Postgraduate study

Transformative Learning and Teaching MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time



It was my hope that I would be joining a teacher education programme that was political, critical, passionate and proactive about education. I have not once been disappointed. MSc Transformative Learning and Teaching is full to the brim with a diverse range of students, lecturers and practitioners who share their values and experiences to extend everyone's capacity to contribute towards meaningful practice in schools and communities. Through lecture content, Site-Based Learning (SBL) and the programme assessment principles, the programme offers so many opportunities for personalisation and deep engagement with the topics you feel passionate about.

Kathryn Brack MSc Transformative Learning and Teaching 2019

This two-year Masters programme is for graduates who want a teaching qualification designed to make an explicit difference to the lives of children and young people: it will support you in becoming a beginning teacher with a transformative orientation.

The MSc in Transformative Learning and Teaching programme provides an in-depth and integrated learning experience, with time spent in both University and school sites throughout the two years, allowing you to develop your skills as a beginning teacher over a longer period of time than would be the case in a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) programme. You'll also graduate from this programme with a full masters degree, something that is increasingly seen as desirable for the Scottish teacher workforce as a whole, together with a teaching qualification which will allow you to work across the primary/secondary transition.

Importantly, this programme has been designed and developed in partnership with local authorities. It is future-oriented, drawing on cutting-edge research, and is designed to prepare new teachers for a career in teaching in an ever-changing world, with a particular focus on social justice, sustainability, global perspectives, digital and statistical literacy, and professional inquiry skills.


The programme has a central focus on transformative practice, and, uniquely, will entitle graduates to teach across the primary/secondary transition phase. You will be able to choose from one of the following pathways:

  • Nursery - Secondary 3 Pathway
  • Primary 5 - Secondary 6 Pathway in a specific subject. Subject specialisms offered are: Computing Science, English, Languages, and Mathematics.*

*(Revised 25 February 2021 to note removal of Physics pathway.)

Mental health and wellbeing partnership

Student teachers at the University of Edinburgh also engage with our mental health and wellbeing programme.

This is provided through our unique partnership with children’s mental health charity Place2Be and helps you to support mental wellbeing in your classrooms and in yourself**.

Place2Be at Moray House

**(Revised 10 February 2021 to add details of mental wellbeing partnership.)


Graduates are qualified to teach and eligible for provisional registration from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). Eligible graduates may join the Teacher Induction Scheme, a guaranteed, paid one-year probationary teaching post, or take up a Flexible Route.

Throughout the duration of the programme, students will engage in both university-based learning and site-based learning in schools, with groups of students being placed in school clusters: one cluster in year 1 and a different cluster in year 2. A cluster will typically be one secondary school together with associated primary and nursery provision. Placing you in groups will facilitate collaborative learning and support.

Compulsory courses include:

  • Assessing what matters
  • Children and young people
  • Developing teacher professionalism
  • Literacy, learners and learning
  • Numeracy, learners and learning
  • Teacher literacies
  • Understanding the nature of knowledge and curriculum
  • Your subject specialism

You will also choose from either Inclusive Pedagogy or Comparative Approaches to Inclusive and Special Education, which you will study alongside other Scottish and international students on the MSc in Inclusive Education.

In addition, you will select a choice course which will allow you to begin to develop specialist interests.

Combining campus-based courses taught at Moray House and experiential Professional Placements (or site-based learning) undertaken in schools, this programme provides an excellent foundation for an impactful career in education.

Throughout the duration of the programme, students will engage in both university-based learning and site-based learning, with groups of students being placed in school clusters: one cluster in year 1 and a different cluster in year 2. A cluster will typically be one secondary school together with associated primary and nursery provision.

