On this Master’s degree we explore the links between education and social and political movements, and develop understandings of how 'education' as a contested field should be viewed within a globalised and postcolonial context. By 'education' we mean all forms of informal and formal learning, across all age ranges, including adult, higher and professional education. We ask the key question: is education a force for reproduction or transformation in the world? In other words, does education change the world or maintain the current system? For example, can it alleviate the effects of poverty or does it increase existing inequalities? Key debates on what is the role of education and how people learn are developed from a range of viewpoints, including critical theory. We take an interdisciplinary approach to thinking about education, drawing on the arts and humanities as well as the more conventional respresentations of education in social science. The programme offers those with an interest in, or concern about, education the opportunity to explore relevant theories, to develop research skills in social science and to apply these to education practices.
The degree will appeal to those interested in developing and extending their knowledge and understanding of education and social change. In addition to the core modules, you can choose from a range of option modules in order to tailor a programme to suit your developing interests. You will also take a course on research methodologies, which will provide you with the tools to undertake an original piece of research into an aspect of education that fascinates you.
The programme will deepen your awareness of how education shapes, and is shaped by, our understanding of the world and may contribute to your professional development. In previous years, some students have used the qualification to take their careers in new directions, while others have used the programme to deepen their thinking about their current practice. It is flexibly designed with a range of option modules, and a Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate are also available.
How to apply
Application deadlines and interviews
Interviews throughout the year.
Early applications are recommended, but later applications are also considered.
You take 2 core modules and choose 2 option modules. You also undertake an Independent Research Module, to support you in choosing, developing and undertaking a piece of independent research (qualitative empirical or theoretical).
Indicative option modules
Independent research module
Good first degree or other relevant qualifications.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Part-time home/EU students: £
paFull-time home/EU students: £
paPart-time overseas students: £
paFull-time overseas students: £
Payment and Fees Discounts
Funding and Financial Support
Careers and employability
Teaching and assessment
Seminars, discussions, expert guest speakers, student presentations and case studies. This is supplemented by tutorials and study skills support.
A range of methods, including essays, presentations and case studies and, for the final core module, Researching Education, a dissertation or an action research project.