Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs

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Educational leaders are found at public and private learning institutions across the country. Principals, vice principals, and deans of students oversee elementary and secondary schools, while superintendents and their supportive personnel manage entire school districts. Leadership titles at the collegiate level include deans, department chairs, and administrators. Other roles in educational leadership are found behind the scenes. Curriculum directors and instructional coordinators, for example, design and implement lesson plans for learners at different grade levels.

A master’s degree is considered the minimum academic requirement for most educational leadership positions. Online master’s in educational leadership programs allow students to advance their career standing and earn a fully accredited graduate degree from the comfort of their home computer. The online master’s curriculum is largely dedicated to topics like educational law, learning technology, school administration, and leadership methods. Many educational leadership master’s programs require students to complete a set number of internship or practicum hours. Other programs culminate in a master’s thesis or capstone project, which allow students to showcase the knowledge and skills they have gained.

Learn more about what you can do with an online master’s in educational leadership and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH A MASTER'S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP?

Graduates with a master’s in educational leadership are prepared for many positions, such as academic dean, curriculum developer, and high school principal. Read more here.

WHAT IS A MASTER'S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP?

A master’s in educational leadership prepares students to lead at all academic levels. Graduates are prepared for positions as college deans, high school principals, and more. Read more here.

HOW MUCH DOES A MASTER'S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP COST?

The tuition for a master’s in education leadership will vary between schools, but will commonly be between $700 and $1,000 per credit. Students should contact their prospective institutions for more accurate information. Read more here.

IS A MASTER'S DEGREE IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP WORTH IT?

The unemployment rate for professionals with a master’s in educational leadership is lower than for those with a bachelor’s. Many positions are also beginning to require applicants to hold a master’s, so depending on your goals, earning this degree can be worthwhile. Read more here.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Students who graduate with a master’s in educational leadership are prepared to be effective school administrators. The comprehensive coursework of master’s programs will cover the various tasks associated with educational leadership roles, such as developing a curriculum, managing budgets, and measuring student performance. Internships or practicum courses will also give students the opportunity to gain supervised, hands-on training from established professionals. Many programs also allow students to concentrate their studies on specific age groups (such as elementary, secondary, or postsecondary) in order to further boost their standing in the job market. Master’s programs are also a crucial stepping-stone for college deans, school superintendents, and other educational leadership careers that are usually reserved for candidates with a doctoral degree or PhD.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online master’s degree programs offer a flexible format that is ideal for students who must balance their schoolwork with other obligations, such as employment or childcare. Most programs utilize user-friendly software that allows students to access course materials, submit written assignments, take exams, and contact their professors at any time of day. Current technology also allows them to study away from home using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other portable device with Wi-Fi capabilities. If students reside far from their campus, they can often arrange internships and/or practicum courses that are close to their home for added convenience.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP?

A master’s degree is considered the prerequisite for most educational leadership positions. Depending on their specialization, students who leave school with a master’s degree in educational leadership will be qualified for a wide range of positions. Certain positions — such as principals and instructional coordinators working at public schools in some states — will be required to earn an official license. The best programs will prepare students to sit for licensure exams and earn the certification required for their field.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online master’s in educational leadership programs in the United States. If you are considering an online master’s in education, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific master’s in educational leadership degree requirements and offerings.

See Methodology
Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 University of Florida RANKING SCORE 80.60 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 43% LOCATION Gainesville, FL

Consistently lauded for being one of the best public research institutions in the country, the University of Florida in Gainesville is also home to one of the best master’s in educational leadership online programs in America. This program comprises 36 credit hours and is designed to propel graduates into meaningful leadership roles within education. The majority of students need two years to complete the required coursework, with each semester (including summer) consisting of two classes. No past teaching experience or certification is required and no teaching experience is earned through the program. Students must pass the Florida Educational Leadership Examination, which is administered by the Florida Principal Leadership Standards and leads to a Florida educational leadership certification.

Courses in this master’s in educational leadership online include innovative study in data-driven decision making, administration of school personnel, principalship, and communication in educational leadership. Students must complete 150 hours of practicum experience within a Florida school or in a school where they reside. They must be able to work directly with a certified principal.

Distance learners are eligible to enroll at three different times each year: summer, fall, or spring. The applications deadlines are February 15 for summer, May 15 for fall, and October 15 for spring. Students are required to take the GRE before being considered for admission; the GMAT is not accepted. Learners are provided with an interactive and comprehensive orientation program to help familiarize them with course faculty, the curriculum, and the online learning platform. The University of Florida ranks first within the Association of American Universities for the number of master’s degrees granted to Hispanic students each year.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: M.Ed. in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: N/A
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $734 per credit, $2,202 per course

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: N/A

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 36
Field education requirements: 150 hours of field experience in a school or educational setting

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: February 15 for summer, May 15 for fall, October 15 for spring
GPA: N/A
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Resume required with application

Contact
Department phone: 352-273-4333
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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2 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor RANKING SCORE 76.89 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 3% LOCATION Ann Arbor, MI

The University of Michigan offers a master's of arts in educational studies with a subplan in educational leadership and policy. The blended program requires 12 online credits and 18 on-campus credits. Students earn a MicroMasters certificate in Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement. Michigan's online master's in educational leadership program combines theory and practice by providing both experience leading educational research and hands-on training in the field. The program emphasizes equality and diversity, preparing students for leadership positions as socially and culturally progressive principals, teachers, and administrators. Students learn to evaluate school performance and to institute continuous improvement, particularly in underperforming schools. To earn the MicroMasters, students complete five online courses: leading ambitious teaching and learning, designing and leading learning systems, improvement science in education, case studies in continuous educational improvement, and a capstone in leading educational innovation and improvement.

After earning the MicroMasters, students complete the remainder of their coursework on Michigan's campus. Required on-campus courses include foundational perspectives on educational reform, research and educational practice, and school organizations and the policy environment. Students complete a required internship during which they apply learned skills in classroom or administrative settings. Students also have the option of taking additional elective and cognate courses in a related subject, such as business, social work, or public policy.

The University of Michigan is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Arts in Educational Studies
Available concentrations: Building-level administrator certification
Tuition: $962/credit in-state; $1,945/credit out-of-state
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online and on-campus blended format (12 credits online;18 credits on-campus)
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Phone: (734) 764-9470
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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3 Lehigh University RANKING SCORE 76.34 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 18% LOCATION Bethlehem, PA

Sitting on 7,000 acres outside Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lehigh has been challenging the status quo of education since its founding during the Civil War. Ninety-six percent of graduates found employment or moved on to advanced education within six months of graduation. The 30 credit online masters in educational leadership provides students with access to cutting edge teaching and learning opportunities taught by qualified and experienced faculty. The broad curriculum ensures that all graduates understand the inner workings and functions of educational organizations.

The focus of this program is on K-12 schools, and graduates can be found working in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout America and abroad. All classes are taught online during the fall and spring semesters, followed by campus visits for the summer semester. Coursework includes data-based decision making, curriculum management for school executives, leading inclusive learning systems, and the theory and practice of relational leadership. Students must complete a range of internship and practicum experiences, including time spent at a central office working with a superintendent and with a principal in a school district. A practicum in supervision and curriculum instruction is also available. All of these experiences can be completed in a school district close to the distance learner’s home.

Upon fulfilling coursework and practicum requirements, students are approved to apply for certification as a K-12 principal, superintendent of schools, international school leader, or curriculum and instruction professional. Lehigh offers an accelerated master’s in educational leadership for educators who work in urban public schools. The majority of enrollees complete this program within 15 months of part-time study. This is a hybrid program that requires visits to the Pennsylvania campus. The Office of Global Online Graduate Degrees and Training oversees this program and has been providing distance educations for more than 15 years.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education, Department of Education and Human Services
Program Name: M.Ed. In Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: Principal Certification
Accrediting body: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
Tuition: $1,855 per course

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: N/A

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 30 (37 credits total with principal certification option)
Field education requirements: N/A

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: 2-6 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: 610.758.5737
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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4 University of Central Florida RANKING SCORE 74.44 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 40% LOCATION Orlando, FL

Orlando’s University of Central Florida was founded in 1963 and has more than 64,000 students from all 50 states and 148 countries. The school enjoys a range of academic partnerships in many different fields, including education. UCF’s online master’s in educational leadership is administered by the College of Education and Human Performance and the School of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership to provide a broad degree that prepares students for global opportunities within educational leadership. Whether curating learning at art centers and museums, directing educational outreach at zoos or environmental centers, or working in a traditional classroom setting, UCF graduates are prepared for many exciting professional experiences.

The program requires learners to earn at least 30 credits to graduate. Twenty-one credits are focused on administration, with coursework including topics in educational supervisory practices, financial affairs, systems planning, and legal aspects. The remaining nine credits are devoted to research and measurement courses, including statistical data analysis and evaluation. Classes can be taken in any order, but the required research project is always taken last. Two areas of concentration are available, including higher education/student personnel and community college education. Each of these has different enrollment and graduation requirements. Some electives or prerequisites may not be offered online.

This program is not state approved for certification in Florida. It prepares students for education-related fields that don’t require a certification. Careers that don’t need a certification include private school headmaster, community college or university staff administrator, and museum administrator. Student resources include individualized academic advising, career coaching, library assistance, and technical support.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Human Performance, School of Teaching, Learning and Leadership
Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: None offered online
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: Resident: $327.32 / Non-resident: $1151.72 per credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: N/A

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 30
Field education requirements: N/A

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: N/A
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: January 15 for fall priority deadline, July 15 for fall, December 1 for spring, April 15 for summer
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate work, or in last 60 hours of undergraduate work
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: 407-823-1468
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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5 George Washington University RANKING SCORE 74.35 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 30% LOCATION Washington, DC

Located in the District of Columbia, George Washington University welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 130 countries. George Washington’s online institution provides education to thousands of students through 10 different schools. The master’s in educational leadership online is designed for distance learners who aspire to work in school-based and central leadership positions in K-12 education or other supervisory roles within teaching and learning.

The program is comprised of 30 semester hours, including a six-credit internship in varied administrative settings. Coursework within this master’s in educational leadership and administration is designed to teach students learn how to foster a thriving learning culture and oversee all administrative tasks in the areas of finance, legal aspects, policy, and evaluation. School-specific coursework covers the supervision and evaluation of instruction, quantitative research, and school-community relations.

Students are welcome to complete their internships in Washington, D.C., but GWU also offers help in organizing a suitable internship near the student’s place of residence. Domestic and international students are drawn to GWU’s offering as the program has been in operation for more than 30 years. Instruction is provided by faculty members who are still very active in the field and have held a variety of K-12 leadership positions throughout their professional lives. The curriculum is regarded for providing valuable experience in team leadership dynamics through a range of group-based projects. Graduates will have an impressive professional portfolio demonstrating mastery of theory and practical skills and knowledge.

