Primary Education (4-12) MA

London, Bloomsbury

The MA Primary Education (4-12) develops critical understanding of policy development in primary education within the UK and internationally. It meets the rapidly changing needs of professionals educating young children, in examining critically the bases for current practices in primary schools, providing insight into international developments in primary education and in offering opportunities to work with leading researchers and practitioners in the field.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 31 Mar 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of a lower second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Students should also ideally have direct professional involvement with pre-school or primary education either in or outside the UK.

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: 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. 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

The programme offers opportunities to engage with the latest research and international debate concerning curriculum, pedagogy and assessment and its implications for professional practice in primary education. Students will develop knowledge and skills to evaluate and conduct educational research related to their professional interests and develop their own perspectives as leaders in primary education. It does not provide qualified teacher status.

Who this course is for

Candidates are expected to have some experience of working with children aged between 4-12 years old. This work can be in a paid or voluntary capacity.

This programme is suited to a wide range of professionals involved in primary education seeking continuing professional development, such as class teachers, curriculum co-ordinators, senior leaders, policy advisers, consultants and lecturers in higher education, and those working with children in related fields such as museums or children's services and publishing.

What this course will give you

The Primary and Early Years Education staff team at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society have been at the forefront of international research for two decades including the renowned Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) project. The programme also has strong links to the innovative Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (0-11).

The programme sits as part of the wider MA Early Years Education. The MA Primary Education (4-12)  focuses specifically on primary education but you will also have the opportunity to exchanges ideas with and learn from students and IOE colleagues across the early years and primary age phases in UK and internationally. 

This degree supports understanding and insights into primary education nationally and internationally, and contributes to personal and professional development in the field of study. For example: "the programme equips me with a thorough understanding of the primary education system, education policies, contemporary issues, and good practices in primary education" (international student). 

Previous students have found it helpful in developing their critical awareness of how policy and practice interact and its influence on their practice, for example: -"linking classroom and school practice to research and thinking about the implications of research findings and resulting possibilities" (E. Taylor-Jones, 2018)

The foundation of your career

By taking this programme students develop an international, critical and deep understanding of primary leadership, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. Participants have used their studies to gain promotion, apply for new careers and to set up educational businesses. 


Graduates of this programme are currently working in a broad range of careers, both nationally and internationally. Many have leadership roles in schools, for example as school mentors for early career teachers, subject leaders, phase co-ordinators, assistant head teachers or head teachers. Others work as education advisers and consultants across a range of schools or as inspectors and policymakers at both local and national levels. Graduates can also be found working as researchers, lecturers and teacher educators in higher education and in educational services outside schools such as museums, publishing, children's support services and online educational companies.

Teaching and learning

This programme is delivered through face-to-face sessions which are a mix of mainly evenings 5.30-8.30pm and a few Saturdays across the year. Sessions are a mixture of input by specialists and discussion in seminars and workshops. Assessment is through assignments, directed tasks and a dissertation/report. 

Students are required to attend sessions and undertake independent study, reading, and engage with structured activities including online via our virtual learning environment.

Students are required to attend sessions and undertake independent study including directed tasks, reading, and engage with structured activities including online discussions and activities via our virtual learning environment.


The Early Years Education MA is the umbrella programme for the MA Primary Education 4-12. The MA Primary Education 4-12 programme has four compulsory modules:

  • Primary Education Policies and Practices (PEPP)
  • Researching Early Years and Primary Education (REYPE)
  • Global Debates and Research into Practice: Educating Children Aged 4-12
  • Dissertation

Students take modules over an extended period of up to 5 years. Each module runs only once per academic year. The PEPP module should be taken first and we recommend taking the REYPE module just prior to the dissertation which should be the final module of your programme. 

You will also select one optional module. A module is a one-term course, usually involving attendance at ten teaching sessions and the submission of an assignment for assessment.

For part time students the programme runs over two years with a module per term and the recommended structure is: Year 1 term 1 Primary Policy and Practice, Term 2 an optional module, Term 3 Global Debates and Research into Practice: Educating Children Aged 4-12 . In year 2, term 1 Researching Primary and Early Years education and in Terms 2 and 3 Dissertation.

The modules run once per year and we recommend Primary Education Policies and Practices (PEPP) first and then Researching Early Years and Primary Education (REYPE) just before Dissertation, which needs to be the final module.

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. 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 take modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Primary Education (4-12).


There is an opportunity in the Autumn term to make an optional visit a primary school, particularly for those unfamiliar with the English education system. This visit may incur a small charge made by the school (see additional costs). This is subject to Covid restrictions and may change at short notice.


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.

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:

Additional costs

If you wish to undertake any of your research in UK schools or settings, you will need to apply and pay for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.

In future there may be a discretionary charge levied by primary schools for visits. It is anticipated that this will be no more than £20 and will be confirmed at induction.

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.

Next steps

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

Normally a minimum of a lower second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Students should also ideally have direct professional involvement with pre-school or primary education either in or outside the UK.

This programme is an academic masters, it does not offer Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to teach in the UK. 

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.