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Higher Education MA

Learn about the course below
September 2024
1 year full-time
2-3 years part-time
September 2024: £9,800 (UK)*
£12,600 (INT)*
Course leader
Paula Nottingham

Please note: There will be no intake for this course in September 2024. The next intake will be September 2025.

The MA Higher Education is intended for education professionals who are interested in the study of Higher Education as its own field of study. The learning on the programme reflects the changing landscape of higher education for professionals working in public and private institutions that focus on the education of adults. This flexible and accessible course is designed to be offered part-time or full-time. In 2023-2024, the MA Higher Education will be offered as a Distance learning programme only (so, fully online, with no need to travel to the campus).

Why study MA Higher Education at Middlesex University?

You can are enrol on this course with an undergraduate degree from any discipline and a passion for learning more about Higher Education as a part of your current professional role. If you have a Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education or equivalent, you can join the second year (P-T) with 60 credits recognised towards your Masters. Applicants are usually employed in the higher or tertiary education sector or within organisations contributing to the education for adult learners.

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 in the UK and throughout the world to gain a Masters’ qualification that relates to their current work commitments.
  • Builds practical and theoretical knowledge of higher education and adult education using recognised standards of policy and practice.
  • Enhances existing professional practice and career progression through personal development and self-managed learning.
  • Get free access to the resources, learning materials and software.

Find out more

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How will you study the MA Higher Education?

This course is aimed at professionals involved in teaching and supporting learning and leadership in the higher education of adults (aged 18 or over) in universities, colleges, and vocational providers worldwide that involve higher education. The course explores current literature and policy to help you critique and apply generic and subject specific pedagogies that can develop your professional practice and carry out related educational research across a broad range of disciplines and roles. Your own professional practice will provide the setting for the coursework and final dissertation.

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 previous experience and choice of modules, upon successful completion of the diploma level of the programme you will be ideally prepared to make an application AdvanceHE Senior Fellowship status (D3) if you are based in the UK.


  • 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.

    • International Risk Management (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to identify the major sources of risk involved in international economic and financial activity; develop the tools and techniques necessary to manage these risks and enable a critical appreciation of the interaction between corporate decision-making and capital market behaviour.

    • Investment Management (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module provides participants with a sound grounding in the theory and practice of investment management. Specific aims include: strategies of portfolio construction, generating investment ideas, estimating investment risk returns and the use of derivative instruments.

    • Portfolio Theory and Equity Analysis (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module provides participants with a sound grounding in portfolio theory and equity analysis. Students are exposed to the key concepts and tools involved and further asked to apply those tools to analyse real life financial assets.

    • 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.

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we've learnt in recent years by enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

How will the MA Higher Education be taught?

The flexible learning, teaching and assessment approaches used throughout your programme will encourage you to be actively involved in your learning and to a part of our learning community. The programme is offered in part-time and full-time mode, the mode of delivery will be as Distance only for 2023-2024. Teaching on the programme will be throughout the academic/calendar year to enable you to easily plan your studies around work and personal commitments.

The tuition will include taught live sessions, interactive group workshops, independent study, as well as taking part in online reflective learning blogs and discussion forums on our virtual learning portal. Engagement is key, so that the content from your studies can be incorporated into a final dissertation on a topic of your choosing. You will be directed to reading about research and scholarship to develop your knowledge about higher education that is relevant to your own professional context.

Tutors will feedback on your learning throughout the timetabled modules and there will be opportunities to reflect upon and learn about your performance and how it can be improved. Summative assessment is designed to measure the extent to which you have achieved the intended learning outcomes of each module. We have a strong support services network available to help you to develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.


The approach to learning and teaching is designed so that learning outcomes are clearly linked to the assessment criteria. Assessment includes coursework such as written assignments, reviews and critiques of literature, reflective essays, presentations, portfolios of evidence, reporting of peer observations, proposals and a final dissertation.


You 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 be delivered online and on campus and you 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 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.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. 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 2024

Duration: 1 years part-time

Code: PGX343

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