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MA in Professional Education

Course code

Part-time: X3AS

MA Professional Education

20 Months

Start Date
January 2024

Department of Study
Centre for Teacher Education

Location of Study
Distance Learning

Join Warwick Centre for Teacher Education in our aim to empower teachers to pursue quality research-led practice. This course gives you the freedom to explore in-depth an educational question of your choosing.

We value teacher expertise and that is why half of the credits for the MA will come from your own prior school-based learning as classroom teacher or leader, either from a PGCE within the last five years, or via our Postgraduate Certificate in Professional EducationLink opens in a new window. The other half will be gained during the course from our Research in Professional Practice and Ethics Portfolio modules and Dissertation.

Register your interestLink opens in a new window 

Course overview

The MA Professional Education offers you the opportunity to research a chosen area of practice in education, as part of a community of teaching professionals. Your three modules will take you step-by-step through designing, preparing for and carrying out a research project in your professional context.

  • Research in Professional Practice module (20 credits) - helps you write your research proposal
  • Ethics Portfolio module (10 credits) - helps you get ethical approval for your research
  • Dissertation (60 credits) - you will start sharing your results with the wider education community

This is your chance to reflect on what matters to you, and design a study that benefits pupils, colleagues and the wider profession. You will be supported by expert supervisors from the Centre for Teacher Education throughout your course. You can tailor the course to your own career aspirations and use it as a springboard to promotion or further research in school, or as part of a PhD.

Because you can focus your dissertation research on a topic of your choice, it can help prepare you for current or future roles, such as SEND and Leadership. You might also focus on general classroom practice or subject-specific pedagogy.

You will develop a stronger understanding of education policy and practice, helping you in the classroom, and equipping you to influence your career. The course can help you to develop further school-based research as well as informing pedagogic, pastoral and leadership roles.

Find out more now including course duration, contact hours, and what we offer you:

Flexible study around your needs

We understand that teachers and school leaders are busy, and that impactful study and research takes time. Our course is designed to provide you with the skills and space needed to complete meaningful research.

You have the freedom to conduct your dissertation research study at any time in the school year, or tracking a whole academic year if appropriate; so you don't just have to squeeze research into one term.

Course duration

The course takes approximately 20 months. You will start in January and finish in August the following year. This gives you space to decide when in the academic year it is most appropriate for you to complete your research and write up your dissertation thesis.

What does the course offer you?

Your choice of dissertation topic

You can study anything related to education. Recent topics include:

  • 'A study in resilience and access to education for looked-after children'
  • 'What strategies are effective in promoting mathematical reasoning skills for EAL pupils?'
  • 'A critical evaluation of the ways in which the recent GCSE and A Level reforms in England are impacting on the role and identity of middle leaders.'
  • 'Why me? An autoethnographic study into how the backgrounds of female students gave them the confidence to study physics.'
  • 'What insights does a participatory drama project provide regarding the masculinities experienced in an all boys private school?'

High-quality resources

You can access the University of Warwick library, both on campus and online. You will have support for academic research and writing. And you will access a high-quality virtual learning platform, full of carefully selected resources tailored to school-based research.

Expert advice and support

We will help you to develop detailed research proposals and give you constructive feedback about your chosen research design. We will guide you through the rigorous ethics process in research. We will offer advice and support on sharing your research through teacher networks, conferences and academic networks.

Flexibility and understanding

Our programme is usually flexible enough to adapt to changes in professional roles or personal circumstances during the course. Sometimes students need to have extensions or temporarily withdraw. We understand the difficulties of working and juggling the demands of home life, so we are always sympathetic to the challenges you face and will be here to support you.

Online study

All of our teaching sessions are online allowing you to access the course wherever you are in the world.

  • You will benefit from 2 induction days in early January and early March. These induction days will explore topics in your Research in Professional Practice module.
  • You will cover topics like generating research design ideas and aims, and identifying and assessing relevant research and literature in a chosen field.
  • You will participate in 4 further Saturdays during the course, helping you to develop research expertise and hear from teachers who are already researching effectively in their school contexts.
  • You will enjoy online tutorials spread throughout the duration of your course. These will be with a Warwick research supervisor who has expertise and interest in a relevant field.

Contact and supervision

  • Six Saturday sessions (remote)
  • Supplementary bespoke online resources
  • Regular one-to-one contact with your supervisor 

All our research supervisors have masters or doctorates in Education themselves. Many of our staff are currently undertaking doctoral study, and this is a really good time to supervise Masters students.

