Global Learning MA

Distance learning programme

Global Learning is a pedagogical approach that encourages active engagement with a diverse, interdependent and fragile world. It encompasses Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education, which are essential for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This online degree will equip you to incorporate global learning into your educational practice, and apply it through policy or research, thereby advancing global social justice and sustainability.

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 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to have a minimum of a lower second-class UK Bachelor's degree or overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, and an interest in education and approaches to learning about global issues, such as sustainability and global citizenship.

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.

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

The MA in Global Learning is a distance learning programme which introduces students to a range of perspectives and approaches to global learning, global citizenship education and education for sustainable development. The programme is coordinated and run by staff from the Development Education Research Centre and is the only Masters’ programme in the UK that focuses exclusively on these important areas of educational theory and practice.

The programme offers a collaborative online learning environment through which students develop their own knowledge and skills, as well as interacting with, and learning alongside, peers from around the world. It provides opportunities for participants to reflect critically on their own engagement and interest in how education responds to and promotes learning about global issues, such as sustainability and global citizenship as well as how they link to broader debates, such as those related to education quality, aid and development, sustainable development, poverty, global inequality and social justice.

You will explore the key theoretical perspectives and research evidence that underpin the field and understand how global education policy and practice link with action. Through engagement with research- and practice-active lecturers, and peers from educational environments across the world, you will explore transformational educational approaches that tackle global challenges and prepare learners for life in an increasingly complex and challenging world.

Who this course is for

The MA is for anyone interested in developing, promoting and managing educational responses to global challenges, in schools, further and higher education, NGOs or youth work. It is open to early career or more established professionals internationally, who want to bring a global and social justice perspective to education.

What this course will give you

At a time of increasing interest in global and sustainability issues within education internationally, this MA offers a unique opportunity for you to develop the knowledge and skills to respond to this demand. Through exploring current research and theoretical perspectives you will deepen your understanding of the role of education in preparing learners for living and working in a world of increasingly complex global challenges.

The online format allows you to contribute your own perspective, whilst offering a collaborative space in which you can compare and challenge your understanding in dialogue with peers based in diverse international and educational settings.

This MA is offered by the Development Education Research Centre (DERC) research and teaching team. DERC is a world leading hub for knowledge generation, research, and new thinking on policy and practice in global learning, education for sustainability and education for global citizenship. DERC conducts research and consultancy across the education sector, working alongside international NGOs such as UNESCO, or with organisations operating more locally, such as the British Council, or Oxfam. The DERC team also supports doctoral students conducting research across the globe, from UK and other European countries, to Pakistan, South Africa, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Korea and China.

This MA will prepare you for an exciting career across education sectors internationally. You will be equipped to run educational initiatives that prioritise action for global social justice, as a teacher, education leader or researcher. This includes embedding global and sustainability themes into the curriculum within your institution, helping schools achieve school awards or run international partnerships, organising educational programmes related to NGO global issue campaigns, or working as lecturers and researchers in higher and further education. Previous graduates have also undertaken doctoral study in this important academic field and our alumni contribute to the dissemination of research findings globally.

The foundation of your career

Graduates who complete this programme will have developed knowledge and skills in how to apply learning about global and international development issues to educational environments. This knowledge and these skills are increasingly seen as important by employers within education in order to enable learners to respond to the challenges of living and working in a global society.

As a student on this MA, you will develop the skills to:

  • design and run innovative education initiatives that equip learners to respond to today’s global challenges
  • conduct research and apply the outcomes to your educational practice
  • analyse and design education policy that promotes learners’ engagement with sustainability and global citizenship
  • work cross-culturally in collaborative projects
  • reflect on your professional practice

You will also build connections globally with other practitioners and leading researchers in the field and gain a greater understanding of professional opportunities to engage with education and learning to achieve sustainability and global social justice.

This MA was designed to be run fully online, which gave me the flexibility to continue my professional career abroad, while also learning at an institution in my home country. The flexibility provided on distance learning courses allowed me to choose the time in which I wanted to, or was able to, commit to a few hours of work during the working week. The option to study as a distance learner, and therefore continue in my profession role, was a huge draw to UCL.

Jack Webster, Development Education and Global Learning MA alumnus

Jack Webster

Global Learning MA


Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas in countries around the world. Many are working as teachers and senior leaders in schools (in the UK and internationally), while others have found jobs with international organisations such as UNESCO, UNICEF, and British Council, and international NGOs such as Red Cross and Oxfam. Graduates can also be found working as education consultants, and further and higher education lecturers. Their work includes a wide range of projects and initiatives both within formal education (e.g. in curriculum development, school awards, international partnerships) and in non-formal education (e.g. education campaigns and advocacy work).