In addition to holding school-wide regional accreditation, the program is nationally accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. A post-master’s Certificate in Educational Leadership and Administration is available to students looking to further prepare themselves and can prepare qualified candidates for administrator/principal licensure.


Program Overview
Department: Graduate School of Education and Human Development
Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Administration
Available concentrations: N/A
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $995 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: N/A

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 30
Field education requirements: Two administrative internships

Program Length
Program options: N/A
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: N/A
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: 844-386-7323
Department email: Admissions: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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6 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign RANKING SCORE 73.92 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 18% LOCATION Champaign, IL

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was founded in 1867 as one of the initial 37 public land-grant institutions under the direction of Abraham Lincoln. The institution has been building its library collection and a full range of high-achieving academic programs related to education. One of those programs is the master’s in educational leadership online degree, designed to prepare graduates for principal roles at public or private elementary, middle, or high schools.

Offered as a master of education in education policy, organization, and leadership, this degree is comprised of 36 clinical hours and includes a clinical experience in student administration to help learners develop their leadership skills. A concentration in educational administration and leadership is also available to online learners. Distance learners are exposed to topics ranging from school improvement and the political/cultural context of education to public school finance and how to lead learning-centered schools.

UIUC’s Department of Education requires all applicants to have at least two years of experience as an educator before enrolling. Online student support includes help with finding a clinical location, accessing library services, career resources, veteran support, disability services, and an online writing and research center. Three letters of reference and a GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate studies are required to be considered for admittance. Distance learners must login at least four days a week and can expect to spend 20 hours per week on classwork.

The College of Education offers a range of awards and scholarships alongside fellowships for incoming students and graduate assistantships for current learners. Stand-alone tuition waivers covering the full cost of tuition, service fees, and library/technology fees are also available and based on merit and/or need.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: M.Ed. in Teacher Leader Specialization
Available concentrations: N/A
Accrediting body: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Tuition: Residents: $12,488 per year, Non-residents: $26,980 per year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Mixture of synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 36
Field education requirements: N/A

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: N/A
Program start dates: N/A

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 GPA for last two years of undergraduate study
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: Two years of full-time experience as an educator

Contact
Department phone: (217) 333-7703
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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7 Boston University RANKING SCORE 71.64 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 19% LOCATION Boston, MA

BU's master's of education in educational leadership and policy studies with a concentration in higher education administration prepares students for careers as principals, vice principals, and administrators.

The program's curriculum reflects current trends in the field; students learn about cultural, legislative, and societal pressures. Coursework covers topics such as financial aid, admissions, advisement, and alumni relationships. The 36-credit program comprises seven-week courses worth four credits each. Online students typically take two courses per 14-week semester and earn the degree in two years. The program does not provide teaching licensure.

Students complete the online educational leadership master's program on a part-time basis and must enroll in fewer than 12 credits per semester. All classes are asynchronous, so students can watch lectures and complete assignments at their convenience.

Applicants must submit a resume, unofficial transcripts, recommendations, a statement of qualification, and a statement of equity and inclusion. BU offers start dates in summer, spring, and fall. Arkansas residents are ineligible for BU's online master's of education program.

Boston University is accredited by the New England Association of School and Colleges (NEASC).


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Available concentrations: Higher education administration
Tuition: $797/credit
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT

Contact
Phone: (617) 358-3127
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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8 Florida State University RANKING SCORE 70.43 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 23% LOCATION Tallahassee, FL

Tallahassee’s Florida State University has been in existence since 1851 and currently serves nearly 42,000 students from 140 countries. The school’s distance learning program makes it easy for students to complete an online master’s in educational leadership and administration. By taking two classes each semester, all 36 credit hours, including 9 hours of electives, can be completed in two to three semesters of study. Studies are related to the evolving educational administration landscape, including resource management, planning for effective instruction, teacher leadership development, and legal aspects of public school administration.

Students must register for and pass the master’s comprehensive examination during their last semester. The exam has students complete a leadership development plan, a reflection paper, and a paper on conceptual connections across completed coursework. For admittance, applicants must have at least two years of full-time faculty experience in a K-12 school, a minimum GPA of 3.0 in upper-level undergraduate courses, and submit GRE scores. Minimum GRE scores include 149 (verbal), 147 (quantitative), and 3.5 (writing). Because this is a competitive leadership master’s degree online, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

FSU’s program has received approval through the Florida Department of Education’s educator program approval process. The program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the school maintains regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Distance learners can complete a number of online certificates in areas of institutional research, program evaluation, and online instructional development. An Ed.D. in educational leadership and policy is also available.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership/Administration
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: In-state: $479.32 per credit; Out-of-state: $1,110.72 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36
Field education requirements: Required as part of capstone course

Program Length
Program options: Two courses per semester
Program start dates: Fall or spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: June 1 for fall, October 1 for spring
GPA: Upper-division cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Minimum of two years of full-time faculty experience in K-12 schools

Contact
Department phone: (850) 644-8166
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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9 University of Denver RANKING SCORE 69.58 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 26% LOCATION Denver, CO

DU's Morgridge College of Education Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies prepares students for positions as leaders and administrators. The hybrid program is ideal for working professionals located in or near Denver.

The Educational Leadership degree utilizes cohorts to provide a unique opportunity to learn and progress with peers, as many of the cohorts are specific to school districts within the Denver Metro area or the western slope. Students are able to complete the 45-credit program in fewer than two years. After their first year of study, requiring the completion of 30 credits, students are eligible for the Colorado principal license. The remaining 15 credits are in areas pertaining to research and measurement, multicultural issues, and innovation for school leaders.

The blended program requires one to three in-person Saturday sessions per quarter and weekly online sessions with their cohort. Students complete an internship experience and Capstone Project, allowing for the integration of theory and practice throughout the curriculum.

University of Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview Program name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Tuition: $1,372/credit Credit requirements: 45 credits Program length: 1.75 years or seven quarters

Delivery Format: In-person and online Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements GPA: 2.5 minimum Additional requirements: Completed application, letters of recommendation, essay, and transcripts

Contact Phone: (303) 871-2509 Email: [email protected] Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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10 The University of West Florida RANKING SCORE 69.35 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 82% LOCATION Pensacola, FL

The University of West Florida in Pensacola, founded in 1963, has multiple locations throughout the state alongside a bustling distance education department. Campus and computer-based courses maintain an average size of 40 students or less.

UWF’s online master’s in educational leadership program is offered as an M.Ed. and prepares students for administrative and/or supervisory roles such as dean of public or private elementary and secondary schools, district supervisors, assistant principals, principals, and in-service directors. Distance learners complete 33 hours during the two-year program, with required courses divided into thematic outcomes. These currently include critical thinking, communication, project management, integrity, and diversity skills. Major courses center on foundations of measurement, principles of curriculum development, and using data to drive decisions related to standardized student achievement. This program requires a six-credit principalship internship which may be completed at a suitable site near the student’s place of residence.

This online educational leadership master’s program is approved by the State of Florida and leads to Educational Leadership Certification after students successfully pass the Florida Educational Leadership Examination. Students outside the state should discuss certification options with departmental administrators before enrolling. Online students benefit from resources including an online writing and research center, teacher mentoring, career support, online library assistance, student clubs and organizations, and technical support.

For admittance into this National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education-accredited program, applicants must possess a valid professional teaching certification, have three years of teaching experience, have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA during their undergraduate career, and submit GRE or MAT scores. Students with a GPA of less than 3.0 must plan to submit GRE or MAT scores that fall at or above the 50th percentile.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Professional Studies
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership Certification
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: In-state: $218.98 per credit; Out-of-state: $648.37 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33

Program Length
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: June 1 for fall, October 1 for spring, March 1 for summer
GPA: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT required unless minimum undergraduate GPA is met
Work experience: Minimum of three years of teaching experience

Contact
Department phone: (850) 474-2745 Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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11 University of St Thomas RANKING SCORE 67.76 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 30% LOCATION Houston, TX

UST is a Catholic university located near Houston, Texas. UST's online M.Ed in educational leadership boasts small class sizes and experienced faculty members. Students in the program can pursue professional certifications while completing coursework.

The program requires 36 credit hours and two years of field experience, which students can complete prior to, during, or after the program. Students take core courses in areas such as school finance and principalship and at least three courses focused on the application and interpretation of research in education. Students design an action-based research proposal with guidance from a faculty member.

The master's in educational leadership is available in fully online and blended formats. The program is designed for working professionals and offers courses during the summer quarter, on weekends, and during evening hours. Full-time students typically take nine credit hours per semester.

Applicants must submit official transcripts and an essay describing their career goals. Students with a GPA of less than 3.0, either cumulative or in the final 60 credits of their undergraduate coursework, must submit qualifying GRE scores.

University of St. Thomas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commision on Colleges.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $2,496/three-credit course
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum (2.75 minimum if students include test scores)
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT

Contact
Phone: (713) 525-3540
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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12 University of San Diego RANKING SCORE 67.27 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 18% LOCATION San Diego, CA

USD is a Catholic university located in Southern California. The university's online master's of education with a specialization in school leadership prepares current K–12 educators for leadership roles. The program emphasizes social justice and teaches students how to make data-based decisions, employ professional and ethical norms in the workplace, and meaningfully engage with communities. The program prepares students to leverage technology in the classroom.

The curriculum covers topics including social justice and educational equity, data-driven decision-making, and cognition and learning. Students complete a capstone seminar involving an action research project. USD also offers a course in Catholic school leadership. USD's online master's degree in educational leadership requires an orientation course and 30 units of coursework. Students take two courses per 14-week semester and complete the program in five semesters. Students take one course at a time.

USD accepts applications on a rolling basis and offers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. Students must submit transcripts and two 500-word essays. USD does not require GRE scores. Applicants must have at least two years of teaching experience and access to a classroom in which to complete the capstone project.

University of San Diego is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education: School Leadership
Tuition: $710/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 20 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE optional

Contact
Phone: (888) 832-0239
Email: Contact form
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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13 Gonzaga University RANKING SCORE 67.19 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 59% LOCATION Spokane, WA

GU is a Jesuit-affiliated liberal arts institution located in Spokane, Washington. The university's online M.Ed in education leadership provides current educators with skills and training necessary to pursue leadership positions.

Most students complete the accelerated program in two years. The 30-credit curriculum is available entirely online, with the exception of a weeklong, on-campus residency at the beginning of the program. Students complete the first semester of courses during the summer, to accommodate professional teaching schedules. Required courses include leadership inquiry, literature review, research and data analysis, and cultural competence development. The online program follows a cohort model; students enter and progress through the program with a group of peers.

