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International Education Leadership and Policy MA

Course content

This specialist programme is suitable for educators such as teachers, school leaders, lecturers, inspectors, administrators and officials who want to gain an insight into educational policy issues of current global significance and their implications for the effective leadership of educational institutions.

The policy themes are covered in the first semester, and the leadership and management implications are covered in the second semester. Both areas emphasise an international comparative perspective.

Optional modules are to be taken from across the School of Education to place your studies in a broader context, including those tat cover research methods; technology, education and society; and special educational needs. There is also access to modules offered in the School of Politics and International Studies, including education and development, global justice, and global inequalities and development.

Participants from around the world come together to learn from each other as well as our tutors: all of whom are expert researchers in their fields. You’ll learn to apply critically educational theories to real challenges affecting schools, further and higher education worldwide.

You’ll have a wide range of opportunities to enhance your learning.

In your first year of postgraduate study, you’ll be able to join the British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS), complete with the access to leading journals and events that it provides, including its annual conference. You’ll also be encouraged to join the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration (CCEA).

In addition, we provide opportunities for educational visits, including a local school and a visit to London to discuss educational policy development with the local MP and civil servants.

Course content

The programme provides a comprehensive coverage of educational policy, leadership and management from an international comparative perspective.

There will be a wide choice of assignment topics, so that you can focus on themes of personal professional interest, including policy and leadership issues relating to schools, colleges and/or universities.

From the beginning of the programme, you’ll develop your research skills and apply them to your critical study. This gives you the chance to conduct independent research on a topic of your choice, which may be related to your own professional background.

You’ll be expected to sit in on our Getting Started: Research Questions and Approaches module to improve your understanding of educational research, unless your tutor believes you already have enough knowledge in this area.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

You take three core modules, including your dissertation. You then choose another one or two optional modules from the School of Education or the closely-related MA in Global Development offered by the School of Politics and International Studies to complete the programme.

Compulsory modules

  • Contemporary Global Challenges in Education Policy and Leadership Practice 30 credits
  • Critical Perspectives on Leadership Theory and Practice 30 credits
  • Dissertation 60 credits

Optional modules

  • Getting Started: Research Questions and Approaches in Education 15 credits
  • Philosophical underpinning of educational research 15 credits
  • Qualitative data: processes of collection, interpretation and analysis 15 credits
  • Introduction to quantitative data analysis 15 credits
  • Technology, Education and Society 30 credits
  • Digital Learning in Practice 30 credits
  • Special Educational Needs: Inclusive Approaches 30 credits
  • Education in Development 30 credits
  • Gender, Globalisation and Development 30 credits
  • Global Inequalities and Development 30 credits
  • Global Justice 30 credits
  • Development Management Techniques 15 credits

For more information on typical modules, read International Education Leadership and Policy MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read International Education Leadership and Policy MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Most of our taught modules use a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials, and you’ll also be able to enhance your learning by attending the visits we organise to government departments and educational institutions.

However, independent study is also an important part of this programme, allowing you to form your own ideas and develop high-level skills.


We assess the module Contemporary Global Challenges for Research-informed Education Policy and Practice through an oral presentation on an educational policy issue supported by either a PowerPoint or a Poster to the equivalent of a 3,000 word assignment (worth 50%) and a 3,000 word essay assignment (worth 50%).

The assessment for Critical Perspectives on Educational Leadership Theory and Practice is through a single essay of around 6,000 words. This will provide a transition in the preparation of a more extended piece of writing leading up to the 12,000 word critical study.

Other modules selected from the School of Education and/or the School of Politics and International Studies may use similar or different methods of assessment, such as assignments, reflective logs and portfolio work, depending on the modules you choose.

Visit the International Education Leadership and Policy MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!




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