MSc Professional Education and Leadership

Develop your professional learning and leadership practices at all levels in a supportive, flexible, creative and challenging learning environment.

Professional Education and Leadership

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date August 2024
  • Duration MSc part-time: 36 months
  • Mode of study part time
  • Delivery blended


This Masters in Professional Education and Leadership is designed to impact directly on professional practices and learners’ learning experiences (such as school pupils, students and colleagues) and thus improve educational outcomes. The Professional Education and Leadership team in the Faculty of Social Sciences has worked in partnership with local authorities and other stakeholders over a number of years to develop this highly regarded professional education course.  

This course draws upon current research to support education practitioners in leading critical, collaborative and enquiring approaches to improving professional practices in education contexts.

Building on the success and impact of previous courses, each module on this course takes account of current policy and the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s (GTCS) Professional Standards framework (2021) providing the opportunity to practice leadership at all levels. 

The benefits of this course extend beyond to include their colleagues and wider learning communities, facilitating the development of strong professional networks within and beyond the course.

Individual routes

The following optional routes have been developed to meet your own professional learning interests and career aspirations.

  • Middle Leadership – aims to develop an understanding of the principles and practices underpinning middle leadership in education settings through critical engagement with related research, policy and practice.
  • Curriculum Leadership – aims to support practitioners’ leadership development through critical engagement with curriculum theories and principles leading to changing practices and improvement in outcomes for learners in their respective settings and/or wider educational communities.
  • Coaching and Mentoring – aims to support the leadership development of practitioners through using coaching and/or mentoring to support the professional growth of others in their setting and/or wider education community through critical engagement with research, policy and practice.
  • Promoting Equity - aims to support practitioners develop a critical understanding of the theories and principles  of equity with regard to improvement in attainment, closing the attainment gap, health and wellbeing and employability through critical engagement with research, policy and practice.

Top reasons to study with us

Flexible learning

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

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

Research conducted by members of the Professional Education and Leadership team has impacted directly on teachers’ professional learning and on the national policies that support it.  Additionally, our research has been instrumental in shaping curriculum policy and practice in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, Educational research at the University of Stirling was ranked top 20 in the UK for impact and research environment, 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. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

Students on the course must have access to, or be employed in an appropriate work environment, e.g. a school.

If you’re an international student and applying with a Student visa, we cannot accept your application for this course as it falls into the category of being part-time, delivered online or a distance learning course.

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

In years one and two you have an opportunity to select one of five routes to meet your individual professional learning interests and career aspirations: Middle Leadership, Curriculum Leadership, Coaching and Mentoring, and Promoting Equity to meet your individual professional learning interests and career aspirations.

In year three you will undertake the final two modules in the course, Leading Critical Collaborative Professional Enquiry 1 and 2.  Through the work of these two modules, you will lead a group of colleagues in designing and implementing research-informed improvements for learning experiences (of learners, colleagues and wider education communities). 

You must successfully complete six modules (in specific routes) for the award of this Masters degree.


The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the academic year that starts in September 2024. Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details


The modules will be 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 on campus,
  • guided self-study,
  • online and work-based learning.

Key staff

Dr Gary Husband
Dr Terrie Lynn Thompson
Professor Mark Priestley
Dr John I’Anson

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2023/24 fees
  UK students International (including EU) students

20-credit module fee



40-credit module fee




2024-25 fees
  UK students International (including EU) students

20-credit module fee



40-credit module fee



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 or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

This fee is charged as a module fee. For more information on courses invoiced on a modular fee basis, please read our tuition fees policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

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


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.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

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

This Masters provides high-quality, career-long professional learning for those working in education sectors. It will develop and enhance knowledge, understanding and skills which support your own professional development and that of your colleagues.

The course is designed and kept up-to-date in partnership with local authorities - the main employers for teachers and school leaders in Scotland.  In consequence, this course is likely highly relevant for furthering your career and improving your prospects.

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MSc Professional Education and Leadership

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