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Educational Studies (MEd)

MEd|Postgraduate Taught

Educational Studies

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
3 years (Part Time)
Places available
unlimited (Full Time)
unlimited (Part Time)
This course is now closed to applications for September 2021. If you are interested in September 2022 entry, please register your interest.
  • Overview

    This programme offers teachers and educational professionals opportunities to learn across a range of areas within the broad field of education.

    Education professionals in the twenty-first century are expected to have strong knowledge and skills in core areas as well as an ability to move flexibly in and out of a variety of specialist areas. This Educational Studies programme is designed to meet these diverse needs by offering students the opportunity to select modules from a wide range of topics including: learning and teaching, assessment, educational leadership, inclusion and special educational needs.

    The programme offers students an opportunity to familiarise themselves with current research on these topics. In addition, students are encouraged to consider and reflect on the practical implications of theoretical perspectives and research findings.

    The MEd in Educational Studies is open to teachers in primary-, secondary- and tertiary-level institutions as well as to professionals in other fields of education.

    On completion of the modules students will be able to:
    - demonstrate a broad-based knowledge and understanding of educational research, policy, practice and theory covered by the modules of their choice
    - analyse and critically apply examples of the research literature in the chosen modules (and, where appropriate, skills)
    - reflect critically on their own personal practice.

    Closing date for applications: Thursday 30th June 2022 at 4pm.

    Educational Studies highlights

    Our educational research has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% assessed as ‘internationally excellent or world leading’ (REF, 2014).

    Internationally Renowned Experts

    • The core discipline of Education at Queen’s is one of the leading areas for educational research in the UK and Ireland.

    Student Experience

    • The diversity of topics is particularly appreciated by students who want to learn across a range of topics, rather than focusing on one specialist subject.
    • Credit transfer Students who have completed other master's-level awards, eg PGCE, within the last 10 years are eligible to credit transfer. The credit transfer application must be submitted at the same time as the online programme application as retrospective applications are not accepted.
    • Flexibility This programme is delivered via blended learning (a mixture of face-to-face and online learning).
    • Flexible exit qualifications (PgCert, PgDip) are available and individual course modules can also be taken as short courses.
  • Course content

    Course Structure

    Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (3 years) basis. Individual modules may be studied as a short course. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.

    The MEd is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS points) and a 15,000 - 20,000 word research dissertation (60 CATS points).

    Exit qualifications are available: students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught modules or a Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from taught modules.

    We've made it easy to study for a master's module as a short course. If you would like to apply for a short course, please contact the Education Secretary ( for advice.

    Course DetailsList of Indicative Programme Modules

    Modules* (20 CATS points) :

    An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education (compulsory)
    This introductory research methods module is compulsory for all Master’s students in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work and assumes no previous experience or knowledge of research methods. The aim of the module is to provide a general research overview and to contextualise the broad range of approaches and debates that are evident within contemporary educational research. The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the theory and an appreciation of the differing perspectives that underpin quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Students will be introduced to the ethical issues relating to educational research as well as a range of methodological approaches, within which the key theoretical and practical issues will be addressed.

    Assessment Issues in Teaching and Learning in Classrooms
    This module takes an issues-based approach to assessment in relation to teaching, learning and research in classrooms. It reviews various approaches to, and developments in, assessment in relation to three underlying themes:
    • the practical issues of assessment for teaching, learning and research
    • the relationship between assessment and pupil learning; and
    • the social impact of assessment and testing on learning;
    Throughout the module, students are encouraged to think critically about assessment practices (including their own) in the light of a deeper understanding of the fundamental concepts in assessment theory. The aim of the module is to give teachers and educators from all phases of schooling and educational institutions as well as other assessment practitioners, an understanding of the issues surrounding assessment practice, policy and research.
    NB Students are not permitted to take this module if they have taken/will take module EDU7253.

