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MSc in Learning Technologies

Programme Overview

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This programme is targeted at those with a background in computing who wish to gain specialist knowledge of developing and evaluating learning technologies; or to increase their technical and pedagogical knowledge if they are already working in the learning technology or education sectors; or to undertake a postgraduate taught degree with a view to continuing on to an MPhil/PhD.

The programme is also targeted at those without a computing degree who wish to gain the computer science and pedagogical knowledge to be able to design, develop and evaluate learning technologies. Such applicants may be required to demonstrate aptitude for computer programming prior to admission.

The programme focuses on issues in the design of learning technologies, the relationships between pedagogy and technology, and practical aspects of developing and evaluating learning systems. Students who complete the programme successfully will have gained the ability to design and develop learning systems, analyse problems arising in the use of learning technologies, and evaluate emerging technologies.

The programme provides the academic foundations for entry to a career in the learning technologies sector, or for a research degree in the subject.

Students complete the taught element of the programme by following a selection of specialist modules.

In addition to the taught modules, students undertake an individual project comprising the design and development of a software system targeted at a specific learning setting.


The programme is distinctive in its focus on the design and development of learning technologies – informed by learning theory – as opposed to just critical evaluation and improvement of existing technologies. By gaining knowledge of techniques that span the whole lifecycle of requirements elicitation through to implementation and evaluation, students will be able to appreciate the potential application of learning technologies across formal, informal and lifelong learning settings, and to contribute to future developments in innovative deployments of learning technologies in teaching and learning practice. Through their project, students will be able to explore the relationship of the topics covered on the programme to their previous study or experience, and to explore new interests.

The core modules are delivered by staff from the Birkbeck Knowledge Lab whose research is exploring the ways in which digital technologies and digital information are transforming our learning, working and cultural lives.

Entry requirements


  • The course may be completed in one calendar year (October to September) of full-time study or two calendar years of part-time study.
  • Full-time students attend lectures on up to four days/evenings a week during October to June.
  • Part-time students attend lectures on up to three evenings a week during October to June.

How to apply

  • When you're looking to find the right place to study, some things really matter. For Birkbeck students, it's our reputation and the quality of our teaching
  • The programme starts in October each year. To have the best chance of being accepted onto the programme send your application before the end of June. Applications received after then will be processed provided that the course is not already fully subscribed.
  • Your application will be processed by the college registry and we will be in touch to tell you what to do next.

Course content

All students take as core modules Design of Learning Technologies (DLT), Research Methods in Learning Technologies (RMLT), and the Project.

Those without significant prior computing experience also take as a core module Introduction to Software Development (ISD) and as a compulsory module Software Engineering in Practice (SEP). In addition, they also take three modules from: Software Design and Programming (SDP), Interactive Systems (IRS), Internet and Web Technologies (IWT), Database Management (DM).

Those with significant prior computing experience take, in addition to their core modules, six modules from the department's list of postgraduate modules, with an indicative list of these shown below (excluding Introduction to Software Development, Software Engineering in Practice, and Database Management). Please note that the optional modules available may vary from year to year, and choices are also subject to timetabling constraints.

For more details of the programme content, please refer to the Programme Handbook