Why choose this course
Our Higher Education MA has a strong disciplinary focus and has been built with practising university teachers in mind, including those working in mainstream academic departments, faculty development centres and support services, such as libraries and study skill centres.
Our online course has been designed with the aim of providing a positive learning experience that addresses the needs of those who have experienced working in higher education, but who wish to develop further as a teacher.
The MA encourages you to construct your own developmental pathway through a choice of optional modules, allowing you to graduate as a more confident university teacher, with the skills and knowledge to both critique and shape professional practice.
What you will study
Our course offers you the flexibility to create a programme that suits your professional development needs in the field of university teaching, offered on a part-time basis over 3 to 5 years.
The course allows you to construct your own developmental pathway through a choice of optional modules. You’ll do this by engaging with the connections between concepts, theory and practice, teaching and research, disciplinary methods, and teachers and students.
Throughout your studies, you’ll also analyse issues relating to your everyday teaching practice. In addition, you’ll debate alternative ideas, surface challenges, and explore solutions with your peers and tutors. Your experience on the MA can provide evidence to support application for Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).
As part of your induction to the course, you’ll liaise with a personal tutor to help you make the appropriate choices for your professional learning journey. This will be based on your previous teaching and learning experience in higher education, as well as your developmental aspirations.
A personal tutor will also work with you to develop a personalised plan to ensure you get the most from the course, by developing your professional knowledge and skills.
As you’ll be working within your own higher education institution while you study, our MA course is offered as a part-time registration. It’s anticipated that the diploma would be completed within two years of registration and the dissertation would normally be completed within an additional year.
You’ll be registered initially for the MA in Higher Education (180 credits). However, you can choose to step off at Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) or the Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) level.
You can choose to study for a general MA in Higher Education or an MA in Higher Education with a specialist pathway. Specialist pathways are only available for the MA in Higher Education (not at the award of Diploma). If you decide a pathway is the right option for you, you’ll need to take 60 credits from the specialist modules and conduct research within the Research Dissertation module. The following are the three specialist pathways available:
- Academic Leadership
- Technology Enhanced Learning
- Veterinary Education.
For example, if you decide to take the Academic Leadership pathway, you’ll be awarded an MA in Higher Education (Academic Leadership).
- Postgraduate Certificate: This is built around the compulsory module of Teaching in Your Own Discipline. You'll choose three optional modules that help build your own professional aims and suit your needs.
- Postgraduate Diploma: This is based on your personal/professional development plan. You’ll choose three further modules that fulfil your personal and professional aims, that strengthen your activities, knowledge and professional values in your career. You’ll also do the compulsory module of Researching in Higher Education, which aims to help you start thinking about how to investigate and explore issues that intrigue and challenge you in higher education.
- Masters: For the MA, you’ll complete a piece of independent research as part of the compulsory Research Dissertation module. This allows you to investigate an issue that you have personally selected that will contribute to your growing understanding of your professional practice.
The course will be delivered online so you can access the materials from your place of work, home or elsewhere. All materials will be available through the University’s virtual learning environment, SurreyLearn. You’ll also have you own personal tutor to support you from our Department of Higher Education.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University. Our graduates have lifetime access to Surrey Pathfinder, our online portal for appointment and events bookings, jobs, placements and interactive development tools.
Completion of the MA offers you both a qualification relevant to learning and teaching in Higher Education, but also provides significant evidence for professional development, such as applications for Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Academic year structure
On our part-time course, you can choose the pace at which you undertake the programme (subject to the period of maximum registration as outlined in the institutional regulations), which can be adapted to your personal circumstances within reason.
There are two compulsory modules if you take the PGDip/full MA on the generalist MA in Higher Education, plus an additional two compulsory modules if you choose to take a specialist pathway (for example, Academic Leadership; Technology Enhanced Learning). There’s also a separate dissertation module for anyone wishing to complete the full MA (60 credits).
For more information on academic year structure, please contact Dr Emma Medland.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic the University has revised its courses to incorporate the ‘Hybrid Learning Experience’ in a departure from previous academic years and previously published information. The University has changed the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes. Further information on the general principles of hybrid learning can be found at: Hybrid learning experience | University of Surrey.
We have updated key module information regarding the pattern of assessment and overall student workload to inform student module choices. We are currently working on bringing remaining published information up to date to reflect current practice in time for the start of the academic year 2022/23 This means that some information within the programme and module catalogue will be subject to change. Current students are invited to contact their Programme Leader or Academic Hive with any questions relating to the information available.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:
Timetables are negotiated between module leaders and students, and so students should contact the Surrey Institute of Education for further details.
Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.
It is essential for applicants to be academic staff (tutors and lecturers) or academic-related staff working at a Higher Education Institute as they will need access to students and teaching peers in order to undertake some of the activities within the modules, such as teaching observations and classroom based action research projects.
International entry requirements by country
Do I meet the requirements for this course?
We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other element.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
Start date: February 2022
Part-time - 3 years
Start date: October 2022
Part-time - 3 years
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2022-23 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
- If you are on an unstructured self-paced part-time course, the fee shown is per 15 credits for the 2021-22 academic year. The fee payable in subsequent years will be reviewed annually.
Scholarships and bursaries
We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View an example of our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
Further, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the academic year 2022/23. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2022/23. Detailed information on all changes is available at our dedicated course changes webpage. This webpage sets out information relating to general University changes, and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.