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Higher Education MA

Learn about the course below
October 2021
1 year full-time
2-3 years part-time
£7,950 (UK) *
£8,000 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Dr Phil Barter

The higher education programme will be starting in October 2021 in distance education online mode ONLY. This is because we've changed some of our teaching arrangements in response to the coronavirus outbreak to ensure that you'll get the same great learning experience with support to help you meet your needs.

The new MA Higher Education is intended to attract those interested in the study of Higher Education as its own field of study. The new range of modules on the new programme reflect the changing landscape of Higher Education

Why study MA Higher Education at Middlesex University?

This flexible and accessible course is designed to work around you. Aimed at academics and those supporting learning in Higher Education, and beyond including local Further Education Colleges, other higher education institutions, training providers and those with an interest in the sector. The course explores the literature in teaching, learning and assessment together, to help you critique and apply generic and subject specific pedagogies and carry out related research across a broad range of disciplines and roles.

If you have just completed your PGCert in Higher Education then you can progress onto the diploma level of this programme to continue your studies.

Course Highlights

  • Flexible course allowing participants throughout the UK and the world to study around their current work commitments
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

How will you study the MA Higher Education?

You can are enrol on this course with at least a good undergraduate degree of any discipline and a passion for learning more about Higher Education. If you have a Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education or equivalent, you can join the second year with 60 credits recognised towards your Masters.

If you wish to step off the programme after you complete 60 credits or 120 credits you will be awarded a certificate or post graduate diploma in higher education.

Depending on your choice of modules and experience upon successful completion of the diploma level of the programme you will be ideally prepared to make an application HEA Senior fellowship status (D3).


  • Year 1 modules

    • The Philosophy and Policy of Higher Education (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will allow you to develop the study of higher education policy in a philosophical perspective. In doing so you will consider the importance of philosophical thought to contemporary higher education policy beyond and in greater depth than in previous modules. You'll have the opportunity to investigate higher education policy and its development in specific aspects of higher education – widening participation, social justice, assessment, finance and explore these within international higher education policy. You will investigate contemporary policy frameworks in higher education and develop a personal, justified stance in regard to one aspect of policy. You'll be able to critically assess this policy aspect and appreciate its philosophical roots in teaching and learning in higher education.

    • Pedagogy in Higher Education (15 credits) - Compulsory

      The aim of this module is to introduce students to theories that underpin learning and teaching in higher education. Students will be able to reflect on how to effectively facilitate learning in the context of modern higher education and within various subject disciplines. This will be done through the critical exploration, reflection on, and evaluation of a wide range of key contemporary learning theories, practices and methodologies that support the development of effective learning environments and enhance the student experience.

    • Psychology of Learning in Higher Education (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module is designed to explore various psychological theories and practical applications relevant to enhancing the experience of higher education. Different psychological perspectives and research on thinking, learning (including collaborative learning), cognitive and learning styles, motivation, positive psychology, emotional intelligence, resilience and development of self-identity and self-efficacy, and the role of social support and connectedness will be critically appraised in relation to applicability and impact on student retention, engagement and achievement.

    • Pedagogy and Practice in Higher Education Teaching and Learning (15 credits) - Compulsory

      The aim of this module is to apply their knowledge of pedagogic theory developed to the study and practice of innovative curriculum and assessment design that will provide dynamic learning, assessment and feedback experiences that are appropriate to participants’ subject discipline. Students will be able to reflect on how to effectively facilitate learning in the context of modern higher education and within various subject disciplines. This will be done through a practice-based project where participants will be able to explore the unique concerns and drivers of their practice within the context of their subject discipline and wider higher education.

    • Students' Union: Their Role and Influence (15 credits) - Optional

      This module aims to provide an understanding of how the organisation of students’ unions reflects the concerns of students in terms of their voice, motivations, support and well-being in the contemporary context of the Office for Students.

      It will provide the platform from which to investigate the impact of students’ unions at the three levels: with the students, the university, and higher education sector and contribute to the resolution of issues facing students’ unions. You will also discuss organisational change in students’ unions, make international comparisons and consider their contribution to developments in higher education.

      The module is jointly designed and delivered with Students’ Unions practitioners based at MDXSU.

  • Year 2 modules

    • Research Methods and Methodologies for Education (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will provide a critical overview of research methods and approaches used for researching various aspects of modern higher education. You will be able to evaluate the strengths and limitations of various methodologies in a range of higher education contexts.

    • Learning Technologies in Higher Education (15 credits) - Optional

      This module explores ways of integrating various learning technologies into the curriculum in order to promote student engagement and enhance the learning experience. Throughout the module a collaborative learning environment will be created in order to allow students to successfully design the implementation and evaluation of a technology enhanced learning solution/ project within their own professional context.

    • Language, Literacy in Higher Education (15 credits) - Optional

      This module aims to identify key themes relating to language and literacy in English-dominant and EMI (English Medium of Instruction) universities which impact on both staff and students, including multilingualism, widening participation and global Englishes, and will be relevant for staff with a particular interest in, or responsibility for, language and literacy. The module will critically assess relevant current research in these areas, and will enable students to appraise a range of approaches by different stakeholders within Higher Education to addressing the challenges relating to these. Students will work in groups on structured discussion tasks which will enable them to explore current research and apply this to challenges in their own setting.  The module will enable students to make informed decisions relating to their own context which enhance the literacy and communication needs of both staff and students, and to apply their learning to the design and implementation of relevant policies, and appropriate curriculum design and pedagogic interventions.

    • Contemporary issues in higher education (15 credits) - Optional

      This module aims to identify critical issues that drive higher education policy and practice. You will develop an understanding of contemporary higher education practice and critical evaluate specific aspects, as well as how societal and economic factors shape the core issues facing higher education.

