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.

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 and online)
  • Module 2: The development of new subject knowledge (residential and online)
  • Module 3: From academic to classroom-based research (residential and online)

Year 2

  • Module 4: Being a teacher-researcher (residential 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 2016 will be £6,702 per annum for Home/EU students and £13,401 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.

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

The next opportunity to begin this programme will be at the start of the 2017 academic year. Applications will open Autumn 2016.

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.

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.

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

1 August 2017 (12:00)

End date

30 July 2019 (12:00)

Application deadline

1 April 2017

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