Postgraduate taught 

International & Comparative Education MSc

Higher Education as a Field of Research, Policy and Practice EDUC5912

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Education
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course provides an introduction to the research-policy-practice triangle in the field of higher education studies in an internationally comparative perspective. Using policy analysis and case studies students will learn how and to what extent the research agenda in the field is influenced by policy and practice problems and in which way research results can inform policy decisions and strategic management processes in higher education institutions.


Weekly or (alternatively) one whole week.

Excluded Courses





In the summative assessment consisting of a 4,000 - 4,500 word essay students will be expected to demonstrate the ability to critically analyse one higher education policy reform from an international perspective. 100% of the final mark will be based on this assignment.

Course Aims

To introduce participants to the field of higher education studies and their relationships to policy and practice.

To make participants aware of the growing interconnectedness of higher education research, policy and practice in the contexts of internationalisation and globalisation.

To familiarise participants with key concepts of higher education research, policy and practice and introduce them to theoretical (e.g. policy analysis, governance theory, field structuration theory, concepts of policy transfer, policy emulation, isomorphism) and methodological (e.g. case study approaches, international comparison), perspectives in the analysis of this triangle.

To stimulate interest in the further study of higher education research, policy and practice in an internationally comparative manner.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

Critically analyse higher education policy and practice.

Demonstrate a deepened awareness of processes of policy borrowing and institutional isomorphism.

Apply theoretical and methodological perspectives for the analysis of HE policy and practice.

Appreciate the advantages as well as the complexities of international comparisons in higher education research.

Be able to apply the course content in individual assignments on higher education related topics.

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.