    • Globalisation Issues in Higher Education (15 credits) - Optional

      This module is designed to critically investigate and broadly explore issues relating to the concept of globalisation and internationalisation. It will provide you with opportunities to consider the impact of developments that are changing the perspectives and realities of globalisation in higher education.

    • Peer and Team Coaching in Higher Education (15 credits) - Optional

      This module offers advanced level study of topics in Peer and Team coaching.  It offers students a blend of academic study, practical experience, and personal development in addition to an introduction to the language, purpose and process of peer and team coaching. The module is designed to measure a variety of learning outcomes and to facilitate students’ development of critical thinking, reflective learning and specialized listening and communication skills in support of personal, professional and collective development of HE Tutor learning, on the MA in Higher Education (or as a form of CPD).

    • Advanced Research Methods for Education (15 credits) - Optional

      This module is designed to provide a critical overview of the advanced methods and approaches used for research into topics areas related to education. You will be equipped to apply this advanced knowledge in the planning of a research proposal.

  • Year 3 module

    • Dissertation (60 credits) - Compulsory

      The dissertation is a compulsory model for those seeking to achieve the MA Higher education. It aims to enable you to display your ability to plan and conduct an ethical research project displaying mastery of complex and specialised area in reference to your own field of criticism and enquiry.

Please note that modules may become unavailable if there are low numbers.

See the course specification for more information:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

If you’re interested in January 2021 courses, we will provide more information on plans for teaching and learning in the coming months.

How will the MA Higher Education be taught?

The learning, teaching and assessment approaches used throughout your programme will encourage you to be actively involved in your learning and to co-operate with other participants. We aim to give you prompt feedback on your learning as well as opportunities to reflect upon and learn from that feedback.

Teaching on the programme will be in four blocks throughout the academic year to enable you to easily plan your studies around work and personal commitments. In each teaching block, there will be scheduled live sessions and follow up discussions, from two modules, with relevant tasks to be completed between each teaching block so please do ensure you are able to attend and engage with these sessions.



Formative assessment is developmental in nature and designed to give you feedback on your performance and how it can be improved. As a result you will get detailed feedback on formative assessment but not a grade. Formative assessment is an important part of the learning process and has been shown to contribute to enhancement of learning and the raising of standards.

Summative assessment is designed to measure the extent to which you have achieved the intended learning outcomes of a module and therefore the appropriate grade to be awarded.

Teaching and learning

Changes for students in 2020

If you’re starting university in 2020, we’ll be teaching you in different ways to make sure you get the best learning experience possible. You’ll learn through live sessions with teaching staff and have the chance to study independently too, with access to all the online resources you need through our globally available student portal.

We’re planning different scenarios for teaching so we can be flexible. While we’re social distancing, we currently plan to teach your course fully online through a mixture of live interactive sessions and independent learning. This will ensure you’re equipped with the same skills as on campus study, and offer you an engaging learning experience where you can meet and network with your lecturers and fellow students through online platforms. We are also exploring opportunities for face-to-face interactive sessions with smaller groups of students and staff where possible and we can make the appropriate arrangements. You will still be able to access bookable study spaces on campus, and any of the facilities and support services which are open, as well as our extensive online support.

The table below shows current plans for your learning across a typical week, including scheduled live online teaching and an indication of what we hope to teach face to face, where you can make it to campus. While some weeks might look different to this, due to how we schedule classes, the table gives you an idea of what to expect based on the overall number of teaching hours on your course.

You’ll receive final arrangements for your teaching and a full course timetable before you start.

Course delivered fully online while current social distancing measures are in place

Live learning

Contact time per week, per level:

2 hours

Self-paced learning time

Average hours per week, per level:

1 hour

On demand resources

Average hours per week, per level:

1 hour

Read more about our scenarios for returning to campus and what they might mean for your teaching and learning experience, and how you’ll be able to access student support.

Future plans for teaching

We’re developing our timetable for face to face teaching  with current government advice on social distancing to keep you safe. If social distancing requirements are lifted, we’ll start to safely move back towards our usual teaching arrangements with more opportunities for face to face learning. Some learning and support might stay online in this scenario. If more restrictions are put in place, or there is another lockdown, we’ll be prepared to deliver your learning and support fully online, with alternative arrangements made for any required placements. We’ll always give you notice of any changes that we make.

Definitions of terms

  • Live learning – Live learning will cover everything you’ll do with teaching staff like lectures, seminars, workshops and other classes, and we’ll schedule all of this for you. This might include some study outside your regular timetable, like taking part in discussion forums or online blogs where you’re supported by academic staff.
  • Independent learning – Independent learning is all the studying you’ll do outside your live learning sessions with teaching staff. This self-paced study will give you the chance to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time as you need to, and you’ll have access to on-demand resources and materials to help you do your best.
    • Self-paced study – Self-paced study will give you the chance to learn wherever and whenever you want to and at your own pace, outside your live learning sessions. This independent learning could include reading and reflection, preparation for classes, revision or homework along with access to other online activities such as quizzes.
    • On-demand resources – You'll have access to on-demand resources like pre-recorded video lectures and workshops as part of your independent study. You’ll be able to review and revisit whenever you need to at your own pace.


You’ll have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will mainly be delivered online and you’ll have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You’ll have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

More on teaching for your subject in 2020/21

Read our guide to what’s been happening in your subject area recently and more about what to expect this autumn.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU/International
  3. Additional costs
  4. Scholarships and bursaries

How can the MA Higher Education support your career?

Completion of this degree will help you realise your ambitions of teaching within the Higher Education sector.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

Other courses

Higher Education PGCert

Start: September 2021, January 2022

Duration: 1 years part-time

Code: 034X344

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