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MSc Educational Leadership (Specialist Qualification for Headship)

Develop your professional learning and practice in educational leadership with our accredited part-time Masters course.

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date August 2024
  • Duration MSc part-time: 36 months (not continuous)
  • Mode of study part time
  • Delivery blended

Accreditations

General Teaching Council Scotland

GTC Scotland Logo

Overview

Our Masters in Educational Leadership is a practice-based course for aspiring and early-career school leaders. The Into Headship and In Headship routes in the Specialist Qualification for Headship are nationally approved Postgraduate Certificates developed in partnership with Education Scotland and other stakeholders across the education community. 

The course cultivates the knowledge and understanding you’ll need to put informed strategic vision, values and aims into practice – helping you to lead change for improvement wherever you work. Through your studies, you’ll further develop your leadership and management practices in supportive, creative and challenging learning environments.

A flexible study route and a combination of face-to-face and online teaching makes it easier for you to fit your coursework around existing commitments, while the practice-based learning is set within your Professional Standards framework.

Prospective candidates for the Postgraduate Certificates "Into Headship" and "In Headship" must be sponsored by their local authority to apply for this Masters through Education Scotland.

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

The course supports the professional growth of aspiring and early career educational leaders and will enable you to contribute effectively to the improvement of practice in your own setting and the wider professional education community. Specifically, it will help you to develop the means of using critical reflection to enhance your practice and develop the strategic leadership and management competencies specified by the GTCS. The course is also designed to support the development of strong professional networks both within and beyond the course.

Professional accreditation

The Postgraduate Certificate Into Headship enables candidates to demonstrate the Standard for Headship and is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland - which means this work-based Masters course incorporates both a professional and academic award. Into Headship – one of the core components of this Masters – is a mandatory qualification for candidates applying for head teacher positions in Scotland.

Flexible learning

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Research overview

In the Research Excellence Framework 2021, 100% of our research impact and environment in Education was classed as world leading or internationally excellent, placing us in the top 20 in the UK for research impact and research environment.

Our expert teaching team are on hand to introduce you to cutting-edge empirical and theoretical research in a multi-disciplinary and professional environment.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.

Applicants for the MSc Educational Leadership (with Specialist Qualification for Headship) should be registered or eligible to register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

Prospective applicants for the Postgraduate Certificate “Into Headship” must have demonstrated experience of significant leadership practice as appropriate in their sector and be sponsored by their local authority to apply through Education Scotland. You must normally be within two to three years of taking up a post as a head teacher and be sponsored by your local authority to apply through Education Scotland.

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

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 Academic or UKVI 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 62 overall with 60 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

Gain essential qualifications for headship in Scotland and grow within the national framework for educational excellence.

The MSc Educational Leadership (Specialist Qualification for Headship) course has different routes depending on where you are in your career. Here's what you will study on each route.

Specialist Qualification for Headship pathway

Year 1:

  • EDUP001: Engaging Critically with Professional Practices
  • EDUP103: Middle Leadership: principles and practices

Year 2:

  • EDUP021: Into Headship 1
  • EDUP122: Into Headship 2

Year 3:

  • EDUP123: In Headship 1
  • EDUP124: In Headship 2

Alternative route for those who demonstrate Professional Actions of Middle Leaders (GTCS 2012) but are not in a substantive Head Teacher post

Year 1:

  • EDUP021: Into Headship 1
  • EDUP122: Into Headship 2

Year 2:

  • EDUP001: Engaging Critically with Professional Practices OR
  • EDUP007: Examining Professional Practices (Work Based Learning)
  • EDUP106: Coaching and Mentoring: principles and practices

Year 3:

  • EDUP123: In Headship 1
  • EDUP124: In Headship 2

Route for those who are starting the course in a Head Teacher post

Year 1:

  • EDUP123: In Headship 1
  • EDUP124: In Headship 2

Year 2:

  • EDUP007: Examining Professional Practices (Work Based Learning)
    OR
  • EDUP001: Engaging Critically with Professional Practices
  • EDUP106: Coaching and Mentoring: principles and practices

Year 3:

  • EDUP008 Leading Critical Collaborative Professional Enquiry 1
  • EDUP109 Leading Critical Collaborative Professional Enquiry 2

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2023). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details

Teaching

This course is offered on a part-time basis only. The period of study is normally three years for the Masters, although this course is unlikely to be taken over three consecutive years. You must complete six modules for the Masters degree.

Modules are delivered through a blended learning format designed to facilitate both individual and collaborative work. The format is a mix of face-to-face seminar days, guided self-study, online and work-based learning.

Course director

Dr Romina Madrid

romina.madrid@stir.ac.uk

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

This course is only available to students with a tuition fee status of Scottish. Applicants are sponsored by their local authority and are fully funded by the Scottish Government.

2024-25 fees
Module Fee
Engaging Critically with Professional Practices (EDUP001 - 20 credits) £505
Middle Leadership: Principles and Practices (EDUP103 - 40 credits) £1,100
Into Headship 1: Developing as a strategic leader (EDUP021 - 20 credits) TBC
Into Headship 2: Leading strategic change (EDUP122 - 40 credits) TBC
In Headship 1 (EDUP123 - 20 credits) TBC
In Headship 2 (EDUP124 - 40 credits) TBC
Examining Professional Practices (Work-Based Learning) (EDUP007 - 20 credits) £505
Coaching and Mentoring: Principles and Practices (EDUP106 - 40 credits) £1,100
Leading Critical Collaborative Professional Enquiry 1 (EDUP008 - 20 credits) £1,100
Leading Critical Collaborative Professional Enquiry 2 (EDUP109 - 40 credits) £1,100

You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every module you enrol on. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on a modular fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding

Funding 

Eligible international students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

International (including EU) students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

91% of Education students at the University of Stirling felt their course has enhanced their employability

Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2021

The Postgraduate Certificate Into Headship enables candidates to demonstrate the Standard for Headship and is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. Into Headship – one of the core components of this Masters – will be a mandatory qualification for candidates applying for head teacher positions.

Additionally, after graduating from the course you may also wish to pursue further studies in the form of a Doctor of Education.

Companies we work with

The MSc Educational Leadership has been designed and developed in partnership with the Scottish College for Educational Leadership and other stakeholders across the education community and is accredited by the GTCS.

We work with:

  • Local Authorities
  • General Teaching Council for Scotland
  • Education Scotland

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MSc Educational Leadership (Specialist Qualification for Headship)

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