GU accepts applications on a rolling basis. Applicants must provide official transcripts, letters of recommendation, a CV or resume, and a statement of purpose. GU does not require GRE or MAT scores. Students may be allowed to take up to six credits while their application is under consideration.

Gonzaga University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; the school of education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $535/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (800) 986-9585
Email: Contact form
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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14 Fordham University RANKING SCORE 66.70 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 10% LOCATION Bronx, NY

Based in the Bronx, Fordham offers a master's of science in education in Catholic educational leadership for Catholic educators who aspire to leadership roles. Students explore issues of faith-based identity and the role of faith in education. Graduates pursue careers serving diverse urban and metropolitan communities.

Fordham's program utilizes a cohort model and includes coursework exploring various aspects of educational leadership. The curriculum covers topics such as critical issues in Catholic and nonpublic education, ethics of school administration, and the spirituality of leadership. Practical leadership classes include school finance, school law, and school boards and governance. Students complete a two-semester internship experience.

The fully online program requires 30 credits, which students can complete on a full-time or part-time basis. Fordham has application deadlines in the fall, spring, and summer. Applicants must submit GRE or MAT scores, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a CV or resume, and official transcripts. Fordham awards a scholarship to students employed full-time in religious, nonpublic schools.

Fordham University's School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Education in Catholic Educational Leadership
Tuition: $1,367/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT


Contact
Phone: (212) 636-6400
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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15 Nova Southeastern University RANKING SCORE 66.53 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 51% LOCATION Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nova Southeastern University is a private institute in Florida that’s been providing educations since 1964. Recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as having high research activity, the institution currently enrolls more than 24,000 students each academic year. The online master’s degree in educational leadership offerings remain among the most popular, and that includes the online MS in educational leadership and school administration.

This program is designed to prepare learners who plan to work in pre-kindergarten through high school administrative leadership positions. Students complete an administrative or educational leadership internship comprising a minimum of 300 contact hours. Course topics include standards-based curriculum assessment, electronic tools for educational leaders, ethical school leadership, and educational financial budgeting. Students complete 36 credits and typically finish the program within two years of full-time study. Courses are taken asynchronously through the learning management platform Blackboard.

NSU’s online educational leadership master’s program meets all the requirements of the Florida Department of Education and also works with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Interstate Agreement program to provide mobility for educational leaders outside of Florida. The program is also accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required for admittance and a 3.0 GPA to graduate. Students must also receive passing scores on the culminating Florida Educational Leadership Examination.


Program Overview
Department: Fischler College of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Education with specialization in Educational Leadership
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $955 per credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36
Field education requirements: Administrative internship, minimum of 300 contact hours

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: N/A
Program start dates: Fall, winter, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5
Standardized tests: Applicants without professional certificate or licensure must submit test scores from one of the following: CLAST, GKT, GRE, or Praxis I

Contact
Department phone: Admissions: 800-338-4723
Department email: Admissions: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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16 Colorado State University-Global Campus RANKING SCORE 66.33 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 100% LOCATION Greenwood Village, CO

Founded in 2007, CSU - Global was the first 100% online, independent state university in the U.S. The university's master's of science in teaching and learning with a concentration in education leadership prepares educators to become principals and vice principals.

Students in the master's program can pursue principle license certification in lieu of a required specialization. CSU–Global also offers the principal licensure as a standalone, 24-credit program.

Students earning CSU–Global's master's in educational leadership online complete 39 credit hours, including 15 hours of major coursework. The principal concentration requires 24 hours exploring issues in educational administration and leadership. Required courses include school culture and equity leadership, learning theories and models of instruction, and instructional leadership.

Students intern at their school of employment for six to eight hours per week. Applicants must provide an email from the principal of the school at which they teach indicating that the student can intern with them.

Due to state restrictions on internships and practicums, the program is currently unavailable to residents of Kentucky, Massachusetts, Florida, New York, and Puerto Rico.

Colorado State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Teaching and Learning
Available concentrations: Education leadership
Tuition: $500/credit
Credit requirements: 39 credits
Program length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (800) 920-6723
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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17 Brandman University RANKING SCORE 66.14 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 72% LOCATION Irvine, CA

Brandman University in California was founded in 1958. Operating as a separate school within the Chapman University system, Brandman is home to 50 degree and certificate programs and an online virtual campus. The online master’s in educational leadership is provided through iDEAL (Instructional Designed for Engaged Adult Learning), an interactive teaching model that was designed exclusively for Brandman. All of the required courses are available asynchronously to ensure busy students can complete their assignments, projects, and forum discussions on their own schedule.

Students take 18 core courses in areas of research, learning theory, and curriculum studies before moving into 12 credits designated to emphasis courses. Students are allowed to tailor their own tracks to suit goals. Completion of the 30 required semester hours usually takes two years, including a summer semester. Unlike other master’s in educational leadership online, Brandman does not require incoming distance learners to possess previous teaching experience or teacher credentialing. Because this program does not lead to a certification, all roles held by alumni fall into administrative or leadership categories.

There are three different ways for students to be considered for admission if their GPA is not a 3.0 or higher. All students are required to send in two letters of recommendation, a current resume, and a letter of intent. This program is not available to residents in all 50 states; prospective students should speak to a university enrollment coach before committing to the program. Similar online programs are offered, including a master’s of education in education, teaching, and learning; leadership in early childhood education; and leadership in curriculum and instruction.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Education, Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: N/A
Accrediting body: National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $620 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30

Program Length
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.5
Standardized tests: May be required based on undergraduate GPA

Contact
Department phone: Admission: (877) 516-4501
Department email: Admission: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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18 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus RANKING SCORE 65.71 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 25% LOCATION Denver, CO

CU Anschutz offers a master's of arts in administrative leadership and policy studies with a concentration in higher education leadership. The program prepares students for careers in college access, student affairs, and higher education administration. Because the program includes hybrid, online, and on-campus course requirements, students should live near the Denver area.

The program emphasizes social justice and equity; graduates prepare high school students for college and improve the accessibility of higher education. The program has produced respected educators and administrators, creating a vibrant alumni community that continues to shape the program.

Students typically complete the 30 required credit hours in two years. The curriculum comprises a leadership core, a course in research methods, and a 15-hour concentration in higher education leadership. The leadership core includes hybrid courses in leadership for equity and social justice and in leadership practices for responsive change. Concentration courses, including diversity in higher education and college student development, are not available online.

The program offers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. Applicants must submit a resume or CV, letters of recommendation, and a written statement. Competitive candidates for the master's in educational leadership online program have strong intellectual capabilities, leadership potential, and a rigorous academic background.

University of Colorado Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Arts in Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies
Available concentrations: Higher education leadership
Tuition: $373/credit in-state; $1,243/credit out-of-state
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 2 years or less

Delivery
Format: Online and hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Work experience: A teaching license

Contact
Phone: (303) 315-6300
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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19 Western Governors University RANKING SCORE 65.28 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 100% LOCATION Salt Lake City, UT

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, WGU offers an online master's of science in educational leadership that is ideal for students who plan to pursue a career in school administration at the elementary, junior high, or high school level. Graduates of the teacher education program often work as principals and vice principals.

WGU's online leadership program is flexible and self-paced; students progress through the program at different speeds based on their prior knowledge and experience. A faculty-led cohort provides assistance, and WGU pairs each student with a program mentor who helps them develop a degree plan.

The program consists of ten courses, which students take one at a time. Students complete papers, assessments, and projects to prove subject competencies. Most classes are available online, but the program does include some in-person requirements. Coursework covers topics including student, stakeholder, and market focus for educational leaders; performance excellence criteria for educational leaders; and measurement, analysis, and knowledge management for educational leaders. The program culminates in a written capstone project, during which students propose and develop a plan to improve school performance.

Tuition rates are based on six-month terms; students can complete any number of courses per term without paying additional tuition. Students must complete at least eight competency units per term. Most students complete the program within two years.

Western Governors University is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $3,190/six-month term
Credit requirements: 40 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online and hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (866) 225-5948
Email: Contact form
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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20 University of Dayton RANKING SCORE 65.10 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 21% LOCATION Dayton, OH

University of Dayton was founded in 1850 as a private Catholic Marianist institution. The school embraces the same mission today as it did at its inception: to provide educations that help graduates be competitive in an evolving economy while also learning to be thoughtful, kind individuals who add value to the communities in which they live. As part of that mission, the school’s master’s in educational leadership online, an MSE program, caters to students looking to work in Catholic and other non-public schools, pre-kindergarten through high school.

Over the course of two years, students complete 30 credits in areas of supervision and professional development, community relations for school leaders, school law, and leadership in diverse communities. Distance learners must achieve a grade point average of 3.0 or better in order to qualify for graduation. A Catholic school leadership concentration is available, as is a summer intensive at the school’s Dayton campus. Teachers or administrators already working in Catholic schools or diocesan offices are eligible for tuition scholarships.

All of the required classes are taught in an asynchronous fashion, allowing students to complete assignments according to their schedule. Students use Isidore to access their classes, and they interact with classmates and professors through assignments, forum discussions, group projects, and exams. For admittance, students must hold at least a 2.75 GPA on their official undergraduate transcripts and meet specific requirements for their GRE or MAT scores. Support services for online students range from 24/7 technical resources to individualized academic advisement and career services.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education and Health Sciences
Program Name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: Catholic school leadership
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $626 per credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30
Field education requirements: Internship

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Eight weeks prior to the start of the desired term
GPA: Minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT required for students with lower than 2.75 GPA

Contact
Department phone: 937-229-3105
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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21 California Lutheran University RANKING SCORE 65.01 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 16% LOCATION Thousand Oaks, CA

Cal Lutheran boasts small class sizes and a diverse study body. The university's MA in educational leadership is a hybrid program that prepares educators for careers as principals, vice principals, and administrators. Of the program's required courses, 60% are in-person and 40% are online. Students can take in-person classes at Cal Lutheran's main campus in Thousand Oaks and at satellite sites in Woodland Hills, Oxnard, and Santa Maria.

Cal Lutheran's accelerated master's program comprises 30 credits of coursework completed over one year. Students attend four weekend sessions during each 11-week term. Students begin and end the program in the summer, earning their degree in time for hiring season.

Educational leadership courses include curriculum leadership and program evaluation, student achievement, and school law and public policy. Students complete fieldwork and an action research project. During fieldwork, students collaborate with a faculty member to apply knowledge, techniques, and research in a school setting. The action research project involves a five-chapter paper in which the student expounds upon the methodology, data, analysis, and findings of their fieldwork.

