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Course content

In the current climate of structural and political pressure on improving educational performance and opportunities, there is an increased focus upon the quality of leadership within educational institutions.

The MSc Educational Leadership recognises that a high quality educational system depends on leaders from all walks of life and all types of positions, regardless of title. It is intended, therefore, to provide leadership development for people who work in all manner of roles in the educational system: schools at all levels, local authorities, policymakers, and any other organisations invested in providing educational opportunities.

The programme aspires to equip students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and creative capacity to respond to a variety of leadership challenges faced in contemporary educational institutions. It challenges traditional notions of ‘leaders’ and ‘leadership’ pointing to new, more collaborative and more organic, models of leading. It is expected that graduates will be able to inform their professional practice with the latest research evidence in the field to nurture meaningful relationships in educational communities, address issues of equity and diversity, support teaching and learning, and ultimately, ensure quality outcomes which are tailored to contextual needs.

Why Educational Leadership at Queen's?

◦As a prestigious Russell Group University, Queen’s is ranked 8th within the UK in relation to research intensity;
◦Education at Queen’s has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% of the research undertaken within the School assessed as ‘internationally excellent or world leading’ (REF, 2014);
◦We provide a CPD opportunity for teachers and other educational professionals who work, or aspire to work, in a leadership capacity at different levels within their organisations;
◦We seek to develop in students the ability to critique current leadership practices and to enact changes that will improve education for all;
◦The content is delivered in a mixture of face-to-face and online formats (blended learning) creating flexibility for part-time working students, while providing for a range of learning styles.
◦Belfast is a growing cosmopolitan city, offering a good quality of life and one of the lowest costs of living in the UK; this makes it an attractive destination for EU/international applicants who want to undertake full-time study.
◦If you don’t want, or need, to study for the research dissertation, flexible exit awards are available (PG Diploma/ PG Certificate);
◦You may also undertake individual course modules without completing a full degree.

“Rather than offering ‘how-to-do’ type of knowledge or quick-fix solutions to common leadership problems, the course promotes critical and creative thinking among students, bringing to light and questioning many long held assumptions. This is achieved through extended periods of academic study and insightful dialogues with professional peers.” Dr Stefania Giannakaki, Programme Co-ordinator

Programme Structure and Modules

The MSc Educational Leadership is awarded to students who have successfully completed 120 CATS points from taught modules and a Master's dissertation (60 CATS points).

Exit qualifications are available. Students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught modules or an Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from taught modules.

Short Courses

We've made it easy to study for a Master's module as a short course. If you would like to study for one of the modules in the MSc in Educational Leadership as a short course, please contact the Education Secretary (tel: 028 9097 5923/ 5032, ) for advice.

Modules (all 20 CATS points)

◦Leadership Theory and Practice: an overview (compulsory)
◦Leadership for Change (compulsory)
◦School Effectiveness and School Improvement (compulsory)
◦An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education (compulsory)


There are no written examinations. Modules are assessed through written assignments.

Career Opportunities

Graduates have found this degree beneficial for developing leadership practice in their workplace. Others have found it beneficial in gaining employment or promotion. Some progress to Doctoral-level studies and research.

Visit the MSc Educational Leadership page on the Queen’s University Belfast website for more details!






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