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MA Education (Leadership)

Start date
MA - 12 months full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

2024 - 2025
£10,530 (UK)
£23,310 (International)
More Fees and funding details.

The MA Education (Leadership) is for those who may not have worked in education, but aspire to be education leaders one day. It aims to make a real difference in schools through leadership that is focused on learning and school improvement. We welcome applications from all aspiring or current educational leaders.

Educational leadership takes many forms including school leadership and management, curriculum or subject leadership, advisory work, teaching training and educational technology. On the MA Education (Leadership) pathway, you will be part of a research-led community that studies and develops critical and practical understanding of research- and evidence-informed practice in education.

You will study the skills, knowledge and characteristics of effective educational leaders and how leaders can improve schools. You will engage with cutting-edge research in the fields of educational effectiveness, improvement and leadership; examine issues in real schools and improvement projects; and hear from outstanding educational leaders from the West Midland region who have been invited to share their expertise and experience of educational leadership in practice.

All assignments and the dissertation may be tailored to suit your own subject specialism, context and interests. By developing your understanding of evidence- and values-informed education, along with skills of reflective and critical analysis for improving education, this pathway is suitable whether your aim is to make a difference leading a classroom, a school or an entire school system.

The MA Education (Leadership) pathway is part of the School of Education’s Educational Leadership Academy which connects, collaborates with, and develops educational leadership across the region and beyond. It is underpinned by and promotes evidence- and values-driven approaches to educational leadership. 

International students

The MA Education course attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities, and welcomes applications from international students.

The University of Birmingham, which has over 10,000 international students from approximately 150 countries, provides support throughout the course for those that are new to, or less experienced in, studying in a UK context.

If you would like further information about studying in Birmingham, then you can visit our international students webpage. 

MA Education pathways

You can choose from one of our other specialist focus pathways, based on the School of Education’s principle research areas or the broader MA Education: 

Please note: that like most Masters programmes, this programme does not confer qualified teacher status (QTS).


The MA Education (Leadership) programme consists of the following compulsory modules, a dissertation and optional modules from the list below.

Unless indicated otherwise the modules listed below for this programme are for students starting in 2023. Find out more about each of the modules

The following compulsory modules must be taken:

Compulsory Modules

  • Education, Policy and Society
  • Research Methods in Education
  • Understanding School Improvement
  • Leadership for School Improvement
  • Dissertation

Optional Modules

Choose two 20 credit modules from the list below. 

  • Citizenship, Human Rights and the Environment
  • Education, Curriculum Design Planning and Social Justice
  • Language, Discourse and Society
  • Disability and Inclusive Development 
  • Education Policy and Improving schools
  • Special Educational Needs of Children with Autism
  • Curriculum and Approaches for Children with Autism

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Fees 2024 - 2025


  • Code 879D £10,530


  • Code 879D £23,310

The fees shown above are the first year fees for students starting their courses September in 2024.

Learn more about fees

For further information contact the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

Scholarships and Loans

You may be eligible for a postgraduate loan which provides up to £12,167 (for 2023/2024 entry) for taught and research Masters courses in most subject areas. 

Other scholarships may be available, please view the  Scholarships webpage in the School of Education. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More details may be found on the  international scholarships page.

How To Apply

30 June 2024 is the application deadline for international students applying through the student route who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2024 made after this date. The deadline for Home students is 30 August 2024.

Personal Statement

The MA Education (and Pathways) are globally competitive programmes.

We value critical thinking on local and global perspectives related to education and social justice. Even if you don't have direct experience in education or related fields, we would like to understand what drew you to these programmes.

When preparing your statement make sure you tell us about:

  • Your educational background and relevant experience(s)
  • How your experiences make you a good candidate the programme
  • The reasons why you wish to come to Birmingham
  • Your wider plans, and how an MA Education will help realise those plans
  • Any other points that are relevant

Have a look at our suite of programmes on the website and join our online and face to face events to learn more about our offering. 

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

A 2:1 or above (or international equivalent) Bachelor's degree is required.

Applicants without a 2:1 are welcome to apply, but should have a degree and a minimum of three years relevant professional experience post degree, in an education-focused setting.

International Requirements

International Students

Standard English language requirements apply. Speakers of English as a second language will be required to hold an IELTs 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each band or equivalent qualification.

VISA Requirements

Obtaining a visa can be a lengthy process. Please allow sufficient time to obtain your visa. Find out more about visa requirements

English language support - before your course starts

The University offers Presessional English courses for students who wish to improve their knowledge of spoken and written English in preparation for academic study at the University of Birmingham. Students with conditional offers have the option of attending one of these courses instead of retaking IELTS.    

English language support - during your studies

BIA provides free English language services to international students who are currently studying on undergraduate or postgraduate courses at the University of Birmingham.  Services include Open-access English classes, online self-assessment, online materials through CANVAS, email answers to quick questions and individual one to one tutorials.  For a small fee, BIA also offers classes for partners of international postgraduate students and staff, social events including day trips and HOST visits.   

You will be taught in the School of Education, which conducts pioneering world-class research in Education. You can therefore expect that all teaching on the MA Education will be informed by seminal and contemporary research, that spans a wide variety of disciplinary areas. Whether you take a pathway route or not, you can be assured that module content will be designed and taught by experienced specialists in each discipline who have knowledge of contemporary research in the field.

The programme is delivered through a combination of face-to-face lectures, smaller-group seminars, workshops, self-study, and peer group learning. We utilise a range of digital and virtual approaches in our teaching, and you will have access to our online teaching and learning tools, including our Virtual Learning Environment. Readings and resources are made available through our online ‘Resource Lists’ system making it very easy to identify and access key readings.  Module tutors make activities available online for you to engage prior to face-to-face teaching and the majority of assignments tasks can be submitted via the Virtual Learning Environment – including dissertations. Assessments on this programme will include written essays, small independent projects, oral presentation and a dissertation on a topic of your choice. 

You will be allocated a Dissertation Supervisor with whom you will have a one-to-one relationship during the dissertation phase. You will also be allocated a Personal Academic Tutor with whom you will meet regularly and all tutors keep ‘office hours’ through which you can request one-to-one tutorials.

The MA Education (Leadership) has been designed to provide a firm basis in theory and evidence for new and 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 the future improvement and make a difference to the overall performance of your school. It will enhance your ability to lead school improvement by using research and evidence to develop new, 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.