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Course content

MA Educational Leadership is ideal if you're an educational professional currently working in, or aspiring to work in, a leadership position.

The course is taught by leading academics in the field of leadership, management, school effectiveness and improvement. Senior educational experts also contribute, including head teachers, inspectors, local authority officers and policy-makers.

Teaching encourages student participation, shared experiences and opportunities for practical application. Depending on your background and experience, you may find the approach rather different from your previous experiences of university.


  • Provide an overview of current theories/frameworks for examining education policy and practice from a leadership perspective
  • Develop your understanding of key leadership issues that influence teachers' performance in primary and secondary schools and other educational settings.
  • Enable colleagues at all levels within educational institutions to identify issues and develop appropriate strategies to generate and sustain school improvement.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of practical approaches to school improvement and school effectiveness and of current theories, issues and debates in the field.
  • Develop a range of learning and transferrable skills which integrate current research and best practice in the areas of school leadership and school improvement applicable to different students on different programmes.

Special features

The programme is taught by leading academics in the field of leadership, management, school effectiveness and improvement. Senior educational experts also contribute, including head teachers, inspectors, local authority officers and policy-makers.

Teaching and learning

The course is taught by world-leading researchers who focus on the realities of professional practice through using the social sciences. This includes Professor Mel Ainscow (an international expert in inclusive education), Professor Michael Apple (the world's leading critical educationalist), Steve Courtney (an expert on school restructuring, change and leadership), Professor Helen Gunter (known internationally for her work on policy and leadership), Professor David Hall (an expert in policy enactment and distributed leadership), Ruth McGinity (an expert on localised policymaking, change and leadership), Dr Susie Miles (known internationally for her specialist knowledge of inclusion and disability in developing country contexts), Professor Mel West (an international expert in school improvement and school effectiveness).

The course units are delivered through lectures, tutorials, group-work, case-based approaches, and enquiry-based learning, associated with school visits. Comprehensive training is provided in the use of electronic databases, library resources. We encourage both individual and co-operative learning and research and hope to foster an ethos of lifelong learning. We aim to build on the expertise of our students, many of whom are experienced leaders in education, and who bring with them a wealth of knowledge and practical experience from a wide range of different countries.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment for the full-time course is by 8 x 3000 word assignments and a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Course unit details

Typical course units include: Educational Leadership; Examining Educational Policy; Contemporary issue sin Educational Leadership and Policy Development; Research Methods in Education; Leading Educational Change and Development; International Perspectives on Equity and Inclusion; Inclusive Education.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: 

Career opportunities

Over the past decade graduates of this course have returned to over 40 countries around the world. They have mainly either entered or returned to teaching, lecturing or educational administration, while others have proceeded to further advanced studies.

Visit the Educational Leadership (MA) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Manchester

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