We are active in regional, national and international networks that keep us at the forefront of developments in education. Our MA staff have all been teachers themselves, working in a range of contexts and positions. They are active members of a range of organisations, such as:
The APPG, CCoT, BELMAS, IPDA, BERA, #WomenEd, ResearchEd, and CollaborativeEd.
The dissemination of information from these organisations, and the opportunity to attend Conferences, helps to develop your academic skill set.

Contact hours

Your contact hours will vary across the 20 months.

In addition to the six Saturday online teaching days, you will have one-to-one supervision sessions with your supervisor each half term.

Class sizes

Taught sessions canbe up to groups of 15 depending on the nature of the session.

The Centre for Teacher Education assessment process rewards sustained, innovative and deep investigation and requires those submitting research to adhere to the highest standards of research, ethics, and academic writing. The University of Warwick quality assurance process means that you can be confident in the research your teachers complete with us. An MA Professional Education from Warwick is something in which you and your staff can take pride.

What does the course offer my school?

This degree offers a way to facilitate research-led teaching and leadership in your school. It gives your staff a space to reflect on what matters within your current educational context. And it's a CPD opportunity that empowers your staff to actively create new knowledge, benefitting themselves, your school and the wider profession.

How can I support my staff to take part?

You can encourage staff who are experienced but completed their PGCE more than five years ago to take part in our Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Education.

You could also:

  • Pay all or some of the Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Education stage fee and/or all or some of the MA stage fee. See our Fees & funding tab for more details.

  • Offer a reduced timetable for the duration of the course.

  • Arrange for PPA time to fall in one block to utilise extra time to study.

  • Exempt teachers from attendance at specific teacher training days.

  • Offer a block of study leave in the summer term.

  • Pay travel expenses to taught sessions if appropriate.

You could also give your staff time at management meetings, governor meetings and staff meetings to share their research ideas both during and after the research is completed. You can support your staff in disseminating their completed research amongst your MAT, through publication, or through attending a conference to share what your school has learnt as a result of their research.

Contact us

The Programme Leader: Jen Rowan-Lancaster j dot rowan-lancaster at warwick dot ac dot uk

Enrolment questions: ma dot cte at warwick dot ac dot uk

General entry requirements

Minimum requirements

Your PGCE with QTS (or iQTS) if you qualified within the last 5 years is worth 90 CATS (half a Masters) if you start your study within the five-years of finishing your PGCE. If you completed your PGCE more than 5 years ago, you can still join the course. You will first need to complete additional modules through ourPostgraduate Certificate in Professional Education. The Postgraduate Certificate enables you to exchange your teaching and leadership experience for Master's credits

English requirements

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, you will need a minimum score of 7.0 (with min. component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0+) under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic).

Find out more about English requirements at Warwick.

Core Modules

Year 1

Research in Professional Practice Module (20 credits)

This module helps you generate ideas for your Dissertation research project and get your research focus just right. It supports you in designing a study that uses appropriate methods for your context, so that when you carry out the research in your Dissertation study, you can be confident that it will be worthwhile.

Assignment: 5,000 word research proposal with personal reflection.

Ethics Portfolio (10 credits)

This module aims to give you a thorough understanding of the ethical requirements for carrying out research in school contexts. It takes you step-by-step through the Ethics Application process for your Dissertation Research. This ensures that every phase of your research is conducted to the highest ethical standards.

Assignment: Submission of ethics application form and supporting documentation.

Year 2

Dissertation (60 credits)

Your Dissertation research builds on your Research in Professional Practice Proposal and Ethics Portfolio, to carry out a substantial research project into an area of relevant practice. The module runs from August (Year 1) through to August (Year 2), so that you can choose when in the academic year is most appropriate for you to complete your research.

Assignment: 20,000 word thesis about your Research Project

Your dissertation timetable


In January of your first year, you will begin the Research in Professional Practice module. This module will take you through the steps required to write a research proposal. It will help you to plan out exactly what you want to do, and how you want to do it. You will submit your 6,000 word research proposal at the beginning of May.


By the end of June in your first year, you will have written and submitted your Ethics Portfolio (worth 10 credits). This work will help you to make sure that your research is considered safe and ethical. The portfolio is approved by the department Ethics Committee.


You will get the go-ahead to pursue your research.

The following 12 months

Over the course of the next twelve months, you will write a 20,000 word Dissertation (worth 60 credits). We recommend that you do this in stages. A suggested timeline is as follows:

  • August: This is a good time to plan and start reading for your literature review.

  • October - July: You will undertake research in your school during these months at a time chosen by you. You may want to limit your research to finish by the end of May, to help you organise and collate your findings.

  • December: Complete a draft of the 'Literature review' section of your dissertation. (Approximately 5,000 words).

  • April: Complete a draft of your 'Methodology' section of your dissertation. (Approximately 5,000 words).

