University of Oxford
Education (Higher Education) MSc
University of Oxford

Key Course Facts

Course Description

**The information provided on this page was correct at the time of publication (November 2023). For complete and up-to-date information about this course, please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via**

The MSc Education (Higher Education) at the University of Oxford is aimed at future academic, policy, and practitioner leaders in higher education (HE). It provides a critical introduction to research, theory, and policy in this complex field, taking into account a range of national, international and global lenses.

During this full-time course, you will have the opportunity to consider a wide range of issues that higher education systems, and, more broadly, tertiary education systems, around the world are facing today. These include:

  • the social and economic contributions of HE
  • graduate employment and employability
  • access and widening participation
  • equity and social and epistemic justice
  • fees and funding;
  • student mobility
  • ‘research on research’
  • the relationship between HE and vocational and technical education and training
  • institutional governance
  • rankings.

Teaching sessions will combine tutor input, class discussion, and working in small groups in order to examine these key issues and the discourses that shape them.

You will study three core papers which consider a wide range of policy issues across higher education systems and the role higher education plays in the economy and society from theoretical, historical and empirical perspectives. Academic staff will also present their own recent research findings, ensuring that the course content reflects live debates at the cutting edge of the field of higher education studies.

In addition to these three pathway-specific core papers, two core papers in research methods will develop your understanding of key concepts and principles of educational research design and methodology, using quantitative and qualitative methods and data. You will benefit from the expertise available through the Qualitative Methods Hub and the Quantitative Methods Hub at the Department of Education.

The five core modules are:

  • Higher Education: Systems, Structures and Institutions
  • Higher Education in the Economy and Society
  • Global Higher Education
  • Foundations of Educational Research 1: Concepts and Design
  • Foundations of Educational Research 2: Strategies and Methods

You will also choose one assessed option paper from a selection offered by academic staff across the department. The following list provides an indication of modules usually available (please note, this is not a guarantee of availability for any particular elective in a given year):

  • Core Principles of Child Assessment
  • Critical Digital Innovation
  • Education, the Internet and Society
  • Intermediate Quantitative Research
  • Perspectives and Debates in Qualitative Research
  • Researching with the South: Decolonizing communication practices in education research
  • The Implementation of the Rights of Children

Entry Requirements / Admissions

Requirements for international students / English requirements

IELTS academic test score (similar tests may be accepted as well)

    • 6.5
    • Graduate Degrees
    • 7.0
    • Undergraduate Degrees
    • (no subscore less than 6.0)

Get advice on which foundation courses are best for you to still study Education (Higher Education), MSc, if you do not meet the minimum requirements in terms of UCAS score, A levels, or English language requirements.

For complete and up-to-date information about this course, please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via


Average student cost of living in the UK

Rent £518
Water, gas electricity, internet (at home) £50
Supermarket shopping £81
Clothing £35
Eating out £33
Alcohol £27
Takeaways / food deliveries £30
Going out / entertainment (excl.alcohol, food) £24
Holidays and weekend trips £78
Transport within city £17
Self-care / sports £20
Stationary / books £13
Mobile phone / internet £13
Cable TV / streaming £7
Insurance £51
Other £95
Average student cost of living £1092

London costs approx 34% more than average, mainly due to rent being 67% higher than average of other cities. For students staying in student halls, costs of water, gas, electricity, wifi are generally included in the rental. Students in smaller cities where accommodation is in walking/biking distance transport costs tend to be significantly smaller.

University Rankings

Positions of University of Oxford in top UK and global rankings.

See all 38 university rankings of University of Oxford

About University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is a prestigious research university located in Oxford, England, and is the oldest English language university in the world. It is made up of 39 partly autonomous constituent colleges, six private halls, and a variety of academic departments which are split into four divisions: Humanities, Mathematical, Physical & Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, and Social Sciences.

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Where is this programme taught

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