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Education, Policy and International Development: Track Content

students learning

Education - with the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge at its heart - is one of the most important and powerful cultural currents of change and growth in the modern world.

These key characteristics are reflected in the structure of the Education Tripos, a diverse and intellectually exciting course which opens up a wide range of employment opportunities and careers.

Education, as a major social science in its own right, explores the intellectual, social and psychological development of the child and young person from birth through to adulthood and the role of literacy, language and creativity in learning. It examines the historical contexts shaping educational ideas and movements and the underlying philosophical principles and political beliefs promoting notions of meritocracy, equality, social inclusion, poverty alleviation and human rights.

At Cambridge, you will engage with these important contemporary themes and ongoing debates, developing and applying a form of critical literacy suited to addressing the varieties of evidence generated and used by educational researchers, policy-makers and professionals.

In Education, Policy and International Development you consider historical and contemporary discussions concerning these areas, and education’s role in economic and social change.

number 1

First year

In your first year you will take four papers consisting of the following structure:

Two compulsory education papers:

  • Critical Debates in Education - introducing major themes in education and Faculty research.
  • Language, Communication, and Literacies - exploring the social, psychological and material context within which spoken language and literacy are developed.

One compulsory track specific paper:

  • Education, Global Inequalities and Social Justice - introducing the history and politics of international development.

And one of the following papers:

  • Modern Societies 1: Introduction to Sociology
    (borrowed from the Human, Social and Political Sciences Tripos)
  • Social Anthropology: The Comparative Perspective
    (borrowed from the Human, Social and Political Sciences Tripos)
  • International conflict, order, and justice
    (borrowed from the Human, Social and Political Sciences Tripos)
  • The modern state and its alternatives
    (borrowed from the Human, Social and Political Sciences Tripos)
  • Human Geography (borrowed from the Geographical Tripos)

number 2

Second year

In your second year you will take five papers consisting of the following structure:

Two compulsory education papers:

  • Designing Educational Research - introduction to the knowledge and skills to undertake educational research.
  • The Emergence of Educational Thinking and Systems - examines the earliest forms of 'education' in pre-modern societies globally and charts the rise of modern education systems and the thinkers that impacted them.

One chosen education paper:

  • Modernity, Globalisation and Education
  • Statistics and Methods (borrowed from the Human, Social and Political Sciences Tripos)
  • Learning and Human Development (a Part IA EPL track paper)
  • International Literatures, Arts and Cultures

One compulsory track specific paper:

  • International Issues in Inclusion and Diversity in Education

One other track specific paper chosen from the following list:

  • Modern Societies II: Global Social Problems and Dynamics of Resistance (borrowed from the Human, Social, Political Sciences Tripos).
  • Development Theories, Policies and Practices (borrowed from the Geographical Tripos).
  • Modernity, Globalisation and Education
  • International Literatures, Arts and Cultures

number 3

Final year

In your final year you will take five papers consisting of the following structure:

All students will complete a 8,000-10,000 word dissertation related to the investigation and analysis of an education issue.

You will then choose two education papers from:

  • Experience of Childhood and Youth
  • Social Theory and Education
  • Play, Creativities and Imagination
  • Children's Literature
  • A second track specific dissertation

One compulsory track specific paper:

Critical debates in education, policy and international development

And one other track specific paper (from a range of options available)

students learning

How will I be taught?

As an Education student you will benefit from a wide range of different teaching and learning styles.

Lectures provide you with the foundations; you will build on the knowledge you gain with your own research and reading. As many of your lecturers will be working at the forefront of their fields, their lectures will enable you to engage with the very latest ideas and debates.

Seminars and classes are more interactive, with lecturers exploring a particular topic in more depth.

Your lectures and seminars will normally take place in the Faculty of Education on Hills Road although lectures for borrowed papers will usually take place elsewhere.

Supervisions - the intensive small group teaching sessions that are one of Cambridge's strongest selling points - are organised by your College's Director of Studies (DoS)2018-19. You hand in written work in advance and then have the opportunity to discuss it with the supervisor and other students and to explore the subject further with them. This allows you to explore new approaches and discuss both the set topic and other aspects of the course in depth.

As with lectures, your supervisions will usually take place in the Faculty, but supervisions for borrowed papers may take place elsewhere. In addition to arranging supervisions, your DoS will give you regular academic advice and support.

While speed of working will inevitably vary from person to person, you can expect to work for 40-48 hours a week during the eight-week term, to include: lectures, practicals (some papers only), supervisions, preparation for supervisions and private study.

You can also read some of our current students' thoughts on studying Education, and find out more about whether this course is right for you.