Programme structure

Please visit the IMAESC programme webpage on the University of Glasgow listing of postgraduate taught degrees.

Some additional information is provided in the sections below.

The degree

The International Master in Adult Education for Social Change (IMAESC) is a Joint Masters Degree programme. IMAESC is a 24 month full-time programme with three mandatory mobility periods. IMAESC has been designed to maximise the learning outcomes through both student and staff mobility and is innovative in the interconnectedness of the curriculum.  The study track undertaken will determine the particular combination of degree-awarding partners. Students will be jointly awarded their degree by the University of Glasgow, University of Malta, Open University of Cyprus and Tallinn University by the end of the programme.

The programme has a work-based learning placement built into each of the European Union mobility periods. The placements are designed to provide a depth and breadth of experience across three European contexts (Scotland; Malta and Estonia).

The first placement at the University of Glasgow will focus on adult learning and 'teaching in the context of community regeneration'. The second placement may be taken at the University of Malta.  The University of Malta placement allows students to gain experience in teaching English to migrants (teaching English to migrants in times of austerity). The third placement at Tallinn University will centre on two themes: 'professionalisation of adult education' and 'recognition of prior learning'.  

The development of research skills is supported by all partners throughout the programme culminating in a specialised research dissertation.

Aims and intended learning outcomes


The IMAESC programme aims to build from each learner’s interest in adult education to deepen and broaden their knowledge and understanding of adult education in a globalizing world. It is designed for students with diverse prior knowledge and interests and will develop their understanding of adult education from an international perspective and with a focus on social change. Students will receive a theoretical grounding in adult education, as well as intercultural and practical skills development through teaching placements, focused seminars and online courses. The programme provides a platform from which students will participate in critique and discussion of relevant cutting-edge and international adult education research, practice and policy designed to broaden their perspectives with particular attention to the varied and contested missions of adult education

  • developing adults’ skills and competences for better employability and adaptation within the existing economic crisis and social change
  • raising people’s awareness of critical active citizenship and sustainable development
  • anti-racist education and the social inclusion of migrants
  • supporting marginalized and disadvantaged people of all ages
  • human flourishing and well-being.

The aims of the programme are, through an in-depth study of policy, practice, research and theory, to

  • offer a coherent programme of in-depth study of adult education and social change, based on the specialized knowledge of the consortium’s academics, settings and community partners, using a variety of teaching and assessment methods
  • develop evidence based practical skills in adult education and social change
  • develop intercultural communication and cooperation skills within a European framework to strengthen equality, and increase active citizenship
  • provide students with ongoing professional development and transferable skills training including the opportunity to acquire key employability skills through work placements.

Intended learning outcomes and skills

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes designed to prepare them for future academic and/or professional careers. 

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of the programme, students will be able to:

  • facilitate adult learning, using appropriate teaching and learning methods and materials in both traditional and online settings, in Europe and globally
  • evaluate the links between adult education and economic and social policy
  • evaluate the application of adult learning theories in relation to issues of social justice
  • critically analyse and evaluate current trends and developments across the range and diversity of adult education provision in the EU and international context
  • plan, manage and implement adult education projects in Europe
  • contribute to planning and policy formation within adult education projects in the EU and globally
  • evaluate the practical solutions to problems that most educators of adults are likely to encounter in their practice, through traditional and online platforms
  • evaluate their own and their students’ progress by setting assignments and giving feedback to their students, and by monitoring and evaluation their own teaching
  • assess critically the ideas of some leading adult education theorists and apply their thinking to adult education in the EU and globally
  • assess the differential impacts and use of various forms of research in the field of adult education
  • construct and conduct a substantial piece of applied research pertaining to adult education
  • critically analyse a variety of problems and issues within the field of study of adult education, enabling them to proceed to further academic study in this field.

