Education with Specialisms - Online

Ulster University - Belfast

Education with Specialisms - Online

This programme is a professional development course for teachers and other adult educators who wish to update their knowledge and qualifications. The award has been developed in conjunction with the teaching community and is designed to ensure you will have the opportunity to explore contemporary issues in education which impact upon your own professional practice.

We offer modules in a range of named specialisms or you can select modules depending on your area of interest and availability. The named specialisms are:

- Education Management
- Information and Communication Technology
- Inclusion and Special Education
- International and Comparative Education

If you take one module in a named specialism and complete the research project or dissertation in a cognate area, your final award will include that named specialism e.g. MEd (ICT). For choices across specialisms, the award will include the term "Professional Practice" e.g. MEd (Professional Practice).

For further course details please see "Course Web Page" below.

Subjects taught

Year one
The Reflective Professional
This module is designed for all students to help develop their abilities in critical reflection on their practice. It is concerned with the theory and practice of reflective analysis as well as the development and application of curriculum theory. Special emphasis is placed on the understanding, philosophy and application of these reforms in the new Northern Ireland Curriculum. The module is designed to improve current practice in context, as well as preparing participants for later modules.

Collaborative learning online
This module is optional
This module embraces the use of on-line environments to promote collaborative learning. Collaboration lends itself to a constructivist approach to learning in which the learners are at the centre of the learning process. It provides a critical community for articulating, challenging and clarifying ideas and for promoting knowledge building communities. Opportunities are provided for evaluating on-line courses/learning and appreciating the learning and teaching implications surrounding the design and implementation of teaching on-line.

Building Teams and Managing Resources
This module is optional
Building Teams Increasingly, schools require teachers to operate as a team and communicate effectively. This module provides an opportunity to acquire the methods and skills for effective team presentations, as well as providing a chance for personal development in the company of other teachers. Managing Resources The effective management of resources is an important element in raising the quality of learning in schools. Education managers need to understand the methods of managing financial and other resources to enhance the effectiveness of learning. The module provides opportunities to develop new approaches to resource management in schools.

Inclusive and Special Education: Developing and Analysing Practice
This module is optional
This module encourages participants to analyse, share and build upon their knowledge and experiences and to consider alternative strategies that will enhance the educational, social and emotional development of pupils with SEN within a changing educational environment. The existing context in which practitioners find themselves will be the starting point for these activities. Forms of educational enquiry will be used to enable participants to investigate aspects of their existing practices as a basis for development and improvement. This will include the promotion of supportive teacher and peer strategies that acknowledge the particular requirements created by different learning needs and school/classroom environments. Participants will examine their individual and institutional practices with a view to developing a positive, equitable and inclusive education environment.

Year two
Research Design and Initiation
The Research Design and Initiation module introduces students to the key ideas and issues that underpin educational research theory and practice. It provides a research methods course to guide them in commencing their own empirical research project. All students will have developed knowledge, insight and skills as reflective practitioners in the classroom or practice situation, and many will be very familiar with action research. This module is designed to widen their views of research enquiry, to help students organise, implement and progress an educational research project by dissertation encompassing good practice in primary and secondary research, methodological design, analytical insightfulness and piloting, and implementation planning including ethical enquiry.

Strategic Development Planning
This module is optional
This module analyses the concept of strategic planning in school improvement. It provides practical guidelines for using strategic planning techniques and tools. Opportunities are given to participants to practice using the techniques and tools. Case studies and examples of strategic planning in action in schools and colleges are provided. The possible future of schools in 10 to 20 years is considered.

Year three
International and Comparative Education
This module is optional
This module embraces the use of wider reading and enquiry to reflect on educational systems and practices across the world before making informed, evaluative comparisons. Students will be encouraged to articulate their thinking on key issues such as access, gender, progression and the teaching profession in a range of settings. The module will be taught using lectures/webinars, structured reading and discussion.

Leadership for learning
This module is optional
The key theme of the module is that leadership at all levels of the school matters in enhancing student learning. Distributed leadership and learning-centred leadership are important concepts for leaders in helping improve learning and teaching in classrooms and schools.

This module is optional
This module allows participants to produce a sustained piece of independent research. It seeks to improve the quality of the participants' personal and professional understanding and the excellence of their practice, so that the impact on their organisation and on their colleagues and students is enhanced. It provides opportunities for the development of educational research methodologies and deepening understanding of the participant's situation and context.

Children's Learning and Assessment
This module is optional
This module is designed to develop the student's knowledge and ability to apply current thinking about the nature of teaching and learning to enhance learning performance. The module will require reflection on personal practice followed by action research in the quest to bring about effective change in children's learning and attainment.

Research Project
This module is optional
This module gives candidates the opportunity to carry out an independent piece of research that will be academically rigorous yet manageable within the circumstances of professional life. It will draw upon knowledge of research methodology and involve a synthesis of theory and practice of benefit to the student intellectually and to the workplace within which he or she functions.

Entry requirements

To apply to our postgraduate taught programmes, you must meet the University's General Entrance Requirements and any course-specific requirements.

These vary depending on the course and are detailed online.

Applicants must normally:
(a) have gained

(i) a degree from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or

(ii) an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma or an approved alternative qualification, e.g. a professional qualification; and

(b) be currently working in a teaching or training environment

(please note: the PGDip/MEd with Specialisms does not qualify you as a teacher).

If English is not your first language this course requires a minimum English level of IELTS (academic) 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5, or equivalent.

Visit for more details.

This course is open to international (non-EU) students.

For full entry requirements please see "Course Web Page" below.

Application dates

Your Application
Application is through the University's online application system (see "Application Weblink" below).


Part-time/Online. This course is taught online so you can study where you want, when you want.

Post Course Info

Career options
In addition to improving your career portfolio, this course will allow you to develop higher level skills of argument and critical thinking as well as developing academic writing skills and research capability. Having a Masters level qualification should enhance potential career advancement, and is a useful preparation for Doctoral level study.

Past students who have taken the specialisms Learning and Teaching, Inclusive and Special Education and ICT have used the qualifications for career advancement, while several of those studying or having completed the Leadership and Management modules have been successful in gaining Vice-Principal and Principal posts both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Other pathways have also led to enhanced professional practice and career advancement.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma at UK Level 7,Degree - Masters at UK Level 7,Postgraduate Certificate at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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