How do education systems reproduce, or challenge, existing inequalities? How might you intervene in education systems to promote social justice? Could you develop research-led policy agendas in your own institution?
Our stimulating MA programme immerses you in a vibrant research culture as you explore these fundamental questions and tackle a range of issues relating to social justice in education.
Studied part- or full-time over one or two years, and entirely online, the programme offers an excellent grounding in research methodologies. It offers hands-on experience of research, and the opportunity to develop a deep theoretical understanding of social justice and education, while focussing on topics of particular relevance to your own interests or professional practice. While the course is delivered online, you are welcome to participate in the department’s research activities throughout the year either face-to-face or via live-streaming, and some of our students opt to visit their tutors in person.
This MA is delivered by influential, research-active tutors and staff from our well-respected Educational Research Department which has specialised in the online delivery of postgraduate, research-oriented programmes for many years. You will benefit from their range and depth of knowledge covering areas such as gender, migration and development, globalisation, social class, disability and digitally-mediated environments.
Our department is ranked joint 61st in the world by the Times Higher Education World Subject Rankings 2022. We are proud to be rated joint top in the UK for the impact of our research by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, with 100% of our research rated ‘outstanding’ for impact.
As part of a dynamic group of international students, all of whom are involved in education and social justice but with their own unique perspectives and specific interests, you will be studying in an inclusive and supportive learning environment that is also interactive and sociable.
Skills development elements such as research techniques, critical thinking and academic writing are complemented by engagement in online forums, peer and tutor review, interactive work, webinars, and live-streamed guest spots that reflect departmental interests.
Core modules in research practice and theories in education and social justice combine with a tutor-supported independent study module to help you prepare for the research dissertation. Your dissertation follows a further optional module in which you develop your own interests within the broad scope of policies and ideologies, interventions in education, and challenges to educational inequalities.
The programme is designed so that the classroom is ever-present: you can work around your own schedule and study whilst in employment. Previous students include teachers, social workers, policy-makers, and those in a variety of careers in education-focused institutions. The programme is also taken by graduates with an academic interest in education and social justice issues.
Our MA in Education and Social Justice provides a potential route to our highly successful PhD in Education and Social Justice, as well as leading to career change or progression for professional practitioners. It carries the same prestigious academic recognition as traditionally-delivered programmes.
2:1 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in any subject.
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.
We may also consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for information.
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
English Language Requirements
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 6.5, and a minimum of 6.0 in the reading and writing elements and a minimum of 5.5 in the speaking and listening elements of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email email@example.com
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Education, Evaluation and Research
The module will introduce you 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 you with the grounding needed to become an autonomous researcher: enabling you to take advantage of your existing expertise as a practitioner to provide a starting point for thinking about educational ‘problems’ that merit further investigation; enabling you to read existing research materials critically; and enabling you to formulate projects to develop your own knowledge and communicate that knowledge to others.
Key issues and theories in social justice and education
The module will explore key issues and theories in social justice and education. We will start by considering what social justice means and how it serves different educational ideologies and explore some key theories with which to analyse these through a social justice lens. 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. Alongside this, we will think through academic writing practices and get to understand the expectations of the course.
Indicative topics include:
• What is meant by social justice?
• Theories of social justice.
• Promoting social justice through and in education
• Contemporary social justice issues in education
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, related to their particular scheme of study. The module provides 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.
Tutor-supported Independent Study
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 students for undertaking their later Research Dissertation. Formulating the small-scale research project will therefore involve students in discussions with allocated supervisors about research interests and ongoing trajectory and how undertaking this project can support the development within the programme. Examples of suitable independent study projects might involve small-scale data gathering, including the designing or testing of research instruments.
Crucially, students agree a study plan early in the module with their assigned supervisor, and then work with the supervisor to refine the scope of the study, formulate appropriate research questions, design and implement a methodological approach, and formulate the research report. Students are encouraged to use materials covered during the previous 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 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 involve students working on projects under bilateral supervision.
The module will develop the knowledge and skills needed to gather, synthesise and report upon a range of evidence to further understanding of topics of relevance and professional practices, and communicate that understanding to others.
Challenging Educational Inequalities
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 you with the opportunity to interrogate social justice issues within society and explore how these play out through the education system, developing and enhancing your knowledge and understanding of inequalities. It will engage you in analysis of complex processes of inclusion and exclusion and equip you with the tools to critically evaluate educational structures, policy and practices to both examine and challenge inequalities.
Policies, Ideologies and Interventions in Education
The module will take a unique and novel approach to exploring education that can be brought into relationship with both social justice, culture and technology. It would consider how an educational ‘policy’ or ‘theory’ is applied and interpreted in the contexts where it is used. For example, in schools, this can be inspection (e.g. in the UK by Ofsted), assessment practices, specific strategies and policies (e.g. in the UK the Prevent policy), digital and online practices, etc. At university, these will be university policies. If you prefer to explore theories, then you can consider any critical theory of your choice, such as postcolonial, race, pedagogic or feminist theories, and many more. These two foci (educational policy and theory) will be explored by considering how they “translate”/manifest into educational practice. Considering the materiality and multimodality of educational practice will enable us to examine how policy or theory are enacted, mediated and reshaped at the intersection of people, things and environments; how people and environmental aspects contest or apply policy and theory but also how they comply with incentive structures to thereby reproduce particular aspects of educational systems. A specific strength of the module is in considering how to obtain public and policy makers’ feedback by creative methods.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
Fees and Funding
|Location||Full Time (per year)||Part Time (per year)|
Scholarships and bursaries
At Lancaster, we believe that funding concerns should not stop any student with the talent to thrive.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover the cost of tuition fees and/or living expenses.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small College Membership Fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2022 and 2023, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2024 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Application fees and tuition fee deposits
For most taught postgraduate applications there is a non-refundable application fee of £40. We cannot consider applications until this fee has been paid, as advised on our online secure payment system. There is no application fee for postgraduate research applications.
For some of our courses you will need to pay a deposit to accept your offer and secure your place. We will let you know in your offer letter if a deposit is required and you will be given a deadline date when this is due to be paid.
- E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning (by course work and thesis) PhD
- Education and Social Justice (thesis and coursework) PhD
- Educational Research (Independent Study) PhD
- Educational Research - Higher Education (thesis and coursework) PhD
- Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement PhD
The information on this site relates primarily to 2022/2023 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.