MSc Education Leadership and Management

Full Time
Degree of Master of Science


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The MSc Education Leadership and Management is an interactive, interdisciplinary course informed by a range of academic disciplines relating to education leadership and management, public policy analysis and complexity science.

This course is ideal for education professionals who are currently leading or aspiring to leadership positions. It is also well-suited for graduates interested in education policy, in the UK and international contexts, wishing to pursue careers in education management and administration.

You will develop qualities and skills essential for success as a leader or manager in education, such as advanced people skills, critical insight, and up to date knowledge of research on education. You will learn practical strategies and techniques for solving complex organisational and educational problems. The course is also designed to support your employment and promotion prospects in a range of education-related roles, both in the public and the private sectors.


The imperative of reforming education has led to a high demand for professionals with advanced leadership and management skills in many countries across the world. This course will enable you to acquire such skills and embrace the problematic aspects of leadership and management with confidence, understanding and insight.

The high-quality, interdisciplinary curriculum will also support you in developing an expansive view of leadership and management, set within wider political and economic structures, in national and international contexts. You will examine global developments in education policy, linking these to your own experience of leading, or working under the leadership of others. The course will also offer you a unique opportunity to explore the ground-breaking insights into education reform developed by complexity science.

Whether you’re interested in areas related to education leadership and management to advance your personal professional development, school improvement in your local context, or large-scale reform in the international education policy space, you will be able to tailor your studies from the modules available to you. Our staff comprise experienced academics, renowned for internationally recognised research in these areas, as well as rich first-hand experience of leadership and management in educational contexts.

Whichever modules you choose, you will develop specialist knowledge and understanding based on a critical awareness of current practice, as well as current research and scholarship in UK and international contexts. You will acquire advanced leadership and management skills, including innovative approaches to solving complex organisational problems arising in daily practice. You will also develop skills of independent learning, critical thinking and advanced communication to enable you to become a more effective educational leader or manager. 



You will be taught by leading specialists in the field through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops. The emphasis will be placed on interactive activities and problem solving to support you in developing effective communication skills, as well as initiative and originality in solving organisational problems, both hypothetical and real.

Enrichment activities

Knowledge exchange and networking with practising leaders and managers through guest lectures and visits to local schools and colleges form an integral part of the course.  

Academic support

All Master’s students in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning have access to enhanced English language tutoring to support the development of their academic writing. In addition, the ‘Critical reading’ and ‘Key concepts and approaches to education leadership, management and policy’ modules will offer you focused activities and workshops designed to support your critical reading and advanced academic writing skills. You will also be encouraged to engage with your academic advisers, module leaders and English language support.

Independent learning

To achieve mastery in independent learning, you will also spend time carrying out independent study and research, benefitting from our excellent library service, as well as specialist study spaces designated for the postgraduate students at UEA. 

Teaching staff

You will be taught by specialists in the fields of education policy, leadership and management, as well as experienced academic staff whose expertise has been honed through research on a range of educational topics. You can find further information about the teaching staff by visiting staff profiles available on the School of Education and Lifelong Learning website pages.


Assessment is based on coursework submitted at the end of each module. In addition to summative assessment, all specialist modules include formative assessment, designed to provide you with an early opportunity to focus your coursework on specific learning outcomes. For example, early opportunities to plan your assignment and articulate your emerging ideas will ensure that you hone your argument and present it in a coherent way in the summative assessment. Your learning will also be enhanced through regular feedback in the taught sessions, both face-to-face and via our online learning platform.


Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to demonstrate advanced skills essential for strategy and policy development and implementation. Depending on previous professional experience and career aspirations, you will also gain knowledge, understanding and advanced problem-solving skills to succeed in a range of education-related roles: in schools and the post-compulsory sector, not-for-profit organisations, and leadership and management research and consultancy. The high-quality, interdisciplinary curriculum will also offer you a solid foundation for progressing to doctoral research.

