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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.

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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.

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 research in educational leadership

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


Leading educational change

  • 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: 2021

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

A good honours degree (minimum 2:1) or the overseas equivalent. 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 and a copy of your CV detailing your full work experience.

Full entry requirements

How to apply

To apply for the next intake of Educational Leadership in Practice, click here    

Early application discount (10%):  Early application deadline:  8th January 2021  

Alumni Loyalty Bursary (15% discount) If you have successfully graduated from a credit-bearing qualification at the University of Manchester or UMIST you can receive an alumni loyalty bursary, which is a 15% discount on the tuition fees that you are personally funding

One-discount policy:   We operate a one discount policy; Early Application, Alumni Loyalty Bursary and Scholarships are not accumulative. If you qualify for more than one discount or scholarship, you will be awarded the one that is the highest amount. 

If you have any questions regarding the course, please contact us on

For courses starting in late February, applications will close in early February.

For courses starting in September, applications will close at the mid-end of August.

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
Educational Leadership in Practice (Blended)

Open days

As the MA Educational Leadership in Practice course is delivered mostly online, we do not offer an open day for it. However, we do offer a series of webinars.

We are also able to arrange a personal consultation with a member of the Educational Leadership academic team if you wish to have a more detailed discussion regarding the course or your eligibility. Please contact us to arrange this.


February '21 - Manchester Centre is £11,500

Early application deadline: 8 January 2021: 10% tuition fee discount (£1,150)

Alumni Loyalty Bursary: If you have successfully graduated for The University of Manchester, you can receive a 15% alumni bursary (£1,725)

The University offers a one-discount policy. You will be awarded the discount that offers the largest amount.

The course fees for the China and Middle East Centre are £16,000. If you'd like to apply to this course you must contact your regional centre.  

If you are applying to the China Centre please contact

If you are applying to the Middle East Centre please contact   

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
Daisy James
See: The School .

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