Education MA (Hons)

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 4 years
  • School: School of Education, Social Work & Community Education

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.

The MA (Hons) Education is also delivered in Athens in partnership with the Hellenic Association for Education.


Why study MA (Hons) Education 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. Within the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education, 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 interprofessional collaboration later in your career as a teacher.

What's so good about the MA (Hons) Education at Dundee?

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).

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.

The University's Welcome Week allows you to get to know the University, the School and each other before classes begin in earnest.

You will be assigned a personal tutor/Director 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.

Degree Combinations

  • Education - Athens MA

Related Courses

This degree course is based in the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education.

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

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 primary schools with the option of undertaking experience in nursery and/or secondary schools. IIn 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. 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 subjects

You will have the exciting opportunity 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.

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 Director of Studies who will work with you over the four years of your Programme. There is always help at hand if you need it.

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)
  • An elective module from the wider university
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

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.

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.

Postgraduate Study

Some graduates have continued their studies with us at postgraduate level, studying one of a range of education programmes on offer.

The following are the minimum requirements, please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Please note that the entry requirements in our printed prospectus may be subject to change. The entry requirements listed below are up to date and should be referred to in case of any discrepancy.

Courses starting September 2015

Level 1 Entry

Qualification Minimum Grade Typical Grade
IB Diploma 30 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects English at B (SQA Higher, ILC Higher or IB Higher Level) or English Language and English Literature at B (GCSE) Plus Mathematics at Standard Grade (grade 2), National 5/Intermediate 2 (grade B), GCSE (grade B), ILC Ordinary (grade B) or IB Subsidiary Level (grade 5).
EU & International Visit our Your Country webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country
Other Qualifications
SQA A relevant HNC
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.
SWAP Access Relevant subjects with ABB grades to include English Literature/Language at SCQF Level 6 and Mathematics at Intermediate 2 grade C.
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DMM
Advanced Diploma Grade B with an A-Level in a literate subject at B. Plus English Language and Literature and Mathematics GCSE at B
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with BB at A-Level including one literate subject. Plus English Language and Literature and Mathematics GCSE at B
European Baccalaureate

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

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 September 2015 or January 2016
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
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."
EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
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 and BDS Dentistry degrees which charge a different tuition for the clinical years.

Athens MA (Education) Programme

The MA (Hons) Education Programme is also delivered in Athens, in partnership with the Hellenic Assoication for Education. It offers significant, exciting opportunities for collaboration and internationalisation.

Approaches to learning, teaching and assessment are identical. The Programme is subject to the academic requirements of the University of Dundee and the professional requirements of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, and in addition, meets the requirements of the Greek Ministry of Education.

For more information, please visit the Hellenic Association for Education website.

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.

  Degree UCAS Code KIS Data
Apply NowEducation MA (Hons)X120
Apply NowEducation - Athens MAX300