Our Masters in Educational Leadership is a practice-based course for aspiring and early-career school leaders.

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 the Scottish College for Educational Leadership.

Top reasons to study with us

#1 Ranked 1st in Scotland for Education – The Guardian University Guide 2018

#2 Ranked top 10 in the UK for Education – The Complete University Guide 2019

#3 Acquire skills in line with the GTCS’s professional standards framework

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 accreditations

Both of the “Into Headship” modules on this course are accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

Course details

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

The MSc Educational Leadership (with Specialist Qualification for Headship) course has three stages:

  • Middle Leadership
  • Into Headship – one of the core components of this MSc will be a mandatory qualification for candidates applying for head teacher positions in Scotland from 2020.
  • In Headship


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 MSc, although this programme is unlikely to be taken over three consecutive years. You must complete six modules for the MSc 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


+44 (0) 1786 466270

Key staff

Course Director, Dr Valerie Drew, is a member of the Scottish College for Educational Leadership national design group for the new mandatory Specialist Qualification for Headship. She is also part of the Standing Committee for ProPEL, an International Network for Research into Professional Practice, Education and Learning based in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Program taught in:

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Last updated November 14, 2018
This course is Online & Campus Combined
Start Date
36 months
- The funding plan for the Into Headship modules 1 and 2 is decided by the Scottish Government.
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