MA International Education (Curriculum and Pedagogy)

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Higher Education in International Contexts

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC70552
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Environment, Education and Development
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The unit will explore systems of higher education in an international context. It draws on interdisciplinary literature from human geography, education, and economics to introduce key concepts for analysis. The unit explores 4 key themes in international higher education and contextualises them in a range of international case studies. A weekly blog assignment offers the opportunity to develop writing skills at postgraduate level and seminars will incorporate student-sourced materials for comparison. In addition to academic sources on the reading list, students will be expected to read a variety of professional and academic blogs which will be posted on a weekly basis.



  • Introduce students to key concepts in higher education studies
  • Develop students’ understanding of globalised systems of higher education
  • Enhance students’ critical awareness of issues of power and inequality in international higher education

Teaching and learning methods


The approach adopted in this unit is a mixture of didactic and participatory learning, using both online and face-to-face modes of delivery. Students will attend one 2 hour lecture every other week, and a 1 hour seminar in alternate weeks. The writing and reading of blogs on Blackboard is a key learning activity for this module.

In preparation for the seminar, students will complete an online learning activity (either guided learning tutorial or mini-lecture) to explore a key concept. They will write a short blog entry on an assigned question. They will also source a case study which illustrates the theme in a particular national context.

In the seminar, students will present their research in small groups and compare different national case studies in discussion. After the seminar, they will complete a blog entry in which they summarise the key points of the case study and link it to the reading and lecture.

Students will be grouped into writing groups of 5-6. They will be expected to read each others’ blogs within the group and comment on them constructively, generating comparison and links between case studies.

Formative feedback will be provided collectively in seminars on blog entries.

Completion of guided study tasks is estimated to take 4 hours per week.

Students will develop a key theme into a title for the final essay, in negotiation with the tutor.

The course unit could easily be adapted for online delivery and distance learning from AY 2017-18 through the incorporation of virtual seminars.  

Knowledge and understanding


  • Understand the global context for higher education
  • Identify key themes in contemporary international higher education

Intellectual skills


  • Analyse and compare case studies
  • Develop and sustain a coherent analysis
  • Synthesise theoretical information with examples
  • Reflect on their own performance

Practical skills


  • Write for academic and non-academic audiences
  • Effectively source and communicate information in oral and written formats

Transferable skills and personal qualities


  • Develop research and evaluation skills
  • Develop group-work and discussion skills
  • Negotiate a brief

Employability skills


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%
Portfolio 40%

Feedback methods


Formative feedback will be provided to the group on blog entries throughout the semester.

Summative feedback will be provided online via Turnitin.


Recommended reading


Altbach, P. G. (Ed.). (2013). The international imperative in higher education. Springer Science & Business Media.

Brooks, R., & Waters, J. (2011). Student Mobilities, Migration and the Internationalization of Higher Education. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Forest, J. J., & Altbach, P. G. (Eds.). (2006). International handbook of higher education (Vol. 1). Dordrecht: Springer.

Molesworth, M., Scullion, R., & Nixon, E. (Eds.). (2010). The marketisation of higher education. London: Routledge.

Unterhalter, E., & Carpentier, V. (Eds.). (2010).Global Inequalities and Higher Education: Whose Interests are You Serving?. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Scott, P. (Ed.). (1998). The globalization of higher education. Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sylvie Lomer Unit coordinator

Additional notes





Staff/student contact






Private study



Directed reading



Other activities 

eg Practical/laboratory work



Total hours




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