• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 4 years
  • School: Education & Social Work
  • Study Abroad: Yes
  • Study Mode: Full Time

Our MA (Hons) Education programme is a highly professional course which combines theoretical understanding, practical school experience and personal development. The wide range of learning opportunities builds on current research to create a sound professional preparation for nursery and primary classrooms.

Thinking of a career in teaching? Discover what is involved, the skills and experience required and whether it is the right career for you. By visiting the Education Scotland Website

Our programme at the University of Dundee will prepare you to teach children in 3-12 years age range both in Scotland and in many other countries throughout the world.

The programme is very well regarded by our students. It is highly rated consistently in the annual National Student Survey. Students feel that they are particularly well-supported by our programme tutors.


Education MA

The programme is the first in Scotland to be accredited by the International Baccalaureate Organisation

Why study this course at Dundee?

Our MA (Hons) Education leads to a qualification to teach children in the 3-12 years age range (nursery and primary schools). This programme, developed in response to recent national recommendations and other developments in teacher education in Scotland, replaces the old traditional BEd Primary Education programme.

Teaching is an exciting and rewarding occupation, requiring a variety of professional skills in communication, management and organisation. Teachers must be able to relate well to other people; exercise a considerable degree of understanding and patience; and rise to the physical, social and emotional demands that the job brings.

Nurturing a vibrant, dynamic, international and inter-disciplinary community is at the heart of what we do. The MA (Hons) Education programme draws upon modules from across the University as well as offering shared interactive learning with students preparing for careers in social work and community learning and development. This is excellent preparation for collaboration with people from other professions later in your career as a teacher.

What is so good about this course?

Professional Experience

We have significant periods of professional practice in all years of the programme. These extensive placements will give you experience in a range of different settings including nursery, primary, secondary schools and other welfare settings.

A strength of our programme is the opportunity to undertake a placement in a location other than a school. This might, for example, be in a local ranger service, a community learning and development project or indeed a placement abroad. You will have the opportunity to plan this yourself.

Professional Accreditation

This programme is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)

The International Baccalaureate (IB) pathway on the programme is accredited by the International Baccalaureate Organisation. This means that students who choose to follow the IB pathway, involving a school placement in an IB Primary Years Programme school in second year, are entitled to gain the IB Certificate in Teaching and Learning (Primary Years Programme). This certificate provides the first required qualification for teaching in an IB school and opens doors for our graduates to teach anywhere in the world.

Student Support

We currently have a 'Buddy System' in which students from other years team up with first year groups to help them settle into the campus and the programme.

You will be assigned a personal tutor / Advisor of Studies, who will play a part in helping you to settle into the programme, the School, and student life.

The first module, Beginning Professional Study, provides students with an introduction to University study, and studying on the MA (Hons) Education programme.

Who should study MA (Hons) Education?

Successful students are well-rounded, enthusiastic individuals who care about the individuals they work with, both children and adults.

To be successful on this programme it is expected that you will have particular current strengths in arithmetic, mathematics, reading and writing as these are key elements of a teacher’s job.  You should also be prepared to lead and support all aspects of the school curriculum.

This is a demanding programme in terms of time and effort, involving in-university work and placements, normally over a thirty-week academic year. In addition to classroom-based work, you will be expected to participate fully in drama, physical education and fieldwork, which is sometimes residential.

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

You have to obtain your qualifications at the first sitting of examination.

Courses starting 2016
Qualification Level 1 Entry Advanced Entry to Level 2
SQA Higher/Advanced Higher ABBB at Higher which must include English at B and mathematics (Standard Grade at 2 or Intermediate2/National 5 at B) Level 2 entry is not possible for this degree
GCE A-Level BBC at A-Level, plus GCSE English Language and Literature at grade B and GCSE mathematics at grade B Level 2 entry is not possible for this degree
Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC) ABBB at Higher Level, which must include English at B, plus Ordinary Level mathematics at grade B Level 2 entry is not possible for this degree
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma 30 points at Higher Level grades 5, 5, 5 which must include Higher Level English at grade 5 or 6, plus Standard Level mathematics at grade 5 Level 2 entry is not possible for this degree
Graduate Entry
BTEC A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DMM Level 2 Entry is not possible for this degree
SQA Higher National (HNC/HND) A relevant HNC Level 2 entry is not possible for this degree
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with CC at Advanced Higher with English at Higher B or above plus Mathematics at Standard Grade 2 or Intermediate 2/National 5 at B. Level 2 entry is not possible for this degree
SWAP Access Relevant subjects with ABB grades to include English Literature/Language at SCQF Level 6 and Mathematics at Intermediate 2/National 5 grade C. Level 2 Entry is not possible for this degree
Advanced Diploma Grade B with an A-Level in a literate subject at B. Plus English Language and Literature and Mathematics GCSE at B Level 2 Entry is not possible for this degree
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with BB at A-Level including one literate subject. Plus English Language and Literature and Mathematics GCSE at B Level 2 Entry is not possible for this degree
European Baccalaureate
Other Qualifications Relevant Access courses are considered individually.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

