Masters in Education and Social Justice

The MA in Education and Social Justice (by coursework and dissertation) is offered as a part-time or full-time structured Masters programme that is undertaken entirely online.

Length of programme

12 months full-time or 24 months part-time.

Mode of delivery

100% online with no campus-based teaching.  However, it is possible to be supervised through face-to-face on-campus meetings, if you prefer this.

Key information

  • About the MA

    The programme provides a well-defined and supported route to an MA for people around the world. The programme is designed so that participants can study entirely from home and whilst in full or part-time employment.  The course structure provides flexibility for different lifestyles and affords participants the opportunity to work around their own schedules.

  • Who is the MA for?

    The MA in Education and Social Justice will be of interest to people:

    • working in educational institutions, charities and NGOs who wish to improve their research skills;
    • working in educational establishments where ongoing career progression depends on research;
    • recent/ not so recent graduates with an academic interest in education and social justice issues;
    • who wish to change their career direction within education: for example, by moving from the school sector to the university sector or from teaching to research;
    • who have an academic interest in the area and who may wish to go on to pursue doctoral studies in educational research, perhaps on the PhD in Education and Social Justice at Lancaster University.

    An MA pass, on this programme, with a Merit or above will guarantee a place on the Education and Social Justice PhD programme. (Subject to course availability, you should check the application date for the PhD Programme with the MA Administrator). 

  • Research

    The programme and assignments are designed to provide research opportunities to explore and understand how formal and informal education, in a variety of countries and contexts – schooling, training, adult and higher education, workplaces, voluntary organisations, reform projects - mediate social equalities and inequalities.

    The programme provides a thorough introduction to issues in social justice research, a solid grounding in research methods and writing skills, and extended opportunities from early in the programme to work with an expert academic supervisor.

    From the start of the programme students are encouraged to engage with fundamental issues such as how education systems reproduce existing inequalities or might challenge them. Our aim is to stimulate and challenge, and to go beyond everyday common sense while also drawing on students’ experiences to keep the discussions grounded in concrete practices.

    The same philosophy underpins our approach to research methods. A dedicated module introducing a variety of research approaches is complemented by an early opportunity for individual study, supervised on a one-to-one basis. Students are thereby encouraged at an early stage to apply the principles they have been discussing in a small tutor-supported project. So by the time students come to work on their research dissertation they will already have practical experience of research to draw upon.

  • Elective specialisms

    The programme also provides an opportunity to take an elective module on a specialised topic. Examples of specialised modules include:

    • Cultures, Globalisation and Education
    • Policies, Ideologies and Interventions in Education

    Students gain in-depth knowledge of topics that are of particular relevance to their personal interests and careers, and that may inform the topic of their research dissertation.

  • Programme ethos and outcomes

    The MA in Education and Social Justice is a course with a strong research ethos. It will be of interest to anyone who wishes to gain research expertise as well as develop knowledge of social justice issues. Such research experience will be particularly useful for students who wish to learn how to intervene in education systems to promote social justice, and for those who wish to develop research-led policy agendas in their own institutions.

    The course will equip students with the requisite skills for further study at doctoral level. We offer a unique opportunity to engage with students living across a range of continents and countries, creating a rich and diverse learning environment.

    An MA pass, on this programme, with a Merit or above will guarantee a place on the Education and Social Justice PhD programme. (Subject to course availability, you should check the application date for the PhD Programme with the MA Administrator). 

How to Apply

 

For admission to this programme applicants should normally have:

  • a relevant upper-second class honours degree from a British university or CNAA, or
  • qualifications of a comparable standard from a university or recognised degree awarding body in another country.

Language proficiency

Applicants will need to have an acceptable fluency in written and spoken English. 

For students whose first language is not English, an English Language Test Certificate will be required, that is, IELTS Academic with an overall score of 6.5 with at least 6.0 for reading and writing.

Further information can be found at: English Language Requirements.

Please apply using the Online system

Start date:  1st October, 2019  (part and full-time).

Maximum Cohort Number:  25

Initial closing date for applications:  31st August 2019

Places on this programme are limited, so we strongly encourage applicants to submit their application as soon as possible.  Applications received after 31st August 2019 will be considered on a first-come first-served basis until the programme is full.

