Policy Studies in Education MA

London, Bloomsbury

The Policy Studies in Education MA will introduce students to ways of critically analysing education policy within a broad social, economic and political context, considering contemporary developments in education policy in institutional, local, national and global contexts. It will enable them to explore existing policy issues and practices both in England and elsewhere around the world, and apply the insights provided to their own experiences.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£11,800
£5,900
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£29,000
£14,500
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

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 strong and relevant academic backgrounds, normally in sociology and/ or education. A range of other academic backgrounds may be considered where applicants can demonstrate other strengths. For instance, we also look for applicants who can demonstrate substantial relevant experience in educational organisations.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 3

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. International Preparation Courses

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.

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

Students have the opportunity to develop a comprehensive theoretical understanding of contemporary education policy, drawing in particular on sociological perspectives. Students will study important and topical themes within social science (such as globalisation, neoliberalism, race, gender and social class) with a particular emphasis on their effects on and relevance to shaping education policy and its implications for social justice in England and other countries.

Who this course is for

This programme is suited to people involved in or interested in contemporary education policy, administration, and governance. It attracts both full-time and part-time students. Some experience in studying sociology is desirable. 

Experience in working/volunteering in educational settings is an advantage. 

What this course will give you

The Department of Education, Practice and Society at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society is the home of an interdisciplinary grouping bringing together high-quality teaching and research in the history, sociology and philosophy of education, international development, post-compulsory and vocational education and higher education.

Policy Studies in Education, along with the MAs in Sociology of Education and Social Justice and Education, from the Department's Sociology MA cluster. The three `pathways' share some modules and the MA Programme Leaders and Module Leaders work closely together as a team. Students therefore gain invaluable opportunities to study with leading scholars and a cohort of internationally diverse students across these MA cluster pathways.

The MA is taught primarily by sociologists within the department who have expertise in policy analysis, gender, 'race', sexuality, youth, and social class. Those teaching you are active researchers and will introduce you to the latest research and developments in their fields. Linking research, policy and practice, the result is an extraordinarily powerful learning community.

The MA attracts both home and international students, with a range of backgrounds and experiences thus providing excellent educational and networking opportunities.

The foundation of your career

Transferable skills include the opportunity to develop your written and analytical skills, such as the ability to concisely summarise diverse bodies of literature and theory, and present fluent written and spoken arguments and reflections.

In terms of content, you will have the opportunity to acquire a broad understanding of contemporary education reforms world-wide with the opportunity, through your written work, to focus on in-depth research of topics of your choice. 

Employability

Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working in a variety of roles in schools, colleges or universities, while others have jobs in education policy-making in different organisations. Other graduates have chosen further study at doctoral level, and some have then moved into academia.  

Teaching and learning

The programme is usually delivered through a combination of face-to-face evening sessions and interactive online learning using a variety of teaching and learning styles. 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 generally through summative coursework essay assignments, sometimes complemented by individual or group presentations, plus submission of a report or dissertation. Students will usually be able to submit drafts or outlines of assignments for formative feedback before submission.

Please note that all our MA Sociology Cluster modules run in the evenings, from approximately 17:00 or 17:30. This is to enable part-time students who are working during the day to attend.

A 30 credit module usually involves 30 hours attendance per term (10 x 3 hour sessions) plus additional tutoring for assignments.

The Dissertation or Report involves 15 hours of support (comprised of three group support sessions, plus supervisor reading time, and supervisor-student meetings for feedback and guidance).

Each 30 credit module is intended to constitute 300 hours studying. The majority of this is self-directed study.

Modules

The Policy Studies in Education MA has three compulsory modules.

The first is the Sociology of Education module, which offers significant insights into the relationship between education and the state, society, and the individual.

The second is the Understanding Education Policy module, which is designed to cover key perspectives and concepts in the analysis of education policy.

The third is a choice between either a Dissertation or a Report in education policy studies.

You will also have the opportunity to select two or three optional modules. A module is a one-term course, usually involving attendance at ten teaching sessions and the submission of a written assignment for assessment.

The compulsory modules are the same as for full time students but you can take them and the optional modules over a two year period. You will take one module per term in the first year, and in the second year, one or two modules and complete your dissertation or report.

The compulsory modules are the same as for full time students but you can take them and additional optional modules over a 5 year period. UK students should note that the flexible route is not eligible for a Postgraduate Student Loan.

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 Policy Studies in Education.

Accessibility

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

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society Virtual Event series

Please note that there are 27 sessions across a range of subject areas. IOE is ranked number one for education for consecutive nine years and the world's leading centre for research and teaching in education, culture, psychology and social science. If you’re interested in enhancing and progressing your career in education and related social sciences, why not join our open events? You’ll get to meet the programme team, ask any questions you have and find out what it’s like studying at UCL.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £11,800 £5,900
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

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: 13 December 2022
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: 23 May 2023
Value: £10,000 towards tuition fees (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE Centenary-Windle Trust Scholarship

Value: Full tuition fees and stipend (online study only) (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE Windle Trust Scholarship

Value: Full tuition fees and stipend (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Deadline: 2 May 2023
Value: Tuition fees and a stipend of £17,609 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-ISH Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline: 2 May 2023
Value: Tuition fees and accommodation at International Students House (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK, 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 Policy Studies in Education at graduate level
  • why you want to study Policy Studies in 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.

We look for a strong academic background in general, since the course is intellectually demanding. We particularly look for some background in Sociology, as its concepts are key to the Programme, or in Education and other cognate fields, and/or experience as an educator. Your application will still be considered if you do not have these, but you would need to address this explicitly in your Personal Statement.

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: 2023-2024

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.