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THE UK: Subject Guides

The School of Education at the University of Sheffield (UK)


What is a ‘School of Education’? Surely a school is a form of education in itself? Fortunately, Dr Ansgar Allen took time to enlighten us, including why he himself is proof of how fulfilling it can be to study this area at the University of Sheffield:


Dr Allen at the University of Sheffield

What one aspect of the course you teach do you personally look forward to each year, and why?

I really look forward to learning with students during the first module. This module draws from the huge range of expertise that our students come with. This is a truly international programme, and it is fascinating to explore relationships between educational approaches, different national, social and political contexts, and their philosophical underpinnings. At the end of the first module, students work in groups to put together a presentation in which they offer a unique perspective on questions like: What does education do? What is education for? And how should we research it? These presentations are consistently outstanding and a pleasure to be part of. The answers to these questions are far from self-evident, and I am always impressed by how students draw from their discussions, the lectures and readings, and their own prior experience to create truly insightful and unique responses to each question.


Tell us a bit about the faculty or staff in the department, and where they come from.

Education is an exciting field to work in simply because it is so broad in what it covers. It encompasses a range of disciplines including: sociology, politics, history, philosophy and psychology, to name but a few! For this reason, the Masters Programme at the School of Education includes a number of specialist routes allowing students to experience both the breadth of study that takes place in education, whilst developing their own specialism within this field.

The staff at the School of Education reflect the huge range of interests that are covered by this field. Students on the Masters will, therefore, get to meet a wide range of people working in different areas using different research approaches based on different research philosophies. For that reason, it is a great place to explore and develop your interests, knowing that you will be supported whichever direction you take them in.


What are the benefits of studying this course at the University of Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield is a friendly and exciting place to study. It is very well resourced, with great libraries, an award winning student union, and a huge range of departments. This means there is a lot going on! There are many lectures and events that students are invited to attend, and these include a broad range of events hosted by the School of Education each year. We encourage our students to make the most of their year in Sheffield by getting involved with all these activities. The surrounding countryside is beautiful too, and really easy and quick to access, with Sheffield being on the borders of a national park. I loved it so much that when I finished my Masters I stayed!


Why is it an exciting time for prospective students to move into your field?

Education has always been an exciting field to study, as it lies at the core of social relations and societies. To understand how education works is to investigate how societies function and reproduce themselves. Education has, though, been given a particularly important role in today’s society, and this is something that we will critically investigate during the course. It is promoted more and more, as the solution to economic and social ills. For this reason, to study education is to investigate the problems that face contemporary societies, how those problems are posed, and how they are expected to be solved. Education occupies a unique and problematic position here. It is held up as the great panacea, and yet the educational endeavour itself is far from unproblematic. It truly is a fascinating area to study!


Can you give a few examples of the roles and positions which graduates have gone onto?

A degree in education is a qualification that demonstrates you have mastered a broad range of skills. For this reason, graduates go on to roles and positions that are both within education and beyond. Our graduates have gone on to work as teachers and in related professions. They have occupied posts, in education ministries and other government departments, and have worked in businesses related to education. Many graduates go on to further, doctoral level study, using the research expertise they have generated during the Masters. This was the route I took after studying for my Masters at the School of Education. I enjoyed it so much that I stayed on to teach!


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About Author

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.


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