Specialist Qualification in Headship MEd

Course code X360

What is special about this course?

The MEd Specialist Qualification in Headship is a three-year, part-time online programme for aspiring school leaders. The programme connects directly with Local Authority and national leadership programmes. Structured as a series of discrete Postgraduate Certificates (PgCerts), the programme aligns to the career progression envisaged in the GTCS (2021) Professional Standards for Leadership and Management. The first PgCert focuses on Middle Leadership, the second PgCert offers the national Into Headship programme, and the third PgCert offers the national In Headship programme for those in post as a Headteacher. The award of MEd Specialist Qualification in Headship can be achieved after successful completion of all three PgCerts.

The programme utilises a collaborative approach to online learning, with activities designed to develop teacher agency, support professional dialogue, and develop skills in strategic leadership. You will choose the focus of your work for each module to fit with your professional role and responsibilities, whilst the collaborative learning activities support you and your fellow participants to work together on leadership practice and develop creative responses to leading change.

Special features

  • Online study, allowing you to fit your studies around personal and professional commitments
  • Peer support is a strong theme, with online seminars (webinars) enabling discussion with tutors and peers
  • Tutor support through one to one sessions 
  • The programme connects the national awards for Into Headship and In Headship

Entry requirements

Please see our FAQ sheet for further information on this course.


  • Honours or ordinary degree with relevant practice experience
  • You must be employed full- or part-time in an education setting, with current GTCS Registration as a Primary or Secondary teacher
  • For entry into the PgCert Into Headship or PgCert In Headship, you must be nominated by your employer


Next available start dates:

  • Middle Leadership (starts September 2024): please apply by 31st August 2024
  • Into Headship (starts September 2024): please apply by 30th June 2024*
  • In Headship (starts September/October 2024): please apply by 1st August 2024* 

*Into Headship / In Headship - you should only use the September apply link when: 

  • you have a place in a national cohort with Education Scotland confirmed through your Local Authority and
  • you have been contacted by the Programme Leader to apply and enrol at UHI

PgCert - Middle Leadership

  • Critical reflection for middle leadership (20 Credits) (Semester 2 of year of entry)
  • Enacting middle leadership (40 credits) (Semesters 1 and 2 of the following year)




PgCert - Into Headship programme

  • Developing as a strategic leader UX111927 (20 Credits)
  • Leading strategic change UX111928 (40 credits)

PgCert - In Headship Programme

  • Shaping professional identity and practice UX311019 (20 credits)
  • Building capacity in excellence and equity UX311017 (40 credits)

How will I study my course?

  • Part-time (structured)
  • You will learn through a combination of webinars and online study via the University's virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors
  • There are two nationally organised hybrid conference-style events (at least one offered as a face-to-face opportunity) for each of the national programmes. For Into Headship these take place in early September and March; for In Headship these take place in early October and June

How long will my course last?

  • Part-time (structured): 3.5 years of academic study with UHI*

*Each PgCert of this MEd sits as a standalone study pathway, offering different exit and subsequent entry points. 

Into Headship and In Headship require Local Authority approval and are aligned to professional experience and employment in a promoted role. The 3.5 years of academic study (18 months for Middle Leadership, 1 year for Into Headship and 1 year for In Headship) to achieve the required 180 Credits in total for an Masters in Education may not be experienced as a linear progression, and the overall time to complete may be extended by periods of 'dormancy' in between, depending on your initial entry point and professional responsibilities. 

The national programme for Into Headship includes modules led by Education Scotland, additional to the PgCert Into Headship at each university, which must be completed by April of the following year, to be awarded the GTCS (2021) Standard for Headship.

Where can I study my course?

  • Moray - You can study this fully online programme from anywhere in Scotland. You will be enrolled and supported by staff at UHI Moray

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
  2023-24 2024-25
Per module (20 credits) £584 £584
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £1,752 £1,752
Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits) £3,504 £3,504
Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation) £5,256 £5,256

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) or assessed as rest of the UK for fee status, the following fees apply:

  2023-24 2024-25
Per module (20 credits) £720 £780
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £2,160 £2,340
Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits) £4,320 £4,680
Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation, 180 credits) £6,480 £7,020

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

This course is not available to students domiciled outside of the UK or for international students requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK. For students living in the UK and assessed as international fee status, the following fees will apply:

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

  2023-24 2024-25
Per module (20 credits) £1,080 £1,110
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £3,240 £3,330
Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits) £6,480 £6,660
Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation) £9,720 £9,990

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time rest of the UK, EU and international postgraduate students for continuous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


Eligible Scotland-domiciled students studying part-time can apply for a tuition fee loan from SAAS. You must be intending to complete the course in no longer than twice the length of time it would take for a full-time student. For example, if your course is available to full-time students as a one-year programme, you will be funded for a maximum of two years' part-time study. If your course does not have a full-time option, you must complete within three years. You can apply for a tuition fee loan up to £7,000, which will be paid pro-rata for each academic year of study. 

Full details can be found on the SAAS website. Applications for loans open in April.

Students from the rest of the UK who meet the eligibility requirements may be able to apply for a loan from the Student Loan Company.

Additional costs

Travel and accommodation costs for national conferences held for the Into Headship programme and the In Headship programme are met by nominating employers.

While it is expected that the PgCert Into Headship and PgCert In Headship will continue to be funded by the Scottish Government, there is no guarantee that the PgCert Middle Leadership will continue to be funded in this way. Applicants should be prepared to pay these module fees and/or seek financial assistance from their employer. 

What can I do on completion of my course?

On successful completion of the PGCert Into Headship and national programme led by Education Scotland, you will be qualified to be appointed as a Head Teacher in Scotland.

Can I progress into further study?

Upon successful completion of this course, you may wish to study an EdD or a PhD in Education. A Doctor of Education (EdD) is a professional degree designed for practitioners pursuing educational leadership roles. A PhD in Education, on the other hand, is designed to prepare graduates for research and teaching roles.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Specialist Qualification in Headship MEd

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.