Choose Kingston’s Research and Practice in Higher Education MA

Higher education expands knowledge, broadens horizons, and contributes to society’s wellbeing and welfare. This course aims to create inquisitive, critically aware and well-prepared higher education professionals. With the knowledge, skills and attitudes encouraged by this course, these professionals can make positive changes to the higher education of the future.

The course is primarily designed for those currently working in higher education or who have experience of working in the sector. However, if you have different, but relevant, professional experience, we will consider your eligibility on an individual basis.

Key features

  • This course offers critical understanding of key issues and trends in higher education. Covering higher education as a whole, it examines overlapping professional and inter-professional practices (eg teaching, research, administration, leadership and support).
  • You will gain understanding of a sector that is experiencing significant and ongoing change, and learn to reflect on change in ways that can bring about meaningful innovation.
  • This course does not just rely on a theoretical understanding of higher education issues. Through interaction with a variety of scholars and professionals, you will be able to link theory to the range of practices within higher education.
  • You will benefit from the shared experience and expertise of professionals (both academic and academic-related) at the University and from the profession beyond.
  • You will develop important scholarly research skills, enabling you to work successfully in education-related contexts and in professional environments that rely on social sciences research. These skills will also be useful if you wish to continue your studies to doctoral level.
  • Your career opportunities may be enhanced through the knowledge and skills gained on this course. These skills are not only relevant to traditional higher education positions, but also roles such as consultant or researcher in higher education agencies, research councils and educational think tanks.

The course has several challenging and exciting aims, including:

  • helping you develop a critical and reflective understanding of higher education practices (both academic and academic-related);
  • sharpening your conceptual awareness and your ability to use critical thinking and reflection when studying key and emerging higher education practices;
  • helping you develop and apply relevant research methods (based on a sound understanding of their underpinning philosophies) to examine specific areas of higher education practice;
  • fostering your scholarly independence and professional judgement, helping you to work within complex higher education environments; and
  • enhancing your professional and career options, while offering personal intellectual satisfaction.

What will you study?

This course offers both breadth and depth of knowledge. As well as a broad study of higher education, you will be able to specialise in an area of your choice. Topics current in higher education include: marketisation, globalisation, internationalisation, the changing nature and scope of knowledge, and widening participation. You will consider these topics from professional and interprofessional viewpoints.

You will be encouraged to reflect on your professional expertise and experiences, and compare these with others. The course also provides opportunities to develop and demonstrate knowledge, understanding, skills and other attributes that are typical of the field of higher education studies (such as reflection, critical thinking and positioning).

Study Details:

MA 1 year Full-time, 2 years Part-time

Module Details:


Course structure

The MA is divided into three parts, each corresponding to a 60-credit exit point:

  • Certificate (upon completion of modules 1, 2)
  • Diploma (upon completion of modules 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Master (upon completion of modules 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Part-time students will complete modules 1, 2 and 3 in their first year of study; full-time students will complete all the modules (1 to 5) in one calendar year.

  • The course is mostly delivered online. However, you will need to attend the University for two weeks of teaching. These weeks will be at the starts of modules 1 and 2. In these weeks, your classes will be Monday to Friday, normally between 10.00am and 5.00pm. Each week comprises intensive teaching, and may include visits within the London area. Activities are provided online for further study, engagement and assessment.
  • Module 3 is delivered completely online through regular tasks, activities and readings.
  • Modules 4 and 5 are entirely made of independent study relating to a specific topic/area in higher education. You will have regular access to supervisors – online, face-to-face, or a mixture, depending on your circumstances.


  • Includes a one-week intensive block delivered at Kingston Hill, for both full-time and part-time students. 

  • Includes a one- week intensive block delivered at Kingston Hill, for both full-time and part-time students.

  • Module 3: Researching higher education
  • Module 4: Looking at specific practices: literature review
  • Module 5: Research dissertation

Student Destinations

The course is a professional degree. It aims to enhance the professional practice of those already employed in the higher education sector or who wish to work there in the future.

The structure of the course enables you to learn about the sector both theoretically and practically, through exposure to the work of current professionals. You will have opportunities to learn from higher education practitioners (academics, students, administrators, managers and leaders), linking their experience and expertise to what is said in lectures and written in literature. This will give you insight into how higher education institutions work. Meeting and networking with grass roots practitioners may also give you opportunities to ask for employment opportunities within specific sections of the sector.

The course enhances transferable skills. Its emphasis on inquiry will equip you with research skills that are sought after in the higher education sector and beyond.

You will be able to increase your opportunities for employment. This will be in both traditional higher education professional roles and in roles such as consultant or researcher for higher education institutions (for example, the Higher Education Academy or the Quality Assurance Agency). Through your understanding of the higher education sector, you should be equipped for work in research councils and educational think tanks.


Home and European Union 2016/17: Module £750 Overseas: (not EU) 2016/17 Module £1,600

Entry Requirements

What you need to apply for this course
An honours degree in any subject.
Previous or current employment in the HE sector would normally be expected. 
Technical requirements 
To make the most of your studies on this online course you will need the following.
A computer that is less than three years old, with the latest operating system (OS) (either Windows or Apple). Things to note with this are:
the computer software should have all the recent updates installed; and
if you use a computer supplied by your place of work, you should liaise with a technician to ensure these updates are applied, and that the software can be accessed through any security measures applied by your place of work.
A headset (headphone and microphone integrated), a webcam, and a good internet connection.
Additionally, we strongly recommend a quiet space or room for the synchronous tutorial and group-work sessions.
English language requirements 
All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.
Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.
Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Please see our website for how to apply

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