Education (Generic) MA - University of Sunderland

Course overview

Are you a teacher or educationalist who would like to develop your professional practice? The aim of this course is to support your career development while also enabling you to develop advanced research and study skills.

This full-time course develops your professional practice as a teacher or educationalist. You will learn advanced research and study skills while acquiring Masters-level knowledge that is shaped by your personal interests and career aspirations.

We also offer a part-time Education MA and a distance learning Education MA, which may suit you if you need more flexible studying options.

There are four titles for the MA available, depending upon the modules chosen for study. The titles available are:

  • MA Education (Generic)
  • MA Education (Advanced Professional Practice - Secondary)
  • MA Education (Advanced Professional Practice - Primary)
  • MA Education (Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion)

The content of the course can be tailored to your particular interests, with a range of modules available from our MA suite. Options may include ‘Advanced Pedagogical Practice’, ‘Assessment Theory into Pedagogical Practice’ and ‘Leading Organisational Effectiveness in Education’. You can also choose to undertake a negotiated individual study in education. For those who are returning to higher education, we provide plenty of support including classes to assist with academic writing.

MA Education (Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion): This specialism is designed for professionals who are involved with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). The course equips you to develop SEND provision, allowing young people to reach their full potential in school and to make a successful transition into adulthood while continuing your broader professional development and also the opportunity to acquire Masters-level skills in research and analysis. 

The research element of the course is excellent preparation if you decide to go on to a higher degree such as a PhD. The research element is supported by the University’s Centre for Pedagogy whose specialisms include teaching styles, motivation, human relationships in learning and comparative education.

Most people who join the course already have a PGCE or another teaching qualification. Your written outputs, together with the experiences and activities of the course, will provide a portfolio of evidence that can open up new opportunities and a fresh stage in your career.

A video showing the benefits of becoming a teacher:

Course content

The course is structured as follows:

  • You will choose three option modules from the MA suite (30 Credits each)
  • You will complete the core module ‘Research Methods in Education’ (30 Credits)
  • You will also undertake a Masters project/dissertation (60 Credits)

Modules in the MA suite may include the following:

Development of Learning: A Case Study (30 Credits)

You will identify an intervention employed in the classroom or in the wider school and explore its use, impact and influence upon the learning of one or more pupils.

Negotiated Individual Study in Education (30 Credits)

You will undertake a piece of action research in school based on an area of interest in a subject or phase.

Advanced Pedagogical Practice (30 Credits)

You will critically examine a subject in which you are a specialist, relating current practice to educational theory and appropriate literature.

Leading Organisational Effectiveness in Education and Training (30 Credits)

You will study topics that include principles of leadership, responsibilities of leadership in an educational establishment, tackling under-performance and auditing performance.

Assessment Theory into Pedagogical Practice (30 Credits)

You will examine educational assessment theory in relation to the current practice in your own educational setting.

Approaches to Teaching and Learning for Learners with Special or Additional Needs (30 Credits)

Barriers to Learning (30 Credits)

Inclusive Education (30 Credits

You will negotiate the topic of the dissertation with your tutors. This allows considerable flexibility over your area of research.

Teaching and assessment

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include tutor input, seminars, workshops, support sessions, collaborative group work and discussion, tutorials, presentations, interactive practical sessions and directed private study.

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters course requires a higher level of independent working.

Assessment methods include written assignments including the dissertation and oral and written presentations.

Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Facilities & location

Course location

The course is based at our Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s. The Campus is on the banks of the River Wear and is less than a mile from the seaside. It’s a vibrant learning environment with strong links to educational institutions and a constant exchange of ideas and people.

The campus also includes the Prospect Building – which mirrors our City Campus Gateway style in the main reception area. It also is home to the main campus library as well as several catering areas, which look out onto the river. Prospect Building underwent a recent 1.25m re-development to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the modern day student. 