Deposit:  £300.00 non-refundable deposit is required to secure your place on this programme

Personal statement

Please include a clear, detailed personal statement about why you wish to join the programme, why you are suitable for it, your research interests and what you hope to achieve from it. Please outline whether you have experience of online programmes, and why you think you are well suited to studying online.

You should think very carefully about this statement and treat it as an opportunity to show what your interests are and how you will be able to benefit from postgraduate study in our department.

Paper application forms can be obtained from:

Postgraduate Admissions
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
LANCASTER
LA1 4YL

Telephone

+44 (0)1524 510880

E-mail: fass-pg-admissions@lancaster.ac.uk

The fee for each cohort is set annually by the University.  Fees are subject to a small increase each academic year.

The part-time course fee for 2019/20 is

  • £4,250 for UK/EU nationals (per year);
  • £8,750 for overseas nationals (per year).

The full-time course fee for 2019/20 is

  • £ 8,500 for UK/EU nationals (per year);
  • £17,500 for overseas nationals (per year).

All applicants should consult our information on fees and funding and applicants from the European Union can read more information, from Lancaster University, following the 2016 Referendum.

Structure, modules and assessment

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples are listed below.  All modules are 30 credits except for the dissertation whcih is 60 credits.

Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but there may be some unavoidable changes, for example as a result of student feedback, staff changes, new research and other factors.

Assessment

Students are assessed through formative and summative assessment including mini-research proposals, a small-scale research project, critical analysis and reviews of policy documents, a dissertation.

  • EDS 831: Education, Evaluation and Research (Core module)

    The module will introduce students to a range of processes used for investigating, and producing new knowledge about, ‘education’. The module focusses on developing an understanding of the deeply contextualised ways in which educational investigation is carried out and the contingency of the knowledge claims produced; locating educational investigation within the development of the research field and contemporary literature; formulating research questions that can illuminate research agendas; selecting and justifying appropriate methodological approaches; and designing particular projects based on the selected methodology that can satisfactorily address the research questions. The module will explore those issues with reference to a range of examples taken from published literature.

    The module will provide students with the grounding needed to become autonomous researchers: enabling them to take advantage of their existing expertise as practitioners to provide a starting point for thinking about educational ‘problems’ that merit further investigation; enabling them to read existing research materials critically; and enabling them to formulate projects to develop their own knowledge and communicate that knowledge to others.

  • EDS 832: Tutor-Supported Independent Study (Core module)

    The module will enable students to develop a critical understanding of research as a form of academic practice, working together with a supervisor to conduct an exploratory project and write a research report focused on a topic of personal and/or professional relevance to the student. One key aim of this module is that the experience helps prepare the student for undertaking their later Research Dissertation. Formulating the small-scale research project will therefore involve the student in discussions with their allocated supervisor about their research interests and ongoing trajectory and how undertaking this project can support the student's development within the programme.

    Examples of suitable independent study projects might involve small-scale data gathering, including the designing or testing of research instruments; or conducting a literature review for the purposes of identifying potential points of contribution that the student might make with regard to a chosen topic of their interest. Crucially, students agree a study plan early in the module period with their assigned supervisor, and then work with their supervisor to refine the scope of the study, formulate appropriate research questions, design and implement a methodological approach, and formulate the research report. Students will be encouraged to revisit the materials from the ED.S831 module and reflect on those throughout this process.

    Students will develop knowledge of how to understand the different roles, types and purposes of educational research; how to define the scope of a research project and find existing literature based on that scope; how to evaluate and synthesise research evidence; and how to write a research report report that takes into account particular audiences (such as researchers working within a specialist field, research generalists, or practitioners).

    The module will comprise a short initial orientation period and an online discussion space. However, most of the period of the module will invovle students working on their projects under bilateral supervision.

    The module will provide students with the knowledge and skills to gather, synthesise and report upon a range of evidence to further their own understanding of topics of relevance to them and their professional practices, and communicate that understanding to others.

