MSc Educational Research

Duration Full time 1 year
Part time 2 years
Distance Learning available
  • Education
LocationExeter (St Luke‘s)
Start date September


The overall purpose of this MSc is to prepare you for the independent conduct of educational research. You will acquire general social science research skills that can be used in different contexts and applied to a variety of problems, and also have the opportunity to specialise in a particular field of education within a research preparation framework.

Our MSc Educational Research is relevant to students with different interests:

  • Doctoral research students
    The programme provides excellent preparation for a PhD. The four taught modules of the MSc are required research training for all MPhil/PhD students. The School has a wide range of research interests, which are practically reflected in the topics of our Research Groups.
  • Students interested in a Masters programme that prepares them in educational research knowledge and skills
    Some students wish to do an educational research programme without having decided whether to undertake a Doctoral programme
  • Students wishing to undertake a Masters programme in a specific area of education
    Other students may wish to study a particular field of education at Masters level. This programme enables specialisation within a research preparation programme. The specific area of study can be studied within each of the four taught research modules and become the focus for the dissertation.

Choice of study: Full-time, part-time or at a distance

Students attend one or two weekly sessions during term-time dependent on whether the full- or part-time option is selected. The programme can also be studied with no attendance at Exeter by distance learning, which is particularly useful for international students and UK students who cannot travel easily to Exeter.

Draft timetable to download for full-time campus students.

Programme structure

As a full-time on campus student, you will take two sessions each week during term time. Part-time students take one session per week during term time.

If you are studying by distance learning, the online programme has set start and finish dates.

Each module consists of ten sessions delivered through a blended system of learning.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

You will be taught by senior staff who are all engaged in the practise of doing educational research.

On campus

Modules are taught through a blended system of learning including lectures and online learning groups.

Each module has 10 sessions to attend on campus.  You will also have access to powerpoint slides and video recordings of the lectures.

In addition there are joint online learning groups (about 6-8 per group), which are mixed groups of campus and distance students, both home and international. These online activities draw on the lectures and involve collaborative peer learning supported by online tutorial support and feedback

You will have regular tutorials with your relevant module tutor and/or support from the supplementary programme – this is specifically designed for those needing academic support with the programme, for example, those for whom English is a second language.

If you are studying the MSc as part of the doctoral programme, you will also have tutorial support from your research mentors, supervisory coordinator and/or supervisors during your first year.

Distance learning

Modules are taught through a blended system of learning including lectures and effective online facilities:

  • modules are taught through access to lectures that include powerpoint slides and video recordings by the lecturer;
  • supplementary web resources to these recorded lectures;
  • joint online learning groups (about 6-8 per group), which are mixed groups of campus and distance students, both home and international. These online activities draw on the lectures and involve collaborative peer learning supported by online tutorial support and feedback;
  • readings.

You will interact regularly with your tutors online and benefit from collaboration with fellow students through the small online groups and directed activities.


Each of the taught modules is assessed by a portfolio of work including a 5,000 word written assignment and a range of tasks and activities equivalent to 2,500 words. Your dissertation is assessed via a 15,000 word submission.

If you are studying the MSc as year 1 of the PhD programme, you will need to reach an average grade overall 60% and 60% for the dissertation. The usual pass mark is 50%.


Completion of the programme can lead to a variety of research roles within educational and social science fields.

Our postgraduate programmes are designed to give you career progression in your specialist educational area of choice.

On completion, you will be equipped with a range of academic, personal and professional skills that will prepare you confidently for employment, future study or training for professional practice. Career Zone provides advice and support to help you progress in your chosen path. For more information on careers support at Exeter, see our postgraduate employment and professional development webpages.

Progression to PhD study

The MSc Educational Research programme is ideal if you wish to progress onto PhD study.

Progression from the MSc to the PhD is dependent on achieving 60% as an average mark overall but this should include an individual mark of 60% for the dissertation; this progression requirement is in place of the upgrade required to progress from MPhil to PhD on the three year route.

Entry requirements

You will be expected to have obtained a first degree equivalent to at least a UK 2:1 Honours in a relevant area such as Social Sciences, Humanities or Management, and to have demonstrable interest in educational research.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2020/21

  • UK/EU: £8,100 full-time; £4,050 part-time
  • International: £18,000 full-time; £9,000 part-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

UK government postgraduate loan scheme

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,609 are now available for Masters degrees. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

University funding

The Masters funding page has information on all available options for funding open to prospective students of taught Masters programmes. You can also use the searchable database of all Scholarships and Bursaries to find funding for which you are eligible.

Global Excellence Scholarship

We are delighted to offer Global Excellence Scholarships for students of outstanding academic quality applying to postgraduate Taught programmes starting in autumn 2020.
Please note that this scholarship isn't offered for all our masters programmes.

Contact us

Please contact us if you would like more information about any of our programmes or activities, or if you would like to arrange to come and see us.

Postal address

Graduate School of Education
St Luke's Campus
Heavitree Road
United Kingdom

Current students

By email:
By phone
0300 555 0444 (UK)
+441392 724724 (International)

Applicants and offer holders

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 723192

Where to find us

The Graduate School of Education is located on the University's St Luke's Campus. For information on how to find us, please see our directions to St Luke's Campus and the St Luke's Campus map.

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