For non EU students

IELTS Overall6.5
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 English Language Requirements

The MA (Hons) Education leads to a qualification to teach children from age 3 to age 12, (from nursery to the end of primary school). There are four major elements to the programme:

  • professional practice
  • subject-based academic electives
  • core curriculum content modules
  • electives related to learning and teaching in different curriculum areas

How you will be taught

The programme consists of 24 modules over four years. These are student-centred and contain workshops, lectures, seminars, tutorials, open-learning elements as well as practical experience in the classroom. The programme is delivered by university tutors who have years of experience as classroom teachers.

Professional Practice

Professional practice is gained through blocks of time, (between two and eleven weeks) throughout the four years. In Year 1 you have the opportunity to spend six weeks in primary schools thus allowing you to gain a really in-depth awareness and understanding of working in a primary school classroom very early in your programme. In Year 2 you will have the opportunity to undertake a non-school based placement of your own choosing. This can even be in another country if you wish. For students following the International Baccalaureate (IB) pathway, six weeks are spent in an IB Primary Years Programme school. In Year 3 of your programme you will have the opportunity to work with children in nursery and early years settings. Finally in Year 4 you will have the opportunity to choose the stage of the Primary school that you would most like to teach in.

From time to time children are invited in to the University to meet with and work with our students.

Modules from other areas of the University

You will have the to choose modules from other subjects within the University thus enabling you to both broaden and deepen your knowledge and understanding of key areas of the Primary Curriculum. You may choose to focus on a range of subjects including mathematics, science, social subjects, or modern languages.

Alternatively you may wish to choose modules related to Social Work or Community Learning and Development to enable you to have a deeper understanding of inter-agency working.

In addition you will study in some depth, aspects of educational studies including the history and philosophy of education together with developmental psychology. Education studies modules are delivered by our own tutors from within our School.

Core curriculum content modules

The core curriculum content modules cover all subjects that are required to be taught in Scottish primary schools: languages and literacy; mathematics and numeracy; social studies; science, technologies; expressive arts; religious and moral education; health and wellbeing as well as pedagogical studies, which links together the practical and theoretical aspects of learning and teaching.

Curriculum-based learning and teaching electives

Curriculum-based learning and teaching electives provide an opportunity for students to create, from a range of offered subjects, their own choice of study. The electives help to develop a deeper understanding of learning and teaching approaches within the context of the eight areas of the Curriculum for Excellence:

  • language
  • mathematics
  • social studies
  • technologies
  • sciences
  • expressive arts
  • health and wellbeing
  • religious and moral education

Student Support

The programme team prides itself on the high level of pastoral support offered to our students. All students are allocated a Advisor of Studies who will work with you over the four years of your programme. There is always help at hand if you need it.

How you will be assessed

A range of different methods is used to assess student progress including examinations, electronic portfolios and written assignments. Your teaching in the classroom will also be assessed on each Professional Practice by both University and school staff.

What you will study

Typical Degree Programme

Level 1

  • Beginning Professional Study
  • Educational Studies: Introduction to Educational Studies
  • Pedagogical Studies (Middle and Upper stages)
  • Teaching Across the Primary Curriculum
  • Observation/Professional Practice (Primary 4-7)
  • An elective module from the wider university

Level 2

  • Educational Studies: Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Education
  • Languages
  • Mathematics & Science
  • Interagency Working
  • Learning from Life (a placement with personal choice including the possibility of a placement abroad) (IB pathway students will undertake a Practicum in an IB school)
  • An elective module from the wider university. (IB pathway students will study a module exploring the principles and practices of the IB)

Level 3

  • Educational Studies: Childhood in Contemporary Society
  • Developing Effectiveness in Learning and Teaching
  • Research and the Teacher
  • Pedagogical Studies (Early Years)
  • Professional Practice (Nursery & Primary 1-3)

A curriculum-based learning and teaching elective (one from the list below):

  • Language: Children's Texts
  • Mathematics
  • Scottish Studies
  • Expressive Arts
  • Technologies
  • Religious and Moral Education
  • Modern Languages
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Science

Level 4

  • Research and the Teacher (The Thesis) (Double Module)
  • Pedagogical Studies 3
  • Professional Practice (Choice of stages including either a nursery or secondary school element) (Double Module)

A curriculum-based learning and teaching elective (one from the list below):

  • Language: Children's Texts
  • Mathematics
  • Scottish Studies
  • Expressive Arts
  • Technologies
  • Religious and Moral Education
  • Modern Languages
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Science

The number of students selected for Initial Teacher Education programmes in Scotland reflects anticipated national requirements, so employment prospects are good. Your employment prospects are increased further if you are willing to move out of your home area, to schools throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK. We work in partnership with Scottish Local Authorities and schools and our graduates are working right across the UK. Every year some of our graduates choose to work abroad. A teaching qualification from a Scottish university is widely valued internationally.