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 160 credits:

Name Code Credits


What does it mean to be a 'critical' reader? Why is critical reading important? How can you develop your criticality, both as a reader and a writer? What is the single question that reminds us to take a critical stance when reading a range of published 'texts'? This module will support you in finding answers to these questions and, importantly, help you to become a capable, critical reader of a broad range of academic publications. You will explore techniques of criticality and learn how to apply them in practice, both in your reading and academic writing at Master's level. You will be able to discuss approaches to critical reading and practise them by reading and discussing a number of different published texts. Building on your knowledge of UK and international educational issues, this module will deepen your understanding of different documents, such as education policy texts, research reports, literature reviews, as well as newspaper articles and website publications. The interactive activities have been designed in this module in ways that will enhance your critical analysis. The end-of-module assignment focuses on a critical analysis of two academic journal articles, giving you an opportunity to demonstrate the critical skills and capabilities which you have developed in the taught sessions.




Working with an individual supervisor, you are required to design, research and write up an inquiry-based project for a dissertation. With guidance from the course team, you choose a dissertation topic according to individual interests and/or professional needs.




This module provides you with a grounding in the methodology of educational inquiry as well as with some preparation before you apply your own research skills. The module offers an introduction to some key research methodologies and covers crucial aspects of qualitative inquiry. A range of methodological approaches are explored, such as ethnography and case study, and various methods of collecting qualitative data are discussed (e.g. interviewing, doing observations). You are equipped with some key skills that can help them design and conduct research in their own specialist areas of educational interest.




What does it mean to be an educational leader or manager? What is 'education policy' and how does it impact on what happens in schools, universities and other educational organisations? How do you envisage your own role and career progression as an education professional? To help you answer these questions, this module looks at developments within the fields of education leadership and management and education policy studies, focusing on key concepts such as: 'leaders-followers'; 'leadership-management'; 'policy', 'performance management', 'accountability', 'evaluation', 'equality' and 'diversity' in the workplace. You will have an opportunity to discuss key theories, models and ways of thinking about schools and other educational organisations and analyse practical issues arising from leading and managing for organisational improvement. The module will also provide you with an introduction to 'systems thinking' and the insights it offers for understanding schools and other complex organisations. The study of this module will enable you to reflect on your experience of leading (or working under the leadership of others) and gain experience in communicating your ideas clearly and effectively in seminars, interactive group activities, and written assignments. Assessment consists of critical reflection on your learning from the module and your professional experience to date. You will be able to evaluate your experience of working in educational settings in relation to 2-3 concepts studied in the module or, alternatively, discuss leadership approaches, principles or skills that you wish to develop in the future, based on the learning acquired in the module.




As governments in many countries across the world seek to transform their education systems, questions about leading teaching and improving learning are more important than ever. How do we know that our students are learning and making progress? What forms of knowledge are needed to improve teaching? Can we scale up local improvements or borrow policies from other countries to improve teaching and learning locally? This module enables you to investigate the relationship between approaches to improving learning 'locally' and the tendencies towards standardisation and complexity reduction characteristic of global education reform. You will consider improvement initiatives that are sensitive to the individual needs of children, young people or adults learning in diverse local contexts. Through a depth study of a specific 'local' issue, you will also have an opportunity to examine the complex nature of leadership initiatives and policies aimed at improving teaching and learning. The advantages and limitations of researching the 'local' and the 'particular' will be discussed in relation to knowledge gleaned from large-scale educational surveys and international comparisons. The end-of-module assignment will be a case study providing an in-depth analysis of an issue linked to leading teaching and improving learning in a 'local' context. The case study will be guided by 1-2 questions that focus on an analysis of the diverse 'actors', 'change agents', relationships and in/external contextual factors that impede or enhance teaching and learning.