    Behaviour Analysis for Effective Teaching
    This module will include an introduction to the theory and concepts of the scientific discipline of behaviour analysis and will introduce specific evidence-based applications that can be used in an educational setting. There will be a focus on describing and critically evaluating the scientific background and research methods that are used in behaviour analysis. All of the contents will be based on behaviour analytic principles and derived technologies and will focus on positive supports that can be successfully implemented into an educational setting for an individual or a whole class. These will be recorded and available for viewing at all times for the students for reflection and further learning. Students will be expected to contribute to weekly discussion fora on topics covered in that academic week to aid peer learning and interaction. A 3000-word assignment will be completed at the end of the module focusing on a topic of their choosing from the course contents.

    *Note: This module is not a core ABA module and would be beneficial to students on a range of programmes, as well as other areas of pedagogy and education studies as course content will focus on practical applications of learning in educational settings.

    Contemporary Perspectives on Learning and Teaching
    This module examines contemporary research perspectives on learning and teaching. In addition to developing a broad understanding of theoretical, research and policy literature relating to learning and pedagogy, learners will develop a critical and analytical approach to evaluating learning and teaching in education settings. The module will provide a good basis for engagement in self-evaluation and the development of evidence-based practice in education settings. The module will be of interest to a broad spectrum of education professionals, including teachers and learning leaders across varied educational settings.

    Curriculum: Theory, Policy and Practice
    Questions about what constitutes the purpose of educational policy and the fitness-for-purpose of curricula are prevalent in contemporary discourses about education across the life course, and across the globe. From the macro-level to the micro, these debates are important because they have to do with educational and societal change, and whose needs such change should serve. This module will provide students with an opportunity to reflect on curriculum theory, policy and practice. It will investigate socio-political and theoretical influences on curriculum development and provide analytical concepts and skills. Sessions include examining how knowledge is organized and de/legitimised in the curriculum; social formation within the hidden curriculum; and the role of the curriculum in societies with legacies of conflict, inequality and division, and in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals and global challenges.

    Education, the Law and Children's Rights
    This module will focus on children’s human rights at school under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. International obligations arising under the European Convention on Human Rights will also be considered. Topics to be covered will include school admissions, the curriculum, attendance, discipline, children’s right to be heard and the rights of children with disabilities. The issues will be analysed from the twin perspectives of children's rights and teachers' obligations. No prior legal knowledge is expected.

    E-learning: Concepts and Practice
    This module will enable you to explore the policies, issues, facts and the hype surrounding eLearning. It will introduce you to ideas such as Third Space and 4th Industrial Revolution. You will reflect on the affordances offered by technology-enhanced learning, virtual learning environments, managed learning environments and data analytics. There will be opportunities to compare and contrast the face-to-face environment of the classroom with online learning and to hear from experts in the field. The various developments in e-learning will be examined at several levels including technical (e.g. how does it work?), practical (e.g. experience of creating online courses) and theoretical (e.g. what types of learning models are involved?). Finally, your own professional working context will provide the focus for your assignment work.

    Reflective Practice and Action Research (10 CATS points)
    There is a considerable body of literature highlighting the importance of practitioner-led enquiry and reflection, its centrality in the learning process and the key role it plays in the process of continuing professional development. Despite this there tends to be little opportunity within teaching and learning programmes for teachers to explore the nature of reflection, the various perspectives and theories surrounding the topic or to examine the concept in any depth. This module begins to address this shortcoming by inviting participants to consider and experiment with various approaches to reflective practice as used in small-scale action research project design within the field of education in general and their own professional development in particular.
    Please note this is a 10-point module and is only available to those students who require this specific number of points to complete their qualification.