  • May: Organise and analyse your data, such as transcribing and coding interviews. (Depending on your research design.

  • June: This is a good time to write a draft of the 'Discussion of findings' section of your dissertation. (Approximately 5,000 words).

  • July: Review your draft sections and add your introduction and concluding sections.

  • August: You will submit your final dissertation by the end of August in your second year.

Fees and Funding

There are three modules, which you will need to pay for separately.

Research in Professional Practice (20 credits)

£1,155.00* Commences, 16 January 2023
£1,213.00 commencing 15 January 2024

100% due at enrolment.

Ethics Portfolio (10 credits)

£585.00* May - June 2023
£614.00 May - June 2024

100% due on enrolment to this module.

Dissertation (60 credits)

£3,649.00 August 2023 - August 2024
£TBC August 2024 - August 2025
50% due upon enrolment for second year (August), the remaining 50% is due in following March.

*23/24 fees stated. The modules you will need to take for this course will fall across two academic years. The tuition fee for the course is charged per module and the fee payable for each module is dependent on the academic year in which the module is taken. The dissertation module is taken in the second academic year of the course and the fee for this (or any modules normally taken in the first year that are deferred until later) will increase annually by the relevant inflation (5-6%). Fees will be invoiced in advance of the presentation of the module each year. Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.

As this is a modular-based course, fees for each module are due at the start of each module (within 21 days). Exact payment due dates can be checked by logging into your Student Finance account on the Student Records System, once you have enrolled).

Please note this course is not eligible for a postgraduate loan and is exempt from the 10% Alumni Discount, however you will pay for each module separately, as detailed above. Should a sponsor, such as your school, be paying your fees, you would need to complete the sponsorship form at enrolment.

For up-to-date information concerning fees for Home/EU and Overseas students please visit Warwick's Finance pagesLink opens in a new window. These include the published Centre for Teacher Education feesLink opens in a new window.

Your career

Our graduates go on to work in a variety of roles within education, as classroom specialists, mentors, middle and senior leaders, and in pastoral positions. Our teachers also move into related roles outside of school-based education, into Higher Education, social work and alternative education provision for example. Our teachers work across the state, independent and international school sectors.

They have pursued further research through PhD and EdD study and have shared their research widely at conferences and through publication.

What do our students say?

I want to become a key name in educational research, especially in teacher wellbeing. I hope to change and influence key policies on teacher retention and wellbeing. The first research module of my MA, shaped my interest in teacher wellbeing. The initial study focused on factors contributing to teacher burnout and the stories and experiences I heard were a key motivator for me to continue research in this area. Teaching is a very stressful and difficult profession and the teachers I had throughout my MA were very strong and inspiring, they are the drivers to my passion.”

Education Supply Teacher
PGCE Alumna, Graduated 2016
MA Alumna, Graduated 2020

I hope that my MA will enable me to take a fuller and more extensive role in ITT and NQT training within my school and the training consortia with which it is a part. I have found enjoyment and shown some ability in mentoring new teachers within my department and feel that as a highly experienced teacher I have a great deal of expertise and “know-how” to pass on. The MA’s focus on wider issues beyond my subject specialism – particularly the leadership elements have given me a much more comprehensive knowledge and understanding of education practice and policy.”

Teacher of Drama with English
MA Student

Current PGCE Student at Warwick

If you are currently studying for your PGCE at the University of Warwick and wish to continue your studies in the next academic year you should contact the Admissions and Enrolment team ma dot cte at warwick dot ac dot uk before Monday 27 November 2023. You will not be required to apply via the Postgraduate Application form, as we can arrange for your student record to be updated.

Completed your PGCE QTS (or PGDip) within the last 5 years

If you are a recent PGCE graduate, you will need to apply directly via the Postgraduate Application form before Monday 27 November 2023. There is no application fee for this course. You will also be required to provide your PGCE transcript. QTS certificate and your PGCE Reference from your Provider. This will allow for an application for recognition of your prior learning to be submitted on your behalf to allow the transfer of 90 credits from your PGCE (or PGDip) towards the MA programme.

Completed your PGCE over 5 years ago

If you have completed your PGCE over 5 years ago, you will need to have applied for and completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Professional EducationLink opens in a new window prior to applying for the MA in Professional Education. Candidates completing the CTE Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Education will be able to apply for admission on to the MA in Professional Education which will allow the transfer of these 90 credits toward the MA. Applications for this route in to the MA should be made directly via the Postgraduate Application formLink opens in a new window before Monday 27 November 2023. There is no application fee for this course. You will also be required to provide confirmation of your completion of the CTE Postgraduate Certificate in Professional EducationLink opens in a new window.