Teaching Adults MSc

Students in Kelvingrove Park

This programme provides a strong grounding in the practices used in teaching adults, as well as an opportunity to conduct a practice-related research project.

Key facts

  • MSc: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time
  • PgDip 9 months full-time; 18 months part-time
  • Contact: mia.perry@glasgow.ac.uk

Why this programme

  • The programme is open to people with little or no experience in teaching adults, but also works well for those with more knowledge of the field.
  • The programme combines a good background in the theories and history of teaching adults with a substantial placement component.
  • The placement allows you to work with an adult education agency for 100 hours, and counts as two courses in the programme. You can choose your own type of organisation for your placement, and we will help to set it up.
  • Students tell us that they come out of the programme with much stronger knowledge of teaching adults as well as a better understanding of what that means to their teaching practice.

Programme structure

You will take a taught component of four core courses alongside the work placement. For the MSc you will also complete a supervised research project of between 12,000 and 15,000 words.

The teaching segment provides great opportunities to build professional and personal relationships through seminars, fieldwork and self-directed or group projects.

You will have the opportunity to gain real-life experience in the area of adult education through the adult learning placement. The placement gives you the opportunity to relate theory to practice within an adult learning organisation of relevance and interest to you.

Core courses

  • The psychology of adult learning
  • Modern educational thought
  • International issues in adult and continuing education
  • Curriculum development in adult and continuing education.

Background and aims

This long running and successful programme was introduced to provide participants with an interest of working in the adult education sector with practical experience strongly linked to the theory of adult education and its’ philosophies.

The programme has ties to local organisations such as, GVSO, the WEA and local Community, Further Education and Higher Education institutions.

Who is the programme for?

This programme is for people wishing to gain a strong professional preparation in the education of adults, and who are interested in conducting a research project on an area of practice.  You may be involved in the education of adults in business, colleges or community settings, or simply interested in this area.  Students often have a little experience in instructing adults, but are usually new to this work.

What will you get from this programme?

This programme aims to provide you with:

  • An understanding of the settings in which adults are educated
  • Knowledge of the principles involved in educating adults
  • Experience with methods of teaching adults
  • The confidence and skills needed to tackle teaching adults in diverse settings
  • A deeper awareness of international and local adult education settings
  • Applied research experience relevant to the education of adults.


The Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching Adults studied full-time is eligible for partial Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) funding support. Normally this will cover approximately half of the tuition fees. Further details can be found on the SAAS website.

Introductory Reading

If you have a chance to do some reading before beginning your programme, any one or more of the following books will be useful as background:

  • Edwards, R. et al (eds) (2002) Supporting Lifelong Learning. Vol 3. Making Policy Work.London. Routledge/Falmer and The OUP.
  • Field, J. (2002) Lifelong Learning and the New Educational Order. Trentham Books.
  • Harrison, R. et al (eds) (2002) Supporting Lifelong Learning. Vol 1. Perspectives on Learning. London, Routledge/Falmer and The OUP.
  • Reeve, T. et al (eds) (2002) Supporting Lifelong Learning. Vol 2. Organising Learning. London. Routledge/Falmer and The OUP.
  • Rogers, A. (1996) Teaching Adults, 2nd Edition, Buckingham. The OUP.
  • Sutherland, P and Crowther, J (eds) (2006) Lifelong Learning: concepts and contexts. Abingdon, Routledge.

Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

Accredited Prior Learning (APL) will be considered for those who have successfully completed the Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE). This would need to be approved by the programme leader prior to registration.  Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) may also be considered by the programme leader.

What our students say

"Specifically by introducing the topic of widening participation and highlighting some issues around it. In a general sense, by sharpening my awareness of my responsibilities to students and introducing strategies/attitudes which would be helpful."

“It has given me the theory and practical training I need to do in my job most effectively.”

“I have been taught a lot about the theories behind adult learning that in turn has allowed me to consider the type of educator I am (and) has encouraged me to take a more mature and critical approach to my chosen career.”

“I have learned how much of an impact educators can have on their students' learning through their stances and actions. I plan to use my qualification to improve my practice and move on to teach a wider variety of subjects. I would also like to get my dissertation research published. My job has improved and I am being moved on to bigger and better things.”


As part of this programme you will have the opportunity to gain real-life experience in the area of adult education through the Adult Learning Placement. The placement gives you the opportunity to relate theory to practice within an adult learning organisation of relevance and interest to you.

The placement contains around 100 hours in total in an adult learning environment, focussing on 35 to 40 hours of direct contact teaching. This may be in a community based setting, in your workplace, in a further or higher education institution or in a private training organisation. You will be fully supported throughout identifying and undertaking your placement.  Previous placements have taken place at Quarriers, the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), the Glasgow Women's Library, the University of the West of Scotland and the University of Glasgow itself. This is a small selection of where students have been placed and we are more than happy to assist you in finding a placement that will suit your specific interests.

Career prospects

Many of our graduates have gained employment in the higher education sector, including international and UK universities. You could also find roles in adult education for local councils, healthcare departments and adult literacy.

Entry requirements

An initial first degree with an interest in the education of adults in business, colleges or community settings.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification:

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 90; no sub-test less than:
    • Reading: 20
    • Listening: 19
    • Speaking: 19
    • Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2017-18


Home and EU
Full time fee£7250
Part time 20 credits£806
Full time fee£16000


Home and EU
Full time fee£4833
Part time 20 credits£806
Full time fee£10667

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only

Additional fees

  • Fee for submission by a research student: £460
  • Fee for re-assessment of a dissertation (PGT programme): £300
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work: £1,000
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £200
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship: £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period): £260
  • Registration/exam only fee: £110
  • General Council fee: £50

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni applying to the MSc. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Funding opportunities

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk. See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Postgraduate Admissions
Marketing, Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 21 July 2017 
  • UK and EU applications: 25 August 2017

Classes start September 2017 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now