Social Justice and Education MA

London, Bloomsbury

The Social Justice and Education MA will help students to identify, examine and understand key sociological and philosophical perspectives on social justice and education, including issues of 'race', class, gender and sexuality. Participants will explore the personal and political dimensions of social justice concerns and develop their professional, practical and research skills in this area.

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 – 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.

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 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

This programme supports students to address the complex links between social justice and education, drawing in particular on sociological perspectives.

Students will develop critical theoretical, methodological and analytical skills in educational research, focusing on key current policy, theoretical, conceptual and political debates about the role of education. Students will consider how to address pressing issues of social justice in their own professional, activist and/or personal lives. Through their engagement with cutting-edge research in this area they will learn tools for fighting for social justice and transformation in the educational areas relevant for them.

Who this course is for

This programme is suited to teachers and education-related professionals from any international context. Those who are interested in working in social justice sectors, including NGOs, are well placed for this programme. It is also ideal for those wishing to gain high-level research skills in the area of social justice and education. 

What this course will give you

The Department of Education, Practice and Society at UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is home to an interdisciplinary grouping bringing together high-quality teaching and research in the sociology, philosophy and history of education, international development, post-compulsory and vocational education and higher education. The MA programme is mainly taught by staff in the Centre for Sociology of Education and Equity. Social Justice and Education, along with the MAs in Sociology of Education and Policy Studies in Education, is part of 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 an internationally diverse student cohort across these MA cluster pathways. The Social Justice and Education MA is taught by world-leading sociologists and philosophers within the department who have expertise in theory, research methods, policy analysis and impacting social change. Those teaching are active researchers in areas such as equality and human rights, gender, 'race', sexuality, youth, disability and social class. In their teaching they introduce the latest research and developments in their fields. This programme explores sociological and philosophical perspectives on social justice and equalities and also explores processes of social transformation and change. Key issues debated include understanding and responding to social and educational disparities in international contexts. The programme equips students with essential theoretical and methodological research skills for engaging critically with social justice issues including understanding power relations from various perspectives. The MA attracts a diversity of both home and international students thus providing excellent educational and professional networking opportunities and creating a powerful learning community.

The foundation of your career

Students engage critically with educational research and theory on issues relating to social justice and education and consider what it means for their own future practice. They conduct their own research in the area of social justice and education.

Transferable skills include time management, organisation, effective oral and written communication, teamwork, and independent study and research.

In terms of content, students acquire a broad understanding of contemporary education issues, debates and analytical perspectives world-wide and, through assignments, research in-depth particular topics of their choice.


Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are lecturers, teachers, managers and practitioners in compulsory, formal or informal education sectors across international contexts. Some are working as professionals in NGO and policy-making organisations specialising in social justice across many countries such as Chile, Japan, Canada and the UK. Graduates can also be found working as civil servants and government officials. Many are engaged in doctoral level study or are lecturing or working in in other roles in the higher education sector worldwide.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of face-to-face evening sessions and interactive online learning using a variety of teaching and learning styles. For example, lectures provide an overview of a field and these may be pre-recorded and posted online for students to engage with at their convenience, or delivered live, in-person or online. In-person seminars and workshops may involve group discussion of the lectures or of set reading, generating collective resources, discussing vignettes, developing presentations to peers, and other activities.

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.

Each 30-credit module is intended to represent 300 hours of study, most of it self-directed. Typically modules run for ten weeks, with lectures, engagement activities, and evening seminars.

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


The Social Justice and 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 Research module, which is designed to cover key concepts and methodologies in the analysis of education research and to support the development of your Dissertation or Report. (You may be exempted from this module if you have recently studied education research at a high level, on application to your Programme Leader.)

The third is a choice between either a Dissertation or a Report.

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

Students are free to select one of their optional modules from the wider range of MA level modules offered across IOE/UCL subject to availability. Popular choices include:

Part-time students take no more than one module per term, completing 90 credits in each year of the two-year course.

Students are free to select one of their optional modules from the wider range of MA level modules offered across IOE/UCL subject to availability. Popular choices include:

Flexible route students have up to five years to complete.

Students are free to select one of their optional modules from the wider range of MA level modules offered across IOE/UCL subject to availability. Popular choices include:

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 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 undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Social Justice and Education.


Some fieldwork is normally undertaken in relation to research for the dissertation module. This is organised by the student according to their contacts and contexts.


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

You may be required to apply for Disclosure and Barring Service clearance if your research is in the UK and requires work with children or vulnerable adults. (Given the time and cost involved, we generally encourage students who do not already have this to choose alternative research approaches)

Students may choose to organise and undertake fieldwork (this can include interviews online or face to face, or visits to schools and other organisations) in relation to research for their dissertation. If undertaken, fieldwork must be self-funded.

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

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 Social Justice and Education at graduate level
  • why you want to study Social Justice and 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.