Institute of Education


Applied Educational Leadership MA

The Applied Educational Leadership MA is designed for middle or established leaders and managers in schools, colleges, or other educational institutions. It will enable students to contribute towards the improvement of educational systems and institutions, and to reflect on the quality of the learning and teaching they manage.


Key information

Please note

Unless otherwise indicated, the information on this page relates to September 2019 entry. The information for September 2020 entry will be launching in the online Graduate Prospectus shortly. Applications for most postgraduate taught programmes will open 1 November 2019.

Programme starts

September 2019, January 2020

Modes and duration

Flexible: 3-5 years
Distance learning: available

The course is designed to be completed in 3 years, but its modular format allows for flexible deferral in response to students' circumstances up to the 5 year limit.

Application dates

September 2019 entry
Open: 15 October 2018
Close: 1 March 2019
September 2019 entry
Open: 15 October 2018
Close: 19 July 2019
January 2020 entry
Open: 15 October 2018
Close: 1 November 2019

Tuition fees (2019/20)

UK/EU: See Fees Note (FT)
Overseas: See Fees Note (FT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website. The fee for this programme is set by, and payable to, the University of London. Further details can be found on the University of London International Programmes website.

Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma and a PG Certificate with fees set accordingly.

The MA AEL is administered and accredited by University of London, and taught by the UCL Institute of Education.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in any subject, and at least two years' relevant work experience. Word processing, Internet and email skills are all basic requirements of this programme. You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to use the University of London International Programmes website and the Student Portal. These are where your programme's study resources are located. (*Full mobile access is not available for all programmes).

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

Visa information

International students may take this programme at home via distance learning without requiring a visa. This programme is not suitable for students on a Tier 4 visa.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

As an applied programme, this MA will improve a student's understanding of educational management and leadership theory, enable them to apply it to their own working environment, and to undertake research in their settings. It will foster a student's continuing professional development, allowing them to consider issues related to the policy context of education. It will also give them the chance to think through, apply and evaluate strategies for leading change.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), two optional modules (60 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) consisting of two core modules (60 credits) and two optional modules (60 credits) is also offered.

A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) consisting of two core modules is also offered.

Compulsory modules

Leadership for the Learning Community
Learning and Managing Educational Change and Improvement

Optional modules

Students choose two of the following:

Developing Personal Leadership Skills
Exploring Educational Policy
Finance and Resource Management
Values, Vision and Moral Purpose

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.


All students submit a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning

This programme is delivered via online learning, allowing you to study flexibly whilst balancing work and personal commitments.

The learning strategy for this programme is collaborative in that students share their skills and experience with others. Students are supported by an online learning environment which incorporates focused conferencing and work spaces linked to specific activities for each module. There are also informal discussion areas and links to online resources including library support. Study materials and readings are provided.

Study time is estimated at about 10-15 hours a week.


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline is 5 April 2019
Accommodation plus tuition fees (1 year)

IOE Fulbright

Now closed for 2019/20

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as senior and middle leaders in education institutions worldwide, while others have jobs as government ministers and advisers. Graduates can also be found working as local government leaders and consultants.


The applied nature of the course course prepares and supports students for transition into more senior leadership roles in education; for those in senior positions, it helps to develop their leadership of their institutions.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Department of Learning and Leadership's excellent reputation stems from the quality, depth and breadth of its research and development work, and from its promotion of educational leadership both nationally and internationally.

The department is at the forefront of developing research, new knowledge and publications for and about leadership and learning. This informs the content of the AEL course.

AEL has an outstanding team of tutors with long experience as educational leaders and researchers in the field.


The MA AEL is administered and accredited by University of London, and taught by the UCL Institute of Education.

Department: Learning & Leadership

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is no application fee for this programme.

Who can apply?

This programme is suitable for educational professionals who may be based in the UK or anywhere in the world and who are likely to be educational leaders or managers in a variety of settings.

Application deadlines

September 2019 entry
1 March 2019
September 2019 entry
19 July 2019
January 2020 entry
1 November 2019

AEL has two starting points per year, in September and January.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Applied Educational Leadership at graduate level
  • why you want to study Applied Educational Leadership at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

A high level of English language proficiency is required. For those who have not studied at Degree Level in the English language, an IELTS overall score of 7.0 or higher, with no less than 7.0 in reading and writing, will be required.

Page last modified on 18 October 2019