Comparative Education MA

London, Bloomsbury

Are you passionate about shaping the future of education? Do you want to delve into the intricate world of policy and politics that drive change? Our cutting-edge Master's Programme in Comparative Education is designed to provide you with profound insights into the dynamics of education policy and politics across OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries (and beyond). Uncover the factors driving change, the forces shaping education systems, and the dynamics of stakeholders. With our programme, you will grasp the nuances of evidence-based strategies, change management, innovation, and sustainable progress in education.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
All applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa – study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October or January.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Our rigorous MA programme offers a comprehensive multidisciplinary foundation in the comparative analysis of the intricate relationship between education, society, and communities. Through this programme, you will gain a profound understanding of education policy and the political dynamics that shape it on an international level, including influential organisations like the OECD and the EU, as well as national governments across the UK, Europe, and southeast Asia. Focussing primarily on the developed world, you will delve into the politics driving educational reforms, assess their effects, and analyse their impact on economic growth, skill formation, and social inclusion.

With a comparative focus, our programme transcends borders. Engage with peers from diverse backgrounds, sharing insights and experiences from around the world. Expand your horizons, broaden your cultural understanding, and cultivate a global network of like-minded change-makers.

Who this course is for

This programme is suitable for anyone working or intending to work in education who wishes to understand education policy and politics and outcomes in a global context.

What this course will give you

The Department of Education, Practice and Society is a multidisciplinary department at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society bringing together a diverse community of researchers with expertise in the social sciences who have a common interest in exploring education 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, as well as with regional organisations, employer organisations, national institutes, and international organisations.

The foundation of your career

The MA Comparative Education will help you to develop key employability skills, which will make you attractive in both the public and private sector, e.g., international organisations, government departments, think tanks and consultancies, education businesses, and in research and teaching. We also offer an MPhil/PhD in Comparative Education (integrated route). We supervise across a broad range of areas within the comparative social sciences, comparative politics of education, and education development.


Recent career destinations for this degree:

  • internships in the OECD, UNESCO, and the EU
  • policy analysts the OECD and the European Commission
  • researchers at think tanks, education businesses, and consultancies in Europe, Asia, and the USA. 
  • government bodies and agencies
  • PhD scholarships


There are opportunities to connect with the global community of researchers and policy analysts in the field of comparative education and education politics.

Teaching and learning

The programme is deeply rooted in dialogue-oriented teaching, emphasising inclusively by engaging everyone discussions and tasks. This approach is designed to collectively work towards achieving the program's overarching goals.

This programme is delivered via face-to-face evening sessions, from 5 pm to 8 pm. There are no on-line classes on this programme. Attendance may vary depending on your choice of optional modules. It is assessed by coursework assignments of 5,000 words, and a 20,000-word dissertation or 10,000-word report. If the report is opted for an additional optional module is required. 

You can expect around 10 to 15 contact hours per week, which involve attending lectures, seminars, workshops, and discussions led by faculty members and guest experts. These interactive sessions foster intellectual exchange and provide a platform for clarifying concepts and addressing questions. In addition to contact hours, students are encouraged to dedicate approximately 20 to 25 hours per week to self-directed study. this entails reading recommended literature, conduction research, completing assignments, and preparing for assessments. Self-directed study empowers you to delve deeper into topics of interests, cultivate critical thinking skills, and develop a comprehensive understanding of comparative education.


The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), two optional modules (60 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits) OR two core modules (60 credits) and three optional modules (90 credits) and a report (30 credits). 

Over the two years, you will take two compulsory taught modules (60 credits), two optional modules (60 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits) OR three optional modules (90 credits) and a report (30 credits).

The first year of the programme introduces you to the foundation of doing comparative education research through the term 1 module, Comparative Education: Theories and Methods. In addition, you select a further one or two taught modules (compulsory and/or optional modules). In the second year, you will take the remaining modules (bringing the total number to four). You also begin work on your final research project, the dissertation or the report, with a submission date in early September.

It is expected that you will begin your studies with the compulsory module Comparative Education: Theories and Methods and that you will sit the Dissertation or Report module in your final year of study. The remaining compulsory and optional modules can be taken in Years 1-5 depending on your own study plan that you will discuss with your personal tutor.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Comparative Education.


We provide assistance for applying internship at the OECD and UNESCO.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £12,700 £6,350
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100 £14,050

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their report or dissertation or during their internship if relevant.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

Deadline: 14 December 2023
Value: Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

GREAT Scholarship

Deadline: 14 May 2024
Value: £10,000 towards tuition fees (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Comparative Education at graduate level
  • why you want to study Comparative 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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.