Online course details
Part-time: 2-3 years
£7,875 (2023/24) ‡
September, January, May
Online course description
If your career involves educating other people and you'd like to improve your professional expertise or progress into a more senior role, our MA Education online degree is designed to help you.
Specialist pathways aligned with your professional interests
We offer an exciting range of options to personalise your studies to suit your current role, professional interests, and career ambitions. You can complete a broad-based Masters degree in Education or pursue one of the specialist pathways leading to a named MA Education. You can choose from:
You can also study the MA Education on campus, either full or part-time.
Enriching your career
Our online MA Education degree is not a teaching qualification but can transform the way you approach your professional practice. Previous graduates have reported that this degree helped them to gain more senior roles, enriched their teaching, challenged their preconceptions, and boosted their confidence.
The course explores key theories, policies, practices and debates which are shaping education today. You will select modules to build your studies around your interests and your assignments are focused within the context of your own educational practice. A final independent study focuses on a professional practice theme of your choice. You will develop key skills for research, analysis, and critiquing.
Be inspired by others
Our course is delivered by a team of approachable and passionate tutors who have many years’ experience in the education sector across a range of educational contexts, so they understand your profession and are sympathetic to the pressures of balancing study with a busy teaching job.
Students frequently tell us that they most enjoy hearing the diverse mix of experiences, ideas and opinions contributed by other learners, especially when that challenges their own thinking. Online discussion forums make this possible, where you will study alongside learners from different professional and academic backgrounds, from the UK and overseas.
You are in control
Studying online gives you the flexibility to study at the most convenient time and place for you. We offer start dates in September, January and May. The course is divided into modules which are scheduled over fixed trimesters so there will be deadlines to meet; however, you can organise your study time around your professional and personal commitments to complete each module within the set time parameters.
Online class discussions are largely focused on contextualisation of theory to practice, so it’s stimulating, engaging and highly relevant to your day-to-day professional life.
While we encourage and support you to complete the full masters degree, if you are unable to commit to a full course but want to update your skills to complement your career aspirations, you can choose to ‘step off’ the course within a year, having completed our 60 credit Postgraduate Certificate in Education Studies, without a specialist pathway title. Once you’ve successfully completed the postgraduate certificate, you may wish to continue to the full masters.
We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol.
To complete the MA Education you will need to complete six 20 credit modules and an Independent Study module worth 60 credits, totalling 180 credits. You must complete the following modules:
- Designing Social Research (20 credits)
- Independent Study (60 credits)
You can then choose five optional 20 credit modules to make a total of 180 credits. Please contact us to discuss your options.
Pathways and modules run subject to scheduling and student numbers. In addition, where demand is high, some modules may be subject to a cap. You can choose to take a pathway module as an option, even if you are not on the pathway.
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
Teaching and learning
Modules within this course will be delivered by expert academics who are practising professionals too. This ensures that module content remains up-to-date and highly relevant and brings through pertinent examples from the business world which are current and topical.
Delivered entirely online through our user-friendly student portal dashboard and intuitive digital learning environment, you will interact with your tutors and fellow students and through a mix of virtual live classrooms, tutorials and guest lectures. Group discussions and debate are held through forums and community spaces and the use of collaborative tools such as wikis for group projects and assignments. Digital texts, ebooks, journals, databases and more are available electronically via our library.
Many of our students are mature learners and have not studied academically for many years. To help you to become an effective student, able to study at postgraduate level, there are a number of advanced study skill resources available to you covering areas such as research skills, critical evaluation in academic context, literature search, referencing, plagiarism and so on.
Pace of study
The academic year is made up of three 10-week terms, known as trimesters. We recommend around 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester for the standard study plan.
If you opt to undertake the accelerated study plan whereby you will study two modules in one trimester, we recommend 40 hours of study per week.
Should you decide to study on the accelerated rate you should ensure that you have the capacity to fully engage with your studies and achieve the best grades and final award. If you choose to study on the accelerated rate, you will need to balance approximately 40 hours of study per week alongside your professional and personal life and commitments.
It may be useful to consider studying one module at the standard rate of study before deciding whether to then increase to the accelerated rate of study.
This course is assessed entirely through coursework. You will undertake formative and summative assessments to demonstrate that you have met the module and programme learning outcomes.
Formative assessment opportunities will be available throughout your modules to provide structured learning, feedback, and guidance. Formative assessment strategies include, but are not limited to, tutorials, discussions, and feedback on proposals for summative assignments.
More formal summative assessments which count towards your grades, will consist of written assignments, project reports, presentations, and portfolios.
The final assessment on the MA is the independent study, a triple module worth 60 credits. This is a major research project applied to a workplace, or you may choose to produce an academic paper for publication. You will be supported by an academic supervisor who will guide you through this process towards your final submission.
