UCL Graduate degrees


Education (Assessment) MA

The MA Education (Assessment) route investigates the purposes, theories, policies and potential uses of formative and summative assessments and the relationship(s) between the two. The route develops students' understandings of principal concepts in educational testing and encourages critical engagement with policy development and practice in educational assessment.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years

The majority of seminars are in the evenings - usually from 17.30 to 20.00 hours - and run for 10 consecutive weeks. There are occasional Saturday sessions and these depend on the module and tutor.

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 4 September 2020

Tuition fees (2020/21)

£8,940 (FT)
£4,605 (PT)
£20,110 (FT)
£10,240 (PT)

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 Students website. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

Normally applicants are expected to have a second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, and a clearly expressed interest in educational assessment, gained largely through experience. Teaching, assessment development and implementation, and/or policy experience is welcomed, but not a requirement.

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

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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

International students

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.

Select your country:

About this degree

The MA Education (Assessment) route provides students with the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of assessment issues, practices and policies both in the UK and internationally. Our graduates leave with key skills that they are able to apply in a range of workplaces, or they continue to further study at doctoral level.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

MA Education (Assessment) consists of three compulsory modules (90 credits), and either one optional module (30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits), or a 30-credit report plus two additional optional modules.

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Education (Assessment).

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 is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

You will take:

One assessment module: Assessment Issues and Practice (available as a face to face module in the Autumn Term, or as an Online module in the Spring Term). The Online module requires weekly live participation online. 

Two education modules: Understanding Research and What is Education?

  • Assessment: Issues and Practice
  • Understanding Research
  • What is Education?

Optional modules

The following list indicates the kinds of modules we have on offer. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee that every module will run every year.

  • Assessment for Learning
  • Educational Testing
  • International Perspectives on Education Reform: Curriculum and Assessment

Visit the UCL Institute of Education website for more information, including module descriptions, which can be seen by clicking on the module title.

Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 20,000-word dissertation or a 10,000-word report.

The Dissertation is worth 60 credits and you can choose one further optional module. 


The Report is worth 30 credits and you can choose two further optional modules. 

Teaching and learning

Depending on the modules taken, the programme is delivered through face-to-face evening sessions, occasional weekend daytime sessions, and/or online.

A typical evening face-to-face session consists of two-and-a-half hours of lectures, dialogue, small group discussions, presentations and/or a range of other activities.

Full time students can expect to spend about 26-30 hours of each week preparing for and participating in seminars/lectures, and engaged in independent study and research. 

Part time students (depending upon their choice of modules) can expect to spend about 10-12 hours per week on preparation/attendance at lectures and seminars, and independent study.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

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


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


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Deadline Monday 25 May 2020 (5pm London time).
Tuition fees, stipend, flights (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE-ISH Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline: Monday 18 May 2020 (5pm London time).
Full tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

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 heads of department in schools and colleges, deputy heads and head teachers in UK schools, while others are members of staff at awarding organisations and educational research organisations. Recent graduates from our programmes are working in ministries of education and research departments globally and several are now studying for PhDs in the UK, USA and China. 


Our graduates leave with a strong skill set that is applicable to a range of workplace settings, especially in education. Students have in-depth knowledge of educational systems and policies that will enhance any role in a school or education workplace. Our students are able to work well in teams, and manage a demanding set of individual deadlines. Completion of the MA demonstrates a commitment to learning, the ability to face challenges, the capacity to think critically about issues and excellent written and spoken communication skills.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment Department at UCL Institute of Education is a world-leading centre for the study of curriculum, teaching and learning and assessment. The MA Education (Assessment) is the only Masters level course of its kind in the UK.

The department provides an impressive range of cutting-edge MA and CPD programmes, variously presented in face-to-face, distance learning or mixed mode formats. In addition we offer a first-class doctoral programme and staff members are actively involved in an extensive range of innovative, nationally and internationally acclaimed, research and development projects.

The department's student population is very diverse, as are the students on the MA Education (Assessment) and they include full time students who are learning alongside practising teachers and lecturers, awarding body staff members, education policymakers and educational researchers. Our students come from around the world and their input and experiences ensure a learning experience that is rich and diverse. 

Department: Curriculum, Pedagogy & Assessment

What our students and staff say

Alumni view

"What I enjoyed most about my programme was not only the content—as it is so rare to find a graduate program that focuses on the theory and practice of assessment (as opposed to psychometrics)—is how diverse my classes and campus were. That diversity of experiences from all walks of life and from many nations allowed for a learning experience like no other. Professors, while not only being at the top of their field and doing ground-breaking and important research/community work, really cared about their students’ well-being and you could clearly tell how much they loved to teach. Each class was purposeful and provided take-aways that I still use in my career today. I would recommend the IOE for any current or future practitioner who wants to be able to inform their practice with theory, and be surrounded by individuals who crave to give our students a more just, equitable, and fulfilling educational experience."

Manisha Chase

Education (Assessment) MA (2017)
Alumni view

"Studying a Master's part-time at IOE had the potential to be a difficult balance between work and studying, however this was not the case. Over my two years studying, I thoroughly enjoyed embracing learning and reflecting on my own pedagogy. Course seminars embedded a learning climate rich in discussion and collaboration; providing opportunities to support and challenge theory and others’ opinions. Applying these discussions to practice was deepened by the diversity of students within each session; discussing practice internationally within different educational contexts. A Q&A with Seb Rowland"

Seb Rowland

Education (Assessment) MA (2018)

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

This programme is suited to teachers, educational administrators, examinations officers, inspectors, educational researchers and education policymakers who want to improve their skills and understanding about assessment issues and practices – assessment for learning, formative and summative assessment, educational measurement and research.

Application deadlines

All applicants
4 September 2020

When we assess your application we would like to learn: 

  • why you want to study MA Education (Assessment) at graduate level
  • why you want to study MA Education (Assessment) at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of the 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 provide.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

The programme welcomes students with a range of experiences and we encourage sharing of ideas and expertise in order to develop as learners. You should be willing to be an active and involved learner and be ready to participate both face to face and online to benefit from participation in the programme.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 13 August 2020