Sociology of Education MA

London, Bloomsbury

The Sociology of Education MA is designed to guide students through the latest theories, concepts and research in the sociology of education, exploring the wider political, social and cultural contexts of policy and practice in education. 

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 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.

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 Sociology of Education MA provides students with the opportunity to review current developments in scholarship and research concerning the social, cultural and political dynamics of educational continuity and change. It offers a grounding in a range of sociological theories and perspectives as they relate to education; students are invited to develop their own analytic, critical and empirical research skills. 

The programme is designed for those involved in, or intending to be involved in, education and related areas of professional work such as teachers, educational researchers, advisors, administrators and community workers. Some of our students when they start the degree are employed in education settings and education-related roles, from school teachers to community or adult educators and policy analysts; others come to the MA directly from undergraduate study in the humanities and social sciences, including sociology, policy studies, cultural and education studies; and others take up the MA directly from their teaching degree. Our UK and international students come from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds and have diverse educational, professional and life experiences. We emphasise sociological knowledge and interest in our programme. Please note that the MA Sociology of Education is not a teacher training programme.

Who this course is for

The programme emphasises knowledge and interest in sociology, ideally acquired through academic learning and qualifications. We also welcome applications from those working in professional education contexts with a special interest in the sociological aspects of education.

This programme is suited to social science and humanities graduates, policy analysts, teachers (including newly qualified teachers), community or adult educators, and others with an interest in the sociology of education.

What this course will give you

The Department of Education, Practice and Society at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society is home to 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.

Sociology of Education, along with the MAs in Social Justice and Education and Policy Studies in Education, is part of the Department's Sociology MA cluster. The three programmes share some modules and the MA Programme Leaders and Module Leaders work closely together as a team. Students therefore study not only with leading scholars but also with students across these MA cluster pathways.

The Sociology of 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.

The course creates a powerful learning community involving both academics in the Department and beyond in IOE, and a cohort of internationally diverse students across IOE MA cluster in sociology, social justice and policy studies in education.

The foundation of your career

Students develop a capacity to critically engage with and conduct educational research on issues relating to sociology and education.


Graduates of this programme are currently working as lecturers and teachers, local authority officers, government department officers, members of education think tanks, or as research students (MPhil/PhD, EdD).


The MA attracts students from a range of backgrounds and nationalities, providing opportunities for global networking. Alumni are regularly invited back to share their experiences of research during the MA and their career development since completing the MA. Students encounter academics at the many seminars and events provided within the Centre for Sociology of Education and  Equity and in the Faculty and UCL more broadly, as well as at Sociology cluster socials.

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 through coursework essay assignments, plus submission of a report or dissertation.

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. It is assessed by coursework assignments of up to 5,000 words and the dissertation or report.

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 5 hours attendance at support sessions plus meetings and feedback arranged with your allocated supervisor.

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


The Sociology of 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 introduces different approaches to education research and develops students' capacities to read as well as engage in education research.

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

Students also have the opportunity to select two (if choosing the Dissertation) or three (if choosing the Report) optional modules. A module is a one term course, usually involving attendance at ten teaching sessions and the submission of an assignment for assessment.

Part-time students follow the same programme of study as the full-time students but over the course of two academic years. Part-time students will start their first year of study with the Sociology of Education compulsory module in the autumn term and take two further optional modules that year. The second year starts with the Understanding Education Research compulsory module in the autumn term before progressing to the dissertation (or alternatively one other optional module and a report).

On the flexible pathway, the same programme elements will be covered as full-time and part-time students but over up to five years. The first year of study starts with the compulsory module Sociology of Education in the autumn term. The Understanding Education Research compulsory module (also autumn term) lays the groundwork for the dissertation or report and should be taken in the year preceding the dissertation/report. Other optional modules (two if taking a dissertation, three if taking a report) are taken in the intervening years of study.

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 Sociology of Education.


Some fieldwork is normally undertaken in relation to research for the dissertation module.


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) £31,100 £15,550

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 requires work with children or vulnerable adults.

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

If students decide to undertake fieldwork, it must be self-funded.

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 Sociology of Education at graduate level and your background and/or interest in sociology
  • 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 closely related cognate fields. Professional experience as an educator is also welcome. Your application will still be considered if you do not specifically have these, but you would need to address this explicitly in your Personal Statement and explain how you meet the criteria.

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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