FAQs

Who is the course for?

We welcome teachers at all levels of education (primary, secondary, sixth form), in any subject.

The course has subject-specific routes and generic routes.  In Part 1, all teachers are in generic groups, in a mix of subjects, school phases and school types.  For Part 2, the main expertise of staff currently teaching on the MSc Learning and Teaching relates to teaching the 11-18 age range, and subject-specific supervisory support can only be guaranteed for secondary teachers of certain subjects in Part 2 – currently Citizenship, English, Mathematics, Science, History, Modern Languages, Religious Education and Geography.  (The provision of such support in any particular subject is, however, dependent on the numbers applying.  Successful applicants for Part 2 who find that a particular subject group is already full will be given the option of joining a generic group or deferring their place until the following year when they can join the subject-specific group of their choice.)

The Department does, however, also include strong research programmes related to pre-school and primary education and to education and training for the 14-19 age range, and we are able to draw on some of this expertise to inform teaching and give students access to specialist guidance. The current cohort therefore includes primary teachers as well as a small number of teachers in tertiary colleges.

Teachers of all phases of education – KS1-KS5 – are therefore welcome to apply but need to be aware that most participants are likely to be secondary school teachers. In the past two years we have accepted primary school teachers into the programme. They are then able to pursue an area of curriculum specialisation alongside secondary school colleagues.  Teachers from other subjects, e.g. Business Studies, Health Care, Latin or PE, tend to work in more generic groups.

How much time will I be expected to spend on study?

Course tutors are aware that students have very busy classroom lives and we have tried to time tasks so that they can be completed during holiday periods. There are texts to be read in your own time and tasks to be undertaken in school but we anticipate that over the year, your commitment would average out to about two to three hours per week. The reading commitment for the final dissertation is greater than for the taught course, and you will need to build this in to your planning: if you have maintained a steady reading programme throughout the early stages of the course, the final year will be that much easier. During the taught course, you are expected to attend the four or five weekend seminars each year and complete the reading and investigative tasks set in each of the taught themes.  In the final year of the course there are two weekend seminars.

How will my work on the course be supported?

You will be allocated a supervisor who will provide individual guidance and you will gain access to the University’s VLE (WebLearn); we require students to use the VLE to discuss aspects of their work. You will also have the opportunity to meet with other members of your subject specific (or generic) support group throughout the year (see above).

How often will I need to come to the Department for meetings?

Attendance is required in Oxford at four (Part 1), five (Part 2) and two (Part 3) seminars over the course, with some tasks online.  The weekend seminars will run from late afternoon on Friday to late afternoon on Saturday.  In your first year you will also be required to attend an induction and registration day in September, and at the beginning of Part 3 you will need to attend the matriculation ceremony (in October) when you formally begin the MSc.

Do I have to apply to a college?

College affiliation is an important part of being a student at Oxford, but is only required in the final year of the course (the Research & Development Project).  For this year, you will deal with the college directly for fees and matriculation.  Colleges will try to make you welcome; some have rooms available to rent when you are in Oxford.  We deal with college places during Part 2 of the course.  Oxford graduates, particularly ex-PGCE students, often return to their old college.  Otherwise, there are a few colleges which accept part-time students.  We have particular links with Kellogg College, which was specifically set up for students who undertake part-time studies at Oxford. Please note that there is no guarantee that you will be placed at any given College, and a place will be found for you where possible.

What should I include in the statement of purpose on the application form?

The statement of purpose really just tells us why you are interested in doing this course. You might have particular priorities that you want to investigate or to develop in your teaching and already know the kind of ideas you want to explore in your final research and development project. You may have taken on a new role or responsibility at school and be looking to develop particular kinds of knowledge or expertise, perhaps involving work with others. Your interests could relate to the particular needs of the students that you are teaching, or to the demands of a new kind of syllabus, or leadership position. But you might simply be looking for structured support and access to ideas and resources that will challenge and extend your thinking and understanding of the teaching and learning process, giving you new ideas and the encouragement to experiment with different approaches. Your school may have particular reasons for encouraging you to undertake the course, again perhaps with a specific development project in mind. Do tell us if you have any particular aims of this kind or if there are specific challenges in your teaching/school context to which you are seeking answers. If your ideas are less focused, it is fine simply to explain in more general terms what you are hoping to get out of the course and why you would have the support of your school (or other educational setting) in undertaking it now.

Who should I choose as my referees?

You are required to provide the details of three referees on your application form. We are looking for references from your school and from another institution, for example, a course tutor if you have completed your PGCE course in the past two years. Due to the nature of the course we would like to see a reference from your Headteacher and/or HoD if possible as the research work you will carry out will be within the school.

We strongly advise you to discuss the course with your Headteacher as you may need to leave school earlier than normal on seminar weekends in order to travel to Oxford.  Attendance at these seminars is a requirement of the course.

Please note that, as part of the University regulations, the Graduate Admissions Office is unable to release your application to us until you have provided at least two references with your application (either by paper or on-line). Once we have received and considered your application we will then make a decision whether or not we wish to pursue the third if you have not already provided it.

Do I still need to pay college fees even though the course is part-time and I do not need accommodation?

All the students in their final year of this programme have college affiliation so they need to pay college fees for one year in their period of study. These are less than the full time cost, reflecting the non-resident status of our students.

Will I be able to pay fees in instalments?

The Department assumes payment will be made on a yearly basis at the start of the year, however, arrangements can be made for a termly payment of fees. The schedule for this is set in September of the year of entry. In Part 3, colleges operate their own fees schedule and this arrangement is dependent on the College.

Why am I entered for the Postgraduate Diploma on entry when I have applied for the MSc?

The Postgraduate Diploma is simply part of the process of the course which allows us to offer an exit award after Part 2 if any student wishes to discontinue their studies at this point. We expect all students to continue to the MSc when they sign up for the course, and the course is designed to lead students through to this point, however, we understand that personal circumstances can sometimes change.