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Start date

The Master of Professional Practice – Education (International) course accepts students starting in September, or January if they hold a Masters with research methods.

Degree type


Course length

1 year full-time

2 years part-time


Durham City

Program code


Course details

The Master of Professional Practice – Education (International) is a research degree that uniquely exploits the relationship between research and practice, producing a symbiotic blend that enriches and enhances aspects of learning and teaching in schools and other educational environments with an international focus. It is intended for experienced educational professionals who aspire to contribute to evidence-based and research-informed practice within their schools or educational contexts by exploring an educational theme of relevance to that context as a personal research project in education that will be of benefit to their organisation. As part of your project, we may be able to facilitate links into international schools.

By bringing advanced knowledge of the educational context in which you are working and applying this to the subject of the thesis, including an extensive knowledge of the relevant literature on the subject, you will be expected to demonstrate an ability to interpret evidence and apply theoretical and conceptual knowledge to complex policy, management, operational and international issues. Although the thesis need not constitute an original contribution to knowledge or be worthy of publication, it is expected that it should present novel practical solutions to work-based problems or dilemmas that you have identified as the focus of the research in consultation with relevant work-place leaders.

It is expected that you will demonstrate work at the current limits of understanding of the subject with a critical reflection on international professional practice. In addition to the thesis (maximum 30,000 words), you will submit professional evidence in the form of an additional piece of assessment (maximum 5,000 words) that demonstrates how the research work in the thesis informs your professional practice. The exact nature of this professional evidence may vary by topic and organisation and will be determined by the School of Education. It may include, for example, a portfolio of evidence or reflective diary.

Research topics could relate to any aspect of the theory, policy or practice of education and may be drawn from any phase, including early years and post-compulsory education. You will agree your topics with your supervisory team, so the topic can be aligned not only with your organisation’s interests and needs but also with the research interests of a potential academic supervisor. A professional supervisor will also be involved in the process of guiding and shaping your project.

While most candidates are likely to study part-time, we do accept full-time applicants. We offer supervision in a broad range of areas. What’s more, we welcome applications from varied disciplinary backgrounds, not just from those students possessing qualifications in education-related subjects.

Course Structure

Full-time students may take a selection of non-credit-bearing postgraduate-level modules (if applicable) plus the dissertation and the evidence portfolio over one year.

Part-time students may take a selection of non-credit-bearing postgraduate-level modules (if applicable) plus the dissertation and the evidence portfolio over two years.


We consider the development of independent learning and research skills to be one of the key elements of our postgraduate research curriculum and one which helps our students cultivate initiative, originality and critical thinking.

On the Master of Professional Practice course, you may audit some postgraduate-level modules unless you already hold a Masters degree with research components. In addition, all MPro students will undertake a 30,000-word dissertation supplemented by a 5,000-word portfolio of professional evidence. The dissertation is a significant piece of independent research that constitutes a synthesis of theory, method, and practice in international education and is supported by an academic supervisor from Durham, a professional practice supervisor from your school, and the Dissertation Coordinator.

Throughout the course, all students meet regularly with their supervisors, who provides academic support and guidance. In addition, Programme Leads have regular office hours where they meet students to discuss any issues. Module staff are also happy to meet with you to discuss module specific issues as needed.

In term time, the department also has an extensive programme of departmental and research group seminars which postgraduate students are encouraged to attend. Before the academic year starts, we provide information on preparation for the course. On arrival, we have induction sessions and social events, headed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies and attended by both academic and administrative staff.

Entry Requirements

An honours degree at 2:1 (or equivalent). Significant relevant experience will also be considered.

English Language Requirements 

Fees and Funding

Please contact for further information.

How to Apply

You can apply for this course through our Durham University postgraduate application portal