MA in Science Education

The Department of Education will not be recruiting to the MA in Science Education for the academic year 2016-17 as we are undertaking a review of our provision. The text below is for information only.



The Department of Education offers a one-year (12 month) taught full time MA in Science Education. This programme will be attractive to all those who have an interest in science education, whether as teachers, researchers or policy makers. Applications are welcomed from both home and international students.

Applicants are strongly advised to ensure that they submit applications no later than 1st September if they wish to begin a course of study beginning in the same year. No guarantee can be offered that applications received after this date will be processed for a September start date.

The Department also welcomes applications from people interested in studying for a PhD in science education in its areas of expertise (see below).

Why come to York to study for a higher degree in science education?

The University of York Science Education Group (UYSEG) has an outstanding international reputation for the excellence of its work in research and curriculum development in science education. Our school science programmes such as Science: the Salters Approach, Salters Advanced Chemistry, Salters Horners Advanced Physics and, most recently, Salters Nuffield Advanced Biology and 21st Century Science are widely used in this country, and have received international acclaim. Science: the Salters Approach and Salters Advanced Chemistry have been adapted for use in many other countries, including Belgium, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland and the USA. If you come to York, you will have the opportunity to work with one of the leading groups in science education.

As members of the University of York Science Education Group, the science education staff in the Department of Education have made a significant contribution to the high profile of science education at York. Science specialist staff currently in the Department include Professor Robin Millar, Professor Judith Bennett, Martin Braund and Fred Lubben. All hold major grants for research and development in science education.

Areas of expertise include assessment, attitudes to science, the use of context-based approaches to the teaching of science, curriculum development (including international collaboration on projects), evaluation of curriculum interventions, gender issues in science education, practical work in science, scientific literacy, systematic reviews of research literature, and the transition from primary to secondary school. Current international work includes involvement in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) project and a number of initiatives in Southern Africa.

The reputation of the University of York Science Education Group was a major contributory factor in York being chosen as the home of the new National Science Learning Centre, which opened in September 2005 and  offers a programme of professional development courses for science teachers.

Programme aims

The programme offers specialist tuition within an established framework for MA provision in the Department. The aims of the programme are:

  • to enhance knowledge and understanding in science education
  • to develop educational research capabilities and skills in the fields of education and science education
  • to contribute, where appropriate, to professional development by enhancing capacity to investigate aspects of one or more of educational theory, policy and practice

Programme content

This taught MA programme comprises modules totalling 180 credits. For more details about modules please download the MA Full-time Modules Handbook 2014-15 (PDF  , 938kb).

This information is a guide only and subject to change.

Term 1

  • Science, Education and Society (20 credits)
  • Research methods in education (20 credits)

One option module from a list of about 10 (20 credits). Options are likely to include

  • Bilingualism
  • Citizenship education
  • Cross-linguistic influences in second language acquisition
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Education and social justice
  • Evaluating ESOL classroom practice
  • Intercultural communication in education
  • Learning and teaching second/foreign language reading
  • Motivation in education
  • Teaching and assessing speaking skills
  • Teaching and assessing writing skills
  • Teaching and learning in schools
  • Teaching World English
  • Topics in second language acquisition

Term 2

  • Recent research and innovation in science education (20 credits)

One option module from a list of about 10 (20 credits). Options are likely to include

  • Approaches to English teaching
  • Contemporary issues in teaching
  • Cross-cultural perspectives on language and discourse
  • Developmental Psycholinguistics
  • Learning and teaching grammar in a second language
  • Pragmatics: language, meaning and communication
  • Psychology of language and language learning
  • Qualitative and quantitative data analysis
  • Teaching and learning citizenship and global education
  • Teaching English for academic purposes
  • The practice of English language teaching
  • Testing and assessment in English language teaching

Term 3

Planning and Communicating Research (20 credits). Classes are spread over Terms 2 and 3.

The third term and the summer is also devoted to writing a dissertation (60 credits) based on a small-scale research study to be submitted by early September.

Students will also be able to attend the department series of research seminars for Masters students which includes talks by visiting speakers.


Students will complete:

  • four assessed coursework essay assignments (each 4,000 to 5,000 words in length)
  • an exam in Research Methods in Education
  • an assessed presentation + dissertation outline + ethics audit
  • a dissertation of 12,000 words in length


Range of modules

The wide variety of module options available on our taught masters programmes allows you to mould a particular route in accordance with individual interests and professional goals.

Careers support

The University has an active Careers Service offering bespoke advice and support for our taught postgraduate students. This includes career planning, volunteering, mentoring, employability and personal development.


Our graduates find employment in a wide range of sectors within education, but also in journalism, information management, human resources and other careers.

Our postgraduate courses can be used to complement teacher training/development programmes and voluntary or paid roles which focus on the more practical elements of teaching. However, other than our PGCE, our courses are not teacher training programmes in themselves.

Routes into Research

A number of our graduates go on to obtain research degrees in Education and related topics.