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Master of Education Leadership - MEL / PgCert / PgDip

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

The Master of Education Leadership is part of a suite of Master’s qualifications deigned to support those working in the education sector in all its breadth. In common with all Master’s degrees, it is made up of three stages: the postgraduate certificate (60 credits at level 7), the postgraduate diploma (a further 60 credits at level 7), the Master’s (a further 60 credits at level 7)....

  • Award MEL / PgCert / PgDip
  • Start date September 2023, January 2024
  • School School of Education and Social Work
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences


The Master of Education Leadership is part of a suite of Master’s qualifications deigned to support those working in the education sector in all its breadth.

In common with all Master’s degrees, it is made up of three stages: the postgraduate certificate (60 credits at level 7), the postgraduate diploma (a further 60 credits at level 7), the Master’s (a further 60 credits at level 7). Progress onto the diploma and the Master’s is dependent upon successful completion of the previous stage.

To provide maximum flexibility, the course is available as individual stages leading to the relevant award. You can then enrol for the next stage to progress. Alternatively, you can enrol for the all-through version with one enrolment and progression on successful completion of the previous stage. Modules need to be completed within specified time frames.

Through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) scheme, students might be able to make a claim against certain modules to count towards academic credits to a maximum of 60 credits. There are two entry points to the course each year; Semester 1 (September/October) or Semester 2 (January/February).

Delivery will be largely online through some synchronous taught sessions, asynchronous learning activities and personal study. It is a part time course.

The Master of Education Leadership (MEL) is intended for those in the education sector who are already in leadership and those aspiring to or preparing for education leadership. This will include those who have studied or who are studying for a National Professional Qualification (NPQ) in a specialist area of teaching and in addition to those who are or aspire to be senior leaders.

The course will build upon your professional role and experience to date. Drawing upon
corroborated local, national and international perceptions of education leadership, you will enhance your professional learning through research enquiry.

Birmingham City University draws upon a strong tradition of supporting, validating and accrediting professional learning, centred upon practitioners own professional practice. Through carefully framed research, you will enquire into what, how and why your own practice works within and across education settings.

We recognise the importance of who, where and when; through practice-led enquiry you will be able to reveal the nuances of your own professional practice to enhance your understanding of what you do and why you do it. This will future-proof your career, enhancing your confidence to lead teams of colleagues

This course is not open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The really attractive aspect of this course is that it frees you up to gain a further qualification without giving up your job - that's because our course is delivered wholly online on a part-time basis using a blend of synchronous and asynchronous sessions.  Much of the study time can be undertaken when it best suits you but you can access the expertise of our highly experienced tutors on a regular basis.

This practice-based course is designed to support your professional learning and development as a practitioner in education. We only deliver this course online to groups of educators who work in a variety of educational settings.

Since this course is centred on your professional practice, you'll enjoy the flexibility to choose the areas of research and study on which you wish to concentrate as you move through your career.  The emphasis on contemporary online learning provides opportunities for a blended delivery format.  Our staff will support and guide you through the clear and concise modular framework that will enhance your understanding and application of practice-led research methodologies.  You’ll be involved in action research and textual analysis of policy documents and there is a strong emphasis on practice-led enquiry.

The course supports continuing professional development rooted in a concept of partnership. This partnership is centred on professional respect and promotes learning at all levels. We value collaboration in the development of educators, to maximise your impact on the individuals’ organisations and communities within which you work.

Through developing you as a leader of education or an aspiring leader in education, our Master of Education Leadership will enable you to activate change and successfully meet new challenges and opportunities in your professional career. You'll build on your previous work and be able to take increasing responsibility for your own development within a wider professional community.

This online course provides access to e-resources, such as online eBooks and journals, and our virtual learning environment (Moodle). You will still have access to our campus facilities, including the Education Collection in the Mary Seacole Library at our City South Campus in Edgbaston.

Why Choose Us?

  • The MEL supports your professional learning and development as an educational professional.
  • The MEL enhances your understanding and application of practice-led research methodologies
  • The MEL enables your application of research and inquiry to create and interpret knowledge of educational practice in a variety of settings and contexts
  • The MEL promotes collaboration to maximise the impact of your professional practice in an educational context
  • The MEL will help you to embrace change and the transformative nature of professional learning

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.


Join us for an on-campus open day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. Booking for the next event isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Event: Saturday 24 June

Register Your Interest

Entry Requirements

UK students

A bachelor’s degree from a recognised Higher Education Institution in the UK or its equivalent.

Those with Postgraduate Certificate and PGCE at level 7, and those with NPQ qualifications at level 7 might be eligible to apply for the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) against the first 60 credits (the certificate stage).

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MEL

Starting: Jan 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 4 years (180 credits or 120 credits with 60 credits RPL)
  • TBC

Award: PgCert

Starting: Jan 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 1 year
  • TBC

Award: PgDip

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 1 year (with 60 credits RPL)
  • TBC

International students

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

If you already have 60 RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) credits, you may be able to start the full Master’s programme in September. If you wish to do this, please select the PGDip application option, and apply for recognition of the 60 credits (RPL) as part of the application process. If you have any questions about this, please contact Dr Ian Axtell:

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.


