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MA International Education

Course Overview

You don’t need a teaching qualification to study on this course, nor do you have to intend becoming a teacher. BCU welcomes anyone who wants to expand their understanding of international education in a fast-changing world.

However, the course could usefully form the foundation of a future career in many different educational or training settings. You’ll have the opportunity to explore how the English education system works, by studying the quality of learning and teaching on offer to today’s pupils. You’ll also look at issues aimed at improving education, management of this sector and research opportunities.

The MA International Education draws on what is happening in the English education system, but you’ll also have the chance to compare this with the situation in a range of other international contexts. The course provides a practice-based focus on developing your understanding of pedagogy and practice in international contexts. It offers a starting point for a future career in a range of settings. You will have the opportunity to explore a range of education issues including pedagogy, management and leadership and educational improvement. International aspects are addressed by drawing on a range of countries to
exemplify education in global contexts.

The university will also offer you the chance to get involved in other complementary courses run by the School of Education.

Key information

    Course name

    MA International Education

    Total academic credits

    180 credits

    Qualification awarded


    Awarding body

    Birmingham City University

    Professional recognition


    Academic level

    Postgraduate (QCF_NQF Level 7)

    Study mode

    Full time


    12 months

    Tuition fees




    Work placement


    Course location


Academic entry requirements

Applicants should have a degree or equivalent qualification, or professional experience that equates to degree level.

All suitably-qualified candidates will normally be interviewed, though this can take place by phone if necessary. Selection will be based on ability to benefit from and contribute to the course of study.

The university welcomes applications from mature students and from members of communities traditionally under-represented in higher education.

English entry requirements

IELTS 6 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. If you have a lower overall score of 5.5 with no less than 5.0 in any component you will be considered, but you will have to complete the Faculty’s 6 week subject-specific bridging programme prior to starting.

Progression route

Further academic study of MPhil, PhD and EdD qualifications or professional career.

Career opportunities

This course will give you a foundation for a career in many different educational settings, both public and private, in the UK or abroad.

It's also suitable for people who wish to change career direction. This is because it provides a comprehensive international view of teaching, learning and educational systems – although it does not give you a teaching qualification.

You will develop important transferable skills in scholarly academic studies, plus research skills and practice. These will prove useful when you are working as part of a team and getting used to handling lots of data.


Stage 1

  • Creating and Sustaining Diverse Learning Cultures (30 credits)
  • International Perspectives on Educational Analysis and Improvement Planning (30 credits)


Stage 2

  • International Perspectives on Leading and Managing Educational Innovation (30 credits)
  • Using Research to Inform Education Practice (30 credits)


Stage 3

  • MA International Education Dissertation (60 credits)


Assessment methods
Assessment is by coursework only and participants need to demonstrate an ability to carry out in-depth critical analysis, effective research skills, critically evaluate research methodologies, have an enhanced knowledge and understanding of education and training in an international context and be able to critically evaluate their findings in relation to the academic literature.


Reasons for choosing this course

The aims of the programme are to:

  • help participants generate advanced knowledge, skills and understanding of educational issues
  • develop an in-depth understanding of factors influencing the quality of learning including pedagogy, issues relating to international educational improvement, education management and research-informed practice
  • create a learning environment in which participants will be both challenged and supported in the task of analysing, evaluating, modifying and reordering academic knowledge and understanding and/or professional practice in the ever-changing contexts in which they work
  • recognise the academic and/or professional status of its participants and provide opportunities to construct a meaningful and relevant individual programme of study for each student
  • attract as wide a range of participants as possible regardless of their country of origin, age, gender, ethnic and/or religious background, race, social background, or sexual orientation
  • recognise and defend good practice within the teaching and learning environment
  • engage participants with both theoretical and practical issues
  • encourage the incorporation of individual interests and original research into the programme of study and assessed work


Main learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of the course, students will have increased their knowledge and understanding of:

  • the social, emotional & cognitive aspects of learning
  • international paradigms of educational effectiveness and improvement using a range of literature
  • theories of leadership management, managerialism & organisational culture
  • factors influencing the justification of their choice of project and research methodologies


Intellectual / cognitive skills

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the impact of social, emotional & cognitive aspects of learning on motivation and engagement in classrooms
  • Account for differences in learning practices by comparing & contrasting aspects of the learning environment in two different countries
  • Explain the role that various stakeholders play in the educational improvement process
  • Analyse the extent to which managerialism has been adopted in educational institutions within Britain and one other country
  • Explain your own management and leadership philosophy
  • Demonstrate an ability to identify & critically evaluate relevant literature
  • Critically evaluate current research & advanced scholarship in the area under review and apply range of research methodologies to a topic of professional interest


Practical, research and independent learning skills

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Use extant documentation to benchmark the institution’s performance
  • Prepare an institutional plan in a logically structured, well presented and clearly written format using the Harvard referencing system in a format appropriate for a professional audience
  • Design and justify the use of an appropriate research instrument
  • Articulate links between theory & practice through the identification conceptualisation and justification & implementation of a substantial professional enquiry
  • Use appropriate methodologies to analyse current problems/issues in your academic discipline/field of study or area of professional practice & provide possible solutions and or insights


Transferrable / key skills

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Collate and organise appropriate documentary evidence in a logically structured, well presented and clearly written format using the Harvard referencing system
  • Demonstrate time management, communication and group skills
  • Use a wide range of ICT