Applicants must submit teaching credentials, a resume, official transcripts, a personal statement, and if necessary, a petition to waive GRE scores.

California Lutheran University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $730/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 12 months

Delivery
Format: Online and hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized tests: GRE or GMAT

Contact
Phone: (805) 493-3325
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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22 Montclair State University RANKING SCORE 64.56 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 18% LOCATION Montclair, NJ

Montclair's online MA in educational leadership focuses on areas including assessment, supervision, and student achievement. Montclair provides a guide to help prospective students decide whether online learning fits their lifestyle and career goals.

Montclair's entirely online educational leadership degree comprises 36 credit hours. Students take one eight-week course at a time and complete the program in two years. Students can pursue a fast-track option to earn principal and supervisor certification in 14 months. The fast-track option utilizes a summer-to-summer cohort model and is available in hybrid and online formats. Montclair offers offsite opportunities for students who teach in school districts surrounding New Jersey.

Required courses include educational law, school and community relations, and leading curriculum change for student achievement. Students participate in a school leadership internship, which requires at least 300 hours of supervised fieldwork and results in a portfolio. Students can complete an optional course in district leadership, which provides first-hand experience in data analysis, advocacy, and school finance.

Montclair State University is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in Philadelphia, PA.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $1,772/three-credit course
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: 14 months to 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE optional

Contact
Phone: (973) 655-4000
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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23 University of St Francis RANKING SCORE 64.45 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 63% LOCATION Joliet, IL

The University of Saint Francis in Joliet, Illinois, will soon celebrate 100 years of providing excellence in education as a small, private liberal arts college with Catholic underpinnings. The school has a student body of 3,900 and small class sizes averaging 17 learners – including those taught through an online format.

The school's online master's in educational leadership is a standout program. General coursework consists of 33 credits and is typically completed in six semesters. Credits belonging to the educational leadership major comprise 21 hours and cover topics such as supervisory behavior, educational research, and serving special populations. The remaining nine to 12 hours are used to complete one of two available concentrations: principal preparation or teacher leader. The former requires 12 hours and covers topics such as finance and law alongside three internship components. This path leads to a PK-12 principal endorsement. The latter includes nine hours of leadership practicum hours and two elective courses within the educational leadership course offerings and leads to a teacher leader endorsement. While all of the classes for either can be completed entirely online, students will need to complete an internship or a practicum off-site, depending on their chosen concentration.

All classes are taught through a cohort model to provide additional community, support, and professional networking between students and faculty. Distance learners applying to this program must submit an application, admission essay, official transcripts showing a GPA of 2.75 for undergraduate study, and two letters of recommendation. USF’s program is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: Principal preparation and teacher leader
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $739 per credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30-33
Field education requirements: Principal preparation: year-long internship; teacher leader: one-semester practicum

Program Length
Program length: Principal preparation: six semesters; teacher leader: five semesters

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Principal preparation: minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0; Teacher leader: minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: 2-3 years of full-time teaching or school support personnel experience

Contact
Department phone: (815)740-3461
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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24 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley RANKING SCORE 64.25 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 29% LOCATION Edinburg, TX

Part of the University of Texas system, UTRGV has multiple campuses in the Rio Grande Valley. The university offers an online M.Ed in educational leadership that prepares students for positions in schools with large populations of bilingual students and English language learners. Coursework covers topics including finance and budgeting, cultural and socioeconomic awareness, human resources, and school law.

Students can compete the accelerated program in as few as 10 months. The curriculum requires 30 credit hours in courses such as ethics and school law, data management for school improvement, school community relations, and the principalship. Some courses, such as school community relations, require at least 10 hours of field experience. Students learn to teach bilingual and ESL learners, migrant learners, gifted students, and students with special needs. Graduates are equipped to create culturally sensitive learning environments.

Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 or qualifying verbal, analytical, and quantitative GRE scores. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a resume with teaching experience and education, and a personal statement. UTRGV offers a scholarships for members of the university's partner organizations.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $458/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 10 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Phone: (956) 665-3661
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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25 Dallas Baptist University RANKING SCORE 64.22 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 43% LOCATION Dallas, TX

Operating as an affiliate of the Baptist General Convention, Dallas Baptist University is focused on providing Christ-centered educations to its student body of more than 5,000 learners. Online classes are kept small, with an average course size of 13 students.

The university’s master’s in educational leadership online is offered as a 30 semester program in the form of a M.Ed. in educational leadership. The required hours are broken down into six core hours in education research and curriculum design/evaluation, while the remaining 24 are specialized preparation and certification courses. These classes cover topics including school personnel administration, public relations, and the principalship and supervision of instruction. Distance learners must also complete an educational administration internship, a defense of degree capstone requirement, and a seminar in educational leadership designed to help students prepare for the texas examination of educator standards. Once passed, students receive state principal certification. No thesis is required for students to graduate from this program.

The department provides a charter school administrator concentration for graduates that want to work directly at schools or the district level. After completing the first required 12 credits, continuation in the program is contingent upon students receiving a passing score on the GMAT or GRE, unless the student earns an A- or higher in all four classes. During the specialized preparation and certification courses, students complete one educational administration internship at an approved site. To gain acceptance, applicants must have at least two years of creditable teaching experience in a public or private setting at the K-12 level. Distance learners must submit their service record prior to being registered for state certification examinations.


Program Overview
Department: Dorothy M. Bush College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: Charter school administrator, certification, non-certification
Accrediting body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Tuition: $906 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: for certification: Two years of creditable teaching experience in a K-12 public or private school
Credit requirements: certification track: 30; non-certification track: 36
Field education requirements: Required internship for certification tracks

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 GPA
Standardized tests: GRE or GMAT

Contact
Department phone: Graduate admissions: (214) 333-5242
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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26 The University of Alabama RANKING SCORE 64.2 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 38% LOCATION Tuscaloosa, AL

Based in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama offers a master's of arts in educational leadership that prepares educators to enter administrative roles. The instructional leadership program is designed for students with at least three years of experience educating K–12 students. The program awards a master's degree and an Alabama class A certification, qualifying graduates for administrative roles. A reduced-hour version of the program awards only class A certification.

The master's in educational leadership online program requires 30 to 33 hours of fully online coursework. The curriculum covers topics including data-informed decision-making, law and ethics, and leadership for continuous improvement. Students must complete a survey in special education and a 10-day school residency after which they present their findings and analysis. Alabama's online program follows a cohort model, with new cohorts in the fall, spring, and summer.

Applicants must submit GRE or MAT scores, a copy of their teaching certificate, a recent performance appraisal, a letter of recommendation from a principal or superintendent, evidence of leadership abilities, a writing sample, and a CV or resume. Online students can apply for financial aid and scholarships. Applicants must have at least one year of full-time teaching experience and an Alabama class B teaching certification.

The University of Alabama's School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $375/credit
Credit requirements: 30-33 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Alabama Class-B teaching certificate; three years P-12 teaching experience

Contact
Phone: (800) 467-0227
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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27 University of Northern Iowa RANKING SCORE 64.14 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 39% LOCATION Cedar Falls, IA

The University of Northern Iowa was founded in 1876 as a normal school for training teachers. Although the university’s mission has expanded, preparing teachers and educational administrators is still at the heart of UNI’s mission.

UNI’s online master of arts in education in educational leadership with a concentration in principalship is an innovative and interactive two-year degree that equips graduates with the skills needed for PK-12 principalship or PK-12 supervisors of special education. This online master’s degree in educational leadership is comprised of 37 credit hours and requires students to complete an extensive internship. Full-time students can expect to finish the required 13 credits and on-site internship within two years of study, but part-time options can also be arranged. The curriculum is attuned to the evolving needs of the educational system, and that’s reflected in the available topics. These currently include leadership for effective schools, leading school growth and improvement, special education law, and community connections.

Classes are delivered synchronously, so students need to log in one night per week during the fall and spring semesters for interactive lessons. During their first year, learners must visit the Iowa campus for a weekend learning intensive. All other coursework is provided through the Blackboard learning management system. The program is delivered through a cohort model. Students will build a peer network and continue to work with the same group throughout the program. UNI’s online educational leadership master’s program was developed according to the Iowa Standards for School Leaders. Students may begin the program at the start of each fall semester.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education, Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Education in Principalship
Accrediting body: Higher Learning Commission
Tuition: $486 per credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous cohort format

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 37
Field education requirements: Required internship

Program Length
Program options: Two to three classes per term
Program length: 2-years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Priority deadline: April 14
GPA: Full admission requires a minimum GPA of 3.0; GPAs of 2.75-2.99 may be considered for provisional admission.
Standardized tests: Not required

Contact
Department phone: 319-273-6264
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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28 George Mason University RANKING SCORE 63.88 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 20% LOCATION Fairfax, VA

Initially operating as a branch campus of the University of Virginia, George Mason University in Fairfax became an independent institution in 1972. The university’s master’s in educational leadership online is an interactive program that allows students to discuss coursework with their peers, professors, and other educational administrators while learning the ins and outs of the the field.

Developed as a 21st century program, coursework focuses on helping students understand the rapidly evolving needs of schools and the communities they serve. It also covers changes that are constantly taking place as regulations are introduced and policies changed. The 30-credit program prepares students for a school or district level instructional leader position. It features courses in finance, education law, and curriculum development. Each course is three credits and the program requires students to complete a case study. Individual courses include topics in using research as a tool to lead school improvement, leading schools and communities, and contemporary issues within educational leadership. Graduates of this online educational leadership master’s program have gone onto roles as athletic directors, principals, special education leaders, and deans of departments. This program fulfills the Virginia Board of Education requirements for licensure in administration and supervision PK-12.

The program is supported by 11 professors with previous experience as entrepreneurs, researchers, superintendents, and principals to provide an expansive and diverse array of teaching voices. The program is considered competitive and includes a rigorous admissions process, ensuring that all students meet certain qualifications. Further education is available through George Mason’s Ph.D. in education leadership. GMU’s program is designed to fulfill licensure in administration and supervision PK-12 in Virginia. Virginia-based students receive a 15% PreK-12 educators discount on the instate tuition price and out of state students qualify for an automatic 45% discount on nonresident costs.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Human Development
Program Name: M.Ed. in Education Leadership
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $563.50 per credit hour for VA state residents

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 30

Program Length
Program options: N/A
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: Fall or spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: April 1 for fall, November 1 for spring
GPA: Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or GPA of 3.0 in last 60 hours of study
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: At least two years of documented, successful, full-time teaching in an accredited school and a valid teaching license

Contact
Department phone: (703) 993-3633
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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29 Liberty University RANKING SCORE 63.7 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 96% LOCATION Lynchburg, VA

Founded in 1971, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, has the unique distinction of being the largest private, nonprofit institution in the country and the largest Christian university in the world. Liberty University’s online master’s in educational leadership is offered as an M.Ed. in teaching and learning with an emphasis in leadership and was designed to prepare graduates for a variety of school settings. These may include Christian, public, or private schools at the K-12 levels.

