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The decision to create the Graduate School of Education was made on June 16, 2011 by the Supreme Board of Trustees chaired by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. The School aims at becoming a leading educational and scientific centre that will prepare high quality and committed professionals in the education sector.

The Graduate School of Education opened in 2012 and Nazarbayev University has developed a partnership which draws upon the expertise of University of Cambridge and University of Pennsylvania to inform the philosophy, curriculum design and structure of programmes in the Graduate School of Education. The Graduate School of Education is dedicated to becoming a world-class centre for teaching and research on education, with a focus on educational reform in Kazakhstan, in Central Asia and around the world. The School is committed to high quality teaching and learning informed by research and led by researchers who operate at the highest academic level.


The Graduate School of Education is an unprecedented effort to build the highly needed and unique in nature academic programmes that are concentrated around issues of reforming education, leading educational policy change, introducing innovative teaching practice, and conducting high level educational research for improving education in Kazakhstan. Shigeo Katsu, President, Nazarbayev University

The Graduate School of

Education at NU seeks to:

• Develop qualified educators committed to the continuous improvement of Kazakhstan’s education and society.

• Prepare future generations of educational researchers and policy analysts to the highest academic standards.

• Improve the scientific basis for conducting educational research in the region.

• Create opportunities for joint research projects with partner universities.

• Modernise educational sciences by integrating scholarship and instruction.

• Serve the local community and engage in debate and discussion to improve educational institutions and policies.

• Disseminate knowledge and research findings and promote good practice in teaching and learning to foster higher standards of educational performance in schools and universities.


One of the oldest universities in the world (over 800 years old) University of Cambridge has more than 18,000 students from diverse backgrounds and countries, nearly 9,000 staff, 31 Colleges and 150 Departments, Faculties, Schools and other institutions. University of Cambridge is one of the world’s oldest universities and a leading academic centre which was ranked as the world’s top performing Higher Education Institution for the second year running by the QS World University Rankings, best in the Times Higher Education table of tables, as Europe’s top Higher Education Institution in the Academic Ranking of World Universities,

compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the top UK institution by The Guardian.

David Bridges Professorial Fellow at University of Cambridge Faculty of Education Colleen McLaughlin Michael Younger Director of the Centre for Commonwealth Education

Graduate School of Education

Development Team


University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university which considers itself the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, as well as the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies. More than 250 years after its founding, the University of Pennsylvania remains an eminent, world-class institution for the creation and dissemination of knowledge, serving as a model for colleges and universities throughout the world. Nine signers of the Declaration of Independence and 11 signers of the Constitution are associated with the University. Since 1923, more than a dozen Penn scholars have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

Robert Zemsky Professor / Chair of the Learning Alliance for Higher Education

Matthew Hartley Chair, Higher Education Division Alan Ruby Senior Fellow 3


Goals of

the School

ENGAGE in educational research, teaching and scholarship at the highest standard in terms of its rigor, originality and significance, with an initial focus on schooling and higher education.

MEDIATE such research, teaching and scholarship, locating it within broader contemporary frameworks, so as to have a tangible impact on the world of educational research, policy and practice, through teaching, consultancy and other forms of developmental activity.

ENHANCE capacity-building in educational research and scholarship, through assuming a leading role in educating new generations of school and

university practitioners, professional leaders, teacher educators, university administrators and educational researchers, and contributing strategically to developmental initiatives locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

ENCOURAGE a collaborative ethos, acknowledging the important contributions that research, teaching and administrative responsibilities all make, and accepting differences in professional identity within the parameters of the School’s defined needs and aspirations.

PROMOTE work with other departments within Nazarbayev University in interdisciplinary contexts.

PURSUE strategic initiatives in continuing education, linking teaching and research, which make a significant contribution to current debates, nationally and internationally, in continuing education of professionals in the field.

The Graduate School

of Education aims to:


The scope of the Graduate School of Education, with strong programmes in both schooling and higher education, alongside the development of Masters programmes in other graduate schools at NU (the Graduate School of Business and Graduate School of Public Policy), offers an exciting opportunity to develop teaching and research synergies across Schools, as well as within Schools.

An interdisciplinarily approach and the potential for outreach activities with other institutions in Kazakhstan will maximise opportunities including: the creation of vibrant research-teaching communities; seminar programmes, workshops and conferences; the formation of a rich and stimulating environment for students and academic staff alike.

Programme of Study

• Current university faculty and staff seeking to upgrade their qualifications (including faculty leaders).

• New professionals (including returning Bolashak alumni, and beginning

talented teachers) and those interested in developing a career within Higher Education and academia.

• Potential school leaders and teachers from Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools and more widely.

• Pedagogic institutes’ faculty and researchers.

• Government departments, curriculum and assessment agencies.

Potential Candidates:

From September 2013, the programme in the Graduate School will comprise two initial routes for a Master in Education. The paths will be in School Leadership or Higher Education resulting in students obtaining, respectively, either an MEd (School Leadership) or an MEd (Higher Education).

Start of study: September 2013.

Approach: The programme reflects a combination of taught classes and independent research based on the principle that research and practice are interlinked.

