Applied Educational Leadership MA

Distance learning programme

The Applied Educational Leadership (AEL) MA is a world-class, fully online, distance learning programme for leaders and managers in schools, colleges, universities, charities, edu-businesses and government. It spurs rapid personal and professional development, opening new employment and promotion prospects. Students gain valuable knowledge and insights, and bring change to their organisations, through personal study and empirical research, enabled by high-quality dialogue with their tutors and a global network of peers.

UK students International students
Study mode
Flexible
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£3,935
The published fee is for Year 1 only. Years 2 and 3 may increase by up to 5% annually. Modular fees are pro-rated based on the credit value undertaken each year.
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£8,067
The published fee is for Year 1 only. Years 2 and 3 may increase by up to 5% annually. Modular fees are pro-rated based on the credit value undertaken each year.
Duration
Not applicable
3-5 Years
Programme starts
January 2023
September 2023
January 2024
Applications accepted
January 2023 entry: 07 Feb – 07 Oct 2022

Applications closed

September 2023 entry: 17 Oct 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

Applications open

January 2024 entry: 06 Feb – 06 Oct 2023

Applications not yet open

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, at least two years' relevant work experience, and a current educational leadership role. Word processing, Internet and email skills are all basic requirements of this programme. You must have regular access to a computer with an internet connection to use the Virtual Learning Environment, where all programme resources are located.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

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

Equivalent qualifications

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

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

As an applied programme, this MA will improve a student's understanding of educational leadership theory, enable them to apply it to their own working environment, and to undertake research in their settings. It will foster students' 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.

Who this course is for

Applicants should have several years of professional experience in education. They should currently be in a leadership and/or management role, and plan to be so throughout their studies. While this is most commonly line management, such as in a middle or senior leadership role, many other forms can be considered, such as leading a self-established business or charity, or chairing a Trust or Board of Governors. When assessing eligibility, we recognise that applicants on parental leave, and/or with disabilities, may have different career trajectories.

The AEL MA accepts professionals in leadership and management roles from different education sectors and countries, with diverse backgrounds and professional histories. It is designed to accelerate their personal, academic and professional development with a focus on leading change in their institutions. It also opens the door to future doctoral study and academic careers.

What this course will give you

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 programme.

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

The foundation of your career

The programme links rigorous academic content to practical application throughout. Students develop skills in leading staff, working with teams, increasing motivation, leading change, assessing research claims and developing research-engaged institutions. Wider philosophical and value stances are explored, enriched by informed professional perspectives from a diverse global cohort. This leaves students better prepared for a wide range of professional contexts in changing times.

Employability

Graduates of this programme work 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. An increasing number work in or start edu-businesses. Many AEL students gain promotion during the programme as it offers evidence of their dedication to personal and professional development.

Accreditation

Students studying the AEL MA degree while working in an International Baccalaureate (IB) school can apply for the IB Advanced Certificate in Leadership Research.

Teaching and learning

Each taught module is assessed through two assignments: a main assignment of around 4000 words in the form of an essay or a Personal Learning Journal, and a reflective blog of around 500 words that comments on learning through the online dialogue. The final dissertation is 15,000 words in length.

These assessments require in-depth reading and synthesis of theoretical and empirical research, thoughtful engagement in the online dialogue, and critical application of learning to professional contexts. In addition, the dissertation develops the practical skills of designing, implementing and writing up a substantial research project.

AEL's pedagogy is centred around self-study and asynchronous online dialogue with peers and expert tutors. For each module, students are provided with rich materials and a schedule for online activities, where they will work both individually and in small groups through forum discussion. The wide range of student and tutor perspectives is central to the value of the online dialogue. The two-term structure gives students longer to discuss and work on assignments than on three-term programmes.

This approach has a successful 20-year track record of high retention, attainment and student satisfaction. However, we are always innovating to ensure the programme remains current, engaging and accessible.

The AEL MA is built around personal study, supported by online material and dialogue. Recommended study time is around 10 hours per week.

Because the student cohort is global, there is no compulsory face-to-face teaching; students are never required to be online at a particular time. Tutors give extensive feedback on draft assignments, as well as responses to forum contributions. During the dissertation year, students are supported by both the module tutor, who supports generic research and study skills, and a supervisor, who supports them individually with to develop and complete their research project.

Modules

AEL's pedagogy is centred around self-study and asynchronous online dialogue with peers and expert tutors. For each module, students are provided with rich materials and a schedule for online activities, where they will work both individually and in small groups through forum discussion. The wide range of student and tutor perspectives is central to the value of the online dialogue. The two-term structure gives students longer to discuss and work on assignments than on three-term programmes.

This approach has a successful 20-year track record of high retention, attainment and student satisfaction. However, we are always innovating to ensure the programme remains current, engaging and accessible.

The AEL programme has two terms a year: September-January and January - June.

Students take one taught module each term. They study the two compulsory modules in the first year, then choose two out of four optional modules in the second year. Having completed these, they finish with the year-long dissertation module.

Each taught module starts in either Term 1 or Term 2; the dissertation starts in both terms. Students can start the AEL programme in either term.

As a modular/flexible programme, students can apply in advance to defer their studies on a term-by-term basis, up until the 5-year registration limit.

The listed fee is for the full 180-credit programme at this year’s rate. Fees are due annually for modules worth 60 credits, and are subject to yearly increases of up to 5%. This means you will pay 1/3rd of the programme fee each year at the updated rate.

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 are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Applied Educational Leadership.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society Virtual Event series

Please note that there are 27 sessions across a range of subject areas. IOE is ranked number one for education for consecutive nine years and the world's leading centre for research and teaching in education, culture, psychology and social science. If you’re interested in enhancing and progressing your career in education and related social sciences, why not join our open events? You’ll get to meet the programme team, ask any questions you have and find out what it’s like studying at UCL.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £3,935
Tuition fees (2023/24) £8,067

The published fee is for Year 1 only. Years 2 and 3 may increase by up to 5% annually. Modular fees are pro-rated based on the credit value undertaken each year.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their dissertation.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

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

IOE Centenary-Windle Trust Scholarship

Value: Full tuition fees and stipend (online study only) (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE Windle Trust Scholarship

Value: Full tuition fees and stipend (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Deadline: 2 May 2023
Value: Tuition fees and a stipend of £17,609 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-ISH Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline: 2 May 2023
Value: Tuition fees and accommodation at International Students House (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK, EU, Overseas

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 an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application, including a Personal Statement of around 750 words, 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
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • how AEL's flexible distance learning approach, based around asynchronous, text-based dialogue with peers and tutors, will suit your learning needs and preferences
  • what you can contribute to the programme and your peers
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to show that your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver. Submitting an up-to-date CV is also vital for assessing your eligibility for this professional programme.

AEL has two starting points per year, in September and January. Students with a strong application but not meeting all criteria can make their case in the personal statement.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Got questions? Get in touch

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