Higher and Professional Education MA
The Higher and Professional Education MA will give students critical insight into the changing field of higher and professional education; reflecting on important debates in the field. It will develop their understanding of conceptual and analytical frameworks in professional practices and processes, increasing their knowledge, skills and confidence to operate effectively and creatively in diverse institutions.
This programme provides students with the opportunity to study for an interdisciplinary, interprofessional qualification, examining higher and professional education policies and practices in relation to their own personal and professional experience.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), two optional modules (60 credits), a dissertation (60 credits), or a report (30 credits) plus a further module (30 credits).
- Innovation and Change in Higher and Professional Education
- This module examines the changing nature of higher and professional education. It provides a critical introduction to key contemporary issues concerning current policy and practice. It is interdisciplinary, drawing on sociology, philosophy, history, economics, organisation and management studies. The module explores key contemporary national and global issues concerning current policy and practice within higher and professional education such as access and widening participation, globalisation and internationalisation, changes in funding regime and the emergence of private providers, professionalism and professional education, quality, the Entrepreneurial University, new technologies in Higher Education. It aims to engage students in critical reflections of the policy and practice of higher and professional education, to explore change in relation to their own experiences and/or interests and to introduce a range of literature in the field. The sessions include lectures and discussions, and there are opportunities to draw on experiences from professional practice. The module is compulsory for all course members of the MA in Higher and Professional Education, but is also available to other UCL Institute of Education MA students with interest and involvement in the content.
- Higher Education: Comparative and International Perspectives
Currently policies and practices affecting higher education (HE) around the world are strongly influenced by factors which derive from outside the relevant domestic context. Specifically, the forces of globalization, technological change and of the influences of cross-national agencies have radically changed the frames within which HE policy makers and providers now operate within. This module sets out to investigate, analyse and critique the nature of these influences through the adoption of a perspective derived from the fields of comparative and international studies of HE. The module is compulsory for all course members of the MA in Higher and Professional Education but is also available to other UCL Institute of Education MA students with interest and involvement in the content.
- Learning and Teaching for Adults
The basis of this module is an exploration of pedagogical issues which lie at the heart of the teaching and learning of adults. It is suitable for teachers, tutors, trainers and other staff working in further, higher, adult and professional education. Individual sessions will draw upon a range of theoretical perspectives including approaches to learning, knowledge and assessment, the relationship between organisational context, teaching and learning, the different teaching traditions in post-compulsory and professional education and notions of excellence and reflective practice.
This module is run as a series of 2 workshop days (one Friday at the start and one at the end of the module) and 5 evenings. Responsibility for teaching and learning is shared between tutors and participants. During the final workshop, students will make short presentations based on applying perspectives gained from the module to their own teaching context. This module is available as a short course.
- Understanding Education Policy
- This module is designed to cover key perspectives and concepts in the analysis of education policy. Topics covered include approaches to understanding education policy and its relevance and import to practitioners. We consider global developments in educational policy (such as marketization, choice of school, private sector involvement in public education) and consider the forms such developments take in England and Wales and elsewhere. The module also provides an in-depth look at some current policies and considers future directions. This module can be taken as a standalone module.
- Vocational Learning: Policy and Practice
- This module explores the relationship between work, learning and vocational education and training (VET). It will critically examine the implications of global economic and technological change for: (i) the organisation of work; (ii) new conceptions of expertise and work roles; (iii) the diverse ways in which people can learn in the workplace; (iv) the role of qualifications and accreditation/recognition of learning; (v) national policies for vocational education and work-based learning; (vi) the implications for VET institutions and practitioners; and (vii) the relationship between VET and social cohesion. A number of theoretical perspectives will be introduced to analyse learning in, for and through work, including situated learning, activity theory, social practice theory, social ecology, labour process theory, and life biography. The module is designed for people in the private or public sector who wish to develop their understanding of the dynamic relationship between working and learning in their own professional contexts, and for people who wish to pursue a research career. It does not presuppose any prior specialist knowledge. This module is available as a short course.
