MA Education – Pathway

Required Credits/Units: 180

Core Modules

Module Credits/Units: 30

This core module offers the student an insight into the nature, aetiology and extent of various types of learning difficulties and disabilities. In an era of inclusive practice fewer children and young people are educated away from their localities and communities. Unless there is some compelling reason why a child should not be included, educational needs of children and young people are generally expected to be met in mainstream schools. It follows that teachers in mainstream schools will invariably experience teaching children with learning difficulties and disabilities. This philosophy underpins both this module and the whole pathway, although alternative views across the globe are also raised and debated.


The module covers the most common learning difficulties and disabilities likely to be presented.  The class teacher, special educational needs staff and other professionals supporting learning will benefit if they have some understanding as to how certain children and young people with difficulties experience their wider world and their closer environment. An appreciation of the difficulties can be the first step toward making a positive contribution to development generally. More specifically understanding disabilities and difficulties in learning can better equip those responsible for making provision to plan for an effective programme of developing the necessary communication skills which in turn may enable the child or young person to access a broader curriculum.


What are the different disabilities and learning difficulties?  What are the consequences for learning? How should LEAs, schools, colleges and other relevant agencies respond? The module seeks to answer these questions with practitioners in the field detailing their own good practice. A knowledge base as to possible causal factors, interplay factors, co-existing conditions has also to be established. In doing so concepts will be presented to explain the neurology and physiology of conditions so affected. In other areas background history, social conditioning, emotional fragility and associated mental processes will be presented to help explain other difficulties.
Prerequisites: G108056


Module Credits/Units: 30
Students will already have encountered a range of different research methodologies as they have plotted their way through the earlier modules of the taught part of the programme.  In this module students will return to a more systematic study, gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding across a wider range of research methodologies. They will then have an opportunity to study in further depth some aspects of research methodology.  This work will provide a bridge to the dissertation module which normally follows.  This is normally a core module for those students intending to progress to the dissertation / the full MA award.

Module Aims

  1. To provide students with knowledge and critical understanding of the theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches which underpin the process of qualitative, quantitative and blended research.
  2. To enhance understanding of the research process so that students can draw on relevant research findings in a critical and independent fashion, ultimately to impact positively on their professional performance.
  3. To equip students with the necessary skills to make them competent to carry out extended professional research.
  4. To extend and deepen understanding of research methodologies.
  5. To provide a vehicle (through the assignment) for the demonstration of originality, initiative and reflection.

Content Summary

  1. Research approaches: the epistemological base of differing methodological approaches, for example positivist, transformative, interpretative, feminist.
  2. Research designs: for example: experiments, surveys, case studies, comparative research, grounded theory, action research, collaborative research.
  3. Generating data: for example: questionnaires, interviews, observation, measurement scales, sampling, innovative data collection methods.
  4. Analysis of data: for example: reliability and validity, descriptive statistics, statistical estimation, statistical inference, documentary analysis, discourse analysis, qualitative data analysis.
  5. ICT applications for data collection and analysis
  6. Ethics and politics in research; preparing for presentations to Ethics Committees.
  7. Critical evaluation of published research across a range of professional contexts.

Individual tutorials
In addition to the tutorials given by an appointed tutor, additional input may be given by another appointed tutor on aspects of research methodology specific to the student’s research project.


Module Credits/Units: 30

A key focus of this module is to promote understanding of the interrelation between pedagogy, technology and education. Students who take this module will work towards an assignment that demonstrates critical understanding of this interrelationship using an appropriate and professionally relevant educational setting to exemplify the theoretical and practical issues arising from the implementation of technology for learning.


The module aims to provide both a theoretical framework for understanding ICT, drawing on research evidence and scholarly dissertations, and a methodological framework which will enable and facilitate the project work.

Prerequisites: G101444, G108056

Module Credits/Units: 30

The module is designed to support and extend the professional development of existing and aspiring middle managers.  It draws on current thinking in the field of curriculum management (learning, teaching and assessment).


The content of this module is closely related to contemporary leadership and management issues, focusing on key strategies that are likely to bring about effective learning, teaching and assessment in institutions. The module will explore and evaluate theories of learning and individual learning needs.  It will also draw on current thinking in the field of assessment and explore the notions of assessment for and of students’ learning. It will consider the manageability of assessment and attempt to draw conclusions on what is sufficient in order to take students’ learning forward.  The wider aspects of assessment will also be discussed, such as accountability to stakeholders and external agencies.  As an integral part of the lecture programme, examples of good practice will be used to illustrate aspects of effective leadership and management.  These will be drawn from both case studies and from the experience of the teaching team and module participants.


The majority of participants on this module will be practising teachers and lecturers.  Other aspiring middle managers whose work has an educational focus will also find this module to be of benefit and staff will be pleased to discuss with them any adjustments that need to be made particularly in relation to the assessment task.


Assessment tasks are designed to involve participants in taking the research forward into an analysis of their own institution’s working practices.  The intention is that learning outcomes will have a positive effect on their individual professional practice and will also have a wider impact on their own institution’s performance.

Module Credits/Units:  2×30 = 60 (Divided into 2 parts)

Module Aims

To enhance understanding of the research process so that students can use relevant research findings to improve their professional performance.

To enable candidates to study in depth an appropriate topic or issue that is of particular interest to them personally and of value to their professional practice and relevant organisation(s).

To extend and deepen understanding of the chosen area of investigation.

To provide a vehicle for the demonstration of originality, initiative and reflection.

Content Summary

Dissertation Induction (For those who have not completed the ERM module)

  1. An overview of the process of the MA dissertation.
  2. Selecting a research topic and research problem; choosing an appropriate research design.
  3. Advanced searching for relevant sources – use of journals, abstracts, indexes, reports, conferences, etc.
  4. Developing the research protocol.

Individual supervision
In addition to the tutorials given by the appointed supervisor, additional input may be given by another appointed tutor – for example, on aspects of research methodology specific to the student’s dissertation project.

Research seminars
These seminars will provide ongoing support for students. They will enable students to maintain a peer support system; they will offer an opportunity for presenting work in progress and develop students’ capacity for engaging in a critical evaluation of their own and others’ work; they will provide opportunities for reinforcement/further exploration of specific research methodologies (as the need is identified); they will enable students to have access to a wider range of staff expertise and interest (including invited researchers from outside the institution).

Prerequisites: G107618, G101444, G108056, G107624


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