Skills and other attributes

Students will also develop skills that can be applied to other areas, and will be able to

  • collate and analyse information from a range of sources relevant to specific issue
  • prepare and conduct oral presentations effectively
  • write clear, accurate and insightful analytical texts
  • debate issues verbally in tutorial situations
  • use references clearly, appropriately and consistently
  • demonstrate competent use of IT skills in information retrieval and document preparation
  • demonstrate ability to conduct applied research within a specific context
  • demonstrate greater understanding and responsiveness to social, linguistic and cultural diversity.

Year 1

In year 1 you will take 60 ECTS of taught courses.

Semester 1 at the University of Glasgow

  • Introduction to adult education for social change (delivered by University of Glasgow)
  • International issues in adult education (delivered by University of Glasgow) OR Psychology of adult learning (delivered by University of Glasgow)
  • Placement (delivered by University of Glasgow)
  • Practical aspects of adult education (delivered by Tallinn University)
  • Teaching adult education online (delivered by Open University of Cyprus)

Semester 2 at the University of Malta

University of Malta: Critical issues, policy and curriculum study track

  • Adult education and social difference (delivered by University of Malta)
  • Adult education for sustainable development (delivered by Univeristy of Malta)
  • Curriculum development (delivered by University of Malta)
  • Placement (delivered by University of Malta)
  • Research Methods (delivered by Open University of Cyprus)

Limited number of internship options:

  • PRIA (Participatory Research in Asia)
  • DIE (German Institute for Adult Education)

Year 2

In year 2 you will take 30 ECTS of taught courses and a 30 ECTS dissertation.

Semester 1 at Tallinn University

  • Social and Professional Identity of adult educators (delivered by Tallinn University)
  • Theories of change in adult education (delivered by Tallinn University)
  • Recognising Built Capacity and Impact Pathways(delivered by University of Glasgow)
  • Critical reflection in adult learning and education (delivered by Open University of Cyprus)
  • Placement (delivered by Tallinn University)

Semester 2 dissertation

In semester 2 you will complete a research dissertation. The dissertation will be supported by all institutions throughout your two years of study and in semester 2 of year 2 you will progress to writing up your dissertation.


The language of instruction is English. However, students are strongly encouraged to undertake second language training (English, Maltese and Estonian) in all mobility periods and relevant classes will be highlighted to students by each partner institution. Students will also have the opportunity to study a third language, such as French, Spanish, German, Italian or Portuguese, to develop or maintain their language skills in general.


Mobility refers to periods of study or research undertaken during the two years of the programme and can be broken down as follows:

1st mobility 

Year 1, semester 1 at the University of Glasgow

2nd mobility

Year 1, semester 2 at the University of Malta

3rd mobility

Year 2, semester 1 at Tallinn University. 

4th mobility

Students choose the location where they wish to complete their research.


Assessment methods

The Consortium Management Board will have overall responsibility for safeguarding the common standards and mechanisms for the examination of students (European and Third Country).

Each of the course components of the International Master programme has its own form of assessment. These are outlined in the individual course handbooks. In order to calculate the final mark achieved the marks for each component are weighted according to their credit rating. See the Erasmus Mundus IMAESC Postgraduate Policies and Regulations Guide.

IMAESC Regulations 2021-22

Each joint partner university will take responsibility for marking according to its own criteria and IMAESC students will be assessed in the same manner as local students. A system of double marking will be employed. Each partner university will provide assessment marks as they stand to the Consortium’s Board of Examiners, along with detailed additional descriptors, for the Board of Examiners to translate to University of Glasgow, the given partner university and the ECTS grading systems to facilitate the production of the joint degree transcript and diploma supplement issued by the consortium.

All examination results will be discussed and finalised by the Board of Examiners and formally approved by the Consortium Management Board. The marking systems for each partner university and how these relate the University of Glasgow and ECTS systems will be made clear to students in advance.

The joint degree will have its own external examiner who will be represented on the Board of Examiners.

Sample Reading List

Students will use a variety of sources throughout the programme. Our Sample Reading List  ‌has been designed to give you a flavour of the programme.

Last updated 05/05/2017