Liberty's educational leadership master’s degree online requires students to complete 36 credits, half of which may be transferred to Liberty with prior approval. A three-hour, semester-long internship is also available as an optional component. Coursework is divided into three categories: advanced education core courses (15 hours), leadership cognate (12 hours), and professional courses (nine hours). Topics covered include elementary and middle school curriculum, contemporary issues in education policy, behavior management, and technology practices for instructional improvement. Students can choose from two different capstone courses during their final semester. While in the program, students must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher and no more than two grades of ‘C’ may be applied to the transcript. All courses are taught asynchronously.

Licensure is not available to graduates. Potential career fields include positions as principals and assistant principals, university departmental chairs, primary teachers, policy and procurement development specialists, and administrators. The school is accredited regionally and the program is approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. A range of departmental scholarships and fellowships are available to online students, including TEACH Grants.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Teaching and Learning - Leadership
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: Part-time rate: $615 per credit; full-time rate: $565 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36
Field education requirements: Optional three credit hour practicum

Program Length
Program length: Four semesters
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Approximately two weeks before start of term
GPA: Minimum 3.0 GPA for admission in good standing
Standardized tests: Not required

Contact
Department phone: Graduate admissions: (800) 424-9595
Department email: Graduate admissions: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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30 Indiana University-Bloomington RANKING SCORE 63.49 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 27% LOCATION Bloomington, IN

The Indiana University system serves more than 112,000 students across the state. IU's largest campus in Bloomington, which is a research I Carnegie institution, has an enrollment of nearly 44,000 students. More than 29,000 IU students take at least one online course. IU Online offers more than 100 academic programs. In 2017, IU broke another record for online degrees, with 5,066 students choosing the format for their curriculum delivery.

The 36-credit master's in educational leadership program prepares teachers to assume leadership roles in a school, district, or other educational organization. The program also prepares students for licensure in Indiana, a requirement to work as an administrator or superintendent. Credits for this master's in educational leadership online program are split between nine major requirements and three strand courses. Students have a choice of four strands: higher education and student affairs, leadership in educational organizations, learning sciences, and school law. Leadership in educational organization strand courses are taught through a hybrid format.

All students complete a practicum near the end of their graduate studies. Course topics include building lessons, managing resources, political perspectives, and data-driven decisions. Courses in this master's program are not sequential, and participation is primarily asynchronous. Applicants must submit transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a personal goal statement. GRE scores are not required. Students may transfer up to nine approved credits from another master's program; coursework cannot be more than seven years old at the time of graduation. IU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program name: MSEd in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $600/credit
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: 2 years or less

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.3 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: 2 years of teaching experience

Contact
Phone: (812) 856-8371
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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31 University of Arkansas RANKING SCORE 63.24 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 38% LOCATION Fayetteville, AR

Rooted in the Ozark Mountains, University of Arkansas was founded as a land-grant college in the late 1800’s and has expanded to provide multiple campus locations and an extensive online learning department for students throughout the world. The university’s master’s in educational leadership online is a 33-semester-hour program that is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Full-time distance learners traditionally complete the program in two years, but part-time options are also available. Twenty-four of the required credits comprise major studies in areas of instructional leadership, analytical decision making, effective leadership for school improvement, and school organization/administration. The remaining nine hours consist of foundational and specialty courses in areas of finance, research, and special topics within educational leadership. An internship is also included in course requirements and lasts an entire semester. Students may complete this portion of the degree at an approved school or district in their region.

To qualify for this online master’s degree in educational leadership, students must already hold a valid teaching license and have spent time in a classroom as a credentialed educator. Individuals who hold a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their undergraduate studies are exempted from submitting GRE scores. In order to help lower the financial burden, the School of Education’s Global Campus offers a range of scholarships and fellowships to online and offline students alike. Resident and non-resident students pay $410 per semester hour. As of 2015, the student-to-faculty ratio was 19:1. The program maintains a 100% student pass rate on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment. Students may begin this program at three different times throughout the year: summer, fall, or spring. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Health Professionals
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Accrediting body: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
Tuition: $409.94 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33
Field education requirements: Internship required

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT required for students who do not meet GPA minimum

Contact
Department phone: 479-575-5092
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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32 Touro University California RANKING SCORE 62.56 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 5% LOCATION Vallejo, CA

TUC opened in 1997 and has since offered graduate and professional programs in the health sciences, public health, and education, carrying on the Judaic tradition first established by New York's Touro College in 1971. In four decades, the Touro College and University System has grown to include 30 schools and is present in four countries. TUC, the first Touro campus on the west coast, serves nearly 1,500 students across three colleges: The College of Osteopathic Medicine, College of Pharmacy, and the College of Education and Health Science.

TUC's MA in educational leadership is a 30-credit, accelerated cohort program that students can complete in a year. Graduates possess the acumen to lead educational organizations and assume the challenges that principals and administrators face in their schools and districts on a daily basis. Foundational courses include instructional methods, ethics, and human resources. The curriculum also addresses issues such as innovation and invention, equity, and how to lead in the digital age. Embedded in the curriculum are fieldwork experiences and two pre and post assessments. A capstone project seminar culminates the program requirements. Master's candidates learn as part of a cohort, meaning the same group moves through the course sequence together. Courses in this online educational leadership master's program require an in-person meeting once a week.

Graduate admissions weigh an applicant's academic achievement, success as a teacher or school employee, communication skills, and the potential to contribute to the field of education. An interview is required prior to applying to the program. Up to 12 credits may be transferred upon department approval. A minimum of 12 credits, or two semesters, must be completed at TUC to meet degree and/or credential requirements. TUC is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $600/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online and in-person
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.75 minimum

Contact
Phone: (707) 638-5986
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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33 Azusa Pacific University RANKING SCORE 62.41 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 25% LOCATION Azusa, CA

APU, an evangelical Christian university in Azusa, California, offers more than 170 degrees, certificates, and credentials, including 51 master's and eight doctoral programs. Among these advanced degrees is the MA in educational leadership, an accelerated program that students can complete in a year. Graduates emerge equipped to fill administrative roles in k-12 schools as a principal, assistant principal, teacher leader, or department chair.

The curriculum for this online master's in educational leadership consists of 33 credits and is divided into eight core courses and three credential courses. In core courses, learners explore topics such as school improvement, community leadership, and visionary leadership. Students also participate in two practical field experiences. The three credential courses end with a case-study capstone in which master's candidates analyze, test, and evaluate a contemporary topic or problem in their school and/or district.

Students learn as part of a cohort. Participation is asynchronous; interaction with peers and instructors is required. There are no campus visits or in-person meetings for this program; all instruction and coursework are available online. Course design is sequential, with the program taking five eight-week sessions to complete. There are two sessions each term. In addition to transcripts, applicants must also submit three recommendations, a resume, and a personal statement describing educational and professionals goals. Appropriate transfer work may be applied upon approval, though transfer units may not exceed 20% of requirements. APU is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $698/credit
Credit requirements: 33 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: California teaching credential

Contact
Phone: (626) 815-4570
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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34 Mississippi State University RANKING SCORE 62.39 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 34% LOCATION Mississippi State, MS

MSU, located in Starkville, Mississippi, offers more than 175 programs and has an enrollment of more than 21,000 students. Eight colleges and four schools comprise MSU, a comprehensive, doctoral-granting, Carnegie research institution.

The Department of Educational Leadership in the College of Education offers seven degree programs, including an MS in school administration and an MA in community college education. The master's in workforce education leadership is a 30-credit program focused on workforce preparation, the development of a workforce, and professional development. Graduates gain the skills and knowledge to lead programs at community colleges, vocational training schools, and social services entities.

The curriculum splits into required courses, interdisciplinary courses, and required research. Courses cover the history and philosophy behind junior and community colleges. This class explores the mission, knowledge base, and delivery of programs at this level. Coursework also delves into the different types of leadership and challenges involved for education leaders of workforces, including human resources administration and ways to teach out-of-school groups. The research requirement consists of an internship where theoretical concepts can be applied. All students must pass a comprehensive written exam before successful completion of the program.

To apply to the College of Education's online educational leadership programs, prospective candidates must hold a baccalaureate degree, possess a minimum 2.75 GPA, and submit a statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation. For the MS in workforce education leadership, GRE scores are not required. Students are accepted in the spring, summer, and fall. Students can transfer credits, but no more than nine are accepted. MSU's accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools dates back to 1926.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Workforce Education Leadership
Tuition: $456/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous


Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Phone: (662) 325-0969
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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35 Saint Joseph's University RANKING SCORE 61.86 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 74% LOCATION Philadelphia, PA

SJU is a Jesuit Catholic university that serves more than 8,400 students. The MS in educational leadership is a career-oriented program that is taught on campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and online. The online version offers two concentrations: public and/or private school and Catholic school. By taking two courses every semester, students can complete the 36-credit master's program in two years. Required coursework leading to principal/school supervisor certification in Pennsylvania is embedded in the curriculum.

Saint Joseph's MS in educational leadership produces leaders at the K-12 level. Graduates have the ability to develop a strong, positive school culture and to effectively advocate on behalf of students. Principals and supervisors must know how to manage resources, prepare budgets, foster student development, and ensure school justice. Course topics includes instructional systems, interpersonal relations, and issues affecting public and private education. For the certification track, there are three combined seminar and internship experiences.

Admitted teachers and educational professionals may choose between the master's with or without administrative certification. Certifications can also be completed after students earn their degree. Applicants must submit official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a copy of a valid teaching certificate, and a personal statement outlining how the applicant's professional goals will be met through the MS program. Candidates must have at least five years of full-time teaching experience. For the principal certification track, a portfolio, which contains an essay, a resume, and learning activity is also required. Students may transfer up to six graduate credits.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Education
Available concentrations: Educational leadership
Tuition: $870/credit
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Teacher certification

Contact
Phone: (610) 660-3131
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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36 Concordia University-Nebraska RANKING SCORE 61.69 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 85% LOCATION Seward, NE

CUNE, one of 10 colleges and universities in the Concordia University System, is a Lutheran private college in Nebraska offering more than 70 degree programs and majors on-campus in Seward and online. The school was established in 1894 as a training school of teachers and offered its first bachelor's degree in 1939. Current undergraduate and graduate enrollment has reached 2,700 students.

