Postgraduate Study in School Leadership


The Postgraduate Study in School Leadership is a unique online program of study that empowers the next generation of school leaders to build great schools.

It is designed to provide aspiring and emerging school leaders at every level with rigorous, relevant and practical preparation for new leadership roles. The program is also compelling for existing school leaders who wish to sharpen their leadership skills and deepen their understanding of school operations.

The next unit, ESM 750 Building School Culture, will commence in the late June 2017.Contact us now.

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

+ Research and analyse a range of leadership theories and their relevance in a school context.

+ Critically reflect on the impact of leadership on the achievement of strategic priorities of schools.

+ Identify and critically evaluate approaches and processes to address a range of personal and school-wide leadership challenges.

+ Demonstrate conceptual, research, professional communication and academic writing skills.


Pathway to Success:


The following list outlines the eight stand alone course units developed by CIRCLE. These course units are designed specifically for students undertaking a pathway toward the achievement of a Professional Honours, and draw on the key functions and operational domains in a school.

+ ESM 751 Building Performance:

Explore definitions of school performance and current approaches to evaluating and improving performance. Grow in your ability to build achievement and supportive school strategies. Critically participate in an appraisal process and evaluate the performance of your school.

ESM 753 Building Systems And Operations:

Enhance your understanding of human resource management, risk management, marketing, business operations and logistics within a school environment. Grow in your ability to identify opportunities for collaborative practices between the business and educative dimensions of your school.

ESM 754 Building Leadership Culture:

Develop an understanding of different leadership models in a range of educational contexts and explore the role of leadership in teams. Grow in your ability to evaluate leadership skills and plan appropriate professional learning activities to build high performing teams within your school.

ESM 752 Building Learning Culture:

Develop an understanding of pedagogical practice and personalised learning, and explore the evaluation, assessment and reporting of learning. Build the learning culture within your school as you grow in your ability to use and apply 21st century learning practices, and successfully transition from theory to implementation.

+ ESM 755 Building Strategy:

Explore the structures and processes required to build strategy, develop a planning culture and foster strategic thinking within a school environment. Grow in your ability to compare and contrast school governance structures and to employ a variety of strategic planning tools.

ESM 750 Building School Culture:

Develop an understanding of the values and focus areas of 21st century schooling, school heritage and tradition, student and staff wellbeing, and change management. Grow in your ability to build, contribute to and change culture in ways that enhance wellbeing and participation.

The following two units are offered by UTAS:

+ ESH 714 Understanding Educational Enquiry:

This unit develops an understanding of education in a global society as well as an understanding of how we know about education, and how to read and act on educational research in order to strengthen the nexus between research and practice.

+ ESG 747 Education Project:

This is an independent study project that requires the completion of an extended piece of writing, equivalent to 4000 words, such as a monograph, curriculum development document, professional development program or journal article.

Karen Sell

Karen Sell


Karen Sell is a learning and development consultant and partner in The Learning Community, a consultancy business focused on supporting organisations build capacity, improve leadership effectiveness, implement strategic and operational plans and governance systems and shape processes to support continuous improvement. Karen has 25 years experience in human resources and training in vocational, secondary and higher education as well as in corporate and non-profit sectors.

Gillian Heard

Dr Gillian Heard


Gillian has had more than 25 years experience in education, moving from scientific research and education 14 years ago to roles in leadership and organisational development and capability building. She has a BSc and PhD in Science, a Graduate Certificate in University Learning & Teaching, a Diploma of Quality Auditing and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. For the past 9 years she has worked as a teacher, facilitator and consultant, providing support to educational and other organisations in planning, compliance, capability building, coaching, leadership development and governance. She has also served on a school board for the past 9 years.

+ How do I enrol in a course?

Please complete the relevant enrolment form which can be found here.

How does distance learning differ to classroom-based courses?

There are no classes to attend so you can study at a time that suits you. All seminars and supplementary material are accessed and available online.

This course is different to other distance learning courses because there are timeframes for the completion of readings and summative assessment tasks. Each unit is divided into four modules. It is expected that students complete the readings and the learning activities for each module during the three week period allocated to each module.

How much does it cost?

Each unit in the program costs $500. There are 8 units in the Professional Honours course; a total cost of $4000 for the qualification.

There is a UTAS Student Service and Amenities fee of $42.90 which must be paid per unit. 

+ What happens if I change my mind? Can I get a refund?

