You will receive two Master’s level (Level 7) qualifications awarded by UCL’s Institute of Education (UCL–IoE): an MA in Education (Muslim Societies and Civilizations), and a new Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Teaching and Reflective Practice, which has been tailor-made for STEP
The difference between a Master’s and a PGDip is the number of credits awarded, not the level.
More than anything else, STEP requires teachers who are unambiguously dedicated to teaching as a profession and as a vocation. Extensive research undertaken with STEP graduates, ITREBs, BAI students, parents and community stakeholders has shown that STEP would be greatly enhanced by a more intensive focus on practical teaching. Overwhelmingly, students studying on the programme have asked for more teaching practice.
Typically, Master’s degrees have extra credits for a research project, but have the same or very similar core modules and options. We are currently negotiating with UCL–IoE to develop a credit-bearing research module for continuing professional development that will enable students to upgrade their completed PGDip to a Master’s. Such an option would be particularly relevant to STEP teachers who envisage undertaking a PhD or Ed.D later in their careers.
To stay relevant and address stakeholders’ needs, all programmes need to develop, and STEP is no exception; development means change – change for the better. Over the past decade, STEP has developed incrementally year by year, but this is the first time we’ve restructured the programme in its entirety.
The duration of the programme remains two years. Any increase or reduction in the time spent on specific areas has been balanced so that the overall workload does not significantly change. For instance, while students will need to spend more time on their teaching practice, they will be required to conduct only one research project instead of two.
Over and above the difference in the qualification awarded, the PGDip is tailor-made to STEP needs, focusing more on Initial Teacher Training components with far greater emphasis on teaching practice (approx. 75–80 hours of classroom practice in UK mainstream schools compared to the current 18 hours).
The admissions criteria for the programme remain the same, except that the English language proficiency requirements have changed to a UKVI IELTS overall score of 7.0 (with a minimum 6.5 in each skillset). Applicants receiving an overall score of 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in all subtests) will be considered for admission and, if selected, will be eligible to receive a conditional offer. All conditional offer-holders will be required to attend and successfully complete an approved pre-sessional programme in the UK and demonstrate that they have reached an overall score of 7.0 before they are formally enrolled onto STEP.
It is equally as prestigious. UC–IoE remains one of the world’s leading education institutes, it’s just that the new programme is better tailored to the needs of STEP teachers and the communities they serve.