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 developing your pedagogical practice in schools and classrooms, through engagement with and in research.
The course is part-time, intended for teachers, in both primary and secondary schools, and including school leaders, who are interested in developing a research-informed approach to their existing practice. It focuses on the processes of learning and teaching, and is rooted in your own practice in school (or a similar educational setting); it is not possible to enrol if you are not currently working in a school (or similar setting). The course involves attending teaching weekends (held on Friday afternoons and Saturdays), and carrying out investigations in school, which are supported by set readings.
There are three Parts overall. In Part 1 and 2, attendance is required at five intensive two-day residential courses in Oxford; supervision will mainly be offered within small subject-specific support groups, and from a University supervisor with expertise in a particular subject. In Part 3, you will largely work with a specialist supervisor on your own project. 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 master's-level work in Part 1, then joining those starting Part 2, before going on to complete the final project.
Throughout the course there is a strong emphasis on collaboration within your school and across the course. The University’s Virtual Learning Environment is used to support the school-based tasks and sustain critical discussion with peers. In addition to attendance at the seminars, all students are expected to engage in online activities, reporting and reflecting on their reading and school- based investigations.
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.
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.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course 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.
Some of the teaching and all of the supervision in Part 2 of the programme is offered on a subject-specific basis (in those subjects in which the department has particular expertise). Those applicants to join the programme in Part 2 who are offered places but find that a particular subject group is already full will be given the option of joining a generic group or deferring their place until the following year when they can join the subject-specific group of their choice.
The course has enabled many alumni to progress on to leadership roles in schools, including several headteachers.
Changes to this course and your supervision
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. In certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.
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, parental leave or change in employment.
For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.
Other courses you may wish to consider
If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.
All graduate courses offered by the Department of Education
Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours 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 your degree is not from the UK or another country mentioned above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.
GRE General Test scores
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
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; and
- evidence of your employer's support.
Publications are not expected.
English language requirement
This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement.
Detailed requirements - higher level
The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:
|IELTS Academic||7.5||Minimum 7.0 per component|
Minimum component scores:
|Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced||191||Minimum 185 per component|
|Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency||191||Minimum 185 per component|
Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide.
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
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.
Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. 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. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
Admissions panels and assessors
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
After an offer is made
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements:
If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.
Disclosure of criminal convictions
In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.
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, and access to the university’s ‘eduroam’ WiFi network.
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:
- Language, Cognition and Development
- Policy, Economy and Society
- Learning: Pedagogy, Learning and Knowledge.
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, and is fully supportive of part-time students. 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.
There are over 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.
Annual fees for entry in 2020-21
During Parts 1 and 2 of the course you will be charged course fees at the PGDip in Learning and Teaching fee rate. These fees are shown in the table below.
Annual PGDip in Learning and Teaching (Part 1 and 2) fees for the 2020-21 academic year
Annual Course fees
|Home/EU (including Islands)||£4,125|
In your final year (part 3), you will be charged course 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 annual MSc course fees for the 2020-21 academic year.
Annual MSc in Learning and Teaching (Part 3) fees for the 2020-21 academic year
Annual Course fees
|Home/EU (including Islands)||£5,805|
Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.
Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.
For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.
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.
In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 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. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.
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.
The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Learning and Teaching:
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:
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.
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.
Start or continue an application
Step 1: Carefully read the entry requirements on this course page to make sure you meet all the criteria.
Step 2: Check above what documents are required and prepare to apply by reading our Application Guide.
Step 3: Apply as soon as possible. Consult the Application Guide for more information about deadlines.