Course overview

Our MA Educational Leadership and Management (Online) is designed for professionals in the education sector seeking to enhance their knowledge and skills in leadership and management. The course provides flexibility, with modules that allow you to learn on your own schedule and fit around your other commitments.

Education is the foundation of any society, but leading an educational team or organisation can be complex. That's why our online course aims to equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the challenges of leadership and management in a variety of educational contexts.

Through the analysis of the latest theories and issues, you will conduct research that drives development and enhances your professional practice, enabling you to make a positive impact within your classroom or educational organisation. Our course is ideal for those seeking to move into or progress in educational leadership roles.

Much of the research that influences this course is conducted by those teaching it. Their expertise and academic knowledge allows you to analyse different leadership approaches and explore how they could relate to your own practice. A key focus of the course is supporting practice-based inquiry and applying it to the way you work.

Our course provides the flexibility of studying online, enabling you to study modules and engage with materials at times that fit around your other commitments. Online modules are managed through the Moodle virtual learning environment, which combines module content, reading lists, and materials with online activities, discussion forums, and access to tutors.

With an advanced education degree from the University of Nottingham, you will graduate with all the knowledge, practical skills and confidence to pursue your career goals.

We welcome approaches from educational organisations looking for a bespoke programme for their staff.

We also offer a face-to-face version of this course, studying in Nottingham – MA Educational Leadership and Management.

Alumni profiles

View our alumni profiles to see what they say about their experience of the educational leadership and management course and how it has helped their career.


Why choose this course?

Study fully online

Learn in an interactive digital learning environment and study when it suits you

Top 50

in the world for education

Learn from experts

who are internationally recognised for their research in this area

Over 100 years

of experience in the field of education

Excellent research

The majority of our research outputs are assessed as internationally excellent.

Course content

The taught element of this course is made up of four 30-credit modules, plus a 60-credit dissertation. It can be started in September or February and can completed over two years part-time, plus an eight month dissertation period. 

Course leader

Dr Phil Taylor (contact for academic queries)


Core modules

Issues in Educational Leadership

This module is designed to meet your varying needs. Such needs may have been identified prior to joining the course, through the process of self and organisational analysis, or through ongoing reflection on individual and organisational need throughout the course.


Practice-Based Inquiry

The content will involve you in active critical consideration of participating in and leadership of practitioner inquiry in relation to professional context mapping and workplace learning.

These processes will be achieved through:

  • conceptualising different kinds of practitioner inquiry relevant to work-based understanding and development (purposes, processes, contexts, dilemmas, outcomes)
  • examining a range of approaches to educational inquiry, with an emphasis on action research
  • developing an inquiry into your professional context



This involves the researching and writing of a substantive piece of scholarship within the field of the course.

You will choose a topic in consultation with your course leader and an appropriate supervisor. The topic will normally be based on interests and skills you have developed in the course of the modules already studied.

Optional modules

Educational Leadership Policy and Practice

This module will look at:

  • the history of educational leadership policy
  • choice, markets, competition and the corporatisation of educational leadership
  • leadership and enactment of educational policy in practice
  • educational policy transfer and re-contextualisation (including policy borrowing)
  • international perspectives in education policy
  • reforming education, education policy development and the role of evidence
  • critical policy analysis and educational leadership


Leading Learning

The module will address the essential features of effective learning, as relevant to your sector by examining:

  • the process of learning
  • supporting learning (for example, through adults, peers and technology) both within and beyond the educational organisation
  • an overview of approaches to improvement and raising achievement in educational organisations
  • monitoring and evaluation of learning: the use of data, target-setting, monitoring


Successful Leadership and Change in Education

This module will address the nature and practice of leadership in education. It will look at six themes:

  • Concepts of leadership
  • Change
  • Leadership qualities, behaviours and competencies
  • Power and authority
  • Organisational cultures and distributed leadership
  • Professional development


Understanding Individual and Organisational Development

This module will look at:

  • the understanding of self-management
  • competence and competency
  • analysis of self in relation to national standards (for school leadership or as appropriate)
  • self-development plans
  • understanding the professional development of others in the team
  • understanding the organisation and its context
  • leading and managing change
  • communication


The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 19 July 2024.

Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Independent study
  • Tutorials
  • Distance learning materials

We hope that you will enjoy the flexibility of studying online, enabling you to attend to modules and engage with materials at times to fit around your other commitments. Online modules on our courses are managed through the Moodle virtual learning environment (VLE) and combine module content, reading lists and materials, online activities, discussion forums and access to tutors.

Our interactive virtual learning environment includes text, audio and video materials, online discussions and reflective tasks. The programme is designed so that you can work at your own pace in an asynchronous way, within the study plan and assignment timetable for each module.

For each module, you will have an academic tutor who will be active online. They contribute to discussions as well as supporting you through the assessment process. There is an online masters-level toolkit to support all aspects of academic study, a dissertation preparation module available to you from the beginning of the course, and one-to-one dissertation support from your supervisor, usually via Microsoft Teams.

How you will be assessed

  • Coursework
  • Dissertation

Each 30-credit module is assessed by a comprehensive written assignment or equivalent. You must achieve a pass of 50% on each assignment to complete the masters.

The dissertation is an original piece of work and should be related to one of the selected modules on an approved topic.

Contact time and study hours

Each module requires an equivalent of 30 hours of online engagement, plus 270 hours of private study, assignment preparation and tutorial support.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2025 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:2 (or international equivalent) or a relevant professional qualification
Work experience

A personal statement is required that demonstrates both a clear understanding of the course and relevant motivation for pursuing educational leadership and management studies plus, if possible, details of any relevant professional or work experience in an educational setting

Additional information

Other requirements

A personal statement is required that demonstrates both a clear understanding of the course and relevant motivation for pursuing educational leadership and management studies. Please outline clear aspirations for a leadership or management role within education or educational governance. This should include details of any professional experience that is relevant to the course in education or that can be applied to an educational setting.

Assessing your application

Admissions may, at their discretion, ask applicants to provide further information in order to assess their application fairly and accurately. This can include CVs, references (academic and professional) and clarifications regarding their previous and current education. In such cases you will be contacted by admissions with a more information request.


You can start this course in September and February.

Start date Application deadline
10 February 2025 13 January 2025
1 September 2025 31 July 2025
9 February 2026 12 January 2026

Recognition of other Learning (ROL)

If you have prior learning or experience at an appropriate level, you may apply for exemption from some of the credit requirements of the course. Applications for ROL should be made at the time of application for admission to the university and at least four weeks before the start of the course. Applications for ROL are processed free of charge. Late applications will not be considered. Please visit the School of Education ROL pages for full information and how to apply.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


Qualification MA
Home / UK £9,700
International £14,700

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, we do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies, which you would need to factor into your budget.


This course is not eligible for Student Loans Company funding.


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Career destinations for School of Education graduates include education advisers, language tutors, primary/secondary teachers, vocational/industrial trainers and instructors and those working in the caring professions including counsellors.

A number of our graduates are already in employment while undertaking part-time study for professional development in their chosen career.

Career progression

95.2% of postgraduates from the School of Education secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £28,108.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020/21 data published in 2023. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time, postgraduate, home graduates within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" I am fortunate and proud to work with students from all over the world, who are keen to study, research and develop their practices in educational leadership and management. Our course benefits from the wealth of experiences and perspectives our students and tutors bring, from schools, colleges, universities and other educational providers. "
Dr Phil Taylor, Course Leader

Related courses

This content was last updated on Friday 19 July 2024. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.