BA (Hons) Education

UCAS code Typical offer Length
X300 BBB (See full entry requirements) 3 years full-time
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Critically reflect on Education

Conduct your own research

Volunteer in local schools

The BA in Education explores the field of education from a variety of perspectives.

The education system is a major and increasingly significant part of modern society; this programme will encourage you to engage in critical reflection on the aims and values of education.

Course overview


Education affects life chances in a very real sense, as well as being an important and intrinsically fascinating field of study. Why do we have it? Why is it so expensive? Why is it in the form it is? Ultimately, who does the education system serve? Answering these questions involves students delving into a wide range of disciplines and fields, including psychology, sociology, social policy, politics, literature and history. 

In fact, because Education is so closely linked with many other fields, you can cover a vast number of different topics during your studies including:

  • The portrayal of schooling in books written for children
  • The educational needs of disabled pupils
  • The psychological processes involved in learning
  • The teaching methods used in primary schools
  • Whether bullying can be prevented
  • How social class is related to educational opportunities
  • The rise of mass education in the 19th century

This degree is suited to students who are interested in a rigorous and academic study of a range of educational issues and ideas. It allows students to gain an in-depth knowledge of the field of education which they can then apply more widely. This makes our students more widely employable and our graduates enter many different fields.


Although the course does not involve any teacher training, many of our graduates go on to complete a postgraduate initial teacher training course.

Why study Education at York?

Reasons to study Education at York:

  • Top ten in the 2016 Guardian and Complete University guides for Education
  • Top ten in the REF2014 for proportion of 4* world-leading research activity for Education
  • Flexible courses with wide range of optional modules
  • A pioneering employability programme
  • A strong learning community with excellent student representation
  • A dynamic, student-led Education Society
  • A high staff:student ratio
  • An international department with a range of perspectives, experiences and opportunities

During your time at York you can expect to:

  • Study the many aspects of education as an area of enquiry
  • Identify the educational developments that have shaped the current scene, and make links between the past, present and future
  • See education in the wider context of society
  • Understand the relationships between teaching, learning, knowledge and skills at every level
  • Consider the socio-political influences on the development of education
  • Find support for you to build a personal employability portfolio that broadens your expertise and makes you attractive to employers
  • Have access to expert tutors who research and publish in the areas they teach

At York you will also have the opportunity to spend a term studying abroad, undertake a placement study and conduct your own report on an education service or volunteer with York Students in Schools to gain invaluable classroom experience.

Course content

What you'll study

The degree programme falls into three stages designed to offer supported progression in both knowledge and skills. 

Stage one

In your first year you will gain a unifying perspective on Education as a field of academic inquiry.

Core Education modules

Introduction to Key Concepts of Education

  • Social and educational inequality
  • What is taught in schools?
  • Education inclusion
  • Teachers and Teaching
  • Education for life-long learning

Introduction to Disciplines in Education

  • Philosophical perspectives
  • Psychological perspectives
  • Political and economic influences
  • Historical Development
  • Social Theory

Introduction to Contexts of Education

  • Thinking about the context and meaning of education
  • Organisation of schools
  • Alternative forms of Education
  • Education and schooling in other countries
  • Informal contexts of education

Introduction to Skills for Studying Education

  • Reseach Literacy 1
  • Research Literacy 2 

Stages two and three

In the later part of the course, we offer both core and option modules. You will personalise your study by choosing modules that particularly interest you. You will also complete a dissertation in your third year, focusing on one topic of your choice and with individual support from a specialist tutor.

Your final degree result will be based on your study in this part of the course.

Stage two

Core Education modules

  • Education policy and society: past and present
  • Educational research methods

Either ONE or BOTH of the following option modules

  • Psychological practice in schools
  • Psychological aspects of teaching

One other option module (unless both above)

  • Teaching, learning and using language in educational contexts
  • Teaching and learning literature
  • Children and literature

Stage three

Core Education modules

  • Empirical dissertation project and support workshops
  • Synoptic

Three option modules from the following

  • Education and development
  • Education and social change
  • Science, education and society
  • Models of writing
  • Language and psychology
  • Drama and education
  • Philosophy, education and childhood
  • Supporting pupils' psychological development in schools
  • Psychology of social pedagody
  • Transcultural communication
  • Assessment in education
  • Learning gender
  • Education and citizenship
  • Perspectives on literacy
  • Landmarks in British poetry
  • Genetics and education
  • Disorders of language and cognition
  • Placement study
  • Independent module of work

The University reserves the right to withdraw or to make alterations to courses and facilities if necessary. The information above does not form part of any contract.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct;
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work;
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts;
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.