    Transforming Higher Education
    Higher Education is a complex, rapidly changing global sector. With long traditions of impacting on societal change, institutions of higher education are currently positioned as potential drivers of the international Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and many other aspirational agendas. Higher Education Studies has emerged as an important field to study, critique, and inform policy and practice. This module considers the role of higher education in transforming societies, and enables students to debate their own roles and spheres of influence in transforming higher education - whether as professionals, teachers, researchers, stakeholders or global citizens. Through critical reading and discussions of academic publications and influential policies, participants will learn about the principles and purposes underpinning frameworks for the transformation of higher education. Questions of democratisation, development, human rights, social justice and decolonisation will be analysed in relation to the contemporary dominant drivers and influences on the sector, including global capitalism, internationalisation and geopolitics. By planning and conducting a small-scale study, students will be equipped with foundational research knowledge and skills to map institutional, local, national and global sectoral concerns; and to explore the roles of leadership, in/equality, agency and representation for change.

    The Role of Education in Ethnically Plural Societies
    This module will introduce students to debates around the theory, policy and practice of education in ethnically plural societies. It will centre around two topics that have concerned educationalists over recent decades – 1) the role of education in advancing equality and equity between racial, ethnic and religious groups; and 2) the role of education in fostering social cohesion in diverse societies – and consider areas of confluence and tension between these. On successful completion of this module, students should be able to understand the role of education in advancing equality social cohesion in divided societies, and how the concepts and issues covered in the module are manifest in specific education contexts locally, nationally and internationally. Assessment is via a 3,500-word assignment.

    Students must choose 120 CATS points from the modules listed above or any other modules from the MEd/MSc programmes offered by the School (except certain ABA modules EDU7225/7227/7229/7230/7900).
    Modules on the Educational Leadership and Inclusion and Special Needs Education pathways may be of interest, e.g.
    Digital Literacy and Communication
    Fundamental Elements of Behaviour Change
    Leadership for Change
    Leadership Theory and Practice: An Overview
    Reimagining Special Needs Education: Inclusive Pedagogy
    School Effectiveness and School Improvement
    Special Needs Education and Issues of Equity
    The Intellectual Foundations of Special Education
    Understanding Adults with ASD
    Understanding Children with ASD

    * These modules are subject to change.

    People teaching you

    Programme Director


    Teaching Times

    The majority of sessions are in the evenings. Attendance at weekend workshops is occasionally required.

    Career Prospects

    Graduates from this degree have found the skills and knowledge learned to be beneficial in their workplace by improving their professional practice. In the case of teachers this has meant the development of research-informed practice and the ability to lead professional development within their schools.

    Furthermore, a higher degree can enhance employment prospects to help secure future promotion. Having deepened their knowledge in a specific area, other students have chosen to continue academic study to doctoral level.

    Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

    Learning and Teaching

    Learning opportunities available on this course are outlined below:

    Evening and Weekends

    The majority of sessions are in the evenings. Attendance at weekend workshops is occasionally required. In some modules there is an online taught element.


    Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

    There are no written examinations. Modules are assessed by coursework. Modules with an online element use a variety of assessment methods, eg multiple choice tests and contributions to an online forum.


    The School is situated across a suite of three buildings in Belfast's Queen's Quarter. We provide student and staff common rooms, computer suites and designated study spaces.
    Explore the teaching and social spaces in our School through our 360 Virtual Tour:

    The Graduate School

    Prizes and Awards

    • The Northern Ireland Centre for Educational Research (NICER) offers two awards to support teacher researchers working on classroom-based projects aimed at improving teaching and learning (eligibility criteria apply).
  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    A 2.1 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject discipline.

    Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least two years of professional experience in an education, training or relevant context.

    Closing date for applications: Thursday 30th June 2022 at 4pm.

    Late applications may be considered. This will not be advertised on course finder but if applications are very low the School may consider late applications. Please refer to School at the time of deadline.

    Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal prior to the deadline stated on course finder. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

    International Students

    Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

    English Language Requirements

    Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £6,650
    Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £6,650
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £7,470
    EU Other 3 £18,200
    International £18,200

    1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

    2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements.

    3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2022-23, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    Educational Studies costs

    There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    When to Apply

    The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus