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Masters degree in Education

This flexible qualification offers four specialist routes – applied linguistics, inclusive practice, leadership and management, or learning and teaching – enabling you to engage with issues, concepts, and debates in an area that supports your professional development. Your investigative study will draw on your own and others’ experience and on appropriate literature, and will develop your understanding of the role and the limitations of research in informing educational practice. The qualification includes a literature review in a topic of your choice, and a substantial dissertation or research project situated in your own practice. You will need some experience of working with learners, either in teaching, the education advisory service, educational administration or an allied field, which may include informal learning settings.

Key features of the course

  • Flexibility to suit your needs – allowing you to complete in three years, or take up to six years
  • Leads to MA or MEd, with a rich diversity of modules to suit your interests
  • An emphasis on professional development through collaborative learning 
  • Develops and consolidates advanced scholarship and independent learning in the context of your own practice.

Masters degree

Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
3–6 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Suggested routes to the degree

There are two options to studying this qualification:

  • the 3-year option described on this page, or
  • the 2-year fast-track option (no longer available – you must have started your Stage 2 module in February 2018).


You'll choose ONE of four specialisms:

  • applied linguistics
  • inclusive practice
  • leadership and management
  • learning and teaching

And study 180 credits – one 60-credit module at each stage:

Stage 1

This is the first stage of any route and introduces some of the big ideas in education and their specialist domain(s). You will engage with concepts, current debates and issues in the area of education relevant to your chosen route. It focuses on generic learning outcomes but retains a subject-specific focus. There is emphasis on collaborative learning and the development of digital information literacy. Course work encourages students to bring together their personal understanding of issues relating to specific aspects of education with the enduring and current body of professional and academic research publications relevant to their professional/personal agenda. It also provides for the development and consolidation of advanced scholarship through practice and refinement of independent learning inherent in the academic literacy and conventions of academic writing required for successful study at master’s level.

Stage 2

This stage offers you the opportunity to progressively broaden your knowledge and understanding of your chosen aspects of education. You'll explore the full range of educational research in current practice and develop an understanding of the role and limitations of research for informing educational practice. Part of the assessment will require you to conduct a literature review on a topic of your choice, culminating in a final paper that demonstrates your knowledge of the literature, ability to read and synthesize research, and write according to standard academic protocols. You will have opportunities to present your work to other members of the Masters and OU academic community through online seminars and poster days.

Stage 3

The final module is a one-year research enquiry or professional project which requires you to submit a 12,000-word dissertation/project report in a chosen area (based on what has been studied at Stage 2) which is situated in your practice and will contribute to organisational development and/or effectiveness.

Applied linguistics

Modules Credits Next start
Stage 1
Applied linguistics and English language (EE817) 1

This module explores how the English language works in different professional contexts, and how knowledge about language can illuminate aspects of the social world.

See full description

60 No current presentation
Stages 2–3
Language, literacy and learning (EE818)

This module is for people interested in exploring English language,literacy learning and teaching in today’s world with its increasing linguistic and cultural diversity and rapid technological development.

See full description

60 No current presentation
MA Ed dissertation: applied linguistics (EE819)

This is the final module in the MA Ed applied linguistics study route in which you will carry out a research project and produce a 12,000-word dissertation.

See full description

60 No current presentation
1We strongly recommend you study this module if you intend to choose this specialism; however, you may choose any stage 1 module.

Inclusive practice

Modules Credits Next start
Stage 1
Addressing inequality and difference in educational practice (EE814) 1

This module explores issues of equality within the professional practice setting by way of broad themes which apply internationally – for example, ethnicity, disability, religion and gender.

See full description

60 No current presentation
Stages 2–3
Understanding literacy: social justice and inclusive practice (EE815)

This module focuses on literacy and literacy difficulties from different perspectives to develop inclusive pedagogies and practices for enhancing literacy development and supporting learners who experience literacy difficulties.

See full description

60 No current presentation
MA Ed dissertation: inclusive practice (EE816)

This is a 12,000 word dissertation or professional project and the final module in the MA/MEd Inclusive Practice study route.

See full description

60 No current presentation
1We strongly recommend you study this module if you intend to choose this specialism; however, you may choose any stage 1 module.