How you'll be assessed

Assessment can be in a variety of forms depending on the module including:

The teaching has been really engaging, I would go as far as saying inspiring! Everyone I have spoken to has been supportive. The introductory programme has been an excellent way to get me into essay writing.

BAE undergraduate

  • Open examinations
  • Presentations
  • Reviews
  • Posters
  • Policy briefs
  • Essays

The Department and the University Library run courses on how to write academic essays to help students who may not already be familiar with how to reference or layout an essay.

Feedback is given on all assessed work with comments on what the student has done well and how they might improve their performance. Any students who have further questions about their feedback are welcome to speak to the module tutor who marked their work, as well as their pastoral supervisor.

Other learning opportunities during your degree

York Students in Schools

York Students in Schools is a well-established volunteering programme that allows any student to volunteer in local schools, tutoring or mentoring pupils. This is valuable experience if you are thinking of taking a PGCE after studying at York, or if you would like to see what it is like in a real classroom before deciding what career to pursue after studying Education. You can also listen to three students from our Department talk about their experiences volunteering in schools.

Employability and enrichment programme

During the summer term of your first year you will have the opportunity to spend five weeks working on an educational project in the community. This will give you a chance to put what you have learnt so far into practice. Previous projects have included working on a children's guidebook for a local museum and working with a local charity to create learning resources for young refugees.

Placement study

You can choose to undertake a placement study in the autumn term of your second or third year. This is an opportunity for you to conduct an investigation on an education service operating in the York area, such as the youth and community education service, the provision of education in prisons or museums, or special schools. You will be required to write an academic report on your findings following the placement.

Studying abroad

If you are interested in spending some time overseas during your degree at York, we have particularly strong links with university education departments in Switzerland, Germany and Norway. In addition you can choose to study in Australia, Asia, or the United States. The typical time spent studying abroad is one term.


How you'll be taught

Our tutors use a variety of teaching methods, including:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Group activities
  • Tutorials
  • Guided reading
  • Online Virtual Learning Environment

Emphasis will be very much on interaction: you will be encouraged to think for yourself, to engage in academic debate and to develop and present your arguments with confidence and skill.

Our students are happy with the teaching and academic support we offer: the 2011 National Student Survey placed us in the top 10 in the country.

How you will learn

Our modules comprise a combination of weekly lectures and seminars. Each week, one of our expert tutors will advise you on how to prepare – perhaps by reading carefully selected material, exploring key issues through your own independent study and using new technologies to watch relevant media. In the lectures and seminars, you will debate and discuss the issues with fellow students and your tutor.

To help you progress and to support you with your own study you will be able to:

  • Access the department Virtual Learning Environment which is an online area where students can access all of the course material at any time.
  • Visit the library
  • Visit a lecturer during their office hours, where lecturers welcome students to come and speak to them about the material and ask questions.
  • Contact your Departmental supervisor, who is there to advise you on academic and pastoral issues at University during the entirety of your study.


Careers and employability

Education graduates enter a wide range of careers following their programmes of study at York. These include teaching, publishing, charity work, construction of learning environments, design of learning resources and more.

A significant proportion of our graduates also go on to teacher training at primary and secondary levels and their first degree in Education at York enables them to continue their academic study at prestigious institution. A number of students have also secured alternative pathways into teaching and education, including Teach First.

For further information about where our graduates go after finishing their degrees here see the Career Service’s detailed breakdown of the destinations of Education graduates from York. You can also view our graduate profiles to see how studying Education helped their employability and where studying Education can take you.

Employability and enrichment programme

This programme is a dynamic community-based learning experience that is designed to allow students to put into practice the knowledge that they have developed through their academic studies.

