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Graduate Admissions

In view of the COVID-19 public health emergency we may need to make changes to the course details outlined on these pages. Offers holders will be notified of changes. Please see this page for further information.

Course closed:

Education (Educational Leadership and School Improvement) is no longer accepting new applications.

This route provides a broad-based view of educational leadership and school improvement, both through the explicit and focused study of specific concepts and issues, and through their application in the conduct of individual research projects. The teaching team draw on their research to illustrate ideas, and occasionally welcome visiting academics to enrich the route still further. Students are encouraged to share their experiences and perceptions, and to learn from each other while relating knowledge, principles and insights to their own contexts. Participants come with varied backgrounds, from the UK and overseas, and as such the course has an international perspective.

The overall aims of this specialist route are to enable participants to develop:

  • An advanced knowledge and understanding of educational leadership and school improvement
  • A set of skills for analysing educational leadership and school improvement issues and practices
  • The ability to bring together theoretical perspectives on educational leadership and school improvement and apply an informed critique of their inter-relationship
  • The ability to contribute to informed development of policy and practice in educational contexts
  • Familiarity with a range of frameworks for understanding pupil, professional and organisational learning

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

  1. Leadership for Learning
  2. Policy, Structures and Change
  3. School Effectiveness and School Improvement
  4. Issues and Dilemmas
  5. Perspectives on Leadership
  6. Perspectives on Learning
  7. Schools, Cultures and Communities
  8. Educational Evaluation
  9. System thinking, design and ecology

This route focuses on leadership and learning in the context of school improvement and with reference to practice, policy and theory. The concept of leadership is treated as problematic and examined as it applies to pupils, teachers and support staff as well as those with formal leadership responsibilities. It recognises the increase in collaborative arrangements between schools and the implications they have for leadership. The route is underpinned by the values and principles of "Leadership for Learning: the Cambridge Network" that include a democratic concept of leadership rather than a hierarchical one, and a view of learning as a shared enterprise crossing the traditional divisions between "teachers" and "learners".

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Educational Leadership and School Improvment route, students are expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of literature and concepts relating to educational leadership, school improvement, and learning
  • Show abilities in the critical analysis of educational leadership and school improvement issues and practices
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of educational research to plan and implement enquiry into an issue related to the route
  • Communicate the outcomes of their study and research through extended writing conforming to stipulated academic expectations and conventions


Students wishing to continue from the Master of Education to PhD or EdD are required to achieve a mark of 70 or higher for the thesis.

Open Days

The University of Cambridge will be hosting its Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day on Friday 1 November 2019. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

Key Information

2 years part-time

Master of Education

Faculty of Education


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
June 2, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 3, 2019
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2019

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