Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship (Educational Leadership and Management) MSc

Develop your leadership and management skills and study for a Master's while you work. You'll have the skillset to take on challenging new roles in educational leadership.

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Do you want to get a Master's qualification and develop your leadership and management skills while you earn a salary and work full time?

On this MSc Educational Leadership and Management degree apprenticeship course, you'll learn about leadership strategy, decision-making in education and human resource management. Whether you work in teaching, social care, healthcare, youth work or the police, you'll build on your previous skills, studies and experience and develop your expertise, theories and techniques to postgraduate level. The Government or your employer pay your tuition fees – so it doesn’t cost you anything.

You can do this course on campus (starting in September/October) or by distance learning (starting in September/October or January). If you do it by distance learning, you'll spend about 20% of your time at work studying. You'll also need to attend an induction seminar on campus and take a face-to-face unit that includes weekly lectures. Whichever study mode you choose, you'll need to do some study out of work time.

Once you complete the course, you'll have the skills and knowledge to take on new responsibilities in educational leadership and management and seek out ambitious new roles.

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Why study Educational Leadership and Management?

Looking to develop your leadership and management skills in an education career? Our MSc Educational Leadership and Management could be for you. Meet some of our academics and students, and discover what they love about the course.

David Mather

Students come to us with a set idea of what leadership and management is, and they leave with an entirely different idea. The MSc in Educational Leadership is really designed for those who wish to be educational leaders or indeed are educational leaders.

Dr Angeline Dharmaraj-Savicks

The course helps administrators, practitioners and middle management to develop their professional skills, to be able to manage change effectively and be more productive in their role.

David Mather

The course is taught by academics, former educational leaders and managers. As such, we combine really theoretical ideas around leadership and management with really practical-based experience.

Dr Matthew Round

The programme challenges perceived and conventional thinking and wisdom in a number of ways. We look at a variety of things like legislative acts, induction, retention, recruitment, and then we challenge it based on critical thinking, but also looking at the work of researchers and academics as well, and the main reason for that is to try and come up with ways to improve the criticality and the engagement that colleagues have while they're in their individual settings.

Mary Ijuka

My experience as a campus-based student has been quite amazing. There’s always help when I need it. I could set up meetings with, say, the course leader or the Learning Development Centre and the library is so close.

Samuel Kondau

One of the things I loved so much about the course was the easy accessibility of the teachers. They make themselves available at all times.

Cressida Abela

The lecturers are warm, your opinion is always valued, we were able to ask practically anything. That is something I really appreciated because I can’t say it's the same for every university, especially in my home country.

Edwina Harvey

They'll give you a specified time that you should spend on your degree apprenticeship on a weekly basis. However, there is an understanding that we're all professionals or we're doing different things with our lives at the same time, and so we're able to manage our time in our own way.

David Mather

No matter how you engage in this course, ultimately what we're aiming to do is really develop the idea and the importance of educational leadership and management, the idea that these are skills that can be developed and things indeed that can be challenged.

Dr Angeline Dharmaraj-Savicks

We have a unique ability to tailor the course to each student. Students are able to expand their learning to fit their own career needs.

Binta Ogohi

The course could lead you into a number of different career progressions. A school leader, a course leader, on boards that are not necessarily in schools that help make decisions for education.

Edwina Harvey

Since doing the course, I'm finding that lots of current educational research is coming from Portsmouth. There's a real vibrancy in terms of research and being really invested in thinking and learning and moving forward in the world.

Dr Matthew Round

Portsmouth as a city is an incredible place to work and learn. It is rich in diversity and activities and events. The seafront is gorgeous, it's steeped in history. It is visually stunning. But more than that, we've got colleagues here that have been head teachers, deputy head teachers. We've got incredible colleagues that work in support services, the University library and IT services. The way the University is set up to develop and deliver on the student experience I think is second to none.


This is a dually accredited course by the CMI.

Entry requirements

MSc Educational Leadership and Management (Degree Apprenticeship) Master's degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience

  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree, and experience in an educational setting. All applicants will be invited to attend an interview.
  • All applicants to the Degree Apprenticeship courses must have an acceptable Level 2 qualification in English and Mathematics. Acceptable qualifications include GCSE with grade C/4 or above and Functional Skills with Pass - please note that we are not able to accept all kinds of Level 2 qualifications, so if you are unsure whether you have a suitable qualification please get in touch. 
  • If you do not have an acceptable qualification you may be required to take an additional assessment during the application process.

I'm an employer interested in this degree apprenticeship for my staff

There's more information for you about degree apprenticeships in general on our information for employers page, or you can contact us directly. 

If you have an employee, or employees, in mind, that's great; if you are creating a new opening, we can help you shape and promote the role.


Degree apprenticeships: employer information

You and your employer

When you begin studying for your degree apprenticeship:

  • You need to be 18 or over
  • You should be able to satisfy government requirements on residency:
    • you must be a citizen or have the right to live in the UK/EEA
    • you must have been a resident in the UK/EEA (not the Channel Islands or Isle of Man) for a minimum of 3 years
    • you must not need a Student Route visa, and must not have been on a Student Route visa within the past 3 years
  • You need to have the right to work in the UK, and to spend at least 50% of your working hours in England
  • Your job should meet the requirements of the apprenticeship standard relevant to this degree – we can advise you and your employer on this
  • Your employer needs to have registered an apprentice service account – we can help your employer with this if needed

If you aren't currently working in a relevant field, you can apply for a job and degree apprenticeship simultaneously. Read more about applying for this degree apprenticeship.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

The course fee is shared between the Government and some employers, meaning no cost to you as the degree apprentice. Total tuition fees are £14,000 paid over 2 years.

