Institution / Open University In Ireland
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This flexible qualification offers three specialist routes – applied linguistics, inclusive practice, or leadership and management – 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 with a fast track option to complete in 2 years, or take up to 6 years
• Leads to MA or M Ed, 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.

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.


2 - 6 years.

The minimum time to complete is 2 years, the maximum time to complete is 6 years. Most students study this qualification in 3 years. Please note that if you started the Applied Linguistics route in October 2015, the minimum time for completion is 3 years.

Study method
Distance learning

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

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.
There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also look at our OU study and your career pages to find out about potential career opportunities related to OU subject areas.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

Course details
Suggested routes to the degree
There are two options to studying the qualification. A fast track 2-year option or the standard 3-year option. We recommend that you choose carefully and plan your work accordingly. You must complete this qualification within six years. Please note that if you started the Applied Linguistics route in October 2015 the minimum time for completion is 3 years. The fast-track option is also available.

There are a number of possible routes through the Masters in Education, with specialisms in applied linguistics, inclusive practice, and leadership and management, which draw on the research strengths of the Faculty of Education and Language Studies.

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.

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

Stage 1

60 credits from this list:

Optional modules

Credits Next start

Addressing inequality and difference in educational practice (EE814) 60 07 Oct 2017
Educational leadership: agency, professional learning and change (EE811) 60 07 Oct 2017
Applied linguistics and English language (EE817) 60 07 Oct 2017

Stages 2 and 3

You will choose your specialism and study 120 credits as follows:

For the MA in Education (Applied Linguistics) or MEd (Applied Linguistics)

Compulsory modules
Credits Next start
Language, literacy and learning (EE818) 60 07 Oct 2017
MA Ed dissertation: applied linguistics (EE819) NEW 60 07 Oct 2017

For the MA in Education (Inclusive Practice) or MEd (Inclusive Practice)

Compulsory modules

Credits Next start

Understanding literacy: social justice and inclusive practice (EE815) 60 07 Oct 2017
MA Ed dissertation: inclusive practice (EE816) 60 07 Oct 2017

For the MA in Education (Leadership and Management) or MEd (Leadership and Management)

Compulsory modules

Credits Next start
Educational leadership: exploring strategy (EE812)
60 07 Oct 2017 MA Ed dissertation: leadership and management (EE813) 60 07 Oct 2017

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.


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 a MA in Education (Applied Linguistics) or MEd (Applied Linguistics), MA in Education (Leadership and Management) or MEd (Leadership and Management), MA in Education (Inclusive Practice) or MEd (Inclusive Practice). You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

If you are unable to complete all three stages of this qualification you will still be able to claim an exit qualification for successfully completed study. For the successful completion of one 60-credit module from Stage 1 you will be able to claim a Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Studies in Education (K27). For successful completion of both Stages 1 and 2 (120 credits of study) you can claim a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Studies in Education (E88).

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