Education & Teaching is a broad family of degrees concerned with how people learn and how education shapes a person’s life as well as society at large. Degrees in the field can be quite varied, from sports education via education management to educational neuroscience. Eager to learn more? Then read on for everything you need to know:
Education is a broad discipline looking at how people learn in different stages of their lives. Its focus can vary a lot according to your interest: Are you interested in understanding how to educate teenagers? Are you more into lifelong learning? Do you want to understand how education policy works? Do you want to teach little children? These aspirations will all take you to different degrees.
You could end up studying subjects such as Psychology, Child Development, Neuroscience, Economics of Education, Education Technology - and research methods.
If you want to become a teacher, you will often also need to take modules, or an entire degree, in your specific subject - for example maths or foreign languages.
Sometimes, people take it for granted that an education graduate will automatically want to teach. This is not correct: An Education degree can be a great foundation to becoming a teacher, but does not always include the formal teacher training you would need to be a teacher. Instead, an Education degree can open many other doors for you as well.
Many universities all over Europe offer Education & Teaching degree programmes completely in English. Depending on whether you plan to work as a teacher later on, you may also be able to choose modules in relevant subjects and receive teacher training.
In Education & Teaching, the typical subjects you study can vary according to the specialism that you choose. However, you can most often expect to be studying:
The curricula will vary depending on what type of Bachelor’s degree in Education you will enrol in.
Some programmes have a focus on Psychology – in those courses you can expect modules such as:
Other Bachelors have a focus on a specific education phase (e.g. primary or secondary) – in those you can expect a focus on:
Other courses instead focus on specific subjects you may be interested in teaching, so you can expect a focus on the pedagogy of those subjects; for example science pedagogy or foreign language pedagogy.
Other examples of subjects you may find in a Bachelor’s degree:
You can choose to do a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc). The course content may be similar, but often a BSc will involve more research work and the dissertation could be an original research study that you will conduct.
There is a wide variety of Master’s programmes in Education & Teaching, each with their own unique characteristics. You can broadly divide them into 5 categories:
1. Masters of Education with a broad focus, usually on policy and practice. Typical subjects will include:
2. Masters of Teaching, usually for those who studied a different subject at Bachelor’s level, of for those who want to deepen their knowledge of education practice before becoming teachers. Typical subjects will include:
3. Masters with a focus on Psychology or Neuroscience, for example educational neuroscience or educational psychology. Subjects will include:
4. Masters for teachers aspiring to become a Special Education Needs expert. Typical subjects will include:
5. Masters in Educational Management, for those who aspire to a leadership position in an educational institution. Modules will include:
And then there are interdisciplinary Master’s degrees that combine Education with e.g. Economics, Technology or other subjects.
A very popular option, especially for those with a full-time job, is to apply for an online Master’s degree and pursue it while working. You will have to develop some serious time management skills: An online Masters will require the same amount of work as an on-campus degree course.
A Master of Education, or MEd degree, is a postgraduate qualification that some universities offer as an alternative to an MA (Master of Arts) or MSc (Master of Science) in Education.
An MEd degree is not substantially different; however, while an MA degree will generally be more suited to students interested in research, policy or teaching, an MEd is for students who definitely are interested in education practice. It is more of a professionalising degree for educators.
What do I need to know about doing a PhD in education?
Most universities that offer Master’s degrees in Education & Teaching also offer doctoral programmes. If you are interested in research and want to advance knowledge in the field of education, and possibly become an academic, then a PhD is the right choice for you. If doing a PhD is your aspiration, you will need to choose your Master’s carefully, as usually the research field you focus on in your Master’s degree will be the same as the one you will work on during your PhD - although this is not always the case.
If - in contrast to a research-heavy PhD - you are more interested in the practical aspects of education and want to deepen your knowledge to advance your career into a leadership role, an EdD - Doctor of Education - might be the better alternative.
University rankings can be helpful when you are deciding which universities to apply to. Every year, the Shanghai Ranking lists the best universities worldwide in the field of Education. Most recently, these are the best universities for Education in a selection of European countries:
If you graduate from an Education & Teaching degree, you don’t necessarily have to become a teacher. Beyond expertise in your area the degree will also give you a range of transferable skills that can be used in other professions. The world is your oyster!
However, keep in mind that if you do want to become a teacher, requirements will change according to the country where you want to teach, and also the types of schools at which you want to teach. Formal teacher training will be required in addition to your degree, unless your degree already has a training component.
Most university degrees are recognized across the EU, and so are some professional qualifications, but if you plan to move across Europe to teach it is wise to check if your qualifications are automatically recognized. You can contact ENIC-NARIC for this.
Also, keep in mind that additional courses may be needed if you choose to teach in an international school teaching a specific curriculum (such as the International Baccalaureate).
A degree in Education will give you a wide choice of careers. To a large extent, the options you will have depend on the kind of programme you picked as well as the experience you are getting during your studies.
Having some work experience under your belt before you graduate is always a good idea.
A note: Employers like schools will generally require a background criminal check before you start working with minors.
The typical roles can vary according to what type of degree you complete. This is a general overview of the jobs you could aspire to do:
This is an overview of the typical employers you will be working with after your degree(s):
It goes without saying that if you want to become a teacher or an educator, this is the right degree for you. It’s also the right field for you if you are interested in how people learn, how they retain information, or how education can shape society - on a more abstract level. Education & Teaching encompasses a broad family of degrees that there are options for various types of people and desired careers.
However, if you are more interested in Arts, Natural Sciences or something else - without necessarily wanting to teach that subject to a class of students - then an Education degree is not your best choice. You might be better off pursuing your passion in a typical, non-teaching-related degree course.
Education & Teaching is a big family of degrees that offer a wide variety of choices. However, if you are not entirely convinced this is for you, these are other subjects you can study with similar characteristics: