Skip to main content


Education Studies

Module titleEducation Studies
Module codeEFPM914
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Jonathan Doney (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Have you ever wondered what education is for, who it serves, or who decides how it should be organised? This module will enable you to take a critical and questioning approach to a number of the big issues in education and to further develop an engaged and informed understanding. The big issues will be chosen so that they cover a wide variety of global and contemporary topics – e.g.  mental health, creativity, social justice. You will be encouraged to explore each issue by adopting a number of different disciplinary lenses (historical, philosophical, psychological and sociological). The module will introduce you to key research, policies, and theories which relate to each of these issues, so that you will be well equipped to contest and debate them. This module provides an important foundation for further study on our other MA Education modules and will be accessible for current and future educational professionals alike. There are no pre-requisites to this module.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module has the following principal aims:

  • To enable you to develop a strong understanding of the core approaches which underpin education, in order for you to be able to recognize the particular and distinct contributions that they make to this field of study
  • To advance your understanding of education as a complex, holistic, multi-dimensional field
  • To enable you to draw upon these disciplinary perspectives in a confident, structured and imaginative manner, in order to address a range of key educational questions
  • To provide you with the theories and analytical critical skills needed in order for you to apply these critical perspectives to your own areas of professional or research interest and to the other key educational phenomena, processes or practices which you will encounter during the rest of your MA study

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe, discuss and distinguish between the different theoretical approaches (sociology, psychology, philosophy and history) which underpin education studies
  • 2. Draw on these different approaches to critically analyse a selection of key topics in education
  • 3. Confidently apply these different disciplinary perspectives to an area of research or professional interest

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Critically engage with relevant sources of literature and current debates
  • 5. Demonstrate ability to apply theoretical insights to a research problem or professional practice and to suggest a conclusion supported by relevant arguments

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Engage in critical and reflective debate
  • 7. Synthesise and organize key ideas to present an argument

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Why are we here? Education – a historical perspective.
  • What is education and what is its purpose (philosophy)?
  • Dialogic learning (psychology)?
  • Education in whose interests (sociology)?
  • Additional perspectives on education – the contribution made by economics, cultural studies and international education
  • Application of these perspectives to major educational issues (e.g. race, ethnicity, gender and social class inequalities, learning, and inclusion)

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities3010 x 1.5 hour lectures, 10 x 1.5 hour seminar/workshop sessions
Guided Independent Study50Directed reading related to topics discussed in the module
Guided Independent Study120Directed study e.g. web-based activities; creating a personalized reading list; preparing for academic tutorial; preparing for seminars; responding to seminar activities; contributing to online discussions
Guided Independent Study100Preparation for assignments and further independent reading


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment1,500 words1,2,4,7Written tutor feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment 352,000 words2, 4, 6-7Written summative feedback
Written assignment603,500 words1, 3, 5-7Written summative feedback
Online activities5500 words2, 6Written summative feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written assignmentWritten assignment (2,000 words)2, 4, 6-76 weeks
Written assignment Written assignment (3,500 words)1, 3, 5-76 weeks
Online activitiesOnline activities (500 words)2, 6 6 weeks


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Dufour, B. & Curtis, W. (eds.) (2011) Studying education: an introduction to the key disciplines in educational studies. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Furlong, J. (2012) Education: An Anatomy of the Discipline, Rescuing the University Project. London: Routledge.

Lauder, H., Brown, P. and Halsey, A. (2009) ‘Sociology of Education: critical history and prospects for the future’ Oxford Review of Education 35, 5, 569-85

Phillips, D. & Schweisfurth, M. (2014) Comparative and International Education: an introduction to theory, method, and practice, 2nd edition. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Hayes, D. (ed) (2004) The Routledge Falmer Guide to Key Debates in Education, London, Routledge.

Sheehy, N. (2003) Fifty Key Thinkers in Psychology, London, Routledge.

Ball, S.J. (2004) The Routledge Falmer Reader in Sociology of Education, London, Routledge Falmer.

Scott, J. (2006) Fifty Key Sociologists: The Contemporary Theorists, London, Routledge.

Black, J. & Macraild, D. (2000) Studying History, Basingstoke, Palgrave.

Jones, K. (2003) Education in Britain. 1944 to the Present Day, Cambridge, Polity.

Baggini, J. (2002) Philosophy: Key Texts, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

During, S. (2007) Introduction in The Cultural Studies Reader (3rd Edition), London: Routledge

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Education, Psychology, Philosophy, History, Sociology, Disciplines, Education Studies, Theoretical approaches

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date