Postgraduate taught 

Educational Studies MEd

Great Thinkers on Education EDUC51071

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Education
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Students of education require a knowledge of how great educational thinkers of the past have shaped today's educational philosophies and practices. This course will provide an overview of selected thinkers who have looked inward towards fundamental questions (such as the nature of knowledge or the good life) and outward toward practical issues (such as the organisation of schools). This option will complement the other courses that students will study at masters level (such as Modern Educational Thought) in the School of Education. By the end of this course students will have developed an understanding of great educational thinking together with an appreciation of a range of key issues and questions that recur throughout the history of education.


This is a taught course, normally based on one lecture each week followed by a seminar. The course is supported by a carefully selected range of online resources, selected readings, and self-assessment exercises.

Excluded Courses





This course is summatively assessed by one online class exam and one written assignment of 3,000 words in total, in which participants demonstrate their knowledge, understanding, skills and application of ideas explored on the course.

Course Aims

This course aims to provide students with an introduction and overview of a range of great thinkers in the history of thought on education from classical antiquity to modernity enabling students to develop an informed historical perspective on educational thought and practice from ancient times to the present day.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to: 


1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of selected great thinkers on education.

2. Synthesize the philosophical, cultural, political, and historical contexts within which a range of great thinkers approached educational questions.

3. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of educational thinking and key paradigms in educational philosophy across time and place.

4. Evaluate approaches to education in relation to moral, religious, and philosophical thought.

5. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key thinkers in the history of educational thinking.

6. Develop and present a reasoned argument in relation to educational thought and philosophy across time and place.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.