Postgraduate study
This distance learning course is ideal if you are looking to develop a better understanding of how educational leadership influences the experiences of staff and students.
MA Educational Leadership and Management
2 years part-time plus dissertation
Entry requirements
2:2 (or international equivalent) or relevant professional qualification
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£11,475 - Terms apply
International fees
£11,475 - Terms apply
Jubilee Campus



It is designed for those who have experience of working in schools, colleges, universities and other educational providers. Drawing on UK and international research, much of which has been conducted by those who teach on the course, it seeks to:

  • improve understanding of leadership practices, both nationally and internationally, in social, cultural, political and policy contexts
  • strengthen knowledge of leadership and change management
  • utilise existing and emerging international research-informed knowledge of educational leadership
  • engage in critical discussion of a range of practices in the leadership and management of other adults in organisations
  • enable a deeper understanding of your organisation, and the environment in which you operate
  • promote the development of you, your colleagues and your organisation

A key focus is on supporting practice-based inquiry and how this can be applied to the way you work.

You will engage with the latest education research relating to leadership and management and will learn how to conduct research in order to drive development and change your own professional content.

Watch our course videos...

Find out more about online learning with the School of Education.

Watch an introduction from Dr Andrew Townsend.


Student profile

From the first session, I had a strong feeling that this course is what I was really looking for. I have been learning different theories and concepts of leadership in education; we have been discussing academic papers and case-studies on the issues of educational leadership, organisational and individual development, and practice-based inquiry.

The group work was just amazing. I think we have been mutually benefited from the group learning and interaction. For instance, I have conducted interviews with my classmates for my research module where I studied the effect of the leadership programme on the students' perception of themselves as leaders. My peers were my 'critical friends' when I was planning and preparing interview questions for my inquiry.

While working on my assignments, I have tried to make them more relevant to the current issues in education development of my country, and apply knowledge I gained here appropriately. For example, I took into account the shift towards autonomy in higher education of Kazakhstan when trying to make implications for the leadership of higher education institutions in one of my essays.

Moreover, I started to keep my learning journal where I reflect on challenges of studying, assignment progress, and goals to achieve. This activity was new for me and I found it very useful from the personal development perspective.

The teachers of our programme have been really helpful from the very beginning. I can honestly say that we have been challenged, supported and encouraged by our tutors. Every time we had a discussion or a tutorial it has inspired me a lot. I think that our tutors are the most powerful advantage of this programme. All the learning materials were based on empirical research and our tutors have conducted and published such research.

Overall, I believe that I have been broadening my horizons and strengthening my skills and abilities in terms of educational leadership and research. I would like to thank all who made this happen; the 'Bolashak' scholarship, school administration, tutors, and peers! I would definitely recommend this course to my colleagues and friends!

Aidar Abrayev



The staff listed above are supported by a larger team of tutors.

Key facts


Full course details

The taught element of this course is made up of four 30-credit modules, plus a 60-credit dissertation. It can be completed part-time over approximately two years, with a further eight months for the dissertation. There are PGDip and PGCert exit points.

Recommended reading list

Appropriate journals include:
  • British Educational Research Journal
  • British Journal of Educational Studies
  • Educational Action Research
  • Educational Management, Administration and Leadership
  • Harvard Business Review
  • Improving Schools
  • International Studies in Educational Administration
  • International Journal of Leadership in Education
  • Journal of Educational Administration
  • Journal of Education Policy
  • Leadership and Policy in Schools
  • London Review of Education
  • Management in Education
  • Oxford Review of Education
  • Personnel Management
  • School Effectiveness and School Improvement
  • School Leadership and Management
  • Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice
  • Teaching and Teacher Education

There are also several international resources available online.


Online course materials and support

You will study online through the University's virtual learning environment, typically taking two modules a year for two years, and concluding with your dissertation. Each module requires an equivalent of 30 hours of online engagement, plus 270 hours of private study, assignment preparation and tutorial support.

To ensure you have the appropriate computer requirements to enable you to study online, please view our computer specification guidance notes


Each 30-credit module is assessed by a 6,000-word written assignment. To complete the masters, you must achieve a pass of 50 on each assignment.

The 15,000-word dissertation is an original piece of work and should be related to one of the selected modules on an approved topic.


To ensure your application is considered in time, please note the following deadlines apply:

Important dates
Start dateApplication deadline
2 September 2019 5 August 2019

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.




Issues in Educational Leadership (30 credits)

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 (30 credits)

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
Dissertation (60 credits)

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.



Two from:

Educational Leadership Policy and Practice (30 credits)

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
Effective Leadership and Change in Education (30 credits)

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
Leading Learning (30 credits)

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
Understanding Individual and Organisational Development (30 credits)

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


You can view an example timetable, however this is subject to change year on year and your live timetable will be available via the various online timetable systems.

The above is a sample of the typical modules that 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide. Further information is available on the school website.

Extra costs

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

Government loans for masters courses

Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

Career destinations for our graduates include counsellors, education advisers, language tutors, primary/secondary teachers and vocational/industrial trainers and instructors. A number of our graduates are already in employment while undertaking part-time study for professional development in their chosen career.

Employability and average starting salary

99.5% of postgraduates from the School of Education who were available for employment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £22,500 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £38,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career and professional development

Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects or develop your knowledge, a postgraduate degree from the University of Nottingham can help take you where you want to be.

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service offers specialist support and guidance while you study and for life after you graduate. They will help you explore and plan your next career move, through regular events, employer-led skills sessions, placement opportunities and one-to-one discussions.


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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