Leadership and management

Modules Credits Next start
Stage 1
Educational leadership: agency, professional learning and change (EE811) 1

This module explores aspects of educational leadership and management, linking theory and practice. The focus is on models of leadership, leading professional development and management of change. 

See full description

60 No current presentation
Stages 2–3
Educational leadership: exploring strategy (EE812)

This module explores current thinking on educational leadership and its research evidence. Through effective integration of theory and practice it will develop your leadership skills.

See full description

60 No current presentation
MA Ed dissertation: leadership and management (EE813)

This is a 12,000 word dissertation or professional project and the final module in the MA/MEd leadership and management study route.

See full description

60 No current presentation
1We strongly recommend you study this module if you intend to choose this specialism; however, you may choose any stage 1 module.

Learning and teaching

Modules Credits Next start
Stage 1
Learning and teaching: educating the next generation (EE830) NEW1

This masters module will challenge you to think through the purposes of education and how it can be made fit for the future.

See full description

60 No current presentation
Stages 2–3
Learning and teaching: understanding practice (EE831)

This module focuses on the fundamental concepts of learning, pedagogy, and assessment and explores them from the perspectives of learners, teachers and whole school issues.

See full description

60 05 Oct 2019

MA Ed dissertation: learning and teaching (EE832)

This is a 12,000 word dissertation and the final module in the MA/MEd learning and teaching study route.

60 Oct 2020
1We strongly recommend you study this module if you intend to choose this specialism; however, you may choose any stage 1 module.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 8th June 2018.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards Stage 1 of this qualification, by applying for credit transfer, reducing the number of modules you need to study. Credit transfer will impact the time you have to complete this qualification, and the six year time limit will start from the time your credit transfer was completed. So, for example, if you use credit transfer that you were awarded two years ago, you would need to complete the remaining 120 credits in four years.

We particularly welcome credit from those who hold a Cambridge Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Delta) (course entry from September 2008) or the Trinity College London Licentiate Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (LTCL Diploma in TESOL) (course entry from March 2007). Credit from these diplomas may be counted towards Stage 1 of our MA in Education (Applied Linguistics)/MEd (Applied Linguistics).

You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Master of Arts in Education or Master of Education entitling you to use the letters MA Ed (Open) or MEd (Open) after your name.

If you have successfully studied specific combinations of modules you can be awarded:

  • MA in Education (Applied Linguistics) or MEd (Applied Linguistics)
  • MA in Education (Leadership and Management) or MEd (Leadership and Management)
  • MA in Education (Learning and Teaching) or MEd (Learning and Teaching)
  • MA in Education (Inclusive Practice) or MEd (Inclusive Practice)

You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

On successful completion of a Stage 1 module (60 credits of study) you will be able to claim a Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Studies in Education (K27). On successful completion of both a Stage 1 and Stage 2 module (120 credits of study) you will be able to claim a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Studies in Education (E88)

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Entry requirements

To study for this masters degree course you must hold a bachelors degree from a UK university or other recognised degree-awarding body, or a qualification at equivalent level.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 7 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

You will be encouraged to relate the content of the modules to your own experiences therefore you will need access to an educational setting either through employment or other means such as volunteering and special arrangements for purposes of your study. Apart from schools and colleges, other organisations providing educational services – such as nursing education, youth, play, or early years work – could provide suitable settings to apply your learning and later carry out your dissertation. The various activities embedded in the study guide will help you develop skills of independent study and enquiry.

If you are not sure whether your qualifications and experience are suitable, please contact us for advice.

How long it takes

The minimum time to complete is 2 years, the maximum time to complete is 6 years. Most students study this qualification in 3 years.

Career relevance

Throughout the world there is an increasing demand for creative, innovative education professionals who have highly developed skills and a deep understanding of learning; in many countries a masters degree is becoming essential for career advancement in education and training settings.

This qualification is designed to enrich your knowledge and improve your professional practice. On completing your studies, you should be able to:
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems at a professional or equivalent level
  • reflect critically and constructively, in the light of ideas and frameworks presented in the modules and how these apply to your practice and organisational context.
You will also acquire qualities and transferable skills that are highly prized by employers within education and related fields, such as:
  • exercising initiative and personal responsibility
  • the ability to make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations
  • the ability to draw on appropriate research and ethical understanding
  • the production of reports/outputs for academic and professional purposes.
Please note that this masters degree does not qualify you for teacher registration in any country.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.