Nottingham University MA in Education

The PGCEi at The University of Nottingham is one of the leading courses of its type. The programme is offered by a truly international university, with the School of Education ranked 28th in the world for Education in the QS World University Rankings 2016.


The taught element of the MA Education (flexible) can be completed part-time over approximately two years, with a further eight months for the dissertation stage. To help you plan your time and gain the most from your studies, you can choose to start the MA Education (flexible) in either September or February.
The MA comprises four 30-credit modules (or equivalent) and a 60-credit dissertation. There are also Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma exit points.
You will be required to commit 10-15 hours per week, all year round. You will need to work collaboratively, for example, by contribution to online discussions within a specified time frame.

Start Dates

When applying please not that the application dead line is before the start date!
If you are a University of Nottingham PGCE graduate and started your course between September 2010 and September 2013, you will have received an automatic offer for the MA Education course and so will not need to submit a new application to us. You will need to contact our Admissions Office to accept your offer and to confirm the date you wish to start your MA. Whilst on the PGCE the automatic offer you were given was valid for five years, and so if you are out of this time frame, you will need to follow through with the online application process.
If you have previously studied the PGCEi course with The University of Nottingham, then you will not have received an automatic offer and so will need to submit a new application to us for consideration.
As a Nottingham graduate, you will not have to pay for your application.


The price of the course depends on which cohort you attend. The range is fairly small, from 3,500- 3,700.


 Qualified Teacher Status in England and Wales is conferred by the National College for Teaching and Leadership on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education (England) and the Minister for Education and Skills (Wales) not by universities. This MA in Education does not therefore offer a licence to teach in the UK or elsewhere.


Course Content

Contexts' is about national and international contexts for education and considers ideas from the philosophy of education about the purposes of education in different national settings.
This introductory module introduces a philosophical, comparative and observational focus which runs throughout the course. Units within the module include 'Purposes of the School Curriculum', 'Understanding International Educational' and 'Understanding the Classroom'.
The aims of the module are to:
  • develop an understanding of education as a world-wide phenomenon
  • enable teachers to understand their own education system from an international perspective
  • develop appreciation of the philosophical basis of the school curriculum
  • develop a range of frameworks for classroom observation
  • encourage forward-looking thinking about schools, classrooms and their purposes

Understanding Learning
This module is divided into two and focuses on classical theoretical approaches to the conceptualisation of learning, mainly from the field of psychology such as motivation, intelligence, behaviourism, constructivism and neuroscience. The second half presents a number of distinctive approaches to learning.
The unit on motivation and engagement explores the work of Bruner and Maslow. The unit on intelligence invites a critical approach to Multiple Intelligence theory and to currently fashionable theories of learning styles. The unit on Skinner and Piaget elaborates the basic principles of these two theorists and invites students to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their approaches to educational materials. The unit on ZPD and scaffolding examines the respective approaches of Vygotsky, Bruner and Wood to ways in which children construct knowledge. The unit on neuroscience provides an introduction to what is happening in the brain when learning occurs.
In the second half of the module, students can choose to study Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Freire, Nyerere, and Makiguchi and Gandhi.
The aims of the module are to:
  • become conversant with the basic assumptions, concepts, and principles of a range of learning theories
  • understand the practical classroom implications of each theory
  • be able to compare and contrast theories and their usefulness in specific educational settings
  • review and develop existing personal theories of learning


Approaches to Teaching
This module includes generic materials on 'teaching strategies' and 'aspects of pedagogy'. 'Teaching strategies' includes materials on questioning, group work and other forms of collaborative learning. 'Aspects of pedagogy' includes materials on student management, planning, assessment, differentiation, special educational needs and inclusion, English as an additional language, and ICT in education.
Depending on the age range in their own school, students are offered several choices between early years, primary or secondary approaches.
The aims of the module are to:
  • consider different approaches to teaching and learning
  • develop a deeper understanding of a range of teaching strategies
  • develop professional knowledge, skills, and understanding for teaching
  • improve the quality of reflective practice
Investigating Student Understanding
In the final module of the course, students are asked to plan and undertake a small-scale classroom investigation in their own schools. The project is an investigation into the cognitive and affective dimension of the development of learners' understanding by focusing on a case study of one or more learners in the student's own educational context.
In preparation for the research and data-gathering processes, there is a unit within the module on methodological principles of practitioner research. Guidance is also offered on the planning, writing and presentation of the study itself. A research plan in the form of a formative assignment is submitted to the course tutor for comment at an early stage of work on this module.
In the light of feedback on this assignment and ensuing discussion, the course tutor recommends relevant academic and professional literature for background reading. The completed assignment relates investigation findings to this preparatory reading material.
The aims of the module are to:
  • develop an in-depth practical grasp of ways in which learners develop understanding
  • develop expertise in classroom based research methodology
  • promote personal reflection and professional learning
  • make appropriate use of professional and academic literature


Our online materials provide an interactive learning experience, and allow you to make decisions about which aspects of a module to work on when, at what pace, and in which order. You will be encouraged to interact with other course participants, and the module units will involve group activities such as using blogs, wikis, and discussion boards.


Each 30-credit module is assessed by a written assignment of 6,000 words. To complete the masters programme successfully, a mark of at least 50 must be achieved on each assignment.
The dissertation is an original piece of work and should be of 12,000-15,000 words related to one of the selected modules on an approved topic.

Modules Include

Typical modules include:
• Approaches to Teaching
• Contexts
• Investigating Student Understanding
• Understanding Learning
When you have completed the PGCEi, you could apply to continue your studies with us, and marks of 50% or above in a module can be used as credits towards our MA Education, MA Education (flexible), MA Educational Leadership and Management or the MA Special and Inclusive Education.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have one year of full-time work or volunteer experience in an educational setting; a teaching qualification that includes a substantial placement-based component (eg. PGCE) will be considered acceptable experience
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