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Postgraduate Admissions

Course closed:

Education (Educational Leadership and Improvement) part-time is no longer accepting new applications.

This route provides a broad-based view of educational leadership and improvement, both through the explicit and focused study of specific concepts and issues, and through their application in the conduct of individual, often change oriented, research projects. The teaching team draw on their research and experience to illustrate ideas, and occasionally welcome visiting academics from around the world to enrich the route still further. Participants come from the UK and overseas and  the course combines UK and international perspectives. Students are encouraged to share their diverse experiences and perceptions and to learn from each other as well as from the course content while also relating knowledge, principles and insights to their own contexts.

The educational aims are to:

  • examine the theoretical frameworks used in the study of education and its constituent disciplines;
  • provide training in research methods appropriate to education and educational change;
  • advance the capacity of students for professional reflection and judgment;
  • cater for a range of specialists interested within the field of education or one of its constituent disciplines.

The route content is covered through a number of interrelated themes which may include: 

  1. Leadership for Learning
  2. Education Policy
  3. School Effectiveness and School Improvement
  4. Perspectives on Learning, Leadership and Curriculum (double length theme)
  5. Schools, Cultures and Communities
  6. Education Evaluation
  7. Networks and system leadership

This route focuses on leadership and learning in the context of institutional and system improvement and with reference to practice, policy and theory. The concept of leadership is treated as problematic and examined as it applies to learners, teachers and non-teaching staff as well as to those with formal leadership responsibilities. It acknowledges national and international increases in competitive as well as collaborative arrangements between educational settings and their implications for leadership. The route is underpinned by the values and principles of the evidence-based "Leadership for Learning" conceptual framework that include democratic, equity driven and agentic concepts of leadership and a view of learning as a shared, dynamic enterprise redefining conventional dichotomies such as for example 'teacher' and 'learner'.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Educational Leadership and Improvement route, students are expected to have:

  • a comprehensive understanding of research techniques, and a thorough knowledge of the literature applicable to their specific educational domain;
  • demonstrated originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field that can inform leadership of improvement and change;
  • shown abilities in the critical evaluation of current research and research techniques and methodologies;
  • demonstrated self-direction and originality in identifying tackling and solving problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and implementation of research.


Students wishing to continue from the MPhil in Education to PhD are required to achieve at least a merit for the dissertation.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

Key Information

24 months part-time

Master of Philosophy

Faculty of Education

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
May 16, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 2, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.