Education is constantly under pressure to conform outside requirements. Standardisation and teach to test is all part of the Global Education Reform Movement that is sweeping the globe, steering policy and pressuring educational leaders. This course equips participants with the critical thinking skills and knowledge needed to engage at a higher level. This introduces intellectual and practical confidence in all interactions, whether with teachers, parents, students, managers, board members or even policy makers.

Educational Leaders require a wide range of transferable skills and subject-specific knowledge. The MA in Educational Leadership in Practice equips you with the critical approach to be the positive change your educational organisation needs.

Contact us today

Complete the form below and a member of our Course Advisor team will be in touch shortly to discuss your study options.

Please enter your first name.

Please enter your email address.

Teacher and primary school pupils

Course overview

This course will equip you with the skills and knowledge that educators and other similar education practitioners require for a successful career in their education organisations. It offers a balance between strategic focus, theoretical foundations and practical applications to apply directly into the workplace.

It doesn’t just work with the norms and realities of current education. It investigates them, challenges them, it empowers the participant to become an intellectual leader as well as an educational leader.

Download the brochure

You will learn how to:

  • develop a deep understanding of the theories, research, intellectual debates, and best leadership practice from across the globe;
  • reflect on how these may, or may not, be applicable to your own practice;
  • develop higher order thinking skills to inspire you as a leader of education;
  • apply educational leadership skills and find solutions to real-world problems from local and global education organisations.
Applied learning

Taught from a critical approach, not a functionalist one, this practice-orientated learning will enable you to be the change your organisation needs.

Industry conferences

Learn from and network with industry and sector peers and experts during conferences held twice a year at our prestigious Manchester Centre.

World-class team

Taught by world-leading academics in Educational Policy and Educational Leadership including Prof. Helen Gunter and Dr. Alexander Gardner-Mctaggart.

Teacher with young pupils
Students working in a group

Blended learning

The MA Educational Leadership in Practice is a blended-learning programme. This means course content is delivered online using web-enabled technology systems, with your lectures and tutorials delivered online.

You’ll also have the opportunity to attend industry conferences at one of our International Centres twice a year. The conferences are a great way of meeting your fellow peers on the course, your tutors and industry leaders.

Lecture Hall

Where will it take me?

Successful graduates of this course will gain the skills and knowledge to pursue and develop careers at leadership level.

Projects on the course allow you to apply teachings from the course directly into real-world scenarios, delivering a hands-on experience in your education environments.

Course units

Units 1 - 3


Models of educational leadership

  • Explore conceptualising educational leadership practice as adjectival models
  • Examine what this means in diverse international contexts
  • Examine and evaluate a range of key models


Engaging with educational leadership research

  • What is educational leadership
  • What topics can be researched in education
  • Why should research in education be taken seriously


Leading educational change and Development

  • Examining what is meant by ‘change’
  • Counter-productive and productive motivators for and mechanisms for change
  • Critical perspective on leading change

Units 4 - 7

Year of entry: 2020

Degree awarded
Master of Arts
2 Year Part-Time
Entry requirements

A good honours degree (minimum 2:1) or the overseas equivalent, in a related area. An initial qualification in teaching, or at least one year's professional experience in a public or private educational organisation, are desirable but not essential requirements.

Two satisfactory professional or academic references. 

Full entry requirements

Number of places/applicants
How to apply

Apply here for a link to the application form.

If you have any questions regarding the course, please contact us on or call +44 (0)161 306 8333.

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

You will:

  • Develop a deep understanding of the theories, research and best leadership practice from across the globe
  • You will be taught from a critical approach, not a functionalist one. This practice-orientated learning will enable you to be the change your organisation need
  • Meet and network with industry and sector peers and experts during residentials held twice a year
  • Be taught by world-leading academics in educational leadership including Prof. Helen Gunter and Dr. Alexander Mctaggart
An introduction to Educational Leadership in Practice

Open days

There is no open day for this course due to the online nature of the teaching and learning. Our Course Advisors can provide any information you may require.


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2020, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (part-time distance learning)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £7,750
    International students (per annum): £7,750

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).

Contact details

School of Environment, Education and Development
Contact name
Katie Campbell
+44 (0)161 306 8333
See: The School .

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Regulated by the Office for Students

The University of Manchester is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS aims to help students succeed in Higher Education by ensuring they receive excellent information and guidance, get high quality education that prepares them for the future and by protecting their interests. More information can be found at the OfS website.

You can find regulations and policies relating to student life at The University of Manchester, including our Degree Regulations and Complaints Procedure, on our regulations website.