MSc Educational Leadership (Specialist Qualification for Headship)

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

Educational Leadership (Specialist Qualification for Headship)

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date August 2022
  • Duration MSc part-time: 36 months (not continuous)
  • Mode of study Part-time, Mixture of online and classroom delivery

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 Specialist Qualification for Headship is a nationally approved course 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.

Please note: 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 educational leaders and will enable you to contribute effectively to the improvement of practice in your own setting and the wider professional 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 PG 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 – is a mandatory qualification for candidates applying for head teacher positions in Scotland from August 2020

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 (REF) 2014, Educational research at the University of Stirling had the highest quality of research outputs of any Scottish university, with 100% classed as either world-leading or internationally excellent. 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.

English language requirements

Due to disruption in English Language testing caused by COVID-19, we are accepting alternative English Language tests (including online English Language Tests).

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

  • IELTS Indicator 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 169 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
  • IBT TOEFL Special Home Edition Test 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
  • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills
  • Aptis (4 skills) CEFR B2 overall and B2 in all sub-skills
  • Duolingo 105 overall with a minimum of 95 in each sub-skill
  • LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator - High Pass with a minimum of 152/200 overall and 33 in each sub-skill

Last updated: 20 December 2021

If you are from India, Bangladesh, Ghana or Nigeria please also check your country/region specific page for any additional, or changes to, English language requirements.

For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language 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 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

Alternative route for those who demonstrate Professional Actions of Middle Leaders (GTCS 2012) and are in a Head Teacher post

Year 1:

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

Year 2:

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

Year 3:

  • EDUP007: Examining Professional Practices (Work Based Learning)
  • EDUP106: Coaching and Mentoring: principles and practices

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 2021). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details

Teaching

At the heart of the MSc Educational Leadership is the Specialist Qualification for Headship, which is embedded in the “Into Headship” modules. This element of the course is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland, which means this work-based Masters course incorporates both a professional and academic award.

This course is offered on a part-time basis only. The period of study is normally three years for the Masters, although this programme 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 Valerie Drew

v.m.drew@stir.ac.uk 
+44 (0) 1786 466270

Dr Valerie Drew, is a founding member of the Education Scotland Professional Learning and Leadership (EDSPLL) national design group for the Specialist Qualification for Headship (Into Headship and In Headship).

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.

2022/23 fees
ModuleFee for Scottish students
Engaging Critically with Professional Practices (EDUP001 - 20 credits) £TBC
Middle Leadership: Principles and Practices (EDUP103 - 40 credits) £TBC
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) £TBC
Coaching and Mentoring: Principles and Practices (EDUP106 - 40 credits) £TBC 
Leading Critical Collaborative Professional Enquiry 1 (EDUP008 - 20 credits) £TBC
Leading Critical Collaborative Professional Enquiry 2 (EDUP109 - 40 credits) £TBC

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

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.

European Union and overseas 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 PG 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 in Scotland from 2020.

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

Changes at Stirling

Find out about important changes including how you'll be taught, start dates and how we're making campus safer.

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