with Professional Experience) MA

Gain a Master's degree and spend time working in the education sector on this MA Education Studies (with Professional Experience). You'll evaluate the role of education and how it's received and perceived by students of all ages. By combining academic study and workplace experience, you'll graduate with the academic theory and practical knowledge to launch or progress your career in education.

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Explore what shapes the learning experience on this Master's in Education Studies, and put theory into practice on a work placement in an educational setting.

You'll spend your first year at University, studying issues and theories related to the lived experience of education wherever it takes place, including schools, colleges, universities and professional training programmes. Guided by an expert team with direct sector experience, you'll assess the elements that influence educational outcomes for students of all ages, from teaching to family dynamics, plus sociological, political and cultural factors. 

In Year 2, it's time to apply what you've learned on a professional experience placement, such as at a school, college, early years setting, local authority or private enterprise delivering learning and teaching.

If you're new to education, you'll gain invaluable experience for the next stage of your career. As a teacher, manager or researcher already working in the sector, you'll strengthen your skills and develop new ones in a fresh practice environment.

You'll graduate with the high-level academic skills and real sector expertise to work towards educational reform in a senior role, such as in educational policy and services, pedagogy, learning support or research.

Prefer to study without a work placement?

You can also study for this Education Studies Master's in just one year without spending time building professional experience


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

Course highlights

  • Spend 8-10 months working in a real educational setting, such as a school, early years environment or local authority team, applying your learning and building a professional network
  • Learn to demystify the practices and experiences surrounding education, learning and teaching – from the changing purpose of education and educational psychology, to the ways in which policy and practice influence the lives of students
  • Be taught and supported by an expert academic team active in educational research and education practice, from early years to further and higher education
  • Join a diverse cohort of students from the education sector and share perspectives on international approaches and attitudes to teaching and learning
  • Boost your transferable skills, including critical thinking, research, anti-discriminatory practice, and project management
  • Maximise the impact of your research dissertation by relating it to an area meaningful to you, such as your own educational institution and role, special educational needs (SEN), or a social issue that affects the way students learn

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

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Entry requirements​


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

September 2024 start

  • A second-class honours degree in a Social Sciences or other relevant subject, or the subject specialism and professional experience of a qualified teacher now wishing to pursue the MA Education Studies. 

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Applicants with pre-existing Masters credits will be considered for RPL depending on the direct relevance of prior study to the MA Education Studies course. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification. 

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.



Core modules

You’ll evaluate education through historical and contemporary lenses, questioning power and equity in education systems.

You’ll develop your own distinct perspectives, informed by robust academic debate.

You’ll design and write up an education research proposal for your dissertation.

You’ll start by thinking about any research skills you might need to improve on and develop ways to strengthen your skillset, through core training, chosen focus areas and applied learning.

Then, you’ll work on your own postgraduate research proposal planning out the specific research methods you’ll use and taking ethical issues into account. You’ll include clear objectives and document your literature and data sources.

You’ll focus on three key approaches to educational research, including psychology, sociology and pedagogy.

You’ll get an introduction to key theories from each of these disciplines as they relate to educational research, while engaging with how these perspectives inform research design and analysis.

By the end of the module, you’ll be able to use theoretical perspectives in your own research.

Optional modules

With academic guidance, you'll choose your own literature or empirical topic within a field of education that fits the parameters of your intended Master’s exit award.

You'll bring together everything you’ve learned to design and evaluate ethical methodologies, conduct systematic research, and communicate your ideas professionally in your dissertation or report.

With academic guidance, you'll choose your own literature or empirical topic within a field of study that fits the parameters of your intended Master’s exit award.

You'll bring together everything you’ve learned to design and evaluate ethical methodologies, conduct systematic research, and communicate your ideas professionally in your report.

For the first half of the module, you’ll cover a wide range of project management tools and techniques for managing different aspects of a project (for example time, cost, quality and risk).

The emphasis is on the ability to critically appraise and justify their use.

For the second half of the unit, you’ll take an in-depth look at the project management processes within the project life-cycle.

You’ll focus on the relationships between the key participants within the different project phases, using case studies drawn from real life.

You’ll examine real-world issues impacting neurodiverse and disabled learners, reviewing the latest research alongside public policies and practices.

You’ll evaluate inclusion models, family partnerships and transition programs, and question how systems, tools and culture might transform to foster agency and dignity for diverse minds and bodies.

You’ll learn how provision often reproduces societal norms and divisions by preparing students to fulfil their expected roles in society.

You’ll focus on the economic, social, cultural and political issues that impact societal norms, divisions and lives through education policies, curriculum and modes of learning.

You’ll gain insider perspectives on the policy-making process, from agenda-setting to real-world implementation.

Study change models, quality control approaches and evaluation methods driving systemic improvements.

You’ll explore motivating leadership styles that empower organisations and communities, and investigate education governance across institutional, local, national and global contexts.