University Library Services

We have got thousands of books and e-books on education topics, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

Some of the most important sources for your course include:

  • EBSCO Professional Development Collection, which is a specialised collection of over 500 education journals, including full-text education journals dating back to 1965
  • British Education Index, which contains information on research, policy and practice in education and training in the UK
  • Australian Education Index, which covers more than 130,000 documents relating to educational research, policy and practice
  • Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), which is a comprehensive, searchable bibliographic and full-text database of research and information. Over 650 journals are indexed
  • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’), which provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
  • Lexis, which provides access to legal information as well as full-text newspaper articles

IT provision

When it comes to IT provision you can take your pick from hundreds of PCs as well as Apple Macs in the David Goldman Informatics Centre and St Peter’s library. There are also free WiFi zones throughout the campus. If you have any problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.


The David Goldman Informatics Centre

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's,
St Peter's Way, Sunderland, SR6 0DD

Entry requirements

We usually require applicants to hold at least a second class honours degree (usually a 2:1) or equivalent.

We also expect you to have experience of working at educational institutions, following your graduation. A recognised teaching qualification is desirable but not essential.

Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5, with no less than 6.5 in writing, and no less than 6 in Reading, Speaking and Listening.

After 6 April 2015 you must take your IELTS exams at one of the test centres listed on the UKVI website. If you took your IELTS exam before 6 April 2015 this does not apply, and your qualification is still valid regardless of which test centre you used.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you have knowledge of some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

Postgraduate loans

From 2016/17, tuition fee loans will be available to UK/EU postgraduate students for the first time. Find out more about the eligibility criteria.


The annual fee for this course is:

  • £4,500 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £11,000 if you are an International student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website. Scholarships maybe available for this course - please check out our Fees and funding page for details.

Employment & careers

On completing this course, your skills and understanding will be enhanced for roles in teaching, educational management and other educational settings.

Higher salaries are available for those who develop their professionalism and achieve the status of Excellent Teacher or Advanced Skills Teacher.

Teachers who take on additional responsibilities such as the co-ordination of provision for those with Special Education Needs can also expect to command a higher salary.

Past graduates from this course have gained employment in roles such as the following:

  • Special needs and inclusion
  • Senior management in education
  • Special Educational Needs teacher

A Masters qualification also gives you broader career options including possible roles in lecturing, journalism, the media and arts administration. The research elements of a Masters course prepare you for further postgraduate studies at doctoral level.

University Language Scheme

It is usually possible to take a module from the University Language Scheme, which will earn credits towards your degree. The language module can be taken on top of or as part of the 120 credits needed to complete a year.

Language skills increase your international mobility and you can choose between French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic at a range of levels. If your first language is not English, please check with your tutor about entry requirements.

Staff and students talk about the benefits of the University Language Scheme:

The Enterprise Place

If you have a good idea for a new business and have the dedication and motivation to make it happen, then we want to hear from you. The Enterprise Place, based on-campus at St Peter's Gate Business Centre, is the perfect environment for entrepreneurial students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality. You will have access to free hot desk space, IT facilities, specialist advice and support and business mentors and networking opportunities.

To find out more about how we can help you start a business, please contact the University's Enterprise Team:

Tel: 0191 515 3751



A course at Sunderland is a life-changing investment in the future. To help you make the most of your investment we commit to providing you with outstanding support. We want students on every course to have the support they need to make the most of their investment in the future.

Support for your learning

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor who will meet with you at agreed times throughout your course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support. Our academic staff will guide you through the course and ensure that you are working at a pace that is agreed between you and your tutor.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it we encourage you to make full use of the online resources at our Careers & Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

Apply for this course

To apply for this course use the relevant link below.

    Next Open Day

  • For further information on future postgraduate events, please contact the Student Helpline on +44 (0)191 515 3000.

Contact Sunderland

For more information, contact the Programme Leader:

Carolyn Nozedar
Tel: 0191 515 3192

Contact the recruitment team for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Recruitment Team
Telephone: 0191 515 3000 

Programme Starts  
Monday 2nd October 2017 Apply now

The details

Course Name Education (Generic)
Classification MA
Course Mode Full-time
Course Level Postgraduate
Duration 1 year
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 3 October 2016
UK/EU Fee £4,500
Intl Fee £11,000

Entry requirements

Good honours degree (2:1 or above)

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