- Understanding Education Research
This module will provide participants with an introduction to a range of research approaches and methods. They will also be able to engage in specialist issues and look in detail at sourcing, generating and analysing specific kinds of extant and new research content. These will include autobiographies, biographies, documents, interviews, life histories, media and multi-media texts, narratives, observations, oral histories, philosophical arguments, statistics and conceptual analysis, photographs and other visual representations, statistics and numeric data. Reading of original source texts of key studies will provide participants with the opportunity to interrogate the changing and contested nature of education research.
The module is designed to be both multi- and inter-disciplinary, exposing all students to approaches to research from across the foundation disciplines of history, philosophy and sociology. Participants will be invited to explore the sorts of questions that might be asked, and answered, by education research. Moving on, we will think about the implications of these questions for designing research as well as engaging, or even influencing education policy and practice. The role of the researcher, her/his relationship with the researched, and the ethical dimensions of this will be key considerations.
- Understanding Research
The module aims to provide participants with a grounding in educational and social research. It will provide students the opportunity to:
- explore the politics and purposes of different types of research
- investigate the range of theories of knowledge which underpin different approaches to research
- critically reflect on ethical issues for research and their own identity as a researcher
- become familiar with a range of research concepts and methods for data collection and analysis
- read and critique research within their own and other disciplines.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 20,000-word dissertation or 10,000-word report.
Teaching and Learning
Teaching is delivered through interactive lectures, seminars, group discussions, case study analysis and the use of simulations. In many modules there are opportunities for all students to participate on a variety of ways, including giving short presentations or seminar papers or leading group discussions.
Assessment is through coursework assignments of up to 5,000 words and a 20,000-word dissertation or 10,000-word report.
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.
A minimum of a relevant second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard and relevant professional experience of higher and professional education.
English Language Requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
This programme is suitable for international students on a Tier 4 visa - study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October or January.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas, for example one is a university governance and quality assurance manager, while another is a government policy adviser for education. Others have jobs as academic standards and quality officer, careers and professional development consultant, learning, teaching and quality manager, and qualifications manager and students’ union officer.
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Administrative Assistant, Vienna University for Economics and Business
- Medical Consultant, St George's Hospital (NHS)
- Programme Administrator, Institute of Education
- International Partnerships Manager, City University London
- PHD Education, Institute of Education, University of London (IOE)
The employability of students will be significantly enhanced by the development of complementary skills which will help them to efficiently connect theory, policy and practice in their day to day to jobs.
- to enable participants to understand and analyse policies and practices in higher and professional education
- to develop critical awareness of concepts, debates and issues in higher and professional education
- to be able to conduct a small-scale inquiry, and include this in a sustained exposition (dissertation or report)
- to develop frameworks and principles for action in professional settings
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The Department of Education, Practice and Society is a multidisciplinary department at UCL Institute of Education bringing together a diverse community of researchers with expertise in the social sciences who have a common interest in exploring learning in all its guises (formal, non-formal and informal).
The department has extensive expertise and experience in research, knowledge transfer and consultancy in the UK, Europe and Asia, working closely with transnational bodies, such as, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, government departments (Department for Education, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills) as well as with regional organisations, employer organisations, national institutes, and international organisations.
UCL's Higher and Lifelong Education programmes provide high level academic and professional education for those working in management, human resource development, teaching, training and policy positions in any aspect of lifelong learning. They are taught by leading academics with extensive experience in research, policy and practice.
Department: Education, Practice & Society
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Education, Practice & Society
78% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
Who can apply?
This programme is suited to lecturers, researchers and teachers; managers and administrators; professionals in medicine, healthcare, architecture and the arts; widening participation officers; and policy-makers from universities, colleges, national organisations and professional bodies.
- All applicants
- 4 September 2018
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Higher and Professional Education at graduate level
- why you want to study Higher and Professional Education at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.