Our students are community partners for a five week period in the Summer term of their first year and undertake work on a range of educational projects. Previously, students have worked on a museum guidebook which involved developing activities for children based around exhibits in the Yorkshire museum. Another project involved the creation of learning resources for young refugees in collaboration with Refugee Action York.

Personal development and employability

The Department runs a number of initiatives designed to develop your academic, personal and employability skills. Important areas such as communication, analysis of data and ideas, computer literacy, networking, time management and project management are focused on through academic modules, careers workshops, employability fairs and a unique volunteering and enrichment programme.

The Department is commited to supporting graduate employability. Activities are organised to introduce our students to a range of skills, experiences and career pathways. The Department arranges for guest speakers from educational consultancies, businesses, charities, local government and schools, this providing students with numerous opportunities to seek advice, make contacts and gain inspiration.

Student complete a Personal Employability Plan as they progress through the degree to record the employability skills they gain and which is then used to help guide them when making career choices.

Other opportunities at York

The University of York has a small but vibrant campus with a wide range of activities to do for leisure and to improve your CV. As a student at the university you could get involved with any of the following:

  • The York Award, which acknowledges candidates who have added to their employability through extra-curricular activities.
  • The incredible array of student societies at York; from our award-winning student media to Fusion, an annual music, dance and fashion show which raises thousands of pounds for local charities.
  • Compete on a friendly, college or university level in one of the university sports clubs. Each year York and Lancaster take turns to host Roses, Europe’s largest inter-university sports competition.


How to apply

We welcome applications from school leavers and mature students. We are looking for people who demonstrate a commitment to and a fascination with the study of education in its many forms. There is no specific A-level requirement but we do expect applicants to be familiar with key, current debates in education and to be able to reflect on and engage critically with these. If you intend to continue to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course after your study here, you should be aware that GCSE or equivalent passes in Mathematics and English Language and, for primary PGCE, a science, are required for all entrants to the teaching profession.

All applications must be made through the Universities and College Admissions Service (UCAS) using the UCAS code which can be found at the top of the page. Intending applicants should also consult the University's prospectus.

Your application form and personal statement should convince us that you have a commitment to the study of Education, the intellectual ability to study at university successfully and the organisational skills required to structure your time at university well. We are also looking for a willingness to engage creatively with tutors and fellow students in the debate about this diverse subject. Candidates who are made an offer are invited to attend a group visit. Some candidates with non-standard backgrounds may be invited to attend an interview.

Typical offers

If you are a sixth-former applying for a single subject degree programme (Education or English in Education), we normally expect you to have grades BBB or better at A-level.

We warmly welcome applications from students taking BTEC, GNVQ or Access courses. Mature entry applicants are considered on merit, although recent experience of study will be an advantage.

International students

The Department of Education at York has a lot to offer for international students, including the opportunity to study at a world-class university for a degree that does not require any specific pre-entry subject knowledge.

Alongside a wide choice of course modules, there are many good opportunities for you to develop your English language skills to a high level in a supportive environment. The University of York also has a strong network of support for international students.

You may also consider staying on after gaining your BA degree to do postgraduate research for a higher degree in an area of education.

If you are uncertain about whether you would be considered for selection then do get in touch – our contact details for undergraduate applications are:

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323451          Email:


Entry requirements

A levels


International Baccalaureate

An overall combined grade of 31 or above.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

  • Scottish Highers (without AH) - AABBB
  • Advanced Highers + Highers - BB + BBBBB

Irish Leaving Certificate



BTEC National Diploma or QCF BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM.

European Baccalaureate

An overall average of 75% or higher.

Other qualifications

  • Cambridge Pre-U: M2 M2, M2
  • Access to HE: Obtain Access to HE Diploma  with 30 credits achieved from units awarded Merit

Other qualifications are accepted by the University, please contact Undergraduate Admissions

English Language Requirements


  • IELTS: 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all units
  • Pearson PTE Academic: 61 overall with 51 in all parts
  • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): grade A
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE):grade C
  • GCSE/O level English Language (as a first language): grade C


Further information on English language requirements can be found at

Any questions?

Please contact the Undergraduate Programme Administrator if you have any questions:


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