The M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction is a 36-credit program that is focuses on ways to leverage technology in educational settings. Twelve eight-week courses comprise the curriculum, which includes courses such as contemporary thought in education. This class examines current issues and emerging patterns in the field and technology integration, which explores the role of tech in the 21st-century classroom. Core courses bolster students' knowledge base in education. Professional development courses focus on best practices pertaining to curriculum design, assessment, research, and leadership. A capstone design project, which ties into the improvement of two of the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium teaching standards, concludes the program.

This program presents technology as an empowering tool for teachers, assisting with communication, pedagogy, and student engagement. There are no on-campus requirements. Courses are not self-paced. Students learn as part of a cohort, and the M.Ed. takes approximately two years to complete. To be considered for this online educational leadership program in curriculum and instruction, applicants must submit an essay explaining their interest, expectations, and career goals related to the program. Admitted students may transfer up to 25% of graduate credit requirements with approval. Concordia University-Nebraska is regionally accredited by HLC.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction
Available concentrations: Instructional technology leadership
Tuition: $425/credit
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work experience: Teaching certificate

Contact
Phone: (800) 535-5494
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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37 Concordia University-Chicago RANKING SCORE 61.52 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 72% LOCATION River Forest, IL

Distance learners seeking a Christ-centered online education are often drawn to the offerings of Chicago’s Concordia University. Founded in 1864, Concordia University operates as a private liberal arts college in the Lutheran tradition that promotes integrity and services while maintaining rigorous academic standards.

The university’s online master's in educational leadership is a 30-credit, accelerated program that can be completed in 12 months by full-time students. A 24-month option is also available for distance learners planning to enroll on a part-time basis. The 10 required courses provide nuanced studies of all the administrative and leadership skills. Students learn about school finance and business management; partnering with schools, parents, and the community; curriculum and assessment frameworks for student learning; and school evaluation and change processes. Students will also develop skills in management, operation, and creating an effective learning environment. School law is an important aspect of the program and how it affects teachers, students, programs, and tort liability.

Rather than requiring a semester-long internship, Concordia mandates that all degree seekers take part in a capstone experience requiring them to create a culminating project that highlights a mastery of content provided throughout their studies. This project is used to help instructors evaluate students and see how they interpret applied theory into practice.

CU’s program has special provisions for international students looking to move into educational administration. A GRE is not required to enter the program, but students will need to turn in official transcripts, recommendation letters, and evidence of a 3.0 or higher GPA during their undergraduate education. Students are permitted to begin their studies at the start of every fall semester.


Program Overview
Department: College of Graduate Studies
Program Name: Master of Arts in Leadership, Higher Education specialization
Accrediting body: Higher Learning Commission

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: 12 or 24 months
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: August 15
GPA: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.85 or master’s degree GPA of 3.0 for full admission

Contact
Department phone: Admissions: 708-263-6758
Department email: Admissions: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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38 University of South Florida-Sarasota-Manatee RANKING SCORE 61.27 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 62% LOCATION Sarasota, FL

University of South Florida-Sarasota-Manatee's M.Ed. in educational leadership offers three concentrations. The K-12 public school leadership concentration explores ways to effectively lead in diverse school settings. The non-public and charter school leadership concentration also looks at how to lead when it comes to instruction, decision-making, and building a learning environment for K-12 settings that do not require administrator certification. The curriculum leadership concentration, which also does not satisfy requirements for certification, focuses on the skills, knowledge, and character professionals need to lead an organization's curriculum or student experience.

Learners of this online master's degree in educational leadership graduate with comprehensive understanding of leadership standards, educational design, and the principles of reflective and ethical practice. The 36- to 39-credit program includes seven core courses and five to six concentration courses. All tracks conclude with a capstone activity that requires students to synthesize learned knowledge from coursework, fieldwork, and professional practice. Full-time learners can complete the M.Ed. in five semesters. There are three terms each year: fall, spring, and summer.

Graduate admissions requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, a 3.0 GPA, and three letters of recommendation. There are also specific requirements for each concentration. The curriculum leadership track requires applicants to submit a goal statement and have, at minimum, two years of post-baccalaureate teaching or curriculum-related experience. Students interested in a dual concentration must meet every requirement.

Established in 1975, USF Sarasota-Manatee serves more than 2,000 students. It is the youngest member of the University of South Florida system, which also has campuses in Tampa and St. Petersburg. USFSM is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: K-12 public school leadership, curriculum leadership, non-public or charter school leadership
Tuition: $347/credit
Credit requirements: 36-39 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Teaching certificate and two years of teaching experience

Contact
Phone: (941) 359-4331
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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39 Pennsylvania State University RANKING SCORE 61.26 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 7% LOCATION University Park, PA

The Pennsylvania State University World Campus enrolls more than 12,000 students. The school has provided distance education since 1998 and currently offers more than 150 degree and certificate programs.

The M.Ed. in educational leadership is a 30-credit program that students can complete in about 24. The two areas of emphasis are school leadership and teacher leadership. The teacher leadership emphasis is for educators interested in becoming school leaders such as principles. The teacher leadership emphasis is for teachers who wish to lead at the departmental level, such as head teachers. The teacher leadership concentration does not lead to principal certification.

Each area of emphasis requires 18 credits of core educational leadership coursework. For the school leader emphasis, the curriculum splits into two tiers and culminates with a capstone project. While tier one focuses on foundational topics, such as how schools work, tier two explores subjects such as the application of information technology, curriculum design, and ways to achieve school improvement. With the capstone inquiry, students demonstrate mastery of the five strands of leadership. The school leader emphasis does not have any tiers; students sequentially work through nine courses on educational leadership and the fundamentals of school administration. Additional courses cover topics such as principalship, budget management, and legal issues related to education. Instead of a capstone, students in this track participate in field experience across three semesters.

Prerequisites for this master's in educational leadership online program include a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, three references, a statement of purpose, a resume, and a writing example. Applicants interested in the school leader area of emphasis must have at least three years of school-related experience upon completion of the program. Students may not switch their concentration once accepted into the program. Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $853/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or GMAT

Contact
Phone: (800) 252-3592
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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40 Regis University RANKING SCORE 60.96 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 65% LOCATION Denver, CO

Regis University in Denver, Colorado, has offered a Jesuit education for over 140 years. Through a catalog of more than 130 academic programs and nearly 80 online programs, Regis educates about 12,000 students, with 50% of enrollees living outside the of the state.

The master of arts in education offers two concentrations: teaching the linguistically diverse, and teacher leadership. The M.Ed. in educational leadership prepares educators to lead schools in a shifting, modern educational landscape. The curriculum of this accelerated program, which is split between 24 credits for principal licensure and nine for master's requirements, combines fundamentals and theory with real-world application. There are four domains taken in sequential order. Domain one covers school strategy, communications, and reflective leadership. Domain two focuses on management topics such as fiscal responsibility and human resources. Domain three explores data literacy, assessments, and instruction. The last three courses are supervision, mentoring, and school law, which round out the 33-credit degree. Students learn as part of a cohort, and participation is synchronous. Courses last five weeks, making it possible to complete this blended online educational leadership master's program in 12 months.

To apply, prospective candidates must submit transcripts and a copy of their current teaching license. A minimum 2.75 GPA is required, as is three years of educator experience prior to the program's completion. There are three start times a year in January, May, and August, though the May term is dependent on cohort size. Transfer of six credits is allowed for graduate-level coursework. Regis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $485/credit
Credit requirements: 33 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online and cohort blended
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or GMAT
Work experience: Teaching certificate

Contact
Phone: (800) 388-2366
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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41 University of North Texas RANKING SCORE 60.91 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 40% LOCATION Denton, TX

The M.Ed. in educational leadership at UNT is a 30-credit program that prepares teachers for leadership roles, such as lead teacher and department head, or educators looking to transition their careers to school administration or school districts. Embedded in the degree program is principal certification for the state of Texas. The program explores ways to help inform educational leaders tasked with decision making as it relates to school culture, teaching practices, and student achievement.

The online master's in educational leadership curriculum consists of ten courses. Courses explore public relations, organizational change, and campus-level school law, which delves into the constitutional, statutory, and case law that impacts daily operations in schools. Students also learn about the role technology plays in the modern education system. Courses for the M.Ed. are delivered online, and participation is asynchronous. By taking two courses at a time, professionals can complete the program requirements in 12 months.

To enroll in the accelerated online program, students must first be admitted to the Toulouse Graduate School. Applications should include transcripts, a letter of recommendation from a supervisor, a resume, and an essay describing why the student is seeking a master's degree in educational leadership. The GRE is not required. Applicants interested in pursuing principal certification must have a teacher certificate, hold a master's degree, and have earned a minimum 3.5 GPA.

Founded in 1890 as a teacher college, UNT is a public research university in Denton, Texas, offering over 225 programs to more 38,000 students. UNT is accredited by SACSCOC, and all College of Education teacher programs are accredited by CAEP.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $1,100/course
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: PreK-12 work-related experience

Contact
Phone: (940) 565-2942
Email:
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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42 Seton Hall University RANKING SCORE 60.45 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 22% LOCATION South Orange, NJ

Named after the first American-born saint, Seton Hall University in New Jersey has been providing post–secondary education since 1856. Nearly half of all students are enrolled at the graduate level, providing a strong network and qualified faculty. Seton Hall’s online master’s in education leadership is delivered as a master of arts in education leadership, with special emphasis in management and policy. Learners focus on four central themes: academic rigor, ethical standards, practical application, and technology.

The 39-credit master of arts (M.A.) program is ideal for working professionals who aspire to become education administrators, principals or department supervisors. The M.A. in Education Leadership, Management and Policy can be earned in less than two years. Classes are taught by Seton Hall faculty and begins each summer semester, making it convenient for teachers and other school personnel.

Two on-campus weekends in-person residencies, which take place in July are required. The program includes an internship preparing students for state certification as a building level administrator. During the residencies students meet faculty and other cohort members to discuss course requirements and certifications. Faculty consist of expert researchers, practitioners with long careers in K-12 education, and prominent administrators.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Human Services
Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, Management and Policy
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $641 per credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 39
Field education requirements: Required internships

Program Length
Program options: 2 courses per term
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: Work experience in field related to educational administration

Contact
Department phone: (973) 275-2417
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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43 Concordia University-Saint Paul RANKING SCORE 60.45 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 98% LOCATION Saint Paul, MN

Concordia University-Saint Paul, a Lutheran university, has provided educational opportunity for nontraditional students for decades. In 1985, CSP became the first college in Minnesota to offer an accelerated degree completion program that works with the schedules of full-time professionals. CSP offers 80 academic programs on-campus, online, and in hybrid format.

