Social Justice and Education MA
The Social Justice and Education MA will help students to identify, examine and understand key sociological and philosophical perspectives on social justice, including issues of race, class, gender and sexuality, and education. Participants will explore the personal and political dimensions of social justice concerns and develop their professional, practical and research skills in this area.
This programme provides students with the opportunity to address, in a unique way, the complex links between social justice and education, focusing on key current policy and political debates about the role of education. They will also be able to develop, extend and reflect on their own professional interests, concerns and practice and how to address pressing issues of social justice in their everyday profesional and personal lives. Through their engagmeent with cutting-edge research in this area they will learn tools for fighting for social justice and transformation in the educational areas relevant for them.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), two optional modules (60 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits), or a report (30 credits) and a third optional module (30 credits).
- Sociology of Education
This module aims to identify and explore some of the major perspectives in the sociology of education, bringing together a team of experts to explore a range of contemporary issues in this exciting and diverse field. We explore the relationships between education, society, the state and the individual, and consider how forces like globalisation and marketization are impacting education. We pay particular attention to educational (in)equalities relating to social class, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, migration and citizenship. Over the course of the module you will discover how key theorists and bodies of research in sociology of education can help us to better understand and respond to pressing educational issues. This module can be taken face-to-face or online, and is available as a standalone module.
- 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.
- Rights and Education
- This module aims to introduce participants to a range of human rights issues in education. The course begins by exploring the origins of international human rights, and developing a critical analytical understanding of theories and perspectives on contemporary human rights discourse and politics. This is followed by a consideration of the right to education and approaches to equity in the context of globalisation. The second part of the module focuses on a critical examination of educational policy contexts with regard to rights, equity and discrimination, focusing on class, gender, race, disability and sexuality.
- Gender, Sexuality and Education
The module aims to encourage a critical examination of key debates concerning theory, research and practice in the field of gender and education. The module will engage with a number of key debates in the field, including: feminist theory and methodologies in educational research; analysing gender and educational policies; researching sexualities, femininities and masculinities; pedagogical approaches; gendered behaviour; educational achievement and more. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding how gender, sexuality, race and class intersect in shaping educational experiences and outcomes.
The module will draw out important issues relating to professional practice in international contexts, providing teachers, researchers, leaders and managers, and those working in non-government organisations a forum for investigating their own interests in the field of gender and education.
- Sociology of Race and Education
This module provides an introduction to the principal research findings and theories concerning 'race' and ethnicity in education. Although these are mainly drawn from sociological work, no previous experience of sociology is necessary. Among the issues we address are: the nature of race/racism in schools and classrooms; patterns of educational achievement; the role of education policy; a critical awareness of the nature of Whiteness; and the intersections of race, class, gender and other elements of identity and oppression.
The main focus of the module will be research, policy and practice in the English system but you will be encouraged to apply insights and draw on your own experiences wherever you work and/or were educated. The module draws on the insights from antiracism and critical race theory alongside a range of other theoretical perspectives.
- Understanding Educational Policy
- Theoretical Foundations of Educational Ideas
This module invites students to explore education theory and policy through the lenses of history, philosophy and sociology. The module takes up questions of inequality and social justice in education and encourages students to consider these through a range of conceptual lenses.
Students work in specialist and cross-disciplinary groups to assess the different insights offered by particular perspectives; explore the compatibilities and tensions in and across disciplines; and consider the contribution offered by inter-disciplinary approaches. The model invites students to explore key debates over the meaning and nature of social justice in education, debates that intersect with questions about the person, society, education and knowledge.
Participants are introduced to key concepts such as citizenship, diversity, equality, globalization, hegemony, authenticity, inclusion, liberalism, power, the state and subjectivity and invited to consider the usefulness of these concepts for making sense of education policy and practice.
Students are able to pursue these explorations by engaging a range of formal and informal educational sites and local and national contexts. An inter-disciplinary team of contributors facilitate learning in lectures and small groups.
