MA Programme Aims and Learning Outcomes

Programme Aims

The aims of the MA in Higher Education are to support lectures to deepen their knowledge of the field of higher education and equip participants with the requisite advanced knowledge, understanding and skills to carry out educational research using traditional and emerging research designs informed by a critical awareness of developments at the forefront of policy and practice in higher education. Some participants registering on the programme may already be familiar with aspects of practitioner research and may already have applied the methods of participant research or action research to their own work or practice. Some may indeed already have masters or doctoral level qualifications in their own cognate area. However, this particular programme aims to broaden the researcher role to include a critical understanding of the issues in the context of both practice and policy in higher education.

Programme Learning Outcomes

Knowledge
On successful completion of this programme, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a specialised knowledge across a variety of areas associated with Higher  Education
  • Understand the theory, concepts and methods pertaining to a number of specialist areas of Higher Education
  • Articulate an understanding of current thinking on the nature of higher education and the value of education research in that context;
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the ethical dimensions of education research in a range of contexts.

Know-how and Skill
On successful completion of this programme, graduates will be able to:

  • Utilise advance skills to research areas of interest
  • Critically evaluate and utilise international research in relation to their chosen topic of research
  • Show an ability to develop and defend a reasoned argument drawing on the relevant literature and personal experience
  • Manage a research project combining independent study, support sessions and supervision effectively;
  • Conduct a critically focused literature review;
  • Select and defend a research design illustrating a critical understanding of the limitations of the method/s selected;
  • Use a range of appropriate data collection methods;
  • Analyse data according to accepted models of analysis, showing awareness of alternative models of analysis and theoretical frameworks;
  • Sustain from the evidence obtained, a reasoned argument and draw consistent and coherent conclusions from the research evidence;
  • Express the relevance and significance of the outcomes/conclusions of the research project;
  • Reflect self-critically on the outcomes/conclusions of the enquiry and on the research process itself.

Competence
On successful completion of this programme, graduates will be able to:

  • Direct and manage their own independent learning
  • Evaluate and take responsibility for continuing professional development
  • Write a coherent research proposal with an acceptable research question or hypothesis;
  • Write a dissertation which meets postgraduate standards of scholarship and technical expertise investigating the subject area or testing the hypothesis outlined in the research proposal;
  • Develop the skills to present aspects of their research at seminars and conferences to appropriate standards of scholarship.
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