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MA in Science Education
Awarding Institution: Institute of Education, University of London
Teaching Institution: Institute of Education, University of London
Name of final award
Master of Arts (MA )
Postgraduate Diploma
Postgraduate Certificate
Programme title
Science Education
Language of study
The Institute of Education teaches and assesses participants through the medium
of the English language. Competence in English language is required of all
applicants. Programme regulations may indicate the level of competence required
of each applicant and may make its achievement a condition of admission.
The programme is designed for students with an interest in research in science
education. These are mainly teachers in the formal and informal science education
sector but often include those with a general interest in science education.
Educational Aims of the Programme
The course provides participants with a critical understanding of concepts in science
education and knowledge of how science education is influenced, studied and
researched. The course develops:
intellectual skills, such as constructing educational arguments;
professional skills, such as developing policies in science education; and
research skills, such as devising and carrying out a plan to answer a research
The general aims of the course are to:
Develop a critical understanding of the literature and concepts of science
Help stimulate interest and enjoyment so that participants continue their
personal and professional development beyond the course;
Contribute to the development of autonomous, reflectively thinking individuals,
capable of taking a leading role in education;
Prepare for the successful completion of coursework assessments and
thus the achievement of a valued and widely recognised further qualification;
Help provide professionally relevant elements of knowledge, understanding,
skills and values; and
Develop an appreciation of the national and international contexts in which
science education evolves.
More specifically, the programme will help participants to develop and demonstrate
achievements in the following areas:

Theoretical knowledge and understanding of concepts and issues involved in

science education as a field of disciplined enquiry;
Theoretical knowledge of general education processes;
Critical consideration of the purposes of education, and more specifically
science education;
Theoretical and practical understanding of curriculum development
Theoretical and practical knowledge of current issues associated with science
education; and
Professional knowledge and understanding of the policy contexts influencing
the development of science teaching and learning

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, participants should be able to:
identify a range of different perspectives used in the study of science
be aware of, and know how to access, literature in each perspective;
understand, in outline, the theoretical underpinnings of different perspectives;
develop the skills of critical writing;
construct an educational argument in the context of reviewing academic
books and articles;
participate in online discussion about ideas arising from the sessions with
colleagues and tutors;
become familiar with a range of research methods in science education;
develop a focused research question and a plan of how to research it;
evaluate research critically;
adopt current conventions for reporting research in written form;
identify ethical considerations in the execution of education research;
discuss critically a range of current developments in both formal and informal
science education;
explore assumptions which underpin current practice;
be informed about the arguments for current changes and the evidence on
which those arguments are based;
articulate their own personal vision for science education (whether formal or
informal) and formulate developments which they wish to make in their own
practices in order to move towards it.
Criteria for admission
Candidates need to have a good honours degree (2.2 or above) or equivalent
qualifications. Those who do not meet these criteria have to show an ability to meet
the demands of the course through a qualifying essay.
Applicants whose first language is a language other than English may be required
to provide evidence of their English language proficiency.
The Institute of Education is committed to admitting and supporting participants with
disabilities and welcomes applications from them. Participants do not need to be
registered disabled to draw on these services, though in order to provide services
in the long-term we will need to ask for medical or other evidence, as appropriate.