Student support and guidance
Whilst we encourage our students to become independent, life-long learners, we also recognise that offering the right support and guidance will help you to achieve your goals. There is a wealth of support available to you at the University, from your dedicated Personal Tutor and Online Learner Advisor, through to our:
All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.
Get a taste of the course content
Our Education MA course taster will give you an idea of how online learning works. It includes a selection of content from a course module so you can see what some of our learning material looks like.
You will need to complete a short form to access the course taster.
Try our course taster
You will usually need one of the following:
- A good undergraduate degree (2.2 or above), or
- an equivalent level 6 qualification (equivalent overseas qualifications which will be verified by NARIC)
You will be asked to provide a CV/resume detailing your academic and work experience. The Admissions Tutor reserves the right to interview an individual to ascertain the relevance of their work and life experiences as an acceptable entry for the programme.
English language qualifications
If English is not your first language, or you have not successfully completed your highest level of qualification in English, you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:
- Average IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent
- TOEFL 87 (minimum 20 in Speaking and 19 in all other elements)
- Pearson Test of Academic English: 71 (minimum 65)
- Cambridge English: 184 with no element below 169
- International GCE O Level English Language: Grade C
- International GCSE English/English as a Second Language: Grade C
Find out more about our English language requirements
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
Have you already studied at another institution, completed a training course, or does your work experience appear equivalent to one or more modules of your chosen course? If so, you may be able to translate this prior learning into credits towards your course modules, so you don’t have to study them again.
Further information about applying for credits for prior learning can be found in our recognition of prior learning section.
English language qualifications
If English is not your first language, or you have not successfully completed your highest level of qualification in English, you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:*
- IELTS 6.0 (minimum of 5.5 in any areas)
- TOEFL 550 (paper based) 213 (computer based) or 80 (internet based)
- Pearson Test of Academic English: 51
- Cambridge Advanced Certificate: Pass
- London Tests of English: we accept level 5 for postgraduate courses
- International GCE O Level English Language: Grade C
- International GCSE English/English as a Second Language: Grade C*
‡2023/24 for new entrants
Starting between September 2023 and August 2024.
|Per 20 credits
|7 (six 20 credit modules and one 60 credit module)
2024/25 for new entrants
Starting between September 2024 and August 2025.
|Per 20 credits
|7 (six 20 credit modules and one 60 credit module)
About your fees
This figure would be the total cost of this course based on the fee in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.
If you are required to undertake any associate study or additional study as a condition of your offer for the programme, please be aware that the cost for this will be in addition to the programme cost stated above.
Flexible payment plans available
Choose from two payment plan options:
Pay monthly and only for the modules you are studying
Pay your full course fees upfront, receive 5% discount and avoid annual increases*
*Please note: the discount for paying your fees up front will only be available to students enrolling for eligible online studies between August 2023 and July 2024 and will not be available for the September 2024 intake onwards.
Masters funding options
Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for a postgraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to help with living costs and tuition fees whilst studying your masters programme.
If you are considering applying for a student loan, please also see our additional guidance on Loans for Online Students.
Alumni discount for Derby graduates
We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.
Find out more about the Alumni discount
How to apply
Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.
Apply directly to the University.
For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.
Documents to support your application
In order for your application to be assessed, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply:
- Official photo identification such as a passport or driving licence
- Current CV
- Written reference supplied on headed paper from either a manager, supervisor, tutor or teacher
- Copies of certificates and transcripts or a letter of testimony for previous qualifications*
*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:
- Confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document
- The date of the translation
- The full name and signature of the translator, or an authorised official of the company
- The translator’s contact details
A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.
Please note: failure to submit any documentation when requested, may result in your application being withdrawn.
All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.
This research-informed programme will equip you with knowledge and critical awareness of contemporary issues relating to education and has been designed to prepare you for a range of professional careers within the education sector.
It might make your CV stand out enough to get you an interview for that more senior role you’ve been looking for, or just give you the confidence to apply for positions you normally wouldn’t have considered. Previous students reported that they performed better at work as a result of this course - bringing greater recognition and respect from peers.
It is important to note that the programme does not lead to qualified teacher status (QTS), however it is suitable for any person wishing to undertake roles in the following:
- support work
- leadership roles such as Head or Deputy Head
- educational business
- working in Local Authorities (LA)
- nursery work
Our graduates have gone on to become advanced skills teachers, nursery managers, assistant head teachers, disability coordinators within universities and national trainers for charitable organisations.
You may also wish to go on to further study such as a Doctorate of Education.
Utilise our Careers and Employment Service
Whilst you are a student at the University of Derby, and for 3 years after you graduate, our Careers and Employment Service can assist you with job search advice, CV creation, workshops and events, as well as one-to-one appointments with employment advisers to help with career planning and interview preparation.
Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:Contact usFrequently asked questions
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