  • EDS 834: Key Issues and Theories in Social Justice and Education (Core module)

    The module will provide an introduction to key issues and theories in social justice and education. We will start by considering what social justice means in different educational contexts, and exploring some key theories about social justice. Key differences between different theories of social justice will be explored, and their implications for education examined. We will also explore how different theoretical lenses can provide new ways of viewing aspects of educational systems, and use these lenses to examine multiple perspectives. The ways in which social justice issues currently arise within different education settings will be explored, and we will consider how education can challenge and/or reinforce inequalities. We will also begin to think about issues associated with researching social justice and how theory can help focus analysis of substantive issues. We reflect on whether social justice is simply a topic of research or whether it requires particular approaches and commitments on the part of the researcher.

    This module will provide students with opportunities to engage with and evaluate different theories and perspectives. They will also begin to consider issues involved in researching education and social justice.

  • EDS 833: Research Dissertation (Core module: 15,000-20,000 words)

    The aims of the module are:

    • to provide students with an opportunity to undertake an extended piece of self-directed research in a field of their choice;
    • to provide experience in conducting research (a skill of relevance to further postgraduate activity as well as in varied professional settings);
    • to provide experience of the management of project design, methodology, development and implementation;
    • and to further develop students’ ability to communicate complex ideas and concepts.
  • EDS 835: Challenging Educational Inequalities (Optional module)

    This module will consider a range of social justice issues within education relating to (but not limited to) gender, class, 'race’ and ethnicity, age, sexuality, disability, language, geography, religion, and their intersections. This will involve developing an understanding of how advantage and disadvantage are structured through policy, practice and experiences; how students from different groups experience inclusion and exclusion; how educational institutions may generate, reinforce or reproduce social inequalities; and how educational inequalities may be challenged. Education will be considered as both an issue of social justice and as a practice for social justice.

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to interrogate social justice issues within society and how these play out through the education system, developing and enhancing their knowledge and understanding of inequalities. It will engage students in analysis of complex processes of inclusion and exclusion and equip them with the tools to critically evaluate educational structures, policy and practices to both examine and challenge inequalities.

  • EDS 836: Policies, Ideologies and Interventions in Education (Optional module)

    The module will take a unique and novel approach to exploring education that can be brought into relationship with both social justice and technology. It will consider ‘policy’ issues and theories typically investigated in educational research (for example graduate employability and  internationalization in HE, digital learning and public communication in general) and theories concerning ideology (e.g. any critical theory of student choice, e.g. postcolonial or feminist theories), to explore them via semiotic, multimodal critical discourse analysis lenses.

    Doing so will involve particular focus on policies that impact on education (from global levels to institutional and local levels; how policies are mediated and re-shaped at those different levels; how people contest policy but also comply with incentive structures and thereby reproduce particular aspects of educational systems) in relation to multimodal communication; alternatives suggested in the literature for how policy development might occur in more democratic ways; and how to obtain public and policy makers’ feedback by applying creative visual strategies.

What our students say

  • Cohort 2 Participant (UK)

    "Being able to have the freedom to pursue my own interests as well as benefit from taught elements, has built my confidence and greatly enhanced my understanding of how social justice fits into my role as a teacher. The course content is engaging and challenging and each assignment has pushed me to explore a wide range of ideas.

    I have found the tutors to be very encouraging and supportive, particularly in helping me to develop a stronger sense of direction and conviction in my own research interests. I have been challenged to reflect on my role as an educator, as well as build skills as a researcher. The distance learning aspect of the course is something I have really appreciated as the ability to fit the course into my job is invaluable to my professional development. But moreover, has enabled me to pursue postgraduate study, which I would otherwise not have been able to do."

  • Cohort 2 Participant (UK)

    "This course has helped me to develop my ideas and interests in the social justice aspect of education.  It has allowed me the freedom to pursue the ideas and themes I am interested in whilst also giving a comprehensive and good grounded base on theories and a variety of topics and subject areas.  The Moodle forums for the modules have enabled me to discuss and develop my ideas further with my fellow peers and also allowed me the opportunity expand my support network.  The course content is engaging whilst also challenging, as expected of a Masters programme.  The support available from the tutors and staff is brilliant and you can always find someone to assist you in whatever you may need help with whether by phone, email or Skype.  The tutors provide a lot of encouragement whilst also pushing you to further develop your academic skills and knowledge within the field.  This course has enabled me to find a good balance between work, a young family and studying and I would thoroughly recommend it."

