Nazarbayev University
Graduate School of Education

Graduate School of Education


M.Sc. in Educational Leadership: School Education

This specialization will be relevant for education policy makers, administrators, teachers, and specialists in assessment, curriculum and pedagogy working in schools and related institutions. Studies in this specialization will prepare graduates to design and lead education changes on the level of their organization, regionally and nationally. Graduates from this specialization will be able to pursue studies on the doctoral level as well as to advance in educational leadership positions in public and private spheres of education.

Core courses in the program

Educational Leadership. Students will become familiar with the theories of educational leadership at various levels from the leadership of a small group of colleagues or students to global leadership of education reform. Students will learn about the nature of leadership, leadership styles and roles, the qualities and impact of good leadership, and the development of leadership capability.

Management in Education. Students will learn about project management, people management, resources management, and change management. The course will integrate management theories with practical knowledge and skills to examine key areas of management that education leaders need to know about and understand.

Fundamentals of School Education. Students will learn about a wide range of issues such as the interplay of global and local, sociocultural, political, and economic drivers of education, with a particular focus on school education.

Curriculum Development and Implementation. Students will learn about the planning and enactment of the curriculum in different international contexts, including Kazakhstan. Students will acquire a broad view of the curriculum, encompassing its relations with pedagogy and assessment, policy and practice, learners, identities, and outcomes in education and wider social terms.

Contextualizing Education Reform in Kazakhstan and Beyond. Students will develop their critical analysis capacities to examine education systems and issues from different perspectives, with a focus on Kazakhstan and various international contexts.

Research Methods. In their first year of studies, students will complete three research methods courses (Introduction to Education Research, Research Methods I, and Research Methods II). These courses teach to identify research problems, formulate research questions, and design and conduct research by applying qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

Master’s Thesis Seminars. Master’s Thesis Seminars are a series of courses designed to help students write their Master’s thesis. A Master’s thesis is an independent research project that students need to complete to graduate from the program. Students will start their Master’s thesis research at the end of the first year of studies and complete it by the end of the second year of studies. Each student will have a faculty member to supervise and guide the Master’s thesis research.

Academic English. Throughout the program, students will develop their academic English skills in reading, writing, and speaking. They will learn to work effectively with colleagues in peer feedback and collaborative learning activities.

Academic Writing in Kazakh. Throughout the program, students will develop proficiency in academic Kazakh according to their level of language proficiency. Students will study in a group with peers who have a similar level of proficiency in the Kazakh language. 

Education in Kazakhstan for International Students. Through this course, available only to international students in GSE, students will have opportunities to reflect on their own experiences as international students in Kazakhstan and to engage with educators and education leaders in Kazakhstan to learn more about a specific question or issue of interest.

Elective courses in the program

School Improvement and Effectiveness. Students will learn from theories and the best practice examples of school improvement and effectiveness, and apply this knowledge to the context of Kazakhstan and other countries as relevant.

Psychology of Learning. Students will advance their critical understanding of developmental and learning theories and research and the use of this knowledge in the design of educational initiatives aimed at promoting quality teaching and learning processes at different levels and contexts.

Teacher Development and Identity. Students will review and analyze theories of teacher development from an international context and critically reflect on their practices related to professional identity.

Assessment Theories, Policies, Practices. Students will develop an understanding of international, national, and school-based assessment, and related theories and concepts. Students will also develop an appreciation for statistical frameworks used to ensure valid assessment, such as Classical Test Theory and Rasch modeling.

Student Argumentation and Discourse. Students will learn about the implementation of inquiry-based interdisciplinary curricula units, the development of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, and the improvement of student critical thinking skills.

Economic and Financial Management in Education. Students will become familiar with the concepts of education economics and finance. They will analyze the policies of education funding at the institutional, national, and international levels, and learn about educational budgeting theories and practices.