MA Educational Enquiry and Professional Learning

Enhance your understanding of professional learning, practice development and social justice in a range of professional contexts, with the option to participate in Action Learning Sets.

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    • Overview

      Covid-19 - Educational Enquiry and Professional Learning Essential Information

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      Course Length: 3 Years Part-Time
      Start Dates: September 2021, January 2022, September 2022, January 2023
      Subjects: Education and Teaching
      Location: Blended Learning

      This Masters degree has been developed to address the needs of teachers and other professionals working in educational practices and contexts. If you are a practitioner in a setting such as a school, college, youth and community centre, voluntary service, or health and social care setting, this programme will enable you to enhance your professional learning and practice. You will develop skills in critical reflective practice, critical thinking and leadership. You will also investigate and critique contemporary policy, analyse the nature and status of evidence in educational settings, and explore and experience mutual ways of working. The course contains a mixture of compulsory and optional modules, enabling you to develop a strong academic underpinning to your work, while also tailoring your studies to focus on areas of professional and/or personal interest.

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      In Depth

      What will I study?

      In Year 1 you will focus on the nature of critically reflective practice and study two additional modules from a selection of options. You may wish to investigate education and social policy, participate in Action Learning Sets with your peers, engage with inclusive education and social justice, explore an aspect of professional practice through self-directed study, develop professional leadership skills, or immerse yourself in contemporary issues in evidence-informed practice.

      In Year 2 you will study two further elective modules from the range of options, as well as develop your knowledge of research methods and methodologies in a dedicated project design module from which you will prepare a research proposal. This will form the foundation for a 15,000 word dissertation in Year 3.

      How will I study?

      The course is delivered through blended learning. Each module typically includes two or three face-to-face sessions at St James’ in central Manchester alongside online learning.

      How will I be assessed?

      Assessment is through coursework focusing on a range of professional learning activities and projects. Opportunities for formative feedback will be scheduled throughout each module.

      Who will be teaching me?

      This programme is delivered by a team of research-active academic staff who have a range of areas of expertise. These include social justice, educational policy and practice, reflective practice, practice development, and research methods and methodologies.


      Expand All

      PRL4000Critical Reflective Practice (20 credits)

      Critical Reflective Practice introduces you to what it means to critically reflect on practice in a range of professional settings. You will consider the nature of critically reflective practice, identify models of reflective practice and be guided in developing an understanding relevant to your own practice. In particular, the module will enable the exploration of ‘problems of practice’, providing ways in which you can be supported in interrogating your thinking and its articulation in practice.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      PRL4007Project Design: Research Methodologies and Methods (20 credits)

      Project Design: Research Methodologies and Methods introduces you to quantitative and qualitative research design in professional practice and research. You will build upon, and apply, theoretical and practical aspects of educational research, gaining a practical understanding of issues of methodology, method and ethics. You will prepare a research proposal and ethics application which will be submitted for assessment.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      PRL4010Dissertation (60 credits)

      Dissertation provides an opportunity for you to carry out and report on a sustained piece of independent research. Completing a dissertation will enable you to demonstrate a sound understanding of the links between theory, policies and professional practice in the substantive area of your choice. The module will enhance your knowledge-base and skillset, preparing you for the possibility of further study at doctoral level, by requiring you to undertake appropriate data collection and analysis for your research question, and articulate the significance of your findings and analysis. The dissertation should be 15,000 words, including a 500 word summary of the project in the form of a conference abstract.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      You will select four of the following modules:

      PRL4001Perspectives on Policy and Practice (20 credits)

      Perspectives on Policy and Practice introduces you to critical issues in education and related social policy and practice. The module will build a rigorous knowledge of the socio-historical origins of education and social policy in order to equip you with a critical understanding of the implications for contemporary practice in a dynamic policy context. You will critically analyse and evaluate key policy developments from the post-war consensus to the present, exploring the motivations shaping policy, the competing ideologies at play, the role of the state and other relevant actors, and the associated power dynamics played out in educational contexts.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      PRL4002Professional Learning Communities: Summer School (20 credits)

      Professional Learning Communities: Summer School seeks to explore a paradoxical world in which we are connected globally while increasingly isolated in our personal and professional lives. This module seeks to explore this paradox and enhance your potential for collaborative endeavour. You will meet other participants for an orientation and familiarisation day, followed by a 2-2.5 day residential event. This will enable you to explore an issue of contemporary relevance and significance, in a professional learning community model of learning. You will participate in Action Learning Sets, seeking and providing mutual feedback on work in progress. The face-to-face element of the module will conclude with a day in which you can provide feedback on your learning with other participants, reflecting on both the issue(s) explored and the learning process and modelling ideas to your own professional context.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      PRL4003Professional Practice for Social Justice (20 credits)