Disabilities Support can also support people who have a temporary mobility /
dexterity impairment / other difficulty as a result of an accident, injury, illness or
We aim to treat every person as an individual, with needs which may differ from
those of other people with a superficially similar disability. We do not therefore have
standard procedures for participants with dyslexia, nor standard procedures for
visually impaired participants: each person's needs are considered individually.
Mode of study
Part-time over two years or full-time over one year. Attendance is normally in the
Programme structures and requirements, levels, modules, credits and awards
The programme is divided into study modules and each unit normally counts for 30
credits, with the exception of the dissertation which is worth 60 credits.
For a Master's degree to be awarded, successful completion of a minimum of 180
credits is required. (The Institute of Education uses the European Credit Transfer
and Accumulation System (ECTS), as a guide to support periods of study
undertaken abroad and to assist student mobility. Currently it is assumed that two
UK credits equate to one ECTS. Therefore a module of 30 credits would typically
equate to 15 ECTS credits).
To gain the award of an MA in Science Education, participants have to successfully
complete three core modules each of 30 credits, an optional module, or modules
with a value of 30 credits and a dissertation worth 60 credits (from 2012 there will be
an option to the dissertation: a report of 10 000 words worth 30 credits plus another
optional module). The three core modules are
Foundations in Science Education;
Practical Research in Education (Business Education, Mathematics
Education, Science Education);
Current Developments in Science Education.
Students who for academic or personal reasons are unable to successfully complete
the 180 credits required for the masters award may exit with the completion of 90 or
120 credits respectively and be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate
Diploma in the subject area.
Teaching, learning and assessment strategies to enable outcomes to he
achieved and demonstrated
The course consists of a range of teaching and learning strategies. The Foundations
module is run as a mixed mode course, that is a combination of face-to-face and
online teaching sessions. Students are required to participate fully in all the sessions.
The face to face sessions usually consist of a short tutor input, followed by group
tasks involving discussion and feedback, ending with consolidation and leading
questions which, where relevant, lead into online discussions. There are readings for
each session and sessions are built around student responses to questions raised
around the readings. Online sessions ask students to bring their teaching and
learning experiences together to address questions raised in the face-to-face

sessions. Peer discussion is seen and encouraged as a core learning strategy and
students are encouraged to engage and respond to each others contributions. Both
face to face and online sessions open up research issues which help students
address the final module assignment involving critical reviews of three texts in
science education research.
Assessment in the practical research module is through a 5 000 word research plan.
This module is also mixed mode with two online sessions. All the sessions draw on
readings from a course reader on research methodology together with practical
exercises and reflective contributions. These all support thinking about the final
research plan.
The Current Developments module is wholly face-to-face where sessions are led by
tutors from both within the Institute of Education and beyond who are experts in their
research field. The structure of the sessions is similar to the face to face sessions in
the Foundations module. Assignments cover the range of topics in this module which
varies slightly from year to year..
The dissertation is through one to one supervision between tutor and student.
All students have draft assignments formatively marked before submitting their work
for summative assessment.
lnformation about assessment regulations
Participants must successfully complete all elements of the programme, to
achieve the minimum credits required for the award.
All coursework is
assessed according to the grade-related criteria for the programme level, found
in the programme handbook.
All assignments are independently marked by two staff members, who meet to
discuss and reconcile the marks and comments for each individual.
Assignments are graded from A to D, with D being a failing grade. Participants
are permitted to represent a failed assignment on one further occasion, within
12 months of the original submission.
An external examiner is appointed by Senate and plays an important role in
monitoring the quality of the programme and evaluating the effectiveness of the
teaching and support provided for the programme participants and the reliability
of the judgements made in assessing them.
Further details about assessment regulations can be found at
Support for learning
Support strategies for participants on the course include:
A course handbook and module handbooks that give detailed information
about the course and detailed advice on assessment;
An Induction programme including introduction to the Institute library,
Blackboard IT and other facilities provide by the Institute.
Support and supervision by a personal tutor who provides regular supervision
through face to face meetings as well as e-mail and phone contact.
Information about the Academic Writing Centre and other support
mechanisms within the Institute through dedicated sessions.

Peer support and networking facilitated through peer group discussion and
task orientation in sessions as well as through online discussion and support
through Blackboard.

Methods for evaluating and improving the course

End of term written evaluations of the modules completed by all participants;
Oral evaluations are made through a course representative who brings issues
to a meeting with the course team where they are discussed and acted on by
the course team where agreed.
Course leader reports to the LTQ PD committee.
Continuous evaluation through course team meetings.
Internal moderation of all written work.
External examiner reads all A-grade and fail assignments, a representative
sample of other assignments and reports back to the Examination Board.
The Examination Board considers the results.
Indicators of quality and standards
Progression of successful participants with distinctions and A-grades on to
doctoral programmes.
Promotion or move to academic posts in higher education.

Date of completion/amendment of specification

September 2011