You are successfully registered
Thanks for telling us about yourself, ! Now we know who we're talking to, and can create content you'll love
You can do a master’s in education, a PGCE or a PhD. It depends whether you want to be a teacher, think critically about the education system or conduct research in the field. Use our guide to find out more.
Studying education at postgraduate level will help you become a teacher or work in a career that focuses on the field of education.
During a degree course, you could:
If you studied education for your bachelor’s degree, a postgraduate course will be a good step up. Each education degree option is quite different, so it’s worth looking into the different ones thoroughly.
A master’s degree will give you a higher-level understanding of what it means to be a teacher. Courses tend to be informed by the latest findings and practices, and you get to work alongside other teacher trainees and education experts.
You’ll develop education-specific skills, such as an ability to apply certain principles from one context to another. You’ll also develop transferable skills like:
Teacher training courses are often approved by the Department for Education. This means you gain qualified teacher status (QTS) after you've completed the course.
Qualification options include masters, doctorates, certificates and diplomas in education. Each has a slightly different focus and style of teaching.
Taught masters in education
Both Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MSc) qualifications in education are available. They encourage you to think critically about different areas of education, such as in a cultural, social or structural context.
These are often aimed at qualified teachers or other professionals looking to enhance their knowledge, such as nurses, therapists or others in the education sector. Education master’s courses do not lead to QTS.
Teacher training courses
The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) are teacher training courses. They prepare you for a career as a primary or secondary school teacher, and usually result in QTS. You can earn up to 60 credits of a master’s degree.
Courses blend academic study and practical classroom experience, so you’re ready to teach after graduating. As a secondary school teacher, you choose a school subject to be a knowledge expert on, such as English, maths or science.
A postgraduate research degree in education could be a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Courses enable you to conduct deep research into the field of education and consider global issues. You'll be supported by academic supervisors while working on your independent research project.
What are postgraduate degrees
Master’s graduates usually work in education, often in senior or leadership positions, research or education policy. Other options include international development projects, administrative roles in private or public sector organisations or community and youth work.
PGCE courses are designed to prepare you for a teaching career in environments like:
Other graduates go on to further study and complete a doctorate degree or work in research.
To qualify for a master’s course, you’ll usually need:
MA/MSc – bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with upper second-class honours (2:1) in education, teaching, English or a relevant social science degree. Or a bachelor’s degree and several years of relevant experience
Depending on the course and university, you might need relevant work experience and to demonstrate a strong interest in the area. Health and background checks might also be required, such as a DBS, especially if your course involves working with the public.
For other postgraduate courses, you’ll usually need:
Examples of postgraduate education courses in the UK:
Typical module topics or areas you could focus your research efforts on include:
If you’re training to be a secondary school teacher, you learn how to teach your chosen subject. Subjects include:
On an education master’s (MA/MSc), you could learn through lectures, seminars, peer-group projects, workshops and self-study. Assessment could be through written essays, exams, coursework, presentations, research projects and a dissertation.
Teacher training courses (PGCE/PGDE) are intensive courses where you begin with academic study and then learn on practical placements in schools. You’ll be observed on your placements and could be assessed through placement coursework, essays, exams, presentations and group projects.
If you pursue a research degree (MPhil/PhD), you’ll be guided by specialist supervisors but receive less support than on a taught course. You’ll be assessed on your independent research project (thesis) and accompanying oral exam (viva).
Education courses are usually the following lengths:
Part-time courses can last twice as long.
How to fund your postgraduate degree
Other similar subjects to education that you could study include:
Certificates are a perfect stepping stone to a Masters degree as you’ll not only...
These days, many students wish to further their study after graduation. ...
A PhD is both financially draining and incredibly challenging. ...