  • Cohort 2 Participant (Mainland Europe)

    "I live in [mainland Europe] and the 100% online element of this course was one of the main attractions. The course is very engaging. Though I have been an ardent activist for social justice for years, I was still surprised to find how my own established thinking was challenged within the first module of the course. That the course is new is an advantage in that the developers are open to feedback. I suggested a research book that may be of use to the currciulum and it was added to the library resources within days."

  • Cohort 2 Participant (UK)

    "The college offered the subject specialism that I was interested in and allowed me the opportunity to complete the study all online which fits in with my work and home life allowing me the freedom to choose the time when I can focus on my studies. The modules are fulfilling the purpose of my interest and I found the first module on social justice themes fascinating. There are optimal and timely opportunities to conduct research and measure your own work against current theories and this has ensured I am challenged as a student and as an educator. I would recommend the course for anyone who feels they cannot spare the time to attend college, who has the ability to focus and collaborate online and most of all someone who is passionate about Education and Social Justice."

  • Cohort 1 Participant (UK)

    "This course has allowed me the flexibility to explore themes and ideas that I am interested in, with the help and support from passionate lecturers.  For me, I was initially a bit hesitant about not having the support network that you would find when attending a face-to-face course, but having tutors that wll communicate via Skype or email when required is great.  This means I can continue to work and support my family whilst studying something that, I hope, means one day I can make a difference."

  • Cohort 1 Participant (UK)

    "A key factor in me identifying the right Education Masters programme was that there would be a connection between education policy and practice and their impact on society.  Another pre-requisite was that there would be a strong research focus.  I was delighted to see that this programme combines the two.  There is a growing, and welcome trend in favour of evidence-based approaches to educational policy, practice and publishing and one I am keen to be part of.  I was also impressed by the quality and range of the research of the programme staff.  I've found the step-by-step structure of the programme to be supportive in building confidence in theoretical knowledge and practice research knowhow before embarking on a full-scale piece of research.  I'm also enjoying the freedom to self-direct the focus of my research."

Online and Distance learning

The Educational Research Department has considerable experience of supporting online and distance learners and we aim to make all our students feel that they are full members of the Department and part of the postgraduate community.  Wherever possible we facilitate online participation at events and seminars organised by the Department.

All students have access to Moodle which is our Virtual Learning Environment. Many resources, for example, journal articles, required for postgraduate study will be available online through the OneSearch facility offered by the Library.  Additionally the Library provides extra services for Distance Learners.

Rebecca Marsden is the Online Learning Support Officer for the Department of Educational Research and she can be contacted with queries about online learning.

The Learning skills webpages provide a wide range of online study opportunities across a range of topics.  These include digital skills, referencing, research training and critical thinking.

Download this pdf document to find out more about Computer requirements for distance learners.

Current Programme staff

The course has close links with the Department's Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education.  Tutors are internationally renowned researchers/practitioners with a wealth of experience and knowledge on a range of education and social justice issues including gender, ethnicity, class, migration and globalisation.  We are based in one of the best Education Departments in the UK, in a University ranked in the top 200 world-wide and top 10 in the UK. 

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Contact us

If you have any questions, or would like further information about this programme, please contact the Programme Co-ordinator, Alice Jesmont.

Tel: +44 (0) 1524 592893

Email: a.jesmont@lancaster.ac.uk

Online and Distance learning

The Educational Research Department has considerable experience of supporting online and distance learners and we aim to make all our students feel that they are full members of the Department and part of the postgraduate community.  Wherever possible we facilitate online participation at events and seminars organised by the Department.

All students have access to Moodle which is our Virtual Learning Environment. Many resources, for example, journal articles, required for postgraduate study will be available online through the OneSearch facility offered by the Library.  Additionally the Library provides extra services for Distance Learners.

Rebecca Marsden is the Online Learning Support Officer for the Department of Educational Research and she can be contacted with queries about online learning.

The Learning skills webpages provide a wide range of online study opportunities across a range of topics.  These include digital skills, referencing, research training and critical thinking.

Download this pdf document to find out more about Computer requirements for distance learners.