CIRCLE is not required to offer enrolment fee refunds to students, if that student withdraws from the unit after the University census date for that semester. The census date will be set by the university and can be found here.

We do offer a two week cooling off period for students, which commences from the official start of that semester. 

How are units taught?

Units are taught with a combination of online, webinar, video, and personal coordination.

Do I need to have internet access to complete the course?

Yes, it is vital that you have internet access so that you can access course materials, utilise library resources and participate in online forums and webinars.

What prior learning is required to be able to enrol?

The course is designed for individuals who already hold an undergraduate degree. However, recognition can be given for prior learning. For more specific information regarding your situation, please contact CIRCLE at

How much time will it take?

If a student successfully completes three units a year they will graduate with the qualification in less than three years. However, students can select to study as many or as few of the units offered each year to suit their individual circumstances.

What units are in the Professional Honours course?

+ ESM 751 Building Performance Unit
+ ESM 752 Building Learning Culture Unit
+ ESM 753 Building Systems and Operations Unit
+ ESM 754 Building Leadership Culture Unit
+ ESM 755 Building Strategy Unit
+ ESM 750 Building School Culture Unit
+ ESM 714 Action Research Project Unit

How many hours a week will I need to complete the course?

The amount of time needed varies from student to student, but we recommend that you allow between 8 – 12 hours per week.

Do I have to undertake units in any order?

Units can be taken in any order, apart from the action-research project which must conclude the course of study.

When will I receive my unit grade?

The University of Tasmania releases unit results in accordance with the dates in its calendar.

If the unit I want to study has already been offered, when will it next be available?

Units are offered in a two-year cycle, subject to student numbers. Please contact CIRCLE on, if you are interested in a particular unit.

When will the webinars take place? What if I am unable to attend a webinar?

The schedule of webinars for each unit will be made available once enrolment is completed, and prior to the commencement of each unit. We will send you a reminder one week prior to the webinar. The webinar will be recorded and posted on MyLo, so if you are unable to attend the webinar you can listen to the recording at your convenience.

Can I defer my enrolment if I am unable to finish a unit within the allocated semester?

Students must withdraw from a unit before the census date in order to avoid a university penalty.

Do I need to read every reading on the reading list?

Reading lists have been selected and provided to give a comprehensive overview of the unit material. Reading lists are prioritised so that students can determine a schedule of readings related to module themes. The more a student reads the better understanding they will have!

Do I need to complete all the learning activities and participate in online forums and discussions?

The learning activities are designed to assist you apply your learning, they will not be marked but will assist you to complete the final summative assessment task which will be marked.

Participation in the online forums and discussion groups is voluntary. However these forums will enable you to engage with other learners, ask questions and share your insights. They are designed to enhance your learning experience and raise your awareness of initiatives implemented and issues faced in different school contexts.

How do I access materials?

All material related to the units are available online on the MyLO site. You will be provided with a log in and password for MyLo upon registration.

When will I receive my username and password to access MyLO?

Your username and password will be sent to you from UTAS within seven days of submission of your enrolment form.

Who do I contact if I need help or advice?

The unit coordinator is your first port of call for questions related to the teaching of the unit. The contact details for each unit coordinator is available on the CIRCLE website. The CIRCLE Program Administrator can answer general queries:

Fiona McVitie

Can I cancel my enrolment if I decide not to go ahead?

Yes, if you withdraw before the census date.

How do I find out what the census date is?

The unit census date is available on CIRCLE website along with other key dates. This is in accordance with the UTAS calendar.

When am I assessed on the unit?

Assessment dates are provided to you by your Unit Lecturer.

Will I need to go to the UTAS campus?

No, you will be able to access everything you need to complete the course online.

Enrolment in this course involves two steps:

1. Enrol with CIRCLE and submit payment for unit via paypal

Please click here to complete the CIRCLE enrolment form and then proceed to the payment gateway.

2. Enrol with UTAS

Enrolment with UTAS requires the completion of this form. Please email the completed form to

Please note: If you have enrolled with UTAS for a previous unit then you do not need to complete this step. Instead, please enrol via eStudent. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.

Please note

Every student in a Commonwealth supported place must submit a Commonwealth Assistance Form (“CAF”, which is sometimes called a “Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-Help” form). A CAF must be submitted for each new Commonwealth supported course, and the form acknowledges to the federal government that you have a place in that course. It also allows you to access a government-funded loan to defer your tuition fees for payment at a later date.