Education (Leadership) MA

Dubai Campus

Start date
September 2024
2 years Part Time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

Annual fee for 2024 entry
AED 36,631

Scholarships are available

The MA Education (Leadership) is a distinctive, evidence-focused Masters programme that develops capacity for leadership and expert practice in schools. This pathway is designed for those who want to make a difference through leadership that is focused on learning and school improvement.

This programme has been accredited by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education

University sponsorships are not available for part-time applicants. If you are a part-time applicant who requires visa sponsorship, please refer to our visa categories for further information.

The knowledge and experience gained from the programme will place you in an ideal position to inform school improvement and make a difference within your leadership context. It will enhance your ability to lead school improvement by using research and evidence to develop and in some cases, challenge current practices.

On the MA Education Leadership programme you will:

  • Engage with leading academics and expert school leaders from an international context;
  • Be part of a research-informed community which harnesses cutting-edge and seminal research literature and conducts research and enquiry to review and improve practice and school improvement initiatives;
  • Develop capacity for rigorous and critical analysis of evidence from research and evidence from practice in improving schools;
  • Develop your own specialist areas of expertise through research, leadership enquiry and other practice-focused assignments.

Combining inclusive and values-driven leadership with an emphasis on understanding and using research to drive learning and school improvement, this is a programme for those leaders who want to lead socially inclusive change in the field of education. The MA Education (Leadership) is for those who already hold or will have completed 60 credits towards a Masters level qualification.  This may be in the form of a teaching certification (e.g. PGCE/PGCEi) or a PGCert. The programme consists of 120 credits of study over two years on a part-time basis.

In your first year, the following modules will be covered:

  • Understanding School Improvement (20 credits)
  • Leadership for School Improvement (20 credits)
  • Educational Policy and Improving Schools (20 credits).  This is a recommended module, however you may chose to select from a range of alternative optional modules.

In your final year of study you undertake a Master’s Dissertation (60 credits) in an area related to your practice.  

The Educational Leadership programme is provided in partnership with the Education Leadership Academy which supports inclusive, values-driven leadership in schools across the world.


Prospect Q&A

Find out more about our Education programmes every Wednesday afternoon from 4-5 PM. Learn about how to enter the teaching profession, how to move into leadership or inclusion through our Masters' and Postgraduate Certificates. Just join online to speak to our faculty.


As Dubai International Academic City celebrates a decade of excellence, we are honoured to welcome one of the world’s top 100 universities, University of Birmingham, to our vibrant and diverse higher education community. University of Birmingham’s commitment to knowledge transfer through cutting-edge research makes it an ideal partner of choice, contributing to the enhancement of the UAE’s vision of creating innovative and enduring solutions that meet the demands of key sectors of development such as STEM and Education.

Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of Dubai International Academic City


Understanding School Improvement (20 credits)

This module will provide you with a critical and practical understanding of school effectiveness and improvement, and evidence-informed practice in education. It will enable you to judge the extent to which claims for preferring one approach to another can currently be justified by available evidence whilst also providing a basis for developing your own practice and supporting the development of others. The module reviews effects of teaching on a range of outcomes including attainment, inclusion and aspirations.

Leadership for School Improvement (20 credits)

Focusing on the qualities and skills that will enable you to play a more effective part in the leadership of your school or area of responsibility. Leadership and teamwork have been consistently identified in research studies as among the key factors that contribute to school improvement. The module will also examine the needs, demands, and aspirations of the various stake holders in the participants’ own schools; the culture in their schools; the vision for the future development of their schools; and planning and managing change.

The following is a recommended module for all students on this programme, however you may choose to select from a range of alternative optional modules.

Educational Policy and Improving Schools (20 credits)

This module will enable you to critically review current debates in education policy and the implications of alternative stances on education policy for school improvement and professional practice. The module will focus on:

  1. the different contributions that are made by parents, students, education professionals and policy makers to the outcomes of schooling 
  2. the impacts of professional practice and school organisation on the interactions between education professionals, parents, students and policy makers. At the end of this module you will be able to critically review current debates in education policy and the implications of alternative stances on education policy for school improvement and professional practice.

Dissertation (60 credits)

In your final year of study you undertake a Master’s Dissertation (60 credits) in an area related to your practice.  We will provide you with the research methods training that will allow you to conduct a piece of critical research and to develop an in-depth understanding of an educational topic of personal and/or professional interest. You will receive individualised supervisory support as you undertake your dissertation. 


Fee for 2024 - 2025 entry

The annual fee is AED 36,631.

The total fee for the 2 year programme will be AED 73,262.