Master in Education (School

Leadership) has been developed in collaboration with the University of Cambridge

Master in Education (Higher Education) has been developed in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania


Core courses

Both routes are built around an essential core curriculum that allows students to become confident and

competent researchers within the field of education. The core modules cover such topics as qualitative and quantitative methods within educational research and discuss common approaches to data collection such as observational studies, surveys, interviews and so on. The core will enable students to see themselves as fully conversant in educational research methods to inform on both practice and policy. It will also prepare students to be equipped to conduct their own research both on the course and subsequently. The indicative programme structure is provided in the diagram below:

Taught Courses

Introduction to educational research: aims; strategies; research questions and design

Research Ethics Reading critically and planning a literature review Data collection methods: Observations; Interviews; Surveys; Policy documents and other secondary

sources Qualitative Analysis in Educational Research Quantitative Research Methods Types of research: comparative educational research; ‘Design based’ research; Action research Developing a non-empirical thesis or Developing, arguing and structuring an empirical thesis Wider Dissemination: Conference presentation and writing for


Message from the Dean

I am delighted to welcome you to the Graduate School of Education at Nazarbayev University. It is my honour and privilege to serve as the founding Dean of the Graduate School of Education, which is striving to become an international leader in research, teaching and public service in education at all levels, with a special focus on Central Asia. These are exciting times for us, as we work to create a first-rate, western style graduate school of education committed to providing M.Ed. and Ph.D. programmes of the highest quality. Our ultimate objective is to prepare a generation of researchers and educators capable of meeting the needs of the educational system of Kazakhstan as it continues to grow and improve. We are proud of our strong ties to our partner institutions, the University of Cambridge and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as of our close, collaborative relationship with the Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools. Finally, we are dedicated to improving the schooling of the children of Kazakhstan by working to increase the skills and knowledge of classroom teachers, the introduction of creative and effective instruction, improving the quality of curricula and assessment, and expanding the number and quality of educational leaders in the country.

I encourage you to explore our brochure, and to discover all that we offer. The Graduate School of Education is a very special place, and one that we hope and expect will become a model for other higher education institutions.

Professor Timothy Reagan

In addition to core courses, students will take courses according to their respective area of specialisation at the GSE and in the Graduate School of Public Policy, the Graduate School of Business and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nazarbayev University.

Key common curricular threads for both areas of specialisation are:

• analysis and evidence based leadership • educational issues in national context • commitment to research and enquiry

• commitment to reform and internationalization A Ph.D. programme has also been developed by the GSE and will begin in Fall 2013.


By the end of their programme, candidates will display:

• A systematic understanding of

knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, in their academic discipline, field of study or area of professional practice;

• A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship; • Originality in the application of

knowledge, together with a practical

understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline; and

• Conceptual understanding that enables the student to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

• Deal with complex issues both

systematically and creatively, make sound judgments in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;

• Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level; and

• Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level.

Conformity with the Bologna Process: The Graduate School of Education has adopted the principles and modes of operation of the Bologna Process and the European Credit Transfer Scheme (ECTS). It conforms to second and third cycle descriptors for all its Master’s and doctoral qualifications as part of its commitment to becoming part of an international qualifications network and research community.

Learning Outcomes


Dear friends, welcome to the Graduate School of Education!

Our School aims to offer students not only a distinguished degree and a means for new career heights but also to create a stimulating and enjoyable learning environment. While pursuing their studies, students will benefit from first-class education and innovative learning techniques, as well as an extraordinary opportunity to exchange ideas and network with peer students - all top practitioners and researchers in the sphere of education. In addition, all students will have an access to plenteous facilities of the School such as wealthy library or extensive modern campus as well as a chance to enjoy life in a dynamic and vibrant city of Astana. We are here to foster further development of the regional educational sector and we are looking forward to seeing you among us!

Aida Sagintayeva, Executive Director

The Graduate School of Education uses a holistic approach in the selection of candidates. To ensure transparency and equity, the final selection process is made by a Selection Committee composed of faculty members from Cambridge University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Graduate School of Education at Nazarbayev University


• A Bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent.

• A suitable score on an English proficiency test (IELTS or TOEFL).

• A suitable score on either the GRE or GMAT. • A strong interest in educational settings

and leadership. Preference will be given to candidates with prior work experience in these fields.

To apply online go to

To meet initial criteria, candidates must have*:

In order to submit a complete application you must provide:

• A Statement of Purpose. • Letters of recommendation.

• Transcripts of all post-secondary (after high school) education.

• A Certificate providing evidence of high proficiency in English.

Application package includes:


The Graduate School of Education is committed to state-of-the art and fit-for-purpose facilities. The teaching spaces will be fully equipped with IT facilities, internet access and video and other media services. Comprehensive access to journals and books will be provided to students and faculty through NU IT and Library Services.

All of the Graduate School of Education’s facilities are aimed towards providing an active learning environment and producing the best results and research possible.

Facilities And Location

Facts about Nazarbayev University


Nazarbayev University cooperates with leading universities that are ranked among top 30 universities of the world. Partners include:

• UCL (University College London), UK • Duke University

• iCarnegie (affiliate of Carnegie Mellon University), USA • University Wisconsin-Madison, USA

• UPMC (University of Pittsburgh), USA • UPenn (University of Pennsylvania), USA • University of Cambridge, UK

• Argonne National Laboratory, USA

• Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA Nazarbayev University opened in 2010-2011


- about 100 ha


- 1469 SCHOOlS:

• School of Engineering

• School of Science and Technology

• School of Humanities and Social Sciences • Graduate School of Public Policy

• Graduate School of Business • Graduate School of Education • Medical School – Fall 2014

RESEARCH CENTERS: • Life Sciences Center

• Interdisciplinary Instrumentation Center • Nazarbayev University Research and


Graduate School of Education

NAZARBAYEv UNIvERSITY Address: 53 Kabanbay batyr ave.,

Astana 010000 Republic of Kazakhstan

Tel.: +7 (7172) 706–371 Fax: +7 (7172) 706–382 E-mail:




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