Why are education managers increasingly focused on strategy design and implementation? What kinds of evidence should be taken into account in 'evidence-based' policy? How can education policymakers and managers become more effective in achieving their objectives? This module will enable you to develop an advanced understanding of the problematic nature of strategies for organisational improvement that rely on the 'delivery' of predetermined outcomes. You will have an opportunity to evaluate such strategies by drawing on ground-breaking insights into the nature of stability and change developed by complexity science. Complexity science offers an explanation of how change emerges from many local interactions of people engaging in everyday work and the pursuit of organisational goals, as well as personal agendas, power relations, rational and emotional responses to strategies, compliance and resistance. Because managers cannot completely control employees' responses, their strategies often produce unexpected or undesirable outcomes. By looking at a number of current education policies as 'case studies' to evaluate, you will also have an opportunity to explore the complexities of policy interventions in a range of international contexts. The assessment for this module comprises two elements: an oral presentation and a practical project report.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


The aim of this module is to help you understand and critically examine, policy-making processes and specific policies for educational development. You will discover the relationships between policy and practice in a range of international, national and local development contexts. Through this module you will explore different approaches to policy development and familiarise yourself with dominant global policy agendas in education - asking who makes or influences policy, and considering policies as socially situated documents, practices and processes. The module introduces you to educational policy-making to address a range of development challenges and how related strategies are enacted in practice; drawing on policy theory and ethnographic and school-based research, as well as practical sessions to unpack the approaches and skills needed for successful advocacy and campaigning.




The aim of the module is for you to gain an understanding of current debates on the principles and theories linking education to development in a range of social contexts. The module will introduce you to theories of education and development including international and comparative education. These are examined in relation to the broader challenges of development. Topics in the module may include: theories of human development and capabilities, human capital and rights based approaches, theories of equity, social justice and inclusive education. You will examine schooling in contexts of chronic poverty, models of schooling and de-schooling, formal and non-formal education, the challenges of linguistic and cultural diversity, inclusive education and disability, gender inequalities, and the education of nomads and other migratory groups.




The content of this module complements and elaborates the 20-credit Research Methods in Education compulsory module of the full-time MA programme in Education. It aims to introduce students to elementary concepts and methods in statistical analysis and to help them make well-informed choices in their uses of appropriate methodological techniques and tools in their own research. The module is of relevance to all students who want to understand the way quantitative evidence is generated, analysed and interpreted and to those who might choose to collect quantitative data (e.g. through questionnaires) or use mixed methods (i.e. both qualitative and quantitative).




Starting with the concept of literacy as a social practice, we draw on ethnographic research to unpack the relationship between literacy and international development. We will discuss current theories in adult learning and their relevance for policy, planning and practice in lifelong learning, as well as including an introduction to key debates and approaches in development theory.




How and why is public policy made the way it is? Our aim is to enable students to develop a rich and wide appreciation of the many ways that policy is made and the factors that influence these. You will gain advanced critical understanding some of the main theories, models and concepts used in the study of public policy and how they are applied. You will also develop substantive knowledge of specific policies and policy areas, which may include environment, health, immigration and welfare policy. In addition, students successfully completing the module will be able to demonstrate an empirical understanding of the public policy process in the UK, ability to make comparisons with other OECD democracies, and an understanding of the changing role of nation-states in policy development.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

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Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Any subject for applicants with relevant experience, or an Education-related degree for applicants with no relevant experience
  • Degree Classification 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements Relevant experience of working in an educational setting or education-related activity desirable

Entry Requirement

Applicants should normally have a good Bachelor degree from a recognised higher education institution. The University will also take into account the employment experience of applicants where relevant and applications are actively encouraged from those who want to return to academic study.

It is normal for undergraduate students to apply for entry to postgraduate programmes in their final year of study. Applicants who have not yet been awarded a degree may be offered a place conditional on attaining a particular class of degree.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests.

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact

Fees and Funding

Fees for the academic year 2018/19 will be: 

  • UK/EU Students: £7,550
  • International Students: £15,800

International applicants from outside the EU may need to pay a deposit.

Living Expenses

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.


The University offers a variety of Scholarships each year to support students in their studies. Scholarships are normally awarded to students on the basis of academic merit and are usually for the duration of the period of study.

Find out more about the Postgraduate Student Loan.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515