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Education (BA)

  • X300

3 years (Full-time) / n/a (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)

Education is an exciting social science subject increasingly being presented as a principal means of fostering economic growth, social cohesion and personal well-being. The BA Education will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of contemporary developments and challenges in education. It will enable you to explore underpinning assumptions and to investigate the research basis of contemporary policy and practice.

From 2015 the single honours Education degree will no longer offer a BPS accredited route. For entry in 2014 to the Education degree, please contact an admissions tutor to enquire if there are spaces on the BPS accredited route.

Key Facts

UCAS Code X300
Duration 3 years
How to apply
Accreditation  An optional route is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) – limitations on module option choices apply to this route
Typical places available The School admits 300 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes of which approximately 50 are studying single or joint honours degrees in Education.
Typical applications received 1,500
Scholarships & Bursaries
Typical A-level offer ABB-BBB
Admissions Tutors Undergraduate Admissions Office
Tel Number 029 2087 5122
Email address
School website

Education studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines the sociological, psychological and political dimensions of education. It is interested in how people learn and develop; how education policies are influenced by their social, historical, economic, and political context; and how to evaluate the effectiveness of changes to education policy and practice.

Our Education degrees are based in the School of Social Sciences, which has an international reputation for its research and teaching. The teaching of this programme is rated ‘excellent’, and the course has close and mutually beneficial links with local schools, colleges and other educational organisations.

Education at Cardiff

The programme puts an emphasis on three perspectives: firstly, the psychological and social development of children from their birth through into their adolescence and later adult life; secondly, a study of national and international policy developments in education as they affect educational institutions, economic performance and social justice; thirdly, practical issues related to teaching, learning and the organisation and management of schools, colleges and education in the wider community.

All Education students take a number of foundation modules that introduce core social science research about education policy and practice. These can then be developed during your degree in two ways. One option is to maintain the broad focus on learning in all its contexts and aspects. If you follow this route, you will have the full choice of modules available and develop a more holistic, inter-disciplinary understanding of education needed for a number of education and policy-related careers.

The other option is to choose to specialise in the psychological aspects of education. If you follow this route, passing all the required modules and achieving a 2ii overall, then your degree will be recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as providing the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). This would make you eligible for further training or postgraduate study in psychology-related professions such as educational psychology, occupational psychology and other social psychology areas.

Single or joint honours?

Whether you are studying for a single or joint honours degree in education you will be expected to take a number of core modules in each year. Single honours students then have the option of making up their remaining modules from a selection of those taught elsewhere in the School of Social Sciences. Joint honours students typically split their modules evenly between the two subjects and may have a greater number of core modules to include before choosing any options. Students following the BPS route will also find their module choice reduced as a result of the accreditation requirements imposed by the BPS.

Whatever pathway you choose, studying Education at Cardiff will provide you with a degree that is regularly updated to reflect the cutting edge of education research. It is also a degree that opens the door to a wide range of employment opportunities and a large number of more specialist postgraduate qualifications.

Course structure

All degrees schemes within the Cardiff School of Social Sciences put great emphasis on the combination of theory and method that is needed to apply social science work to real world problems. Our degree schemes are developed with this in mind and provide a solid foundation in core concepts and methods before moving on to more independent and critical thinking about their application in specific contexts.

For Education degrees, this progression is accomplished as follows. In Year One, all students take three core modules:

  • Education and Society: this covers the role of education in society, the changing nature and management of educational institutions, and the wider impact of education policies.
  • Introduction to social psychology: this provides an introduction to the psychology of social life.
  • Introduction to Social Science Research: an introduction to the principles and skills that underpin social science research.

Single honours students will complete their programme of study with an additional psychology module and cognate modules from the Sociology and Social Policy schemes. Joint honours students will focus their remaining modules on those required by their partner subject.

In Years Two and Three, the three themes that were introduced in the first year – learning over the life cycle, education policies and their impact, teaching, learning and the organisation of education – are all developed in more detail. There are core modules in research methods and the sociology of education but students are also able to choose from a selection of modules that provide in-depth instruction in the research interests of academic staff. These currently include issues and topics such as:

  • Psychology and Social Behaviour
  • Children and Childhood
  • Gender Relations and Society
  • Inequality and the Division of Labour
  • Conflict and Change in Educational Policy
  • Equality and Diversity in Education and Work
  • Emotional and Behaviour Difficulties
  • Issues in Social and Cultural Psychology
  • Learning and Individual Differences
  • Language and the Mind

In addition, all final year students have the opportunity to undertake dissertation project in which they will be able to design and conduct a small scale research project under the supervision of a member of academic staff. If you choose to follow the BPS route through the scheme then the dissertation is compulsory.
More information about the modules currently available is available from the Cardiff School of Social Sciences website. Please note, however, that module titles and content can change from year to year.

Teaching in the School of Social Sciences is research-led and reflects the inter-disciplinary nature of the School.  Students are taught about the latest ideas within the social sciences by internationally recognised scholars who are themselves shaping the future of their respective fields.  Students also play an important role in the development of the curriculum, with the Staff-Student Panel being consulted about major changes and all students contributing to module evaluations and an annual student survey.

The teaching programme is designed to support students in the transition into University learning. Each academic year, students take six modules, each of which will be taught via weekly lectures and fortnightly seminars. In between this formal contact time, students will be given guided reading, online exercises or other work designed to consolidate and develop their knowledge. All teaching is directed towards meeting clearly stated learning outcomes, which are then assessed at regular intervals. Assessment methods vary from module to module but, over the course of their degree, each student can expect a mixture of exams, essays, practical work, individual and group projects and presentations.

The style of teaching also changes over the course of the degree. In Year One, all students are expected to meet with personal tutor every two weeks in order to follow a structured programme of study skills and readings through which they will learn how to be social scientists. In Years Two and Three students are increasingly able to study and learn independently and so have the opportunity to read more widely and develop their own interests. For many, this will culminate in their final year dissertation, where they will work with a member of academic staff to design and carry out an independent research project.

Typical A-level Offer ABB-BBB, excluding General Studies
Typical WBQ Offer Advanced Diploma Pass in the Core and grades AB or BB at GCE A-level dependent upon offer
Typical Int Bacc Offer 32-34 points
Other Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.

A list of commonly accepted alternative entry qualifications and admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be read here.

In addition to its substantive content, our degree in Education provides skills in critical thinking, analysis of qualitative and quantitative data and report writing. As such, social science graduates are able to find employment in both public and private sectors and their graduate employment rates compare favourably with other subjects. Examples of the careers our graduates have followed include: educational psychology; social care professions; youth and community work; local government; retail and other management; police and probation services; teaching; careers guidance; human resource management; speech therapy; social science, market and policy research.

According to Unistats data available in 2012, 63 per cent of graduates from the Cardiff School of Social Sciences were in employment within six months of graduating, while another 23 per cent were undertaking further study. Both these figures compare very well with other institutions and other degree subjects.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Undergraduate Admissions Office  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 5122 

Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4175 


School Website:

More information

School of Social Sciences