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Study Education, why & how to study

Education is a rewarding subject area where you'll learn how to share your knowledge and help shape future generations.

Teacher helping schoolgirl using a tablet computer in class


  1. What’s Education?

  2. What Education degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Education degree?

  4. What topics does a Education degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Education?

  7. What do Education graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as a Education graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Education

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Education?

Education is an interdisciplinary subject that draws on sociology, psychology, history and philosophy. It helps us understand and broaden our knowledge about how people of all ages learn and the factors that can impact this positively and negatively.

Study for an Education degree and you’ll learn about learning – but you won’t necessarily learn to become a teacher. For that, you’ll need to ensure your course will lead to the necessary qualification, with each of the UK’s nations having their own requirements.

What Education degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Education include:

  • Biology with Secondary Education (QTS) BSc
  • Community Education BA
  • Education Studies BA
  • Music Performance with Education (Guitar) BA
  • Primary Education BEd
  • Psychology with Education BSc

Options may include an integrated foundation year or study abroad. Teaching courses will include the required placements.

What do you need to get onto an Education degree?

Typically, entry to an undergraduate Education degree requires between 88–152 UCAS points. Some courses may have lower or higher requirements, and not all unis base their offer on UCAS points. Qualifications may include:

  • A Levels: A*AA–CCD
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB–BBBC (Advanced Highers: AAA)
  • International Baccalaureate: 42–29
  • Universities will usually ask that you have studied: an A Level (or equivalent) in the required secondary education subject, if studying for a secondary-level teaching qualification

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • GCSE (or equivalent) grade 4/C or higher in English and Maths, or 5/B or above in Wales
  • A GCSE science subject is usually required if you wish to teach at primary level
  • General studies and critical thinking A Levels may be excluded

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Relevant work experience or shadowing in a school, college, school of music or adult education classes; would-be teachers in England can use the Get into Teaching website to find experience
  • Volunteering with the Guides, Scouts or children’s sports clubs to build interpersonal skills
  • Observing teaching lessons online
  • Reading more about education and teaching from books or websites such as TES (Times Educational Supplement), Get into Teaching, Educators Wales, Teach in Scotland
  • Summer schools, if eligible – check out the Sutton Trust

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Pass in the practical element of science, if taken at A Level
  • Interview
  • If your course involves placements in settings with children or vulnerable adults, you’ll need to complete Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) checks (PVG scheme in Scotland)

What topics does an Education degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Being a critical educator
  • Community education: foundations of practice
  • Critical debates in education
  • Designing educational research
  • Historical and philosophical ideas of education
  • Inquiry-based community education practice
  • Introduction to intercultural and international education
  • Language, communication and literacies
  • Psychology and neuroscience in education

How will you be assessed?

Assessments are usually carried out by a mixture of the following, and will vary from module to module:

  • Essays
  • Exams
  • Portfolios
  • Poster presentations
  • Reflective reports
  • Reviews
  • A dissertation is usually a final year option

Why study Education?

An Education degree will give you an insight into the school system, different approaches and contexts to learning, and lifelong learning and development. You’ll gain a good understanding of the role of education across different societies and cultures and the interplay between teaching, childhood and learning.

Career-specific skills:

  • Knowledge of educational systems, how we learn, and approaches to learning
  • Teachers will learn about the curriculum, lesson planning, adapting teaching to meet pupil needs, techniques for classroom management, and assessment strategies

Transferable skills:

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creative problem solving
  • Critical and analytical reasoning
  • Digital literacy
  • Leadership
  • Presentation
  • Report writing
  • Research skills
  • Time management

Professional accreditation:

  • Degrees for teaching must meet the required teaching standards for each nation – in England and Wales, courses must lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
  • Degrees with psychology may be accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS)

What do Education graduates earn?

Education graduates can expect an entry-level salary of around £17,500–£24,000.

In England, a classroom teacher in a school could earn £25,700–£41,600, with additional pay for teaching and learning responsibilities. Take on a lead or managerial role, and your income could be as much as £117,000, while headteachers are paid £47,700–£117,000.

Alternatively, as a trainee educational psychologist you could be paid £24,500–£33,500 during your training, then up to £70,850 as a senior or principal educational psychologist.

What jobs can you get as an Education graduate?

Many Education graduates become primary and secondary school teachers, while others move into educational psychology, the wider education sector, or areas such as media or publishing. Some careers may require postgraduate qualifications.

  • Civil servant
  • Behaviour and inclusion manager
  • Education arts officer
  • Education policy and campaigns officer
  • Early years educator
  • Education welfare officer
  • Educational psychologist
  • Family support worker
  • Museum learning programme manager
  • Learning and community engagement officer
  • Play therapist
  • Primary or secondary school teacher
  • Further education tutor
  • Special educational needs teacher
  • Social worker
  • Teaching assistant

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

If you already have a first degree, you can complete a teacher training course that might include a PGCE qualification to become a teacher. Education graduates can also choose to continue their studies into educational research to become a researcher or lecturer in a university.

Examples of taught master’s and research degrees at postgraduate level include:

  • Adult Education and Lifelong Learning PhD
  • Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching MSc
  • Education (Child Development and Education) MSc
  • Education (Primary) PGCE
  • Mathematics PGCE

Similar subjects to Education

Other subject areas that might appeal to you include:

Have any questions?

Get in touch with our experts by emailing with your question about studying Education. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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