Education is one of the most powerful means for change and growth in the modern world. If you’re interested in the psychology, politics or social and cultural contexts of education and learning, you can study it on our Education course.
The course at Cambridge is a rigorous and rewarding interdisciplinary degree. You follow one of three tracks, combining in-depth study of a particular field of interest with an examination of wider educational and social issues. The tracks available are: (1) Education, Psychology and Learning; (2) Education, Policy and International Development; or (3) Education, English, Drama and the Arts.
The Faculty of Education has excellent resources and state-of-the-art research facilities, including a psychology laboratory and a library that houses one of the UK’s best education collections. Active research forms the foundation of our teaching so you’re taught by academics at the forefront of their fields and who specialise in cutting-edge research.
In your SAQ you should indicate which track you’re interested in studying:
- Education, Psychology and Learning focuses on education from a psychological perspective; exploring human development and education in a variety of social and cultural environments.
- Education, Policy and International Development considers historical and contemporary discussions concerning these areas, and education’s role in economic and social change.
- Education, English, Drama and the Arts combines the study of drama and/or English literature with key issues in education, such as debates around creativity, learning and culture.
Regardless of which track you follow, you attend four to six lectures and seminars, and one or two hours of supervision per week in the first year. All Part I Education students take the same two core papers in each of years one and two, but the other papers you study will depend on the track you are following.
In the third year ('Part II'), you will take five papers, including one track-specific paper, at least two papers on particular issues in education, and a dissertation of 8,000-10,000 words. For the fifth paper, you can take another issue in education paper, submit a second dissertation, or choose a paper from options in other relevant courses.
The career options for graduates are extremely varied and they find employment in a wide range of occupations in the UK and abroad. As well as further study and teaching, our students have gone into research, educational psychology and neuroscience, publishing, and the Civil Service. Others now work in government policy and administration, the media, theatre, heritage and museum education, HR, business and consultancy, charities and NGOs.
The course provides excellent preparation for a wide range of Masters and doctoral research programmes, both at Cambridge – each track has close links to related MPhil programmes within the Faculty – and elsewhere.
Alternatively, for those intending to teach, the course provides a foundation from which to proceed to some initial teacher training courses (e.g. a PGCE).
As an Education student at Magdalene you join a small band of enthusiastic and committed students. On average, each year we admit one or two students, who get together regularly in College and at the Faculty of Education. Individual meetings with the DoS happen three times a term, or as the student requests. The Education DoS (Dr Linda Fisher) is keen to ensure that you are appropriately supported in your studies, will review your progress and make sure that the workload is challenging and manageable. Our Magdalene Education students report being very well looked after and they flourish academically!
Education students have benefitted, not only from good library provision and College facilities in general, but have also enjoyed College financial support to explore a number of interesting course-related extra-curricular activities, such as visits to schools in South Africa to evaluate intervention programmes.
If you are a person with a wide-ranging set of intellectual interests and a commitment to the importance of education, then the Education Tripos may be ideally suited to you.
Perhaps your own schooling has led you to ask questions about the right way to educate young people. Perhaps you have started to wonder what education is like across the world and how it might be. As long as you wish to consider, both creatively and critically, why, how and about what we educate, then the course is for you.
The Education Tripos attracts students from all different backgrounds and many different parts of the world; there is no 'typical' Education student. Diversity is reflected equally in the Education course structure, where historical and philosophical themes complement the study of contemporary issues and ongoing debates. The course will suit you are interested in ideas and are enthusiastic about developing your critical literacy and research skills, such that you might understand how to generate the varieties of evidence used by educational researchers, policy-makers and other professionals.
Above all, we look for people who are excited by the prospect of learning about, thinking deeply about, writing and talking about how we do and should educate world citizens.
A typical offer is A*AA at A-level and for candidates studying the IB offers typically range from 41-42 points to include 7,7,6 in Higher Level subjects.
Magdalene does not specify preferred subjects at A-level, but we look for a well-rounded/strong academic portfolio and clearly grounded motives for wishing to study Education.
Interviews and Written Assessment
Applicants invited for interview will have two interviews, each lasting about 20 minutes. One of these will be with the Director of Studies and another member of the Education Department, the second is likely to be with two teaching fellows of the college in relevant subjects.