The MA offers students the unique opportunity to become an active member of the vibrant DERC community, with opportunities to participate in seminars and conferences, and to have access to new publications. Students will also have the chance to join the international network of academics and researchers in global education (ANGEL), which is coordinated by the DERC team. Through these activities students will be able to interact with internationally recognised academics and practitioners, as well as to hear from leading NGOs and other organisations promoting educational responses to global issues.

Teaching and learning

The MA Programme uses a variety of teaching and learning activities through the online platform: Moodle. Students are asked to do their own reading, write contributions to discussions online, watch videos, listen to PowerPoint presentations from teaching staff, work in pairs and groups to produce joint work, such as presentations or analyses of resources, or presenting diagrams of their understanding of theory. Students are also expected to do self study, write drafts of their assessments and engage in tutorials with members of the programme team. Optional zoom sessions to support assessment or to cover aspects of research skills are also offered.

All compulsory modules and the optional module within this programme are delivered online. You may choose to take elective modules either online or face-to-face subject to availability. Modules are structured around independent engagement with literature, online discussions and group activities, and coursework assignments. Assessment is by written coursework.

The MA Programme uses a variety of assessment activities across the module, such as visual representations of theoretical ideas, essays looking at relationship of theory to practice, writing of policy for education for sustainable development.

Please note that assessment for optional modules from other programmes will vary.

You will also be required to complete either a dissertation or a report, and to participate in a series of online study units which support students to develop a coherent research design.

Each of the programme modules is delivered online, asynchronously and consists of 5 main activities spread over 10 weeks. Students are expected to study for between 10 - 15 hours a week for each module. This includes reading, accessing video material and tutor presentations, posting contributions to discussion forums, online dialogue with module tutors, working with peers on group activities, individual tutorials, and working on coursework.


The MA structure consists of either:

4 modules (2 compulsory and 2 optional) and a Dissertation
5 modules (2 compulsory and 3 optional) and a Report

To complete the MA you must complete (i) compulsory modules located within the academic discourses around global learning, education for sustainable development and global citizenship education and (ii) optional modules that help you explore the application of this theory within specific educational environments. The programme team strongly recommends that students take the optional module within the programme: Global Citizenship Education: Research, Policy and Practice plus optional modules from other programmes at the IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society (see optional module list below), as long as they contribute to a coherent programme of study.

The two compulsory modules of

  • Global Learning: Principles and Theoretical Perspectives  (30 credits) – Term 1 (Autumn)
  • Education for Sustainable Development: Perspectives from Policy and Practice (30 credits) – Term 2 (Spring)

will introduce you to a range of theories and concepts around global learning, education for sustainable development and global citizenship education and how these influence policy and practice. The modules include introduction to newer theoretical perspectives questioning human – non-human relations.

Students taking the programme part-time will initially take the two compulsory modules in the first two terms of their first year, followed by one optional module in Term 3. We recommend students take Global Citizenship Education: Research Policy and Practice. In their second year they complete their optional modules, and either a Report or Dissertation.

Students taking the programme as modular / flexible will initially take the two compulsory modules, and then choose optional modules from the programme and across IOE, and finally complete their studies with either a Report or Dissertation in their final year of study. Students can plan their study over 5 years. We recommend, however, that all students start with the compulsory modules before undertaking any optional modules.

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 Global Learning.


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.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Global Learning MA (morning)

Are you interested in furthering your career in education and making a difference in the UK or worldwide? We welcome you to book your place at our Virtual Open Event. You will meet our Programme Leaders, hear about the programmes you are interested in and have the chance to ask any questions you might have. These sessions are free and open to all. Be inspired by our wide-ranging and flexible programmes run by leading academics.

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.

Additional costs

Students are not required to buy books for the programme, however, many students opt to buy core texts.

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

Students who require a DBS check will need to pay for this themselves.

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.

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Deadline: 3 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees, return flights and stipend (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-ISH Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline: 3 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees and accommodation (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.

We recommend that students who plan to work alongside their studies enrol in either part-time or flexible modular mode. This will allow you to make the most of opportunities provided on the programme and have the space to reflect on how your learning can be implemented in your professional practice.

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

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