On successful completion of this programme you will:

  • Have substantive pedagogical breadth and depth of subject knowledge in either a secondary subject or in nursery/primary education, together with the ability to teach across the Primary 5 - Secondary 3 transition phase.
  • Have specialised knowledge in teaching literacy and numeracy.
  • Understand the politically contested notions of social justice and sustainability, and be able to draw on this knowledge in complex professional settings;
  • Employ systematic, evidence-based practice in your teaching, demonstrating an ability to inquire creatively into your own and others' practices in order to impact positively on learners' development and attainment.
  • Be digitally and statistically literate, demonstrating an ability to use these skills to enhance pedagogical practice and communication with pupils, parents, colleagues and other professionals.
  • Have the ability to lead on innovative practice in your chosen field, adopting an activist orientation to teaching.
  • Be global in outlook, demonstrating critical awareness of international perspectives on education and schooling.

Successful completion of the MSc in Transformative Learning and Teaching will confer professional registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), a necessary requirement for teachers in all state schools and most independent schools in Scotland. Professional registration with the GTCS is also recognised as an indicator of high quality in many countries outside of Scotland but you should seek guidance from the education authority in countries outside of the UK to determine whether this MSc will enable you to teach there.

Graduates of this programme will hold a masters degree in Transformative Learning and Teaching, as well as professional registration which will enable them to work across the primary/secondary transition, thereby enhancing their employability both within Scotland and beyond.

Eligible graduates will be entitled to a place on the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS), providing a paid one-year guaranteed teaching post with reduced class contact time and support from a school mentor.

Students from Scotland, other parts of the UK and other Member States of the European Union, who are studying at a Scottish Higher Education Institution are eligible to join the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS) which is organised by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). Participation in the TIS is not compulsory and some may choose to follow the alternative Flexible Route which is less structured and may better suit their personal circumstances.

Students from non-EU overseas countries who attend Teacher Education Programmes at Scottish Universities can also follow the alternative Flexible Route to complete probationary service if they are able to remain in Scotland on completion of their studies.

Graduates will also be equipped to enter a range of professions related to school teaching, for example, informal education, education development and education policy.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline.

We may also consider your application if you have other academic or professional qualifications or considerable relevant experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

On entry to the degree, you must have achieved a level of competence in English and Mathematics which is approved by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). This would normally be:

  • SQA Higher Grade C or above (or suitable equivalent) in English*
  • SQA National 5 grade B or above (or suitable equivalent) in Mathematics.

*The current General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) requirement stipulates that this should be achieved on entry to the programme. However, for students for whom English is not their first language, we will allow entry onto the programme (excluding the English Specialism Pathway) provided you make provision to achieve the qualification on exit from the programme. You must still provide evidence of competence in English language as per the requirements stipulated below.

You should be able to demonstrate previous commitment to, and experience of, working with children and/or young people in formal or informal settings. You should also be able to demonstrate an awareness of the powerful impact of education and teachers on young people's lives.

Selection involves a professional interview.

Primary 5 - Secondary 6 pathway in a specific subject

For candidates applying to the Primary 5 - Secondary 6 subject specialist pathway, you will specialise in either Computing Science, English, Languages, Mathematics or Physics. Your first degree should contain at least two graduating courses (80 UK credits) in the relevant subject.

Subject-specific entry requirements are stipulated by the GTCS: Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland (2019)

Nursery - Secondary 3 pathway

It is desirable for candidates applying to the Nursery - Secondary 3 pathway to hold a qualification at SCQF level 6 (Higher or equivalent) in a Modern Language and/or a Science.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups

All successful applicants will be required to join Disclosure Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme before starting the programme. In addition, all applicants who don't live in the UK, or who have spent more than a year abroad, will need to provide equivalent verification from the relevant national authority.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 7.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 25 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 185 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fee status

Tuition fees for eligible students from Scotland or a non-UK European Union country are paid by Student Awards Agency For Scotland (SAAS). Check your fee status to see whether you are eligible.

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

For tuition fee purposes, the MSc Transformative Learning and Teaching, like the PGDE, is treated in the same way as an undergraduate programme.

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Dr ML White
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 6331
  • Contact:
  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr ML White
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 6331
  • Contact:
  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