You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Level 7

In order to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Practice you will have successfully completed: 

Introducing Level 7 Study 20 credits

Becoming a Reflexive Educator 40 credits

In order to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Practice you will have successfully completed: 

Evaluating Current Education Leadership 20 credits

Researching Education Leadership 40 credits

In order to complete a Master of Educational Practice you will have successfully completed: 

Practice-based Dissertation 60 credits

Download course specification

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How you'll learn

The School of Education and Social Work’s vision of what constitutes high-quality learning and teaching is informed by the University’s guiding principles for Learning, Teaching and Assessment.  

These guiding principles include:

  • the pursuit of excellence by our students and by our staff
  • a professional, practice-led, knowledge-applied experience for students
  • maximising inter-professional and inter-disciplinary working
  • an employability-driven and internationalised curriculum
  • increasingly inclusive approaches to learning and teaching

Learning and teaching

  • The School of Education and Social Work expects that all teaching and learning experiences should be part of a constructively aligned curriculum in which there is a clear and direct link between the intended learning outcomes, the teaching methods and materials utilised and the summative assessment.
  • Teaching and learning will be research-informed
  • Learning should be an active rather than a passive experience. An active approach to learning should be encouraged through group work, focussed practical tasks, live projects, problem-based learning, discussion and feedback. Students are encouraged to contribute to the community of learners.
  • The learning and teaching experience will place the student at the core and deliver an approach that recognises the diversity and strengths of those individuals through formative learning opportunities and personal support.
  • Learning outcomes and associated assessment design should be the focus of the planned student experience. The delivery pattern, size and shape of modules supports that focus, and does not constrain or define it.

Assessment and Feedback

  • Decisions about assessment design are based on up to date, accurate knowledge of sector requirements and common HE norms.
  • Assessment will be based on clearly defined learning outcomes. No student should be assessed against a learning outcome that is not taught as part of the course.
  • Assessment design starts from the principle of ‘inclusivity and success for all’, with an aim of reducing the need for reasonable adjustments.
  • Assessment design incorporates some level of choice for students in terms of assessment methods.
  • Opportunities for students to receive, and be taught to understand the value of, feedback focussed on improving future performance is built into the assessment design.
  • An emphasis on formative feedback will enable students to recognise how to apply key messages to future learning, supporting ipsative assessment (improving on personal best).
  • Assessment, marking and feedback are viewed as vitally important learning and teaching activities within course delivery.

Specifically, the Master of Education Leadership is delivered through an online platform, supplemented and enhanced by:

  • Flipped learning using online recorded lectures and online activities;
  • Blended learning using real-time, online seminars and tutorials;
  • Supported e-learning by a designated Personal Tutor;
  • Collegiate support groups;
  • Independent application of research and enquiry;
  • Critically reflexive reading and writing;
  • Critical academic enquiry.

For each 20 credits there is an expectation that you will dedicate 200 hours to your studies. These hours will include synchronous scheduled learning, asynchronous directed learning and private study time.

The MEL is designed to focus upon you and your practice. You are in control regarding how you manage your time and the content that you include. Self-directed and self-determined learning are key priorities.

Professional Master’s Courses are run in partnership with Education Hubs who provide training. You can draw on this training to enrich and inform your MEL. 


We recognise the importance of who, where and when; through practice-led enquiry you will be able to reveal the nuances of your own professional practice to enhance your understanding of what you do and why you do it. This will future-proof your career, enhancing your confidence to lead teams of colleagues.

Your professional career is enhanced because you can:

  • Conceive, develop and investigate research questions within education using appropriate methods and adhering to ethical standards.
  • Be a confident, critical academic reader and writer at Level 7.
  • Be confident in your knowledge of research methodologies and methods.
  • Exhibit the characteristics of a confident and effective professional learner, able to stimulate and support a collaborative learning culture amongst immediate colleagues and within a wider professional community.
  • Make a positive contribution to learning, teaching, educational and organisational development within your role in education.
  • Recognise the role of educators and education as a tool for development and social justice in local and global society

Facilities & Staff

Our facilities

Our School of Education and Social Work is based at our City South campus in leafy Edgbaston.

We’ve spent £41million expanding the education facilities at City South. These facilities offer hands-on practical experience, replicating the spaces you will come across in professional practice. Alongside classrooms and lecture theatres, we also have a range of specialist teaching and learning spaces for specific subjects including science, design and technology, drama and physical education.

As well as subject-specific rooms, our facilities include the Primary Innovation Lab, which houses £24,000 worth of LEGO. This room is a special resource for our education students, offering an innovative and creative way to approach subjects across the curriculum – from computing to English, mathematics to art. The lab responds to research that children and young people learn best from practical experience.

Our Social Work students have access to a home environment room and mock hospital wards which offer an opportunity to gain experience of working with service users in different situations.

Computer facilities

The Seacole building has two open-access IT Suites which offer PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. There is also an IT Helpdesk for quick and easy help with your computing or internet issues.

Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

In addition to desktop PCs, we also offer a laptop loan facility, allowing students to borrow a laptop for up to six hours while on campus.

Our staff

Dr Ian Axtell BA (Hons); PGCE; DPSE; PG Cert; PG Dip; MEd

Academic Lead for Professional Master’s Courses

Ian taught in a variety of schools for 20 years before joining the School of Education at Birmingham City University. His passions are for Arts (particularly music) and Physical Education which he led in a couple of high schools. Ian has always worked in primary schools as part of his teaching role. He finished the first part of his career in...

More about Ian