Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

MSc Educational Research Methods

This programme for education professionals will give you a critical understanding of key issues, principles and methods in education research.

You’ll learn to design, conduct, analyse and interpret education research, informed by an understanding of the philosophical and theoretical issues at work. You’ll study research design, data collection and analysis while learning to interpret results.

Crucially, you’ll consider how to choose and integrate different methodologies, bringing together qualitative and quantitative methods to answer the complex questions you’ll face throughout your professional career. You’ll use software for advanced statistical modelling, consider issues such as ethics, and develop your own research project.

This programme provides training in research methodologies that meets the requirements of the ESRC’s 1+3 arrangement for research studentships.

Please be aware that this programme contains a substantial mathematical and statistical element. You’ll need to be comfortable with intermediate level mathematics before you apply, and have the confidence to develop this further.

You’ll study a set of core modules that develop your understanding of different research methods, as well as the underlying assumptions and philosophical issues that impact on social science research.

Document analysis, interviewing and observing are the three key qualitative methods you’ll study, and you’ll develop and use different frameworks for analysing their findings. You’ll also explore quantitative methods, applying software such as SPSS to real datasets to build your skills. At the same time, you consider key philosophical debates such as positivism and empiricism, as well as their implications for the validity and reliability of knowledge claims in education research.

Throughout these modules you’ll gain a practical understanding of how the quality of research is affected by a whole chain of activities – from forming the right research questions to accurate reporting of results.

You’ll develop your knowledge when you formulate your own research questions and develop the design of your dissertation: an empirical study related to your own interests that allows you to navigate the whole research process and demonstrate your skills.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Getting Started: Research Questions and Approaches in Education 15 credits
  • Philosophical underpinning of educational research 15 credits
  • Qualitative data: processes of collection, interpretation and analysis 15 credits
  • Introduction to quantitative data analysis 15 credits
  • Statistical modelling in educational research 30 credits
  • Dissertation in Research Methods 60 credits

Optional modules

  • Educational Research Methods Directed Study 30 credits
  • Contemporary Global Challenges in Education Policy and Leadership Practice 30 credits
  • Critical Perspectives on Leadership Theory and Practice 30 credits
  • Directed Study in Education 1 15 credits
  • Technology Enhanced Language Learning 30 credits
  • Learning with Digital Technologies 30 credits
  • Design and Evaluation of Digital Learning Environments 30 credits
  • Technology, Education and Society 30 credits
  • Digital Learning in Practice 30 credits
  • Special Educational Needs: Inclusive Approaches 30 credits
  • Special Educational Needs: Inclusive Curriculum 30 credits
  • Developmental Disorders I: Dyslexia and Developmental Coordination Disorder 30 credits
  • Developmental Disorders II: Attention Deficit Disorder and Autistic Spectrum Disorder 30 credits
  • Theorizing Childhood and Youth 30 credits
  • Research with Children and Young People 30 credits
  • Learning and Teaching Vocabulary 15 credits
  • Grammar, Learning and Teaching 15 credits
  • Learning and Language in Primary Classrooms 30 credits
  • Teacher Education for TESOL 15 credits
  • The TESOL curriculum and TESOL change 15 credits
  • Assessing Language Learning 15 credits
  • Materials Development for TESOL 15 credits

Learning and teaching

We use diverse teaching and learning methods to reflect the variety of methods used on this programme. You’ll attend seminars and tutorials, as well as benefit from group learning sessions and online learning.

This programme also includes practical classes where you’ll work on statistics and data analysis. Independent study is also an important part of this course, allowing you to pursue your research interests and build your skills.


You’ll be assessed using methods that include poster presentations and essays, as well as data analysis and reporting tasks. Normally, you’ll be able to submit essay drafts to your tutors for feedback before you submit them, and we offer other forms of support as well.

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) plus two years of experience in the field of education. We consider applicants with alternative qualifications and experience on an individual basis.

International qualifications

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information, contact the School of Education admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Education (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Education (10 weeks).

How to apply

Application deadlines

We generally advise you to apply before the end of July.

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you need

  • A copy of your degree certificate or equivalent and transcripts.
  • Two references.
  • Evidence of your English language qualifications if English is not your first language.
  • A personal statement of 750-1000 words explaining how you would be suited to the programme.

Admissions policy

School of Education Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: £6,750 (total)

International: £15,750 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

This Masters provides an excellent grounding if you want to continue with academic educational research, such as PhD study. It's also suitable for those who want to develop their research skills for work in education more generally, for example in management roles with research responsibilities, or as practitioner researchers.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

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