- Minorities, Migrants and Refugees in National Education Systems
Maintaining the identity and stability of states with multi-ethnic and multilingual populations has been a major aim of national educational systems all over the world for at least the last hundred years. How this has been done, what models there are to choose from, and how education systems can be changed to meet the needs of minorities, migrants and refugees are some of the principal concerns of this module.
This module's main focus is on how state education systems define and deal with 'the other' within the current political context across Europe, America and Asia. The main groups considered are national minorities, migrants, and refugees but other groups such as Roma, travellers and indigenous peoples will be discussed as well. The module has various aims: (1) to examine the origin of cultural diversity and its relation with nationalism and nation-building (2) to explore the range of policies adopted in different historical and geographical contexts to deal with such diversity and the response of minority groups to these policies (3) to assess the applicability of sociological theories on cultural diversity for education and multicultural schools.
Students can also choose from a wide range of Master's-level optional modules across the IOE offering.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 20,000 words or a report of 10,000 words.
Teaching and Learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of face-to-face evening sessions and interactive online learning using a variety of teaching and learning styles. Sometimes a conventional lecture-based approach is taken, with the aim of providing an overview of the field. Lectures are usually followed by open discussion or group work. At other times a seminar format is adopted involving, for example, group discussion of set reading, a video or an introductory presentation. Assessment is through coursework essay assignments, plus submission of a report or dissertation.
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 second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in education or sociology or a cognate discipline is required. Some educational experience in either teaching or administration is considered an advantage.
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.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- Now closed for 2018/19
- Overseas students
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are leaders, managers, teachers and practitioners in the compulsory education sector across international contexts. Many are working as professionals in NGO organisations specialising in social justice across many countries such as Chille, Japan, Canada and the UK. Graduates can also be found working as civil servants and government officials. In addition, many find places in the higher education sector including across a range of professional roles, as researchers, and as university lecturers worldwide.
Students develop the capacity to:
- reflect critically on debates concerning education and social justice across diverse contexts
- understand the ways in which knowledge forms, and is formed by, education politics, policy, practice and research
- consider the implications of theory, research and analyses about social justice in education and how it can impact their own future practice and professional development
- use oral and written communication skills in order to make arguments, examine evidence and creatively advance social justice and education
- understand processes entailed in social science and philosophical research and conduct their own unique research in the area of social justice and education.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The Department of Education, Practice and Society at UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is home to an interdisciplinary grouping bringing together high-quality teaching and research in the sociology, philosophy and history of education, international development, post-compulsory and vocational education and higher education.
The Social Justice and Education MA is taught by world-leading sociologists and philosophers within the department who have expertise in theory, research methods, policy analysis and impacting social change. They are experts in issues such as equality and human rights, gender, 'race', sexuality, youth, disability and social class. Those teaching are active researchers and will introduce the latest research and developments in their fields.
This programme explores sociological and philosophical perspectives on social justice and equalities and also explores processes of social transformation and change. Key issues debated include understanding and responding to social and educational disparities in international contexts. The programme equips students with essential theoretical and methodological research skills for critically engaging with social justice issues including understanding power relations from various perspectives. The MA attracts a diversity of both home and international students thus providing excellent educational and professional networking opportunities.
Students gain invaluable opportunities to study with leading scholars and a cohort of internationally diverse students across the IOE MA cluster in sociology, social justice and policy studies in education.
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 teachers and education-related professionals from any international context. Those who are interested in working in social justice sectors, including NGOs are well placed for this programme. It is also ideal for those wishing to gain high-level research skills in the area of social justice and education.
- All applicants
- 27 July 2018
Applicants are advised to send in an essay of up to 1,000 words explaining how they will tackle a social justice and education research problem in the particular area they wish to develop in the MA. They are encouraged to demonstrate their knowledge of relevant research literature in the area under discussion through analysis and citation of appropriate contemporary research.
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 Social Justice and Education at graduate level
- why you want to study Social Justice and 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.