The master's in educational leadership is offered completely online. It's a 30-credit program that prepares educators for administrative roles, such as principal, vice principal, and school superintendent. Graduates are qualified to meet the learning needs of K-12 students and be leaders in a modern educational landscape. Nine courses and a capstone research project comprise the curriculum of this online educational leadership program. Students explore historical and contemporary issues in teaching, supervisorial procedures, diversity in schools, and educational policy. All courses last seven weeks, and are meant to be taken in order.

The capstone project incorporates hypothesis testing and analysis to present a critical review of a current educational topic or issue. One of the program's learning outcomes is the ability to use data and research to make informed decisions and explore change. CSP offers the educational leadership program with an emphasis in educational technology, which addresses the impact modern technologies have had on teaching and the learning process. Students can complete the requirements for either concentration in less than two years. Participation is mainly asynchronous; there is a weekly synchronous meeting.

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0. Admission applications must include official transcripts and a personal statement that explains why the student should be admitted to the next graduate cohort. CSP, one of 10 institutions in the Concordia university system, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program name: MAEd in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $415/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or GMAT

Contact
Phone: (651) 641-8230
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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44 Texas A & M University-Commerce RANKING SCORE 60.19 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 79% LOCATION Commerce, TX

Students at the Commerce campus of Texas A&M University enjoy a more personalized education and smaller class sizes. The Commerce campus is popular for its campus-based and online programs, many of which are in the field of education. The school is also consistently recognized for the many specialized services provided to first-generation college students.

The online master’s in educational leadership program is provided completely online through the myLEo portal, which oversees all assignments, discussion boards, and lectures. The university’s 30-credit master of education in educational administration requires students to be admitted to the graduate school and the educational leadership master’s degree online in order to fully matriculate. Coursework includes studies in how to lead effective schools, using research for best practice, building capacity for powerful learning, designing curriculum, and facilitating learning for diverse students.

Students have the option of completing a 21-hour principal certification plan. During the student’s final term, they will complete the leading the learning community practicum in a local school district; the course lasts the whole semester. The practicum is only available during fall and spring semesters.

Courses are taught asynchronously, allowing students to work on their own schedule. Student resources include library and research assistance, technical support, career services, an online writing center, and academic advisement each term. Degree seekers are admitted to this program at the start of every fall semester.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Human Services, Department of Higher Education and Learning Technologies
Program Name: Master of Science or Master of Education in Educational Technology - Leadership
Accrediting body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Tuition: Resident: $566.26 per credit; Non-resident: $974.26 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30

Program Length
Program options: Most students take two courses per semester
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: June 1 for fall, October 15 for spring, March 15 for summer
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0 on any graduate-level coursework; minimum 2.75 GPA on undergraduate coursework required for full admission
Standardized tests: GRE, unless student meets 3.0 undergraduate GPA or higher
Work experience: Statement of work experience may be requested by admission committee

Contact
Department phone: 903-886-5520
Department email: [email protected]
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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45 Texas Tech University RANKING SCORE 60.1 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 41% LOCATION Lubbock, TX

The roots of online learning at Texas Tech date back to 1966, when they began to offer educational programs through closed circuit television. TTU offers more than 60 eLearning programs, majors, and certificates, including 25 master's degrees. The hybrid, 36-credit master's in educational technology is one of five online master's programs in the field of education.

Education leadership courses cover data-driven communication, the process of educational change, and the value of teams. Students in TTU's online ed leadership programs learn as part of a graduate cohort, with in-person attendance required once per month at one of three regional sites, which includes Fredericksburg, Highland Lakes, or Junction. Moving through the predetermined schedule of courses, part-time learners can complete all requirements in two years.

Principal certification for Texas is embedded in the M.Ed. program, which prepares students for roles at elementary or secondary schools. Combining core fundamentals, theory, and field experience, this career-oriented program provides preparation for the State Board for Educator Certification TExES exam. All graduates emerge ready to promote interdisciplinary cooperation, manage staff, and articulate reformed vision.

There are four terms each academic year: fall, spring, summer I, and summer II. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis. Prerequisites include a bachelor's degree, at least two years of teaching experience, and a demonstrated record of student improvement. Applications must include a CV, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of career goals. Though TTU encourages master's candidates to submit GRE scores, there is no stated minimum score. Texas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Principal Professional Certification Preparation
Tuition: $290/credit
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online and blended
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized tests: GRE optional
Work experience: Teaching certificate

Contact
Phone: (844) 897-0537
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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46 The University of Texas at Arlington RANKING SCORE 60.02 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 49% LOCATION Arlington, TX

Through 180 online bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs, UTA serves more than 55,000 students around the world. Programs, which last nine to 18 months, are designed to work with a student's work-life schedule. The M.Ed. in leadership and policy studies is a 30-credit, accelerated program which students can complete in 16 months. All classes last seven weeks, and required fieldwork can be completed locally.

UTA's non-thesis master's in educational leadership program includes ten courses, and there are two areas of emphasis: principal certification and higher education, which helps individuals enhance their administrative skills for work at the college or university level. Core courses are the same for both degree options, but the concentration courses differ. The M.Ed. with principal certification is for classroom teachers who do not hold a master's degree and who are preparing to take the exam for principal or superintendent certification. In addition to the capstone practicum, certification students also complete an administrative internship. The curriculum of the M.Ed. in leadership and policy studies fully aligns with the standards established by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council. Once matriculation begins, enrolled master's students have six years to complete the program.

College of Education applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Students with a minimum 2.5 GPA for their last 50 credit hours of coursework will also be considered. Out-of-state students will not qualify for Texas educator certification. Two of three GRE divisions that meet minimum scores are also required: verbal (153), quantitative (144), or written analytical (3.5). This online educational leadership degree is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation Teacher Education.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Leadership & Policy Studies
Tuition: $273/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 16 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.2 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Teaching certificate and two years of teaching experience

Contact
Phone: (866) 489-2810
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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47 Arkansas State University RANKING SCORE 59.72 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 76% LOCATION Jonesboro, AR

Arkansas State, located in Jonesboro, is the second-largest university in Arkansas. It serves more than 14,000 students and offers over 140 academic programs, including 25 online. The College of Education and Behavioral Science, which is fully accredited, features 14 distance-education degrees and certificates.

The MSE in educational leadership is an accelerated, 36-credit program that students can complete in 20 months. Courses in this online master's degree in educational leadership focus on applied curriculum, such as instructional theory and research-based strategy. Students learn in the classroom and through performance-based field activities. The curriculum includes 11 core courses and one in a specialization. Foundational topics include statistics and research, ethical leadership, and resource allocation. Specialization coursework correlates to a chosen school level: elementary, middle, or secondary. Other course topics include addressing content organization, selection of instructional materials, curriculum revision, and current issues impacting the U.S. education system. In the final semester, all students complete a supervised internship to demonstrate mastery of course material. Participation is asynchronous.

There are six start times every year. Students who have previously attended graduate school may transfer up to nine hours toward the MSE in educational leadership. Applications should include official transcripts, a valid teaching certificate, and proof that the student meets minimum GPA requirements. MSE applicants must also submit a written commitment from a building level administrator, such as a principal or an assistant superintendent, who has agreed to function as the student's mentor throughout the program. Tuition is the same for all online students, regardless of residency. Arkansas State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program name: MSEd in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $294/credit
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: 20 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Teaching certificate and two years of teaching experience

Contact
Phone: (866) 621-8096
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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48 Georgia Southern University RANKING SCORE 59.63 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 59% LOCATION Statesboro, GA

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving more than 27,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities.



The 36-credit M.Ed. in educational leadership prepares classroom educators for entry-level, K-12 leadership positions. The 12-course curriculum breaks down into three parts: leadership professional core, teacher-leader core, and professional education core. Upon completion of this master's in educational leadership online program, students must accrue 250 supervised field experience hours. Completion of the degree also leads to leadership certification at the Tier 1 level for Georgia, as well as a Teacher Leader Endorsement.



Six courses comprise the curriculum's core requirements, which cover topics such as legal and ethical issues in schools, financial matters for educational leaders, and the politics of public education. The teacher-leader requirements and professional education core include three courses, with the former focused on ways to lead in the 21st century, such as transformational leadership methods and using data to inform decisions and improve student outcomes. Prior to admissions and program completion, students must also earn passing scores on GACE assessments.



Any educator who holds a position below principal or district supervisor is eligible to apply to the M.Ed. program. Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA and possess a level-four or higher certificate in a teacher, service, or leadership field. A personal statement must also be provided, one that identifies the reasons behind an applicant's pursuit of graduate study, specifically in educational leadership. New students are only admitted in the fall. Some transfer credits may be applied toward the program with program faculty approval. Georgia Southern is accredited by SACSCOC.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $358/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: 1-2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Work experience: Level-four teaching certificate

Contact
Program Coordinator: Dr. Juliann Sergi McBrayer, [email protected]
Email: Graduate Academic Services Center (GACS), [email protected]
Phone: (912) 478-1447

Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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49 The University of Texas at Tyler RANKING SCORE 59.61 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 78% LOCATION Tyler, TX

Part of the University of Texas system, UT Tyler offers an M.Ed in educational leadership with principal certification to help Texas teachers become principals and school administrators.

Students in UT Tyler's 30-hour, fully online educational leadership master's program communicate with professors and peers using Skype and Zoom. The curriculum comprises four study blocks: introduction to the field of educational leadership, best practices in curriculum and instruction, special populations and special functions, and principal duties. Required courses include school law, school building operations, and leadership in the restructured school.

Students complete three practicum courses. New students design a project, which they implement at their own school during the program. The project culminates in a presentation of their findings. The educational leadership program prepares students for the TExES standard principal examination.

The program is only available to Texas residents. Applicants must have experience teaching in public, private, or charter K–12 schools in Texas and must be certified to teach in Texas. Those who hold a master's degree can pursue only the principal certification. Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation. Only applicants with a GPA of 3.25 of lower in the last 60 hours of their undergraduate coursework must submit GRE scores. The application process includes a Skype interview.

The University of Texas at Tyler is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $7,000 total tuition
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 1.5 years

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Teacher certification and teaching experience

Contact
Phone: (903) 566-7087
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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50 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College RANKING SCORE 59.45 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 13% LOCATION Baton Rouge, LA

Based in the capital city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University now offers a selection of online graduate programs including an M.Ed in Educational Leadership online. The online master's program prepares working educators to advance to leadership positions within the field of education. A nationally recognized faculty guides students through administrative concepts such as continuous school improvement and how to create and foster a healthy, diverse, and successful learning community. Students leave the program ready to earn their Educational Leadership Certification. Graduates boast a 100% pass rate for the School Leaders Licensure Assessment.

