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Higher Education MA

Learn about the course below
January 2024
1 year full-time
2-3 years part-time
£8,900 (UK) *
£11,500 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Alexandra Pitt

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.

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?

Teaching on the programme will be throughout the academic calendar year to enable you to plan your studies around work and personal commitments. The programme is offered in part-time and full-time delivery mode, as blended learning or taught completely at a distance dependent on the cohort you join.

Flexible learning, teaching and assessment approaches encourage you to be actively involved in your learning and to be a part of your learning community. The tuition will include taught sessions, interactive group workshops, independent study, and participation in online learning blogs and discussion forums on our virtual learning portal. You will be directed to reading about research and scholarship to develop your knowledge about higher and adult education that is relevant to your own professional context.

Content from your compulsory and optional modules presents current developments and trends in higher education, many of which can be incorporated into your final dissertation.

Tutors will feedback on your learning throughout the programme and there will be opportunities to reflect upon and improve your performance. Throughout your studies, we have a strong network of support services available to you to develop the necessary academic skills you need to do well on the course.


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 from 2022

We have developed new approaches to teaching and learning for the 2022/23 academic year, and have resumed the majority of our teaching on campus.

We are currently reviewing our approach to teaching and learning for 2023 entry and beyond. We've learned a lot about how to give you a quality education - we aim to combine the best of our pre-pandemic teaching and learning with access to online learning and digital resources which put you more in charge of when and how you study. We will keep you updated on this throughout the application process.

Your timetable will be built around on campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.

The table below gives you an idea of what learning looks like across a typical week. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.

This information is likely to change slightly for 2023 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown in 2021/22

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:


Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:

2 hours

Tutor set learning activities

Average hours per week, per level:

2 hours

This information is likely to change slightly for 2023 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning – This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We'll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Live online learning – This will include lectures, tutorials and supervision sessions led by your tutor and timetabled by us. It also includes student-led group work that takes place online.
  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself of with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.


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 (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 2023, January 2024

Duration: 1 years part-time

Code: PGX343

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