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MSc Educational Leadership

Course Description

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!

(Student Profile)


Why did you choose to study for a postgraduate qualification at Queen’s?

I was impressed with the academic records of Queen’s over the past 100 years. When I researched it on the internet, I made comparisons with other universities in the UK and found Queen’s to be outstanding in academic standards.

What is your experience of the teaching support and student facilities at Queen’s?

There are lots of modern facilities at the disposal of students, ranging from text updates, computing facilities - especially Queen’s Online - Queen’s Sport, etc. Tutors and staff are very supportive, humble, kind and always eager to help out. If you stop any of them anywhere, at any time and mention your problem, it will be taken care of.

What is your experience of the extracurricular activities at Queen’s?

Queen’s Physical Education Centre (PEC) is a wonderful facility for students with any sporting interest.

What do you hope to do after you finish university?

I will return to a job I have secured in Nigeria to put into practice what I have learnt at Queen’s.

How would you describe your experience of living in Belfast?

Excellent! Belfast people are accommodating and respectful.

How well do you feel you have settled into life in Belfast?

As an international student I feel I have fully settled into my course at Queen’s and life in Belfast.

(Student Profile)


2037.jpg Why did you choose to study for the Educational Leadership (MSc) at Queen’s School of Education?
There are two main reasons why I chose the School of Education at Queen’s. The first reason is that MSc Educational Leadership is appropriate to people who have a leadership position as well as a teacher position. Secondly, this programme helps teachers to become teacher leaders within a school. In addition, you can gain extensive knowledge about school leadership which is helpful for both positions.
Queen’s University Belfast is a member of Russell Group. When I surfed the Internet, I found useful information about SEP (Sharing Education Program) supported by Queen’s researchers. So, I decided to study at QUB.
What have you found most interesting or useful about the course?
I have an opportunity to communicate with local students in order to improve my English level. Also, as an international student, I can share ideas and knowledge with my local colleagues who have a particular experience in school leadership and management.
Has the course enhanced your existing knowledge?
I have acquired good knowledge about theory and practice of educational leadership that I can apply in my school as a leader and as a teacher. Moreover, I started reading so many academic articles and books which I have never done before. The library is excellent and you can find different periodicals from older to newer ones.
What is your experience of the teaching support and student facilities at Queen’s?
The teaching support and student facilities are excellent. If I want to improve my academic skills, I can go to Student Guidance Centre where the specialists give professional advice and good direction how to write academic essay which is useful for international students. Also, I have got an access to different educational databases via QOL (Queen’s Online) as well as through the McClay Library.
What are your experiences of living in Belfast?
Belfast is nice and attractive. There are many shops, malls, theatres, cinemas and night clubs in Belfast. Generally speaking, international students from different states can easily find ethnic food shops here. Moreover, we always celebrate different festivals and holidays together within Students Union (SU). As for university accommodation, Willow Walk apartments are the best ones - I think designed for those students who would like to do Master’s and PhD degrees. In addition, rental prices of University Accommodation are more reasonable than other universities.


Entry Requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or above or equivalent recognised qualification in any subject discipline.Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent recognised qualification may also be considered if they have at least two years of professional experience in an education, training or relevant context. In line with University Regulations, there is a language requirement for applicants whose first language is not English (IELTS 6.5 (taken within last 2 yrs) or approved equivalent. For IELTs a minimum score of 5.5 is required in all four elements of the test).

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