LSU's program is entirely online and involves 39 credit hours. Students typically finish the program in fewer than two years, some in as few as 15 months. Students take a total of 13 courses, each seven weeks long and three credits each. Required courses include administration of school personnel, ethics and educational leadership, and a four-part series exploring the practices of principal leadership. Students take up to twelve credit hours of independent student, which they conduct under the guidance of a faculty member. Students also complete six credit hours of a part-time internship in educational administration in which they broaden their understanding of career paths in the field and gain a deeper understanding of contemporary issues facing education and student affairs.

The program offers six different start dates throughout the year: two in the spring, two in the summer, and two in the fall. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a nomination letter from a past or current administrator, an additional letter of reference, and a combined quantitative and verbal GRE score of at least 297. Students must possess a current Louisiana Level 2 or Type B teaching certificate, at least two years of educator experience, and current employment at a school. Applicants must also provide evidence of leadership abilities, illustrated through documentation of a publication, teacher leader endorsement, national board certification, or teacher of the year nomination. Proof of presenting at an educational conference or workshop or serving as a mentor teacher for LA TAAP also qualifies.

Louisiana State University is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Tuition: $481/credit
Credit requirements: 39 credits
Program length: 15 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or GMAT
Work experience: Type-B or Level-2 teaching certificate (or comparable out-of-state teaching certificate) and two years of teaching experience

Contact
Phone: (225) 578-2311
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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Earning an online educational leadership master’s degree prepares students for careers running school systems and academic facilities. Many online educational leadership programs use different instructional techniques and include varied curricula. Online educational leadership programs also differ in cost, credit requirements, completion time, and concentrations offered.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Principal Leadership For most schools, the leader of faculty and students is the principal. Many master’s in educational leadership online programs are designed to prepare students to become principals and vice principals. This concentration typically involves extensive internships. Principal, vice principal, dean
Teacher Leadership Perfect for future department heads, students can learn to lead with curriculum innovation and mentorship. Department head, teacher, vice principal
Administration Leadership Administrative leadership can help students get more involved in the operational aspects of running a school. This concentration is a popular option for teachers at private and nontraditional schools. Curriculum coordinator, principal, teacher, dean

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Every master’s in educational leadership online program features a unique set of courses depending on its focus and faculty. However, many online educational leadership master’s programs cover the same topics in their core curricula. Most students will see these foundational courses in their program:

  • Curriculum Development: Online master’s in educational leadership students look at the big picture rather than individual lesson plans. It’s important for them to be able to determine what the outcome will be.
  • School Finance: Students learn how leaders interact with school finance, which issues are common, and what solutions may be available. They will also learn about allocating funds between departments.
  • Internships: Online master’s in educational leadership programs involve many experiential components. Most online programs feature some form of an internship or fieldwork as part of its requirements.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP?

An online educational leadership degree requires about 36 credits and can usually be completed in one to three years. Many programs feature flexible, individually paced learning schedules designed for working students. Some programs feature an online cohort model, which has students proceed through the program at a synchronous pace. Many programs feature an accelerated academic schedule with extra terms in the summer and winter for quicker completion time. Internships and capstone projects can also impact how long it takes for degree completion.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP PREPARES FOR

  • State-specific principal certification/license: Most online master’s in educational leadership programs are designed to prepare students for the principal certification or licensure requirements in a given state. These requirements vary from state to state, so students should research their own state’s requirements before enrolling. Often the certification is built into the program directly so that students graduate with a license and degree at the same time.

Students searching for the best master’s in educational leadership should look for the program’s accreditation. A school or program is accredited when it meets various academic and operational criteria that are widely agreed upon as the standards for education. Students who attend accredited programs are earning degrees that are respected and legitimate to other schools and employers.

Online colleges and universities are accredited either regionally or nationally. National accreditation can apply to any school, but is typically used for online colleges and universities. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is a nongovernmental organization run by higher education leaders, recognizes certain agencies that accredit schools. These agencies may be related to a specific field or subject and investigate schools and provide accreditation.

Regional accreditation applies to traditional brick and mortar schools and many of their online programs. Schools are accredited by one of the six regional U.S. agencies. These regional agencies are recognized by CHEA and the Department of Education (DOE). The DOE does not accredit schools, but oversees the accreditation process and recognizes the accreditors. The CHEA, the DOE, and other groups work to create standards and maintain the system.

Programs can be independently accredited. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits master of education programs. This educator-run organization is committed to improving education and maintains strict standards for teacher learning. Learn more about accredited schools on the DOE’s or CHEA’s websites.

Job Placement: Master’s vs Bachelor’s in Educational Leadership

Students who earn a graduate degree in educational leadership face more favorable employment rates than their counterparts with a bachelor’s or less. A recent survey by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce revealed a 2.2% unemployment rate for experienced education professionals with a graduate degree and a 2.4% unemployment rate for recent graduate degree earners. By comparison, the unemployment rate for professionals with a bachelor’s degree is 3.7% to 5.1%, depending on experience level.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), education administrators with a master’s degree outnumber their peers with a bachelor’s by a ratio of two to one. BLS data reveals that 338,917 administrators — or 46% of the field — held a master’s degree in 2013. Bachelor’s degree-holding administrators represented 170,873 positions, or 23% of the industry. The best master’s in educational leadership programs enable graduates to compete with fellow graduate degree-holders in the job market. Furthermore, educational leadership professions are expected to grow in the years to come. The following table features BLS projections for some of the most common educational leadership career pathways.

Occupation Number of Employees (2014) Projected Growth Rate (2014-24) Difference in Number of Employees
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals 240,000 6% 14,000
Postsecondary Education Administrators 175,100 9% 15,200
Preschool and Childcare Center Directors 64,000 7% 4,200
Instructional Coordinators 151,000 7% 10,500

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Earning a Living

In addition to lower unemployment rates, job candidates with a master’s in educational leadership also stand to increase their earning potential. BLS found that the median annual salary for education administrators with a master’s degree was $75,000 — roughly $23,000, or 44%, higher than administrators with a bachelor’s.

It’s also important to note that salaries for educational leadership professionals will incrementally increase over the course of their careers. Using data from the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, the following table compares entry-level and mid-career earnings for employees with a master’s degree in different educational fields, including educational leadership.

Master’s Degree Field Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Educational Leadership $55,400 $71,500
Educational Administration $53,800 $73,800
Educational Technology $50,500 $69,200
Higher Education Administration $42,200 $64,000

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

Salary expectations at different career stages will also depend on an employee’s specific job title. The next table features the median annual salary for different educational leadership positions at four career benchmarks.

Profession Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Elementary School Principal $72,316 $77,515 $79,523 $88,647
Principal/ Headmaster, Middle School $80,000 $86,000 $91,000 $96,000
High School Principal $76,000 $82,000 $89,000 $95,000
Education Administrator, Postsecondary $48,000 $50,000 $63,000 $65,000
Academic Dean $78,264 $84,707 $93,399 $120,613
Curriculum Developer $58,680 $61,830 $70,507 $74,037

Source: PayScale

Of the positions listed in the table above, academic deans enjoy the highest earnings at three of the four benchmarks (middle school principals had slightly higher salaries at the mid-career mark). Additionally, academic deans enjoy the highest career salary growth — a 54% increase between the entry-level and late-career stages. Career salary growth for the other occupations fell between 20% and 35%.

Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with a master’s degree in educational leadership will qualify for dozens of positions, although individual eligibility will depend on their area(s) of specialization. Some of the most common career pathways for master’s in educational leadership recipients are detailed below.

K-12 Principal: Principals monitor daily operations at elementary, middle, and high schools. They oversee the school’s curriculum, faculty, finances, administrative functions, and educational resources. Most principals began their careers as teachers, and later earn a master’s in educational leadership or administration. Principals at public schools are required to earn licensure in all 50 states.

Postsecondary Administrator: Administrative roles at the college or university level include deans, registrars, student administrators, and faculty researchers. Most of these positions can be attained with a master’s degree, though advancement in some areas may require a PhD.

Preschool and Childcare Center Directors: These professionals oversee day-to-day operations at preschools, day care facilities, and other pre-elementary learning centers. Many states require childcare centers — including home-based establishments — to earn a license, and all employees must pass a criminal background check.

Instructional Coordinators: Instructional coordinators are responsible for the curriculum and teaching standards at elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions. Those who work at public schools are required to earn a license in some states.

Position Median Annual Salary
K-12 Principal $90,410
Postsecondary Administrator $88,580
Preschool and Childcare Center Director $45,670
Instructional Coordinators $62,270

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different educational approaches is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for education administration professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • National Association of Secondary School Principals: Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2016, the NASSP is today represented by principals, assistant principals, and other middle/high school administrative personnel in 35 different countries. The organization hosts networking functions, offers continuing education programs, and gives members the opportunity to become advocates in different key areas of secondary school administration.
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals: Founded in 1921, the NAESP today serves elementary school principals and administrative personnel in the U.S., Canada, and overseas. The organization’s online learning center features webinars, tutorials, and links for classroom-based training programs; an online resource library is also available.
  • Association of Deans & Directors of University Colleges & Undergraduate Studies: This nonprofit organization that represents deans and administrative personnel at postsecondary institutions across the country. The AD&D hosts an annual conference at a different U.S. location each year, and offers both individual and institutional memberships.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about your financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Master's in Educational Leadership Programs of 2017
Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
3 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
4 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
5 George Washington University Washington, DC
6 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
7 University of St Francis Joliet, IL
8 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
9 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
10 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
11 The University of West Florida Pensacola, FL
12 Brandman University Irvine, CA
13 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
14 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR
15 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
16 Emporia State University Emporia, KS
17 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
18 Concordia University-Chicago River Forest, IL
19 Texas A & M University-Commerce Commerce, TX
20 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
21 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
22 Dallas Baptist University Dallas, TX
23 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA
24 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
25 LeTourneau University Longview, TX

Best Online Master's in Educational Leadership Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
2 Concordia University - Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
3 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
4 The George Washington University Washington, DC
5 Concordia University - Portland Portland, OR
6 Dallas Baptist University Dallas, TX
7 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
8 University of West Florida Pensacola, FL
9 Wilkes University Wilkes-Barre, PA
10 Concordia University - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
11 Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX
12 Arizona State University - Skysong Scottsdale, AR
13 St. John's University Queens, NY
14 University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX
15 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
16 Canisius College Buffalo, NY
17 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA
18 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
19 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
20 University of North Texas Denton, TX
21 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
22 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
23 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
24 Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR
25 University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO