School Improvement and Educational Leadership MA/Postgraduate Diploma/ Postgraduate Certificate

Quick links: Modules | Fees and Funding | Entry Requirements | How to apply

The School Improvement and Educational Leadership programme is designed for you to make a difference in schools through leadership that is focused on learning. 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 help provide you with the foundations to become a leader in school improvement using evidence-based analysis and by challenging current practices.

Download a flier for the School Improvement and Educational Leadership programme (PDF)

Download information on all the postgraduate study programmes in the School of Education (PDF)

The School Improvement and Educational Leadership programme is designed for those who are aiming to make a difference in schools through leadership that is focused on learning. Leadership in schools takes many forms: through school and departmental leadership teams, but also through collaboration between teachers and schools on specific problems in teaching and learning. You will be part of a research-led community which uses and develops evidence-based practice to identify and share approaches which can be shown to make a difference in particular contexts.

There are three 'M' levels associated with the programme in School Improvement and Educational Leadership.

Masters - 180 credits which are achieved by passing all four core (compulsory) modules, two optional modules and a dissertation (which is worth 60 credits).
Postgraduate Diploma -  120 credits which are achieved by passing all four core (compulsory) modules and two optional modules.   
Postgraduate Certificate - 60 credits which are achieved by passing at least two of the core modules and one further optional modules.

Ask our current students and alumni a question

These are experienced postgraduates who have previously studied, or are currently studying, at the University of Birmingham, and they offer help and advice from a student perspective.

Ask John a question

Chile Scholarships

This is an international programme which recruits students from around the world as well as from the UK. We welcome applicants from Chile who are applying through CONICYT’s scholarship programme in which the University of Birmingham is participating. Application of the ideas and evidence about School Improvement and Educational Leadership in a Chilean context will be addressed in the programme.

Specific information for students who wish to apply from Chile may be found on our International Pages.


Core Module Details

Understanding School Improvement 

Leadership for School Improvement 

Using evidence in school improvement 

Education Policy and Improving Schools

Optional Modules (subject to availability) 20 credits module option

Curriculum Design in Global Contexts

Education as an International Issue 

Citizenship, Human Rights and the Environment

Personal and Professional Skills in Educational Management 

Second Language Learning

The optional modules listed above for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees 2018 - 2019


  • Code 9166 PGCert full-time £2,550
  • Code 9170 PGCert part-time £2,550
  • Code 9165 PGDip full-time £5,100
  • Code 9164 PGDip part-time Please contact the school for details
  • Code 9162 MA full-time £9,000
  • Code 9163 MA part-time £3,000


  • Code 9166 PGCert full-time £5,430
  • Code 9170 PGCert part-time £5,430
  • Code 9165 PGDip full-time £10,860
  • Code 9164 PGDip part-time £5,430
  • Code 9162 MA full-time £16,290
  • Code 9163 MA part-time £5,430

Fees for part-time programmes are based on students studying 60 credits per year. 

The fees shown above are the first year fees for students starting their courses September in 2018 and fees may change in subsequent years.

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships, Studentships and Loans

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

The postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK provides up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. For more detailed information view our Postgraduate funding page

Scholarships and studentships

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.

For further information contact the School directly or visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

Entry requirements

Please refer directly to the School of Education entry requirements webpage

International students

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language support - before your course starts

The University offers Presessional English courses for students whose IELTS score does not meet the entry requirements. If you successfully attend one of these courses you won’t need to retake 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.   

How to apply

International students requiring visas
Monday 2 July 2018 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2018 made after this date. A a new application should be made for September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2019 entry by 21 September 2018.

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The programme is offered as part of the School of Education’s work with partner schools. There is a strong emphasis on relating theory and evidence to practice. The teaching includes workshops, seminars and tutorials. Classes use a variety of reflective, analytical and enquiry-based activities using journals, qualitative and quantitative evidence of practice in individual schools and school systems. Support is provided through webCT which includes research discussions and case studies which are used for preparation tasks as well in workshops. Assignment and dissertation topics reflect students’ individual interests and contexts.

This programme is 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 form of direct responsibility for organisational strategy and practice or it may come in form of leading professional development.

Rebecca Rogers, School Improvement and Educational Leadership


"The programme has enhanced my career prospects greatly – I went from a head of department before the course, to being seconded to SLT during the final year and then securing an assistant headship in the final year."

Rebecca Rogers, Assistant Head. Read her full profile and find out more about her experience on programme