Moray House School of Education and Sport

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.

The 'MSc Education: Research' pathway is broad in the range of research approaches and methods taught, including quantitative and qualitative methods. On completion of the pathway, students will be able to critically evaluate educational research evidence and will have gained knowledge and experience to conduct rigorous research in education and allied social subjects.

You will increase your general understanding of education, from either a philosophical or political angle, and can select two option courses to follow your specific interests.

Key issues covered in this pathway include: 

  • What are the main traditions and paradigms in educational research?
  • How do different methodological positions affect research questions and design?
  • What are the major descriptive and exploratory statistical data analysis techniques?
  • What are the main analytical approaches to issues in qualitative research?
  • How do researchers choose and justify a suitable design to apply in their own research?

Pathway structure

You will take a number of compulsory and option courses and complete a dissertation in order to complete this MSc programme.

Compulsory courses

Option courses

In addition, you complete two option courses, selected from a broad range on offer in the School. Option courses are subject to change each year but in the past have included:

Course Descriptions (2023-24)

The course is really eye-opening and exciting for students who are adjusting to MSc Education study in the first semester. Dr Lee has devoted a lot to engage as much as possible to help students study effectively during this challenging time.

Education Policy and the Politics of Education - nominated for Outstanding Course in the EUSA Teaching Awards 2021


Over the course of studies in semester one and two, our staff will support you to gradually become more independent in your studies. This helps prepare you for your dissertation project. On successful completion of the core and option courses, you will complete a dissertation project which is a piece of independent, original research of 12,000 words.

Once you reach the dissertation stage, you will have a series of small group and one-to-one meetings with your allocated supervisor, who will work closely with you during the dissertation project. One of the benefits of being in a large department is that there is a wide range of staff skills to draw upon so dissertation supervisors are more likely to be specialists in your chosen area of research.

Examples of recent dissertation topics in this pathway area include:

  • Borrowing behaviour by young low-income students from Scotland: an exploratory study
  • The teacher quality gap between urban and rural areas: a comparative study on teacher quality in one of the Eastern cities in China
  • ‘Must try harder’: experiences of LGBT+ students in one Scottish university
  • Students’ perceptions of the expansion of the shadow education sector in Chinese private international education
  • An investigation of play specialists’ perspectives on technology 

Pathway-specific career opportunities

Graduates from this pathway will develop an understanding of the nature and use of research in education, critically evaluate research publications, develop research skills in qualitative and quantitative methods and be able to undertake empirical work in education settings and beyond.

Students finishing this pathway are well equipped to transfer to a PhD programme or to work in research roles in the non-academic sector, for example, researchers at the policy level. The pathway can be taken either as a free-standing degree (1 year) or as the first year of doctoral study (1+3 years). 

Home and EU students interested in applying for studentships to undertake this programme are asked to discuss their situation with the Pathway Co-ordinator.

PhD programmes at Moray House School of Education and Sport

Contact us

For further information about this pathway, please contact the Pathway Co-ordinator.

Pathway Co-ordinator: Dr Adriana Duta

Apply now

Find detailed entry requirements, fees and costs, and apply for this pathway via the Degree Finder.  

Apply now