You'll consider both what we know about how people learn languages and the practical considerations determined by the context in which the classroom teaching happens.

You'll learn about planning activities, lessons and courses for a variety of situations, as well as strategies for motivating learners.

Core modules

With support from our Placement and Careers teams, you’ll be responsible for securing your own professional experience opportunity - whether it's an internship or work placement.

You'll develop professional connections and employability skills while preparing for life after your degree.

Other modules you'll study

You'll also do a Placement Preparation module, which isn't worth any credits but gets you ready to identify, secure and apply for a relevant work placement.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, course content is revised and regularly reviewed.  This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.

Graduation Class of 2021

Joining us as an international student

You'll feel at home in our international community and our diverse city. You'll be joining over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries who are studying with us.

Learn more about international student life and how we can help you with visas, applications, arrival and settling in. 

Information for international students

How you'll spend your time

Course structure

This Master's degree will take 2 years (1 year at University and 8-10 months gaining professional experience).

Year 1 – At University

You’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes and workshops for about 9 hours a week. The rest of the time (we recommend 18-23 hours a week) you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings. There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

Year 2 – Professional Experience

During the 8-10 months of your professional experience module, your work pattern and schedule will depend on your employer and role but will be a minimum of 20 hours (with a maximum of 25 hours if your placement is unpaid).


Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials


You'll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • presentations
  • blogs
  • dissertation / research project

You'll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

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Ms Jasmine Course


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Simon Leslie Edwards Portrait

Dr Simon Edwards

Senior Lecturer

School of Education, Languages and Linguistics

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

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Thomas Peter Fleming Portrait

Mr Tom Fleming

Senior Lecturer

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Ann Emerson Portrait

Dr Ann Emerson

Senior Lecturer

School of Education, Languages and Linguistics

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

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Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project/dissertation.

See key dates

Career development

Careers this Master's prepares you for

Education is one of the most effective routes to worldwide social mobility and economic growth, yet many factors and inequalities still affect students' experience. This Master's in Education Studies (with Professional Experience) will prepare you to become a thought leader in the sector with the capacity and agility to respond to these issues.

Once you graduate, you'll have the theoretical knowledge and educational practice experience to pursue leadership or senior roles in social and community education, private enterprise, school improvement, policy-making, pedagogy, mentorship, consultancy, research or learning support.

Graduates of this course have gone on to roles such as:

  • Education mental health practitioner
  • Lecturer in Education
  • Research assistant

Career outcomes shown are sourced from the latest available graduate outcome surveys. The data shows career outcomes at 15 months after graduation.

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert careers advice from our Careers and Employability Centre, your tutors and our Student Placements and Employability Centre. You can access support from our Careers and Employability Centre for up to 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • Applied projects with companies such as IBM, Boeing and Hampshire County Council
  • 1-to-1 appointments  
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

Placement year

The second year of this degree is dedicated to gaining professional experience.

You'll do this by doing either an 8-10 month work placement or professional experience programme, after you've completed your year of taught studies.

Work placement

A work placement gives you the opportunity to get valuable professional experience in the education sector.

You can begin looking and applying for placements after completing your first teaching block. You'll get support from the Careers and Employability Centre and the Faculty Placement Team in identifying and applying for suitable placements, and enhancing your employability skills.

Placement opportunities are likely to be in the following areas:

  • schools and non-mainstream schools
  • early years settings
  • local authority school improvement and advisory teams
  • private enterprises delivering additional resources to schools and educational settings
  • charities or not-for-profit organisations delivering community-based learning to adults
  • early help services

Examples of likely placement roles include:

  • support worker
  • teaching assistant
  • teacher (if already qualified)
  • family support worker
  • volunteer

Note that work placements can't be guaranteed because it depends on their availability and the specific needs of placement providers. We'll give you information, advice and support so that you're able to secure your placement.

We can also support you to develop a plan for your own education-related business during your professional experience placement. You could spend time scoping the rationale for your business, identifying costs and potential growth opportunities, and visiting similar enterprises to gain experience and ideas.

Professional experience programme

If you're unable to secure a work placement, you'll complete a professional experience programme designed to meet your career aspirations.

You'll further develop your employability and teaching skills and prepare yourself for the workplace.

Supporting you

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

The Maths Café offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2024 start)

  • Full time: £10,400 (plus £1,800 for the work-based module/placement)

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full time: £10,400 (plus £1,800 for the work-based module/placement)

  • Full time: £17,900 (plus £2,875 for the work-based module/placement)

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

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Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

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Fees and funding for Master's courses

Explore Master's funding options, including loans, scholarships, bursaries and more.

Explore funding

Additional costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees, so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: such photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Placement expenses: You'll need to budget for travel to and from your placement or placements.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full.

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Ready to apply?

Start this course in September 2024

Apply now (Full-time)

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2023, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.