There is no bursary for these courses but there is an opportunity to apply for a scholarship. Find out more about the scholarships

How To Apply

To find out more information about our application process please visit our 'How to apply page' before starting your application.

Our Standard Requirements

All applicants must be working in an educational setting for the duration of the programme. To be considered by the University of Birmingham you will also need to meet our general entry requirements: 

  • A degree (equivalent to a UK Bachelors Degree of at least 2:2 or above) or a recognised equivalent qualification and this will be a condition of any offer where the degree has not already been awarded.
  • 60 postgraduate credits of prior learning or certification (Please see APL guidance below)
  • Two references, of which one must be academic (e.g. previous university tutor) and one professional, that confirms your current role in an educational setting and evidences your motivation and ability to study.   
  • A Personal Statement (minimum 500 - 700 words) on your motivation for and commitment to this programme of study as well as information about your leadership experience in an educational context. You should refer to any leadership programmes you have attended, any Master’s level credits already awarded, any mentoring experience you have gained and/or your involvement in school projects that demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of leadership in an educational context. (Guidance may be found below)
  • If English is not your first language you may need to demonstrate proficiency in English through the completion of an academic level IELTS or equivalent. You should achieve a score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6 in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

APL Guidance 

Our MA (Education) suite of programmes are 180 credit M-level professional and academic development programmes; of which 60 credits of Accredited Prior Learning (APL) are an entry requirement. The PGCE, PGCEi and PGCert ISEN are all 60 credit Postgraduate certificate level programmes at the University of Birmingham Dubai and are all possible routes into the MA (Education).

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning)

If you do not have a certified qualification but feel you have the knowledge, skills and experience, you must submit evidence of this within your personal statement. To apply for APEL consideration, you must be able to demonstrate evidence of experience which has allowed you to:

1. Plan for and teach whole classes and evaluate learning experiences; distinguish success and failure of learning and offer potential future teaching alternatives
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the curriculum, key stages and whole school issues within the school context
3. Demonstrate an extended awareness of the needs of learners
4. Relate theory and practice of learning through a variety of research methods
5. Demonstrate awareness of the role of reflection in personal and professional development

APCL (Accreditation of Prior Certified Learning)

If you have not previously studied these 60 credit programmes with us but have postgraduate qualifications/master's level units in education from another institution, please submit evidence of certification as part of your application to be considered for Accredited Prior Certified Learning (APCL). To apply for APCL consideration, you must be able to demonstrate evidence of a certified qualification in one of the following:

  • PGCE
  • PGCEi
  • PgDip Education Studies
  • Alternative equivalent Post Graduate Diploma in Education
  • Nationally recognised Post Graduate Teaching Qualification/Diploma with a minimum duration of 1 year, which also aligns with the learning outcomes 1-5 above.  
  • NPQSL/NPQML/Equivalent Leadership Qualification or Accreditation 

Following a review of your application by our admissions tutors, you may be requested to meet for a short interview to further clarify your experiences and suitability for the programme.

If you are unsure about the equivalences of your qualifications please contact our team and we will do this for you.  Please contact  or Text, Call or WhatsApp us on +971 (0)55 182 8937

International Requirements

As part of the admissions process you will need to provide the following information on your application form. 

  • Name and address
  • Date of birth
  • Country of residence
  • A personal statement
  • Evidence of your qualifications
  • References 

Personal Statement

You may find this framework useful when writing your personal statement. It will help you consider the different elements which you may wish to include in your personal statement. Please note that this is for guidance only and it is not a requirement of the application form.

Download the personal statement framework (Word Doc)

Course delivery

We offer a combination of evening classes and once-a-month meeting on Saturdays, designed to accommodate working professionals.

Our draft timetable for part-time students is designed to deliver teaching on one or two evenings from 17:30-20:30 and one Saturday a month from 10:00-16:00 (timings vary per module). 

Please note that the example timetable is to be used as a guide and is subject to change. Our term dates are also available online. For further information, please contact the Programme Director, Philip Anderson at

Example timetable for the MA Education programme (PDF)

The MA Education (Leadership) has been designed to provide a firm basis in theory and evidence for aspiring leaders in education. This leadership may be exercised in schools, colleges or administrating authorities. Leadership may be in the form of direct responsibility for organisational strategy and practice, or it may come in the form of leading professional development.

The knowledge and experience you will gain from this programme will place you in an ideal position to inform leadership for school improvement by using research-based evidence to develop and in some cases, challenge current practices. With a strong focus on connecting research to practice, and using and analysing evidence, this course also provides a firm basis for students wishing to pursue further study on a PhD programme.