International Education MA - University of Sunderland

Course overview

Are you a teacher in an international school who would like to develop your professional practice? The aim of this programme is to support your career development with a tight focus on the international school system and its challenges and opportunities.

In the final stage of the programme you will study topics such as ‘Leading and Managing in International Schools’ and ‘The International School Curriculum’. During these modules you will also carry out small-scale research projects into issues concerning management and the International School curriculum that are relevant to your current practice.

At Stage 1 of the programme you will complete two compulsory modules ‘Development of Learning: A Case Study’ and a Negotiated Individual Study in Education. At Stage 2 you will choose two modules from a list that covers areas such as advanced pedagogical practice, assessment theory and organisational effectiveness in education. Please note that there is no dissertation in this programme.

The content of the programme is informed by research by Sunderland’s Centre for Pedagogy whose specialisms include teaching styles, motivation, human relationships in learning and comparative education.

This Masters programme does not lead to state registration such as Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

If you would prefer a Masters programme with less focus on international schools, you may want to consider our distance learning Education MA which includes the completion of a dissertation in an area of particular interest to you.

Course content

Core modules:

Development of Learning: A Case Study (30 Credits)

You will identify an intervention used in the classroom or the wider school and explore its use, impact and influence on the learning of one or more pupils. Your research outcomes will be written up in a 4,000 word report.

Negotiated Individual Study in Education (30 Credits)

You will carry out a small-scale piece of research which is relevant to your professional practice and chosen in consultation with your tutor and colleagues.

The International School Curriculum (30 Credits)

You will consider curricular drivers and influences such as culture, government regulation and educational philosophy to justify multiple modes of teaching and learning.

Leading and Managing in International Schools (30 Credits)

You will engage with a range of management issues in international schools. You will consider issues such as staff development, retention and motivation, and the expectations and needs of pupils and parents.

Plus choose two modules from the following list:

Developing Reflective Practices (30 Credits)

You will develop your professional skills and understanding to become accountable for what goes on in your classroom. You will develop the ability to use self-reflection skills to critically appraise your teaching experience, as well as that of others.

Advanced Pedagogical Practice in Subject Related Disciplines (30 Credits)

You will consider aspects of curriculum development and implementation related to your chosen subject. The focus is on improving practice, but a number of different theoretical models of curriculum will be considered. You will also engage in practitioner research.

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.

The Nature of Teaching and Learning

You will explore a range of issues relating to how learning takes place, how teaching is practised and what some of the major influences are on both learning and teaching.

Teaching and assessment

The programme is delivered using specially designed learning materials, e-books, e-journals, relevant websites and multimedia.

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

Assessment methods include case studies, research proposals and written assignments.

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

Facilities & location

This programme can be studied anywhere in the world that has good internet access. The programme is delivered by the University's Virtual Learning Environment using specially designed learning materials, e-books, e-journals, relevant websites and multimedia.

You will have full access to our libraries and, as a distance learning student, you will particularly benefit from our web-based ‘Discover’ search tool. This helps you gain remote access to online journals, articles and e-books – whenever and wherever you happen to be studying. The library team offer real-time online help through ‘Live Chat’ at various periods throughout the day, and they also offer online tutorials on making the most of electronic resources.

Entry requirements

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

You should normally hold a recognised teaching qualification. If you do not and wish to study for such a qualification we can arrange for you to undertake additional modules – please contact us for further details.

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

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know 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

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £POA (price on admission) if you have successfully studied on the Overseas PGCE programme
  • £POA (price on admission) if you are an International, UK or EU student who has not studied on the Overseas PGCE programme

Within these two fee bands the cost of the programme is the same whether you are a UK-based or international student.

Employment & careers

This programme prepares you for promotion and professional advancement in roles linked to teaching and educational management within an International School setting.

The programme is also relevant to roles in the following sectors:

  • Government departments of education
  • Education policy

A Masters degree will also enhance career opportunities within Higher Education and prepare you for further postgraduate studies.


Support for your learning

Our academic staff will guide you through the programme and ensure that you are working at a pace that is agreed between you and your tutor. Within the distance learning format, you will have access to a tutor for each module, as well access to a range of online support functions such as discussion forums. Your programme leader will advise you on all course relevant information and issues.

Our library teams offer specific support for off-campus students. This includes online tutorials, downloadable guides and a Distance Learning Library blog.

Support for your development

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

Apply for this course

To apply for this course use the relevant link below.

Contact Sunderland

Programme Leader:
Professor Stephanie Atkinson MBE PhD

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

Recruitment Team
Telephone: 0191 515 3000 

The details

Course Name International Education
Classification MA
Course Mode Full-time
Course Level Postgraduate
Duration Normally 3 years (negotiable with the programme leader)
Study Location Distance Learning
Starting 3 October 2016
UK/EU Fee £See entry requirements page
Intl Fee £See entry requirements page

Entry requirements

Sunderland's typical offer will be an honours degree

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