Moray House School of Education and Sport

Programme structure and pathways

Choose from a wide range of courses to develop a knowledge, understanding and critique of research, policy and practice relevant to social and educational inclusion.

2 boys in playground with teacher

Today, inclusive education is increasingly understood as a complex endeavour.  Although the term was originally used to refer to the inclusion of students with disabilities in mainstream schools, the conceptualisation of inclusive education has broadened over time to look at the issue the other way round – assuming that all children will be fully included in ordinary classrooms and schools.

This programme addresses the need for professionals with the capacity to respond to the increasing cultural, linguistic and developmental diversity of school communities and the pressure to achieve high academic standards for all while safeguarding the inclusion of those who are vulnerable to exclusion and other forms of marginalisation.

Three key points, distinctive to this MSc, define the principled approach that unifies the programme and provide the context for deeper study within specific courses:

  1. Everybody’s different – we present a new way of thinking about human diversity beginning with the idea that difference is an ordinary aspect of human development; that every person is a unique individual with multiple overlapping identities.
  2. The transformability of people’s capacity to learn – we suggest that notions of fixed ability should be rejected; that learning is a social activity, interconnected with others, where teachers can and do act to enhance participation and achievement. 
  3. New ways of working – we explore understandings of the roles of professionals and stakeholders in the widest sense of the context in which children and young people’s needs are met. This includes how specialist expertise is made available in ways that enhance education for all, actively avoiding marginalising or stigmatising some learners.

The core content of the programme draws from the disciplines of education, sociology, psychology, disability and childhood studies to enhance knowledge and understanding of the issues related to inclusion.

Programme Structure

Masters degrees at the University of Edinburgh are made up of 180 credits. The first 120 credits are the taught portion, wherein you will take a number of compulsory courses, plus choose from a broad range of option courses. Assuming an average mark of 50% or more is achieved, you can exit at this point with a Postgraduate Diploma, or progress on to the Master's degree by completing the dissertation component (60 credits). Successful completion of the 180 credits leads to the award of MSc

You can study full-time or part-time for the Master's degree, or part-time for a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma. 

Compulsory courses

Option courses

Students will take an additional 80 credits of option courses. Option courses change every year but have previously included:

And you may also choose any of these which you have not already selected as your compulsory course, as an option course:

Courses and course descriptions are subject to change each year and are provided here as indicative only.

N.B. If taking the programme on a part-time intermittent basis, courses from outside the School may have different fees. 

Course Descriptions (2023-24)

You will be taught through a combination of workshops, lectures, seminars, problem-based learning activities, debates and peer group learning. Some courses will have online as well as face-to-face teaching. The timetable is devised so that part-time students can be accommodated wherever possible. This means that some courses may be taught in the evenings or at the weekend.

All students are allocated a personal tutor who can offer guidance and pastoral support. 

This course gave me an opportunity to think critically and engage with concepts that were valuable to other courses. [The course organiser's] detailed responses to final course assessment was very helpful; I will be able to employ the recommendations to improve performance in future assessments.

Sources of Knowledge: Understanding and analysing research literature - nominated for Outstanding Course in the EUSA Teaching Awards 2021


The programme assessment methods give you the opportunity to develop a range of academic and professional skills and graduate attributes.  These methods include essays, presentations, placement observations and portfolios, and a dissertation if you choose to progress to the MSc.

Assessment will include both formative feedback as well as summative assessment or examination.  All courses include opportunities for feedback on an early piece of work, and this often focuses on supporting academic writing.

Specialist Pathways for Teachers

Our part-time specialist pathways, taught by qualified practitioners, offer practising teachers a Postgraduate Diploma in teaching deaf or visually impaired learners.  You will meet the Scottish and English governments' mandatory qualifications for teaching deaf and visually impaired children.

Deaf Learners

This specialist pathway is designed for teachers who wish to gain the competencies for qualified teachers of deaf children. 

Visually Impaired Learners

This specialist pathway is designed for teachers who wish to gain the competencies for qualified teachers of visually impaired children.

As Postgraduate Diploma routes are only available by part-time study, they are only available to UK/EU students due to visa restrictions.

You can choose to take the Postgraduate Diploma route on its own, or progress onto a Master's degree in Inclusive Education by completing a dissertation.


On successful completion of your taught courses, you may choose to progress to the MSc, which will include the production of an independently researched dissertation.

At the stage of working on a dissertation, you will have one-to-one supervision.