MSt in Advanced Subject Teachinge-learning

The Master of Studies (MSt) in Advanced Subject Teaching has been designed to help English and history teachers develop their subject knowledge and enhance their professional and academic standing. It provides a two-year, part-time route to a full University of Cambridge Master’s degree.

The MSt has been developed by the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education in association with the Faculties of Education, English and History, and with The Prince's Teaching Institute.

NEW for 2015: We are offering bursaries of £1,750 per annum to eligible applicants from UK state-funded schools or colleges. See below for details.

When you embark on this innovative programme, you will choose an aspect of your subject which you would like to explore further or perhaps tackle for the first time. You will then study it both academically and pedagogically, so that your new knowledge and skills can be put to effective use in the classroom.

One of the aims of the programme is to focus on areas of the curriculum that are under-represented in schools, not least because teachers themselves may be less familiar with them. We hope that successful graduates of this MSt will go on to make major contributions to syllabus development not only in their schools, but also at national and international level.

The course has been designed to be accessible to teachers both in the UK and world-wide. Teaching and supervision is offered through a combination of residential teaching in Cambridge and online tuition.

Watch a short film in which four teachers describe their experience of the course.

Aims of the programme

  • To provide professionally relevant teaching and learning informed by research.
  • To extend and deepen students' subject knowledge and develop their understanding of specific ideas, pedagogical practices and learning theories.
  • To encourage a commitment to intellectual challenge and evidence-based teaching informed by the latest conceptual and theoretical knowledge.
  • To develop students' intellectual, practical and transferable skills related to subject specialist teaching.
  • To help students to critique and evaluate current pedagogical practices in their subject area and to conduct systematic research relevant to their professional practice.
  • To encourage critical thinking related to subject specialist knowledge, pedagogical practices and theories of learning.
  • To encourage students to develop as reflective practitioners in terms of subject specialist knowledge, skills and pedagogical practices.

The MSt is a research degree, and successful completion of the MSt at a high grade may allow you to progress to a EdD or PhD either at the University of Cambridge or another institution.

Teaching and learning

The course starts in August with preliminary reading and formative assessment, and teaching is provided through a combination of residential teaching in Cambridge (three concentrated teaching blocks in the first year and one in the second year), online tuition and individual supervision.

Year 1

The first year consists of three taught modules:

  • Pre-course and induction (online)
  • Module 1: The history and development of the subject (residential 4-6 September 2015 and online)
  • Module 2: The development of new subject knowledge (residential 6-8 November 2015 and online)
  • Module 3: From academic to classroom-based research (residential 19-21 February 2016 and online)

Year 2

  • Module 4: Being a teacher-researcher (residential 10-12 June 2016 and online)

In the second year, you will undertake a research project on a topic of your own choice, culminating in a 15,000 to 18,000-word dissertation.

Download the programme specification for further information about the course

Contact time

  • Lectures, seminars and classes: c.48 hours in Year 1, c.16 hours in Year 2
  • Supervision: 4 x 1 hour in Year 2



  • Dissertation: 15,000-18,000 words (including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography)


  • Essay 1: 3,000 words
  • Essay 2: 3,000 words
  • Essay 3: 6,000 words

There is a formative preparatory assignment of between 1,500 and 2,000 words undertaken before the first module. There is also a formative assessment for module 4 of up to 3,000 words. This is an update on the research proposal submitted with the application.

Some assignments and the dissertation require literature reviews. Students may be required to give individual presentations or contribute to group presentations, on which the students would receive constructive feedback.


Students are given formal feedback on their assignments and informal feedback throughout their course, including during supervisions. Supervisions also result in an annual progress report at the end of Year 1 and termly reports during Year 2.

Entry requirements

Expected academic standard

Applicants for this course will normally have achieved a UK 2.i honours degree or overseas equivalent.

There is provision to accept non-standard applicants who do not satisfy the standard academic criterion. Such applicants must produce evidence of relevant and equivalent experience and their suitability for the course.

Language requirement

  • IELTS Academic: Overall band score of 7.5 (with a minimum of 7.0 in each individual component)
  • CAE: Grade A
  • CPE: Grade A, B, or C

Supporting documents

You will be required to provide the following supporting documents as part of your application:

Supporting documents required for application (PDF file)

Fees and funding

The fees for 2015 will be £6,530 per annum for Home/EU students and £12,200 per annum for overseas students. This includes both the tuition and college membership fees.

Students will be expected to cover the application fee (£50 online) and any costs of travel and accommodation during residential sessions in Cambridge. As a student studying for the MSt in Advanced Subject Teaching, you may book en-suite accommodation at Madingley Hall (including breakfast) for study periods at an MSt rate of c.£35 per night.

James Stuart Bursaries (apply online)

The University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education is offering a number of James Stuart Bursaries of £1,750 per annum to applicants who wish to carry out research aimed at improving teaching and learning in their school or college. Preference will be given to those who are teachers in UK state-funded schools or colleges and who do not have financial support.

Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) Bursaries (apply online)

The Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) Bursary Fund offers bursaries up to a maximum of £10,000 per person to cover course fees for overseas and EU applicants wishing to study the MSt in 2015.

Bursary applicants must be current teachers of either English or History CIE syllabuses working outside the UK in CIE-registered schools. Applicants must be fully supported by their school and confirmation of this support should be included in the application.

Apply for bursaries here

National Scholarship Fund for Teachers

In addition, English teachers working in England may have access to the National Scholarship Fund for Teachers. Please check the Department for Education’s website for the latest information.

Other sources of funding

Sources of government funding and financial support - including Professional and Career Development Loans.

How to apply

Applications will be accepted online from 1 October 2014 until 7 April 2015. Please note that the selection process will not begin until after the application deadline.

A research proposal is required at the time of application (please refer to the guidance notes before submitting your research proposal). 

Read the MSt Application Guide to find out more about the application process and what you need to do and consider as a potential applicant. See below for details of the supporting documents you will need to provide when applying for this course.

Apply online when you are ready to start the application process.

Find out more

If you would like an informal discussion on academic matters before making your application, please contact the Course Director, Dr Nigel Kettley:

If you have any questions about the application process, contact our Admissions team: or +44 (0)1223 746262.

For all other enquiries, contact the Course Administrator, Sue Brignell: or +44 (0)1223 760862 / 746408.


pdf Supporting documents required for application

pdf Programme specification

Pre-enrolment information

Information about studying with ICE

Register interest

To register your interest in this course please contact us:

Write to us

Sue Brignell
Institute of Continuing Education
University of Cambridge
Madingley Hall, Madingley
United Kingdom
CB23 8AQ

Call us

+44 (0)1223 760862 / 746408

Email us

Course details

Start date

3 August 2015 (12:00)

End date

30 July 2017 (12:00)

Application deadline

7 April 2015

Course code



2 years


Institute of Continuing Education
University of Cambridge
Madingley Hall, Madingley
United Kingdom
CB23 8AQ

Teaching sessions

Meetings: 4

Qualifications / Credits

Master of Studies

Course director