MA Character Education

Start date
3 years PT
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Distance learning, Taught

£3,390 (UK)
£7,050 (International)
More Fees and funding details.

Student Elizabeth Wright talks about how the MA Character Education programme is helping her to achieve her goals.

This is the first and only distance learning MA Character Education course in the world – focusing on the theory and practice of human flourishing.  The course adopts a broad understanding of character – encompassing aspects of wellbeing, ethics, citizenship and social and emotional education.

This distance learning Masters course will enable you to develop your knowledge and expertise in the field of character education, learning alongside professionals who are interested in human flourishing from around the world in a dynamic online learning community. The course will cover a range of topics, including: theories of flourishing; researching character education; the history and politics of character education; leadership in character education; and, running character interventions in schools.

The course is run by The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues based at the University of Birmingham. The Centre is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost research and teaching centres specialising in the examination of how character and virtues impact on individuals and society. You will be taught by some of the best known names in character education, both in Britain and internationally.

The main features of the course are:

  • It is multi-disciplinary – it includes learning from the fields of education, philosophy, (positive) psychology, sociology, social sciences and theology
  • It is flexible – the learning is guided but students can work through it at their own pace
  • It is suitable for professionals seeking to transform their organisation or career, or individuals looking for a foundation for further postgraduate study such as a PhD
  • It utilises the latest technology to ensure an engaging and participatory online learning experience
  • It provides a supportive learning environment – all students have a dedicated personal tutor
  • It is focused on the contexts in which students work – the assignments and dissertations can be directed towards students’ personal and professional interests in the field
  • It is collaborative – students have the opportunity to work alongside and learn from fellow students from around the world
  • Most importantly it is practice focused – the learning contributes to making a difference.  It helps students to play their part in transforming people, organisations and places. 


The University of Birmingham is offering awards of £2,000 to support the brightest and best applicants wishing to undertake Masters study at the University during 2023-24.

Find out more about the scholarship scheme


There are 3 postgraduate awards associated with the MA Character Education:

  • PGCert (3 modules, 60 credits over 12 months)
  • PGDip (6 modules, 120 credits over 24 months)
  • MA (6 modules and a dissertation, 180 credits over 3 years)


Please contact Michael Fullard, Assistant Professor for MA Character Education, if you have any queries




At Birmingham, I gained skills that have been crucial to my development. Most importantly I learned that I was capable of more than I believed I was!

Adrian Mclean, alumni.


Unless indicated otherwise the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2023.

Theories of Character, Virtue and Flourishing (20 credits)

The Theories of Character, Virtue and Flourishing module will explain how key theories from the fields of psychology, philosophy and education, inform planning, administration, policy and professional practice – including a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights in the field. 

Research Methods in Character Education (20 credits)

This module will teach you how to evaluate educational research from theoretical and methodological perspectives, in order to contribute to character education through the demonstration of original thinking in teaching and learning.  The various research methods available to researchers will be discussed; alongside this, the ethical implications and challenges associated with researching character in education are explained, with a strong focus on issues of reliability and validity in research.

History and Politics of Character Education (20 credits)

This module will examine how historical, political and religious ideas, events and processes have shaped, and continue to shape, approaches to character education within various Western and non-Western contexts. The Module content is divided into four, interconnected units: 1. Histories of Character Education in the UK and the USA; 2. Comparative Character Education. 3. Character Education and the Political; and 4. Character Education and Religion. In your work in this module, you will be expected to adopt a comparative perspective, identifying and understanding notable similarities and differences in how character education has been, and is, approached in the various contexts explored.

Character Education Interventions in Schools and Organisations (20 credits)

Exploring the practical implications of character education, this module will draw and build on the theory learnt in previous modules.  You will learn about how character education can be implemented in various educational settings, including schools and community organisations; this will give you the ability to analyse data, synthesise information and apply critical thinking to develop your own relevant interventions and tools to create a culture and ethos designed to enhance good character.

Character Education Leadership in Schools and Organisations (20 credits)

This module will examine the role of leaders in developing character education in schools and other organisations.  It will cover positive organisational theory, and both leadership theory and practice, with a specific focus on making decisions that bring about change in schools. Throughout the module the challenges of implementing and leading character education programmes will be examined and critically debated.

The Virtuous Practitioner (20 credits)

The responsibilities of teachers and other educators working with children and young people will be examined throughout this module; this is framed around the fundamental question- what does it mean to be a virtuous professional?  Drawing on research (both theoretical and empirical) into the character virtues of teachers (as well as other professionals), this module will consider what their moral responsibilities are, and considers the role of both initial and continuing professional development (CPD) in teacher education.


In year three, you will complete a 15,000 word dissertation on a topic related to character education which is likely to have been covered in one of the taught modules. 

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Fees 2023-2024


  • Code 630B MA £3,390


  • Code 630B MA £7,050

Fees for distance learning programmes are based on students studying 60 credits per year.  The fees shown above are the first year fees for students starting their courses September in 2023. From September 2020 the fees are fixed at this price for each year of study for the duration of the programme.

Scholarships and Loans

You may be eligible for a postgraduate loan which provides up to £11,836 for courses starting on or after 1 August 2022 for taught and research Masters courses in most subject areas. This includes Distance Learning. 

Other scholarships may be available, please view the Scholarships webpage in the School of Education. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More details may be found on the  international scholarships page.

For further information contact the School directly or visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via  online enquiries. 

How To Apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply online

Our Standard Requirements

We are keen to encourage applicants with a wide range of qualifications and prior learning experiences. Typically, successful applicants will hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level or above and have some relevant and related experience in the field of education; however, account will be given to equivalent professional qualifications and experience.

Speakers of English as a second language will be required to hold an IELTs 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each band or equivalent qualification.

English language support 

The Birmingham International Academy (BIA) provides free English language services to international students who are currently studying on undergraduate or postgraduate courses at the University of Birmingham.  Services include Open-access English classes, online self-assessment, online materials through CANVAS, email answers to quick questions and individual one to one tutorials. 

International Requirements

Learning takes place on the Canvas virtual learning platform.  The modules last 9 to 11 weeks (4 or 5 units plus a reading week) and three are completed consecutively throughout each of the first two years. The final year consists of a dissertation based on a topic of interest.

Each unit consists of a number of steps – including mini teaching films explaining key concepts, associated reading (mainly free and available through the Jubilee Centre’s Online Library), optional synchronous seminars and interactive elements including discussion boards and quizzes.  Assignments are normally due 4 to 5 weeks after completion of the final unit; time to complete assignments generally coincides with the Christmas, Easter or summer holidays in the UK.

You will each have a designated Programme Tutor who is in regular contact with you through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), via email, telephone or video call.  In addition, regular contact with the Module Leaders / Tutors is maintained through VLE, email, video and telephone calls.

Assessment is through essays, an online presentation, a fieldwork report, a reflective report, a research proposal and a dissertation. 

The MA Character Education has been developed in response to the overwhelming interest in character education (and associated concerns such as wellbeing, social mobility and ethics) around the world. Completion of the Programme will ensure that you will further your understanding of this area and will gain the knowledge and experience to implement informed change in your own organisation.

Profiles of students on the Programme vary.  Current students include headteachers, deputy headteachers and assistant headteachers who want to transform their school through character education; teachers who have taken character lead positions in their schools; recent graduates looking for further studies in education; individuals looking for foundational learning for a PhD; individuals running and working for charities and not for profit businesses; and parents looking to further their theoretical and / or practical enhanced knowledge about character.


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