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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education SchoolPostgraduate study

MA (Ed) Dissertation through flexible study

If you are a professional with a particular area of research interest in the field of education, the MA (Ed) by Dissertation through Flexible Study may offer you an ideal route towards a Master’s degree.

Introducing your course

This is the course page for MA (Ed) Dissertation through flexible study at the University of Southampton. Find out everything about Dissertation through flexible study and what studying here involves.

In this course page we explain a range of key information about the course. This includes typical entry requirements, modules you can take and how assessment works. We also suggest career opportunities open to you as a University of Southampton graduate of MA (Ed) Dissertation through flexible study.

If you still have questions, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any enquiries. See our contact us page for our telephone, email and address information.

Individual study

This innovative programme does not adopt a traditional classroom model of delivery, but enables you to develop specialist expertise through a combination of independent study and small-scale research, usually in your own work context, with tutor support and full access to University facilities.

Specialist study is available across a wide range of areas, and we encourage you to contact us to discuss whether we could support you with your particular area of interest. For example, in recent years some generic areas have included:

  • investigating aspects of pedagogy
  • addressing curriculum-related issues in schools and colleges
  • enhancing professional development 
  • investigating issues of inclusion and widening participation
  • developing technology-based approaches to learning.

Group study

The programme is also ideal for groups working more collaboratively, and can be tailored to address organisational needs, for example, groups of colleagues working together within a single school/organisation or across a number of schools/organisations. Subject to demand, we can offer a bespoke pathway which combines a small taught component with group seminars and individual tutorials, emphasising collaboration and the role of constructive dialogue between peers as co-investigators. Group members undertake distinct but related projects, and workplace tutorials can be arranged.

View the programme specification for this course for 2018/19 entrants

View the programme specification for this course for 2019/20 entrants

View the programme specification for this course for part-time for 2019/20 entrants

To Apply

You apply through the University's online application form. Be aware that your application will not be processed until you have supplied all the required information which includes evidence of your qualifications and a research proposal. We may invite you for interview before making an offer. You can find more details here.

Please note that due to the way this course is taught, it is not suitable for students who require a tier 4 visa.



Programme lead: Dr John Schulz


Standard postgraduate taught programme fees are chargeable. 

Key Facts

  • 12-18 months full-time or 24-36 months part-time
  • Flexible start date of the next available semester
  • Suitable for self-motivated professionals who can work independently for extended periods
  • Tailored contact sessions can be arranged outside normal working hours

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

Intake: variable

Entry normally requires a first degree and/or teaching or other professional experience, and standard University language requirements (if applicable). You will also need to demonstrate that you are well equipped to study independently, and that you possess, or are able to develop, the skills and attributes that will be essential.

Your application must be accompanied by a dissertation project proposal of about 500 words. Specific guidance is available on request. The outline will be reviewed in detail by the Programme Tutor and potential specialist supervisors.

We recommend, however, that before applying, you contact the programme lead. The Programme Tutor may wish to have a telephone converstation with you prior to application. For further information email

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Typical course content

By definition, there are no compulsory taught modules for this programme. For an indicative outline of the content, refer to the Learning and Teaching tab.

If circumstances permit, you have access to other available Master's modules in the Education, and to participate in the broader academic life of the School. This might include for example attending lectures, seminars and accessing online learning and teaching resources.

Bespoke programme

If a School, College or other body or institution has a group of staff they wish to follow a Masters programme, we would invite them to contact the Programme Tutor to discuss how the MA Ed by Dissertation through Flexible Study may be tailored to meet both the institution’s and participant’s needs.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Tuition fees

List of tuition fees for this course and it's variations
Course TitleAwardYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
Dissertation (Flexible Study)MA(Ed) 2019Full-time£9,250not offered 
Dissertation (Flexible Study)MA(Ed) 2019Part-time£4,625not offered
View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved model is Casio FX-570 This may be purchased from any source and no longer needs to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Mode of study

The programme may be followed full-time (12-18 months) or part-time (24-36 months). Your learning is structured around three assignments leading up to a dissertation, all of which must form a coherent portfolio. Topics are agreed with your tutor.

Assignment lengths are 4,000, 8,000 and 12,000 words, and the dissertation 16,000 (or equivalent). Although featuring a common theme, each must be distinctive and without replication.

As a ‘Flex’ student, you will work independently, in your workplace or from home, but with the support of tutorials and access to all library services for students, including electronic journals. Your studies are likely to include a balance of literature-based reading and writing, and independent research activity.

Tutor support

You will be allocated a tutor with expertise matched as far as possible with your area of interest, who will support you throughout the programme. There are no conventionally taught classes or set readings. Instead, you benefit from one-to-one tutorial assistance from your specialist tutor. Tutorials are, where possible, tailored to your requirements and can take place outside normal university hours (including, by arrangement, evenings, weekends and vacations). Where possible these are face-to-face, but where students live at a distance from the University, alternative approaches are used including email, and video links.


Formative assessment provides feedback on your work in progress. Although your tutor will provide constructive critical commentary on your work, student-tutor dialogue also plays an essential role.

Summative assessment is based on the three assignments and dissertation, and reflects your performance in relation to Master’s level typical performance indicators.

Study locations

EEE Building

Highfield Campus, Southampton Education School (B32, B34)

The Southampton Education School is based on the Highfield Campus, in ...Find out more

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