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Applied Educational Leadership and Management

MA, PGDip and PGCert

If you're an educational professional looking to progress into management or consultancy, or an educational planning or development role, this is the ideal degree for you. 

Provided by the UCL Institute of Education, this MA programme is available by distance learning, allowing you to study flexibly while balancing work and personal commitments.

Sitting around the table in Student Central
Study the MA Applied Educational Leadership and Management, led by the UCL Institute of Education, anywhere in the world.

By studying this course, you will:

  • improve your understanding of educational management and leadership;
  • be able to apply theory and research in your current role;
  • foster your continuing professional development through reflection on practice;
  • contribute towards improvement of educational systems and institutions and reflect on the quality of learning and teaching.

Course details

  • For the Postgraduate Certificate: you study 2 core modules.
  • For the Postgraduate Diploma: you study 2 core modules and 2 optional modules.
  • For the MA: you study 2 core modules, 2 optional modules and a dissertation.

View Modules

The programme is offered online and is fully supported by a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). You study at a time and pace that suits you (subject to course-specific deadlines) using the study materials provided, with support available from academic staff.

Study materials

We will send you study materials developed by academics in educational management and leadership from the Institute of Education. You will also receive additional readings that have been specially selected to complement the core course material.

Online support

When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and two other key resources:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) offers online learning support, focused conferencing and work spaces linked to specific activities, informal discussion areas, and links to resources.
  • The Online Library holds thousands of journal articles which you can access free of charge. A dedicated helpdesk is available if you have any difficulties in finding what you need.
  • Online tutors will mediate online conferences and provide advice on individual queries.

Time commitment

To complete the MA programme in the minimum study period (3 years), we estimate that you will need to study for approximately 10-15 hours per week.


Each module is assessed by a combination of coursework and a written exam (usually held in May). The dissertation is assessed by a project of 15,000 words.

You can sit exams at an approved centre anywhere in the world (mainly Ministries of Education or the British Council). Each centre charges a fee for hosting exams.

More about exams.

What qualifications do you need?

You will need either a bachelor degree in a relevant discipline from an institution acceptable to the University or relevant education and work experience that comprises suitable training for the programme.

If you have a qualification in an unrelated subject or an unconventional career path with diverse work experience, we will consider your application on its own merits.

English Language requirements

If your first degree was not taught in English, you will need to provide evidence of language ability as tested by the British Council or another registered body. This is equivalent to a score of 7.0 overall in the iELTS test, or 7.0 in both reading and writing.

Computer requirements

We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly. Certain courses may have additional requirements, such as software to manage spreadsheets and run macros.

See more about computer requirements.

The fees below apply if you begin during the 2017-2018 session. These may be increased by up to 5% per year.

Academic year


Registration fee

£ 1,205

Module fee

£ 2,055

Dissertation (MA only)

£ 2,580

Total MA

£ 12,005

Total PGDip

£ 9,425

Total PGCert

£ 5,315

Total per standalone module

£ 2,400

Disclaimer: Currency conversion tool.

Additional Costs

You will also need to budget for exam centre fees, which are paid directly to the venues where you sit your exams.

We accept most traditional payment methods, including debit/credit card, international money order, and Western Union.

How to pay your fees.

This programme is ideal for those currently working in education to pursue managerial, policy or consultancy roles within the field.

As a student on this programme, you can become an affiliate member of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), which provides access to a wide range of resources and services. MA graduates will be eligible to apply for fast-track professional recognition (ACMI or MCMI with three years’ management experience).

The AELM programme has gained recognition for the International Baccalaureate advanced certificate in leadership research.

I’m interested in this qualification.


The UCL Institute of Education is the largest institution in the UK devoted to the study of education. Founded in 1902, the Institute is a world-class centre of excellence for teacher training, higher degrees, research and consultancy in education and related areas of professional practice and the social sciences.

Programme Director

Rupert Higham is a Lecturer in Educational Leadership at the UCL Institute of Education. His research focuses on values-led school improvement, responsible leadership and educational dialogue. He has worked for some years with the Index for Inclusion Network, and more recently conducted a study into embedding democratic values within a network of international schools. He also writes on the philosophy of democratic agency.

Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London degree anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there are additional sources of support depending on where you live and how you choose to study.

More on funding your study.

Lori Moores-Hagedorn MA Education, Germany

Lori Moores-Hagedorn - MA Education

"My experience of the programme has truly been impressive and memorable. I enjoyed working with a diverse cohort of MA colleagues spread across the globe."