Professor Maurice Whitehead was educated at the University of Durham, qualified as a secondary school teacher at the University of Cambridge and taught at Wimbledon College, London, from 1976 until 1987. In 1984, he completed his doctorate in educational history and was appointed to a lectureship in Education at the University of Hull in 1987 and to a senior lectureship there in 1995. He was appointed Professor of Education at Swansea in 2000. In 2004, following the closure of the University's Department of Education, he moved to the Department of History (now History and Classics) to pursue his teaching and research.
Professor Whitehead is a member of MEMO, Swansea's Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research.