Philosophy of Education MA

London, Bloomsbury

Based at the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, world-renowned Centre for Philosophy, staff on this programme work at the forefront of philosophical research, thought and scholarship about education policy, educational practice, and education's interaction with minds, culture and society. Students are offered a comprehensive grounding in the field, and an opportunity to join a vibrant and diverse research community.

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 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

The minimum requirement for entry to this programme is a second class Bachelor’s degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. As the academic content on our MA programmes is demanding, we are particularly looking for applicants with an academic background in philosophy or a related discipline, and/or with relevant professional experience in education.

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

This programme enables students to explore further the relevance of approaches in ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of mind and epistemology to contemporary educational issues, and to bring philosophical thinking to bear on their own educational concerns including professional practice. Students will gain a grounding in philosophical approaches, becoming part of a lively community of Masters and Doctoral students from a wide range of backgrounds.

Who this course is for

This degree is ideal for those interested in understanding how to use philosophy as a lens through which to critically think about and research educational and social issues. Our programme will not only be of interest to those currently teaching (in schools, Further Education or Higher Education) who wish to critically and creatively reflect on their own practice, but also to those interested in carrying out further academic research about education, policy, minds or society at doctoral level or within think tanks or policy institutes.

What this course will give you

The Department of Education, Practice and Society at IOE is the well-established home of an interdisciplinary grouping bringing together high-quality teaching and research in the history, sociology and philosophy of education and international development.

IOE has, through the decades, been in the vanguard of the development and dissemination of work in the field. Its Centre for Philosophy draws together research across IOE as well as showcasing our extensive connections in the field.

The centre is committed to rigorous exploration of a variety of philosophical approaches, encompassing such topics as the aims of education, teaching, learning, and the curriculum, democracy, citizenship, philosophy with children, new technology, and the environment.

The foundation of your career

Students will develop and enhance their ability to interrogate underlying assumptions in educational policy, theory and research; to formulate and defend coherent arguments; to write academic papers emphasising conceptual clarity and rigour; to use theoretical tools to reflect on educational practice, and to articulate critical perspectives on a range of common-place educational ideas and concepts.  


Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as teachers and senior school leaders, while others have jobs as university lecturers and researchers. Graduates can also be found working as staff in policy think tanks and as youth workers or in adult and informal education.


Each week during term time, the Centre for Philosophy hosts a public research seminar, co-organised with the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain - which most teaching staff have a presence within. In addition, PESGB hosts an annual conference in March - open to our students - with philosophers of education from around the world in attendance.

There are additional networking opportunities throughout the department and UCL, through other open seminars, reading groups, and societies.

Teaching and learning

The taught sessions consist primarily of presentations by the tutor(s) or another speaker, often reviewing a range of positions and arguments on a topic (on occasion students may be invited in advance to make their own presentation to the group); and discussion, both as a whole class and in small groups, which is vital both to clarifying and being able to argue for your own position, and to understanding the positions and arguments of others.

Assessment on the Philosophy MA modules is by means of a 5,000-word written essay.

Most of your work on the MA will take the form of independent study. While everybody's needs and work habits are different, to make the kind of progress that is required at Master's level, you should assign to studying 8-10 hours per week if you are a part-time student and 10-15 hours per week if you are a full-time student, in addition to formally timetabled classes and individual tutorials. You will also benefit from attending the weekly Philosophy of Education research seminar, as well as occasional guest lecturers, seminars or day conferences within IOE or elsewhere in UCL.


Full-time students will take the compulsory module, "Values, Aims and Society", in their first term. They will normally take an optional module in addition to the compulsory module in the Autumn term, an optional module in the Spring term, and the second compulsory module, "Knowledge, Mind and Understanding" as well as the dissertation, in the Summer term. 

All students are required to submit either: a dissertation of 18,000-20,000 words in philosophy of education (60 credits) or a report of about 10,000 words plus a further 30-credit optional module approved by the Programme Leader.

Part-time students will take the compulsory module, "Values, Aims and Society" in the first term. They will normally take a further optional module in the second term, and the second compulsory module, "Knowledge, Mind and Understanding" in their third term. In their second year, they will take a further optional module in the Autumn or Spring term and complete a dissertation in the final term. Students writing a report will choose a further module.

All students are required to submit either: a dissertation of 18,000-20,000 words in philosophy of education (60 credits) or a report of about 10,000 words plus a further 30-credit optional module approved by the Programme Leader.

Modular/flexible students will take the compulsory module, "Values, Aims and Society" in their first term. They will then take the compulsory module "Knowledge, Mind and Understanding", a further two optional modules and a dissertation, or a further three optional modules and a report, over the following five-year period.

All students are required to submit either: a dissertation of 18,000-20,000 words in philosophy of education (60 credits) or a report of about 10,000 words plus a further 30-credit optional module approved by the Programme Leader.

Optional modules

Debates in the History of Education

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 Philosophy of Education.


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.

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 Philosophy of Education at graduate level
  • why you want to study Philosophy of 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

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