MSc in Learning and Teaching | University of Oxford
Radcliffe Camera
The Radcliffe Camera, seen from the Bodleian Quad
(Image Credit: Christopher Wills)

MSc in Learning and Teaching

About the course

This is a professional development course for qualified teachers who are currently working in schools or similar educational settings.  It focuses on pedagogical practice in schools and classrooms, by developing research techniques.

This is a part time MSc programme for teachers who are interested in developing a research-informed, critical reflection on their practice. The focus is on the processes of learning and teaching, and the programme is rooted in your own school-based practice or in other educational settings. It involves carrying out investigations in school, supported by appropriate reading, and attendance at up to five intensive two-day residential courses in Oxford each year. Throughout the course there is a strong emphasis on collaboration.

Assessment is through formally submitted assignments at the end of each year. In Part 1 and Part 2 of the course, you will draw on the content of the units studied, while in the final year (Part 3) you will be required to complete a research and development project, which involves implementing a new strategy and reviewing its progress, while working with colleagues.

The University’s Virtual Learning Environment (Weblearn) is used to support the school-based tasks and sustain critical discussion. Supervision of your work will mainly be offered within small subject-specific support groups, and from a University supervisor with expertise in a particular subject.

The course is open to all qualified teachers, but there are two routes through it. Route A is intended to be more convenient for domestic students, requiring attendance at four or five seminars over the year. Route B is intend to be more convenient for overseas students, requiring attendance for a week each year, normally in October. All students are expected to engage in online activities, whichever route they are on, but Route B students will be expected to engage over the seminar weekends, with their peers in Oxford.

Further, applicants who already have a master's-level PGCE qualification can omit Part 1. Those with M level accreditation (worth at least 60 credits) start in Part 2 and complete one taught year before carrying out a Part 3 research and development project. Those with no previous M level accreditation are introduced to Masters level work in Part 1, then joining those starting Part 2, before going on to complete the final project. Both parts can be taken though either route, subject to reasonable numbers applying.

On entry to the course, you will follow the PGDip in Learning and Teaching in the first instance. Please see the Education website for the route through the course.

Graduate destinations

The course has enabled alumni to progress on to leadership roles in schools.

Related courses

Changes to the course

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in the relevant subject area for their work in school.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview(s)

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

Applicants meeting the selection criteria are interviewed by two interviewers with questions covering current role, experience and reasons for applying. The interviews are normally held via Skype, however, applicants are offered the choice of attending in person.  

Publications

Publications are not expected.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

You will also need:

  • evidence of Qualified Teacher Status in the United Kingdom or an equivalent overseas award recognised by the departmental board
  • employment in a teaching post within a school or similar educational setting
  • evidence of your employer's support.

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Department of Education to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work. 
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Department of Education and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. 
  • Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Education.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

Resources

As the MSc is a part-time course for professionals, the department takes pride in providing high quality IT support for your learning when you are away from Oxford. This includes a dedicated WebLearn site, which you will use to liaise with your supervisor and to exchange ideas with other students. Should you wish to work in the department when you are visiting Oxford, there is a computer room with desks which also has points for personal laptop computers.  

The Oxford University Department of Education (OUDE) has been making a major contribution to the field of education for over 100 years and the department has a world class reputation for research, for teacher education and for its master's and doctoral programmes. OUDE combines international standing as a research-intensive department with the highest quality teaching.

In the 2014 evaluation of research quality in UK universities, the Research Excellence Framework (REF), OUDE was the top-ranked Department of Education in the UK. The department has ESRC recognition for its graduate training, and its teacher training was rated ‘outstanding’ by the Office for Standards in Education (OfSTED) in its most recent inspection in 2011.

Research in the department is organised around three major themes:

  • Learning: Language, Cognition and Development
  • Learning: Economy, Policy and Society
  • Learning: Knowledge, Pedagogy and Design

Within each of these themes there are several research groups and centres. All staff and doctoral students belong to one or more of these research groups, each of which has its own seminar programme to which graduate students often contribute. In addition, the department as a whole sponsors regular seminars and public lectures which attract distinguished national and international speakers.

The Bodleian Education Library, located at the centre of the Department of Education, specialises in material on education and related fields. As well as a print collection of books, journals and statistics, the library provides access to a wide range of electronic resources. The library also houses a collection of teaching resources, primarily in support of subjects covered by the department's secondary PGCE course. The Social Sciences Library provides valuable additional resource to students pursuing programmes in the Department of Education.

Funding

There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

A number of Research Council awards are available each year from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (further details will be announced in October 2016), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2017-18

During the first year of the course you will be charged tuition and college fees at the PGDip in Learning and Teaching fee rate. These fees are shown in the table below.

Annual PGDip in Learning and Teaching fees for the 2017-18 academic year

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£3,045N/A£3,045
Overseas£5,115N/A£5,115

In each subsequent year, you will be charged fees at the MSc in Learning and Teaching fee rate for that year of study. For an indication of costs, the table below shows the estimated annual MSc tuition and college fees for the 2017-18 academic year.

Annual MSc in Learning and Teaching fees for the 2017-18 academic year

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£3,045£1,511£4,556
Overseas£5,115£1,511£6,626

Tuition and college fees are payable for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay tuition and college fees). Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

For more information about tuition fees, college fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.

Additional information

One overnight stay may be required on the Friday of the seminar weekends, the number of which is dependent on the entry level (Part 1: four weekends; Part 2: five weekends; Part 3: two weekends). The department estimates that accommodation costs can range from £70 per night in a College to £150 per night in a hotel (single rate). Students should also factor in costs for an evening meal.

Living costs

In addition to your tuition and college fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page. If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

How to apply

You are not expected to make contact with an academic member of staff before you apply.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Statement of purpose/personal statement:
Around one page

Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you.

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying
  • any particular priorities that you want to investigate or to develop in your teaching
  • your interest in developing particular kinds of knowledge or expertise, perhaps involving work with others
  • your wish to extend your thinking and understanding of the teaching and learning process
  • how the course will help to provide new ideas and encouragement to experiment with different approaches
  • if your school has particular reasons for encouraging you to undertake the course, again perhaps with a specific development project in mind
  • if there are specific challenges in your teaching/school context to which you are seeking answers.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic and/or professional

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

Academic references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation and your ability to work in a group.

References from your current employer will support professional progress, contribution to school/educational setting, motivation, ability to work in a group.