The year following your graduation you will be given a guaranteed salaried induction post which enables you to develop further the skills, knowledge and understanding required for success in the classroom.

Eligibility for a salaried induction post is normally restricted to those students graduating from a Scottish Higher Education Institution with a Teaching Qualification, whose training has been publicly funded. This includes students from other parts of the UK and the EU, provided they have been assessed as eligible for Home Fees. This is regardless of how these fees are funded, i.e. through SAAS, Local Education Authorities, self-funded, Northern Ireland Education and Library Boards, etc. Students who pay overseas or full fees are not in publicly-funded places and are therefore not eligible to join the Induction Scheme. All students who graduate from our Programme, however, are entitled to undertake the ‘flexible route’ to achieve full registration by the General Teaching Council for Scotland

If you want to teach children with special needs, you have to qualify as a primary teacher first, then after some teaching experience you can study for an additional specialist qualification. Additional Support Needs and Inclusive Practice are, however, integral parts of our MA (Education) Hons programme.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee categoryFees for students starting 2016
Scottish and EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2015 entry). Fees for September 2016 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2016.
Rest of UK students £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants.

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed for the length of your course. This means that the tuition fee you pay in your first year (shown above) is the same fee you will pay for each year of your course. We guarantee that this will not increase while you are studying with us. The only exceptions to this are our MBChB Medicine, BSc Medical Sciences and BDS Dentistry degrees which charge a different tuition for the clinical years.

What skills, qualities and experience do I need?

Since most of our applicants meet the academic requirements for entry, selection procedures also focus on non-academic aspects of the application. The selectors are particularly interested in the UCAS personal statements including evidence of non-academic personal achievement and voluntary work.

We would normally expect you to have some experience of working with children in a teaching capacity in a primary school - the longer and more varied that experience the better. Examples of the sort of experience that candidates often give are:

  • employment as a classroom assistant
  • work-experience during your secondary school years, preferably recent
  • experience of working with children in Guides, Scouts, or camps is also valuable but is insufficent without recent experience in a primary school.

It is important that students have an understanding of what primary teaching actually is before embarking upon the course.

Independent learning skills - As well as the university attendance, and assessed placement periods, you will also need to spend some time on assignments, reading and set activities. How much time you spend on this will depend on your experience, ability and commitment.

ICT skills (essential) - A knowledge of ICT, or a willingness to develop new ICT skills, is essential as this forms part of the primary curriculum. ICT inputs in the Programme focus more on pedagogy than basic skill development.

Recent study skills - You will need effective study skills to benefit from the course and would normally need to show that you have studied for a qualification in the last two years. If you've not been in education for a while it can be hard getting back into the discipline of studying, but we can advise you on suitable preparation. In particular, it is extremely important that you do some background reading on primary teaching.

Ability to work and study under pressure - As a MA Education student you are not only working towards an academic qualification but also towards gaining your teaching qualification and registration with GTCS. The amount of study time that is needed will vary from student to student but you will need to be able to balance the demands of studying with periods of placement. And hopefully retain a social life too!

You may already possess a number of these skills, but if not, we will help you to develop them throughout the course.

A breadth of other interests, hobbies, sports and pastimes that you can bring to your teaching is also of benefit.

The selection process

After an initial assessment by the selectors, applicants meeting the required entry criteria will be invited for an interview.  Interviews are held from January until March. 

Applicants who are successful in getting through to the interview stage will be invited to attend a series of selection activities/group interviews at the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education. 

The panel of selectors will look for:

  • confidence, enthusiasm, commitment and maturity
  • ability to communicate effectively
  • realistic understanding of the job
  • up-to-date knowledge of primary and nursery schools and experience with children or young people (in a primary school)
  • general knowledge of some current issues affecting primary/nursery education
  • the potential to work collaboratively

The majority of offers will be made soon after interview.  However some may not be made until March once all interviews have taken place.

Prior to final acceptance an enhanced PVG Scheme Disclosure Scotland check will also be conducted.

Course Contact

Admissions Administrator
Education and Social Work
+44 (0)1382 381458

  Degree UCAS Code KIS Data
Apply NowEducation MA (Hons)X120