Moray House School of Education and Sport

Programme structure and pathways

Gain a broad foundation on our general MSc Education, or specialise your degree by choosing a Pathway in a particular area relevant to your educational and professional aims.

Across the programme key educational challenges and possibilities are considered from a variety of different theoretical, policy and practice perspectives. You will learn through a combination of lectures, student-led seminars and presentations, practical skills training and project work. You will complete compulsory courses and choose from a range of option courses, totalling 120 credits. Should you take up a specialist pathway, compulsory and option courses will reflect your specialism. The Master's degree culminates in an independently researched dissertation for another 60 credits. 

Whether you choose to take the general MSc Education or a specialist pathway, you will work with staff who are internationally-recognised research leaders in their areas ensuring that your teaching is informed by the most up-to-date knowledge and thinking. Our staff represent the interdisciplinary nature of education and come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including educational psychology, the philosophy of education, quantitative and qualitative research in education, physical education and well-being, community education, child and youth studies, sociology and education policy as well as anthropology and education. 


MSc Education: General pathway

Gain an ideal foundation to work in education policy, research or practice, or to progress on to doctoral study.

MSc Education: Child and Adolescent Psychology pathway

This pathway takes a psychological perspective towards understanding development from infancy to adolescence, focusing on cognitive, social and emotional development, and contextualising this within a broad understanding of educational theory and policy.

MSc Education: Early Childhood Practice and Froebel pathway

This pathway is for those who have an interest in early childhood education and want to gain an advanced and critical understanding of Froebelian principles and other contemporary early years pedagogies.

MSc Education: Philosophy of Education pathway

This pathway explores a range of philosophical issues in education practice, policy and research from a variety of different international contexts, traditions and perspectives.

MSc Education: Research pathway

This pathway offers advanced level training in educational research, to critically evaluate evidence and conduct rigorous research in education and allied social subjects.

Please note that courses, course content and pathways may change each year.


Teaching on our compulsory courses mainly consists of lectures and related workshops where you will get the chance to work with a tutor in smaller groups to make sense of ideas and practices introduced in the lectures. Lectures on compulsory courses are recorded which means that you can listen to them again to further and deepen your understanding.

Across the programme, and depending on which courses you take, teaching delivery encompasses a range of different formats including traditional face-to-face lectures, video lectures, guided readings, workshops, seminars, work-based placements, independent study, small group meetings and one-on-one meetings with staff. You will have the opportunity to work on structured group and individual tasks throughout the programme. 

As a team, we understand that Masters programmes can be demanding and that new cultural and learning contexts may also be challenging for students who come from a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds. To help deal with your social as well as academic needs, in your first few weeks at Edinburgh, you will be allocated a Student Adviser, who will help to guide you should any questions or challenges arise.

There are also a variety of different research seminars held in the school throughout the year run by staff and PhD students that you will be able to attend. 


On this programme, we use assessment to inform our teaching and support your learning. In all of our courses, students receive feedforward guidance about graded assessments. Typically, each 10 credit course has a separate piece of graded assessment. Typically, our 20-credit courses contain two pieces of graded coursework. All assessment points are distributed carefully throughout the programme to spread student workload yet permit sufficient time for learning within courses before assessment. 

We have a diverse range of assessment tasks designed to assess the broad range of academic and professional knowledge and skills we want our students to develop. Our assessment tasks include traditional essays (though these will generally only constitute part of the final grade), group presentations, digital portfolios that evidence engagement with education research and practice, collaborative video presentations using various forms of digital media, grades for class participation, grades for online participation and grades for course-related blogs.

Across the programme, focus is placed upon providing you with appropriate but supported degrees of freedom to choose the specific topics to be explored in your assessed tasks based on your personal and professional interests and needs. Students with schedules of adjustment will also be able to negotiate alternative modes of assessment with course tutors in accordance with their individual needs. We want our assessment tasks to be as meaningful as possible for students. As such we monitor and respond to student views about their assessment tasks for all courses on an ongoing basis. 

After almost twenty years in an industry I knew inside out, it was great to be challenged and to learn new things. My interest is founded in the educational attainment of looked after children, but has grown to include all aspects of inclusive education, young people in care and social work.

The MSc Education programme offered a wide range of classes, from research methods and ethics to educational philosophy and the nature of inquiry. All stretched me academically, as a mature student, but provided a great base to draw on when writing my dissertation.

Colin BroughMSc Education, graduated 2012

Related links

MSc Comparative Education and International Development