Ever since the PISA, TIMMS, and IGLU studies were published, there has been a rethinking in many areas of educational science, education policy, and futher and continuing education practices. While empirical research had carved out a niche in the educational sciences until this point, empirical educational research has currently become one of the most important pillars of international educational sciences. This has led to a growing need of research-methodologically trained education scientists. The Master's course of study Empirial Educational Research at RWTH Aachen meets this need.
Its graduates are experts particularly in planning, shaping, and evaluating within the framework of applied educational research, as it is applied, for example, at state institutes for pedagogy, continuing education departments in companies, and European research centers. They differ from traditionally trained education Master's students through their methods skills. They also differ from graduates in psychology and sociology through their ability to combine empirical research methodology and educational science in practice.
Characteristics of a RWTH Course of Study
The course of study aims at research-oriented teaching. This means, students get an intensive and application-oriented experience within research methodology. It is possible to participate in current research processes during the Master's period. The course of study greatly differs from other comparable Master's courses of study through its comprehensive research practice components.
Aside from the explicit research orientation, the curriculum offers the possibility to specialize in one of the Institute of Educational Science's research focuses:
- Empirical Vocational Research
- Empirical Media Education Research
- Empirical School and University Research
The curriculum includes seven modules aside from the Master's thesis and research internship. "Individual Coaching" at the beginning of studies ensures that students' background knowledge is homogenous and up to par. Individual "study contracts" lay down learning content, that is oriented towards one's personal background knowledge. Content areas include: education, socialization, and learning theories; didactics, basic terms, history of educational science, and education systems and education policy.
The module "Introduction to Empirical Educational Research" is made up of an overview lecture with a tutorial on empirical educational research, a seminar on scientific work and presenting, and a seminar about data protection. In the module "Quantitative Processes of Empirical Educational Research", quantitative methods about data collection are discussed and investigated in a seminar. In an exercise about data collected in the seminar, the data is evaluated with software packages. An accompany research workshop serves to advance this knowledge. Concrete research and data problems are at the focus. The module "Qualitative Processes" is set up comparably; however it focuses on qualitative access in empirical educational research.
The elective module "Empirical Educational Research" has three focuses, from which students choose two:
- Vocational Training,
- Media Pedagogy
- School and University
Students attend a tutorial and a seminar for each of these focuses.
Interdisciplinary Elective Module
The interdisciplinary elective module enables students to look outside the box of empirical educational research. They can choose courses from the fields of philosophy and ethics, English linguistics, law, linguistics and communication studies, and labor studies.
Project Module and Research Internship
The project module consists of a seminar, in which focus is placed on the development of research ideas and the composition of project proposals, and involvement in research projects. This practical activity is rounded out by a 12-week research internship and the Master's thesis.
Overview of the Curriculum
Overall, the curriculum is stuctured to enable a great deal of flexibility throughout the program.
An initial university degree, confirming the necessary background knowledge required in the exam regulation, is required to begin studies. The examination board determines whether or not the admissions requirement has been met.
The Master's in Empirical Educational Research imparts the following professional qualifications:
- Ability to research, evalute, and assess educational science phenomena, particularly in the field of human effects of technical change processes in modern societies
- Ability to implement new media and software in research contexts
- Ability to question complex theoretical relationships both independently and in a team and make them accessible for empirical studies
- Ability to assess educational needs as well as to design, implement, and evaluate evaluations and research projects, and present and publish the results.
With these skills, the program prepares students for employment in the following career fields:
- Educational Research
- Human Resources, Continuing Education, and Education Controlling
- Science Publications and Publishing