MSc Education Leadership and Management

Full Time
Degree of Master of Science

Key facts

(Guardian University Guide 2019)

Key facts

(REF 2014)

The fast-moving policy changes and reforms in 21st century education create a high demand for professionals with advanced leadership and management skills.

Whether you’re a leader-educator, you aspire to a leadership role, or you’re a graduate interested in UK and global education policy, our MSc course is designed to enhance your professional development and career prospects across both the public and private sectors.

Our programme is informed by a range of academic disciplines relating to education leadership, management and administration, public policy analysis and complexity thinking.

Through it, you will develop qualities, competencies and skills essential for success as a leader or manager in education, such as advanced people skills and critical insight, as well as cutting-edge knowledge of educational research. You will also learn practical strategies and techniques for solving complex organisational and educational problems.


Our interdisciplinary MSc course has been designed to enable you to embrace the problematic aspects of leadership and management with confidence, understanding and insight. What’s more, our high-quality curriculum will support you in developing an expansive view of leadership and management in the context of national and international political and economic structures.

You will examine international developments in education policy, and link these to your experience of leadership or your experience of working under the leadership of others. You will also explore groundbreaking insights into education reform developed through the cutting-edge approach of complexity thinking. 

Whether you are interested in advancing your professional development, large-scale reform in the international education policy space, or improving education in your local community, you will be able to tailor your studies through our range of modules. Our course will foster your capacity for innovation in solving complex problems arising in everyday practice. It will also hone your independent learning, critical thinking and advanced communication, all of which are vital to becoming an effective educational leader or manager.

Our expert teaching team includes experienced academics who are internationally renowned for their research in 21st century education and who have rich first-hand experience of leadership and management in a variety of educational contexts.


Course Structure

We have designed this course so that you will have multiple opportunities to reflect on the practice of leadership and management, while also developing sound judgement in the way you analyse the complexities of educational improvement. The course will also enable you to evaluate a range of approaches to education policy and strategy.

In addition to the three core modules, there are optional modules to allow you to tailor the course to your personal interests.

During the ‘Key Concepts And Approaches To Education Leadership, Management And Policy’ module, you will consider important recent developments in the field, and discuss them in relation to practical issues arising from leading and managing for organisational improvement.

The module ‘Leading Teaching, Improving Learning And Global Education Reform’ will focus on educational improvement initiatives that are sensitive to the individual needs of children, young people or adults, learning in diverse local contexts. Within this module, you will conduct an in-depth study centered on a specific local issue of your choosing, within which you’ll examine the complexity of initiatives aimed at improving teaching and learning.

Our ‘Public Policy, Strategic Management And Complexity’ module will enable you to develop an advanced understanding of policy and strategy, as well as addressing problems with policy implementation.

Through the study of our ‘Critical Reading’ and ‘Educational Research Methods’ modules you will develop advanced analytical and research skills that will enable you to critically evaluate diverse approaches to conducting research in the fields of education policy, leadership and management. You will then have an opportunity to apply and further refine these skills while writing your Master’s dissertation.


To complement your specialist leadership and management studies, you will be able to choose an optional module from the suite of MA courses in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning. Alternatively, you could select an optional module taught in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies, or a module from an approved list offered by the School of International Development.

Teaching and Learning


You will be taught by leading specialists in the field 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.

Our course combines lectures, seminars and workshops, and we place an emphasis on interactive activities and problem solving to support the development of effective communication skills. Our tutors will also encourage you to use your initiative and originality to solve organisational problems, both hypothetical and real.

You can find further information about our teaching staff by visiting staff profiles available on School of Education and Lifelong Learning website pages.    

Enrichment activities

Guest lectures and visits to local schools and colleges form an integral part of the course. They will provide vital opportunities for you to exchange knowledge and network with practising leaders and managers. 

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. You will also be encouraged to engage with your academic advisers, module leaders on a regular basis, and you’ll have access to English language support.

Independent learning

To master your independent learning, you will spend time carrying out independent study and research. You will benefit from access to our excellent library service, as well as specialist study spaces designated for postgraduate students at UEA. 


This course is assessed on the basis of coursework that you will submit at the end of each module.

In addition to summative coursework, you will have an opportunity to produce formative work, designed to provide you with an early opportunity to focus your coursework on specific learning outcomes. By utilising these early opportunities to plan your assignments and articulate your emerging ideas, you’ll be able to hone your arguments and present them in a coherent way in your summative assessments.

You will also receive regular feedback in the taught sessions, both face-to-face and via our online learning platform, which will enhance your learning and your overall academic development.

After the course

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to demonstrate the advanced skills essential for strategy and policy development and implementation.

Depending on your 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. Our course is designed to open career paths in schools, the post-compulsory sector and not-for-profit organisations, as well as leadership and management research and consultancy.

The high-quality, interdisciplinary curriculum will also offer you a solid foundation for progressing to doctoral research.

Career destinations

  • Compulsory and post-compulsory public education sectors and local government
  • Middle leadership and senior management roles in schools and colleges
  • NGOs, not-for-profit and private educational development organisations
  • Education policymaking in the public and private sectors, think tanks, research organisations and charities

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of additional course-related costs.

Course Modules 2020/1

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'?




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




This module provides students with a grounding in the methodology of educational inquiry as well as with some preparation before they apply their 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). Students 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 1-2-1 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 critique policy-related writing, examine models of educational quality and curricula, and explore issues of school-related gender based violence.




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 the School of Education and Lifelong Learning. It aims to you 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 if you want to understand the way quantitative evidence is generated, analysed and interpreted and if you choose to collect quantitative data (e.g. through questionnaires) or use mixed methods (i.e. both qualitative and quantitative).




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 (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) 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

  • Class Act

    Every teacher knows that keeping control of the classroom is a tough task. UEA developed the Haydn scale to help teachers create and sustain a better working atmosphere.

    Read it Class Act

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    Read it #ASKUEA

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): 58 (minimum 50 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.


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Pre-sessional courses online from June to September 2020. Further details can be found on the INTO UEA Online Pre-Sessional English webpage.


Fees and Funding

Tuition fees for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,850 (full time)
  • International Students: £16,400 (full time)

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


We offer a variety of School-specific and University-wide scholarships each year to support UK, EU and international 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.

To apply please use our online application form.

Further Information

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.

For academic queries about MA Education Leadership and Management, please contact the Course Director Dr Agnieszka Bates

    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