      Professional Practice for Social Justice recognises that education in its broadest form can be regarded as an ethical, moral and political project underpinned by notions of social justice and equity. In order to develop the principles and practices that underpin professional practice in relation to social justice, it is important to explore thoughtfully and critically the extent to which current systems, policies and practices enhance inclusion, equality and diversity so that barriers that exist can be addressed. Examples and case studies will be used as illustrations within this module to enable you to investigate themes such as the nature of trust relationships within further education, women’s experiences of studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and in pursuing STEM careers, as well as the influence of ‘Fundamental British Values’ and Brexit on children and young people’s attitudes and experiences.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      PRL4004Models of Learning in Professional Practice: Self Directed Study (20 credits)

      Models of Learning in Professional Practice: Self Directed Study provides the opportunity for you to undertake a period of guided and supported study in order to explore an aspect of professional practice. If you intend to choose this module you should contact the programme leader, one semester in advance, with a brief outline of your proposed area(s) of interest. Discussions between yourself and the programme team can then enable the focus of the study to be negotiated and agreed, and a suitable supervisor made available.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      PRL4005Complexity and Challenge in Professional Leadership (20 credits)

      Complexity and Challenge in Professional Leadership enables you to critically analyse multiple inter-disciplinary perspectives on leadership from both national and international angles. The module will equip you with the ability to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute towards the effectiveness and success of the organisation in which they are members. It provides you with a broad theoretical knowledge-base from which to develop a persuasive critical argument that extends and challenges the contemporary understanding of leadership. You will engage in a critical and evaluative discussion of contemporary leadership theories and frameworks and evaluate their application in practice. Your conceptual understanding of global leadership perspectives will be enhanced with a particular focus on designing, critiquing and implementing relevant research to influence practice, advance social justice and enact effective change.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      PRL4006Contemporary Issues in Evidence-Informed Practice (20 credits)

      Contemporary Issues in Evidence-Informed Practice reflects on the basis of educational practice and in particular on the role of reading and interpreting research relevant to professional practice. You will engage with a range of perspectives on evidence-informed practice including interpreting and using institutional data, undertaking practitioner research, evidence-informed policy, and evidence-informed practice as an alternative to the more liberal values that have traditionally been associated with education. The module will help to develop your critical and analytical skills and address fundamental questions such as what counts as evidence and what does it mean to ‘use’ evidence. The aim is to equip you with the tools required to critically appraise research findings and other sources of evidence in order to inform practice.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      Optional modules provide an element of choice within the programme curriculum. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by timetabling requirements.


      You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.


      Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

      Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of accrediting bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

      Entry Criteria

      Entry Requirements

      You should have a degree equivalent to UK first-class or second-class honours (2:2 or above) in a relevant subject. You should also be employed in, or have sustained and appropriate access to, a relevant professional context. Any professional/early career inductions associated with your practice should normally have been completed prior to joining this programme.

      Recognition of Prior Learning

      Edge Hill University recognises learning gained elsewhere, whether through academic credit and qualifications acquired from other relevant courses of study or through recognition of an individual’s professional and employment experience (also referred to as ‘experiential learning’). This may include credit or learning undertaken at another university.

      Previous learning that is recognised in this way may be used towards meeting the entry requirements for a programme and/or for exemption from part of a programme. It is your responsibility to make a claim for recognition of prior learning. For guidance, please consult the University’s academic regulations (sections C7 and F3.1) or contact the faculty in which you are interested in studying.

      Career Prospects

      What are my career prospects?

      On successful completion of this programme, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to make a significant and positive contribution to a range of practice development and enhancement initiatives. You will therefore be well placed to apply for more senior positions both within your current setting and at other providers.


      Tuition Fees

      Tuition fees for part-time study on this MA are £34 per credit for UK students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2021/22, i.e. £680 per 20 credit module. 180 credits are required to complete a Masters degree.

      EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK part-time tuition fee rate.

      The University may administer a small inflationary rise in part-time postgraduate tuition fees in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.

      Financial Support

      For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University in academic year 2021/22, together with details of how to apply for potential funding, please view our Money Matters 2021/22 guide at

      EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals should ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please see for further details.


      How to Apply

      There is an online application process for this programme.

      Applications for September 2021 entry will open soon. Please keep checking this page for updates.

      Visit for more information about the application process.

      Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

      Get in Touch

      If you have any questions about this programme, please contact:

      If you would like to talk to the programme leader about the course in more detail, please contact:

      Course Changes

      Expand All This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years.

      18th June 2019 - Change of Programme Title

      The proposed change of course title to MSc Educational Enquiry has been cancelled. The course will remain as MSc Educational Enquiry and Professional Learning.

      Covid-19 - Educational Enquiry and Professional Learning Essential Information

      Educational Enquiry and Professional Learning Course Statement

      The face-to-face sessions that would usually take place at St James' in Manchester will be delivered online. For the autumn semester, delivery of each module will consist of 180 hours of online learning comprising synchronous (seminar, tutorial) and asynchronous (supported online learning, discussion boards) learning activities and academic support.

      Teaching and Learning at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, answers your questions and explains how teaching will work when you join us at Edge Hill University in September.

      Campus Facilities at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, explains how we’re preparing the campus for your arrival in September and the facilities that will be available.