Educational Leadership and Educational Leadership (SQH)

MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma


1st in Scotland for research in Education in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise.

The MSc in Educational Leadership is a work-based Master’s course which offers a number of pathways for aspiring school leaders and managers to gain a Master’s degree which contributes to the development of their knowledge and understanding, allowing them to articulate informed strategic vision, values and aims in relation to professional practice.

The MSc in Educational Leadership (with SQH) course has at its heart the Scottish Qualification of Headship (SQH). The SQH is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) and is delivered in partnership with the Western Consortium. It is a work-based Master’s course, which incorporates a professional and academic award.


SQH is accredited by the GTCS.

Key information

  • Degree type: MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date: September and JanuarySee
  • Course Director: Dr Alison Fox

Rachel Rankine University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 466276

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Course objectives

The course supports the professional growth of practitioners and enables them to contribute effectively to the improvement of practice in their own professional setting and the wider professional community. Specifically, the course will enable participants to develop the means of using critical reflection to enhance their practice, develop the leadership and management competencies specified by the appropriate professional standards provided by the GTCS and to gain a sound understanding of school leadership and management practice and theory as it applies in school settings.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

For admission to the SQH applicants should be registered or eligible to register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland and have a minimum of five years’ teaching experience. You must be supported by your employer and have access to a school in order to undertake work-based learning.

Please note: If you are a student from overseas and applying with a Tier 4 student visa, we unfortunately can not accept your application for this course as it falls into the category of being part-time, delivered online or a distance learning course.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

For more information go to English language requirements

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Application procedure

Please apply by visiting

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

For the award of the MSc in Educational Leadership you must complete:

  • Professional Learning through Coaching and Mentoring and Evaluating Professional Learning (see Coaching and Mentoring pathway). These modules can be undertaken before or after completion the Developing Leadership modules
  • Negotiating for Collaborative Professional Enquiry
  • Conducting Collaborative Professional Enquiry

For the award of the MSc in Educational Leadership (with SQH) you must complete the four SQH modules

  • Educational Leadership
  • Developing Capability for Improvement
  • Leading and Managing to Improve Learning Part One
  • Leading and Managing to Improve Learning Part Two

and either:

  • Exploring Leadership and all Levels and Developing Leadership Practices  (see Developing Leadership pathway) or
  • Supporting Learning through Coaching and Mentoring, and Evaluating Professional Learning (see Coaching and Mentoring pathway). These modules can be undertaken before or after completion of the four SQH modules.

The Developing Leadership pathway explores and extends knowledge and understanding of discourses related to leadership at all levels. The modules are designed to support the development of leadership and management practices in individuals in order to contribute to career-long professional learning; and school improvement.

The Coaching and Mentoring pathway focuses on supporting the professional learning and growth of colleagues. The curriculum of these modules offers a structured approach to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills required to use a coaching and mentoring approach to developing capacity and capability in others; and to evaluate impact on professional learning.

The curriculum of the School Leadership and Management modules (SQH) is structured to help you develop your practice through leading and managing a strategic development initiative in your school or educational setting.

You will reflect upon, analyse and evaluate your experience and your own leadership practice and will apply what you have learned. You will also be expected to draw on the ideas and experience of others through dialogue with your peers, mentors/coaches and tutors, and access other sources of information.

By using a variety of sources you will begin to formulate principles of leadership and management in relation to specific professional actions, which you are required to undertake, and subject these to further evaluation.

Delivery and assessment

The course is delivered through a mixed mode of seminars, self-study materials and work-based learning. Progress is assessed in a number of ways through peer, self and tutor evaluation.

Recommended reading

This will be provided on enrolment for the course.

Modes of study

Part-time: three to five years

For students who exit without completing the strategic development initiative or dissertation, the following maximum periods of study apply:

  • Diploma: five semesters
  • Certificate: two semesters

Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

These modules are taught over two, three or four full days with tutorial support as appropriate and some self study and online learning is involved.

Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

The Scottish Qualification for Headship is a nationally approved course for demonstrating the Standard for Headship.


The MSc in Education Leadership offers candidates opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding, and skills to enhance their current leadership practices and support career development.

Industry connections

This degree has been developed and designed in partnership with employers across the public sector.

Online application process

Please choose a start date and study method from the drop-down list below, and click the Apply Now button below to begin the online application process. (Please make sure you have consulted the Postgraduate Study pages on the University website and the Online Application Guidance Notes before continuing).



2015/16 Overseas MSc in Education Leadership - £6264 for masters (£696 per 20 credit module)
2015/16 Home/EU MSc in Education Leadership - £4320 for masters (£480 per 20 credit module) MSc in Educational Leadership (SQH) - TBC

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Scholarships & funding

The SQH modules are normally funded by the employing local authority of the candidate, though individual applications are accepted. 

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