Please see our Degree Apprenticeships page, or contact us, for further information.

Tuition fees terms and conditions

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. 

Additional costs

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.


If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.


You need to study modules worth a total of 180 credits.


Core modules

You’ll gain insider perspectives on the policy-making process, from agenda-setting to real-world implementation.

Study change models, quality control approaches and evaluation methods driving systemic improvements.

You’ll explore motivating leadership styles that empower organisations and communities, and investigate education governance across institutional, local, national and global contexts.

You’ll explore key and contemporary human resource theory, focusing on employee motivation, capabilities development and organisational culture change.

You’ll consider educator identity, wellbeing, evaluation and support systems alongside leadership pipelines and approaches to talent optimisation.

Analyse real-world case studies investigating recruitment, professional learning, conflict resolution, team dynamics and resource constraints.

Optional modules

You’ll review the importance of analytical frameworks in evaluating the business landscape and their importance in informing marketing strategies, considering stakeholder needs alongside practical constraints.

You’ll also focus on a case study of an educational organisation to evaluate its financial and marketing effectiveness and make appropriate recommendations for improvement.

You'll consider both what we know about how people learn languages and the practical considerations determined by the context in which the classroom teaching happens. You'll learn about planning activities, lessons and courses for a variety of situations, as well as strategies for motivating learners.

Optional modules

You’ll design and write up an education research proposal for your dissertation.

You’ll start by thinking about any research skills you might need to improve on and develop ways to strengthen your skillset, through core training, chosen focus areas and applied learning.

Then, you’ll work on your own postgraduate research proposal planning out the specific research methods you’ll use and taking ethical issues into account. You’ll include clear objectives and document your literature and data sources.

For the first half of the module, you’ll cover a wide range of project management tools and techniques for managing different aspects of a project (for example time, cost, quality and risk).

The emphasis is on the ability to critically appraise and justify their use.

For the second half of the unit, you’ll take an in-depth look at the project management processes within the project life-cycle.

You’ll focus on the relationships between the key participants within the different project phases, using case studies drawn from real life.

With academic guidance, you'll choose your own literature or empirical topic within a field of study that fits the parameters of your intended Master’s exit award.

You'll bring together everything you’ve learned to design and evaluate ethical methodologies, conduct systematic research, and communicate your ideas professionally in your report.

With academic guidance, you'll choose your own literature or empirical topic within a field of education that fits the parameters of your intended Master’s exit award.

You'll bring together everything you’ve learned to design and evaluate ethical methodologies, conduct systematic research, and communicate your ideas professionally in your dissertation or report.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Learn the key themes in current research and professional practice
  • Apply what you learn in your current workplace, to ensure that your learning is meaningful and professionally relevant
  • Get a learning manager from the University and a workplace mentor
  • Access our Library resources, including electronic resources which you can access from anywhere with a web connection
  • Have access to the University's student support services and community including study support and the Students’ Union
  • Work at your own pace, in your own time, with access to our study resources and interactive online learning materials for distance learners 
  • Receive and discuss feedback with lecturers and other students (accessible via web-based chat forums for distance learners) 
  • Network with other students on the course to share ideas, knowledge, experience and contacts


This course is primarily delivered via our interactive virtual learning environment, although one module will be taught face to face, and you'll need to attend the campus-based induction seminar. Face to face teaching may included seminars, group work, lectures, student presentations and one-to-one tutorials.

The virtual learning environment gives you access to all the study material you’ll need, discussion forums and the chance to connect with peers and lecturers via chat sessions, you’ll have plenty of academic support and heaps of resources.

You'll also get an induction, master classes, and specialist talks on campus. We’ll support you through tutorials, on the phone or over Skype, throughout the course.

How you'll spend your time

On this degree apprenticeship, you'll work 4 days and study 1 day during your working week. You'll also be expected to study out of work time. 

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • reflective commentaries
  • case study work
  • article critiques
  • online discussion
  • research proposal and a dissertation
  • briefing documents
  • analytical reports
  • research-based projects

Your tutors will guide you through the assessment process for each module.

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark. You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Career development

You can put the skills you’ll learn on this course to use wherever your leadership and management career takes you.

Previous students have gone on to become heads of department, deputy heads and headteachers. You could also move on to doctoral study.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to five years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

Supporting you

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

How to apply

The application deadline to start in 2024 is to be confirmed. Applications received after this date may not be considered.

How you apply for a degree apprenticeship depends on whether you’re currently employed or not.

How to apply with your current employer

If you’re in full-time employment and would like to do a degree apprenticeship with your current employer, ask them to contact us so we can discuss with them how we can work together. 

You might find it useful to share our information for employers page with them.

How to apply with a new employer

If you’re not employed full-time or not working for a company that can fund and support your degree apprenticeship, you'll need to apply for a degree apprenticeship with a company that offers them.

You'll follow their standard recruitment process and we'll assess your academic suitability for the course once you've applied.

We can let you know when there are degree apprenticeship vacancies available with companies we work with – contact us to give us your details.

You can also browse degree apprenticeship vacancies with employers with whom we already have relationships.

If you have questions about degree apprenticeships, please get in touch with us.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.