Earning a master's in educational leadership can prepare graduates for a variety of exciting and rewarding careers. Our guide below outlines what learners can expect from this advanced degree. Read on to learn more about the best educational leadership programs of 2020, common coursework options, concentration opportunities, and admission requirements. Additionally, we highlight common career paths in the educational leadership field, as well as other resources relevant to professionals in the educational leadership discipline.

What Are the Best Educational Leadership Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

  1. University of Florida - Gainesville, FL
  2. University of Central Florida - Orlando, FL
  3. Florida State University - Tallahassee, FL
  4. Lehigh University - Bethlehem, PA
  5. George Washington University - Washington, DC
  6. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Champaign, IL
  7. The University of West Florida - Pensacola, FL
  8. University of San Diego - San Diego, CA
  9. University of St. Thomas - Houston, TX
  10. Fordham University - Bronx, NY

Earning a master's in educational leadership online prepares learners for a variety of careers, including elementary, middle, and high school principals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median wage for these occupations was $95,310 in 2018. Additionally, the field is projected to grow by 4% from 2018-2028, which is about as fast as the average growth rate for all occupations in the United States. The states with the highest salary opportunities for this profession include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, and Washington.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read more about our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Educational Leadership Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 90%

The University of Florida's College of Education offers an online M.Ed. in educational leadership that prepares working professionals to pursue administrative or executive positions at educational institutions. UF's M.Ed. program includes the field experience necessary to obtain Florida's principal certification.

UF's 36-credit M.Ed. degree takes roughly two years to complete. The curriculum includes a supervised practice in school administration course where students work with a site supervisor and university supervisor to complete 150 hours of field experience in a school setting. This course is required for those seeking certification, but the M.Ed. degree can also be earned without certification.

To be eligible for the program, candidates must hold a bachelor's or another terminal degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA. UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $734/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on-campus)
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (352) 392-0726
Email: catria@coe.ufl.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

The University of Central Florida offers an online master of arts in educational leadership that prepares learners for administrative roles in educational settings that do not require certification, such as private school headmaster, community college staff administrator, and museum administrator. This program adheres to Interstate School Licensure Consortium standards but is not approved by the Florida Department of Education to provide educational leadership certification in the state.

UCF's MA in educational leadership degree requires 30 credits, including nine credits in research and measurement, 21 credits in administration, and an independent learning project. Core courses cover topics such as organization and administration of schools, legal aspects of school operation, and educational financial affairs.

To apply, students must submit official transcripts from each college or university they have attended. UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $327/credit in-state; $1,152/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (855) 903-8576
Email: online@ucf.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

Florida State University offers an online master's in educational leadership and administration that prepares graduates for educational leadership certification in the state and a future career as an executive or administrator in an educational setting. FSU also offers an alternative online MS program in educational leadership without certification with slightly different requirements.

FSU's master's in educational leadership degree requires 33 credits, including a comprehensive exam that is taken during the final semester of the program. To be eligible for educational leadership certification, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA, pass the Florida Educational Leadership Examination, pass the program's comprehensive exam, and complete required field experience hours.

Applicants must have a current Florida professional educator's certificate, a passing score on the Florida Teacher Certification Exam, a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA, at least two years of full-time experience working in preK-12 education, and be currently employed by a school or school district. FSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Educational Leadership and Administration
School Status: Public
Tuition: $444/credit in-state; $1,076/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: 2 years

Contact

Phone: (850) 644-6885
Email: dhamkelly@fsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 87%

Lehigh University offers a hybrid M.Ed. in educational leadership for individuals working toward Pennsylvania's principal certification, a doctoral program in educational leadership, or an administrative or supervisory role in educational institutions. Graduates of this M.Ed. program qualify for Pennsylvania's principal certification after taking just two additional courses.

This 30-credit M.Ed. includes 15 credits of core courses and 15 credits of electives. Core courses cover topics such as organizational leadership and change management, diversity, and data-based decision-making. Students can select electives according to their interests, such as special education, learning and technology, and counseling. Most courses are offered in person in the evenings to accommodate working professionals, but some courses are offered online.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA. Lehigh is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $575/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1.5-2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (610) 758-3225
Email: incoe@lehigh.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

George Washington University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 82%

George Washington University offers an online master's in educational leadership and administration for educators who wish to serve diverse learning communities and improve student achievement at the local, state, or national level. This program meets the requirements for administrative certification or licensure in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and other partner states that honor interstate compact agreements.

GW's 30-credit master of arts in educational leadership and administration includes nine courses and an internship within a school district. Core courses cover quantitative research, the foundations of K-12 educational leadership, school law and policy, and administrative issues in education. Graduates are qualified for positions as assistant principals, K-12 deans, education consultants, and program directors.

This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. GW is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Educational Leadership and Administration
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,025/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Work Experience: 1 year

Contact

Phone: (202) 994-9283
Email: gsehdosl@gwu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers an online master of education in education policy, organization, and leadership that prepares graduates for a variety of educational leadership positions, such as deans, principals, superintendents, and educational policymakers. Students can choose from concentrations in diversity and equity in education, education administration and leadership, global studies in education, human resource development, and learning design and leadership.

U of I's education policy, organization, and leadership degree requires 32 credits and includes one course in educational leadership foundations, one course in educational psychology foundations, and six other department courses. Students have the option to complete an independent study or capstone course. All courses feature synchronous video lectures that are typically delivered once a week.

U of I is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Diversity and equity in education; education administration and leadership; global studies in education; human resource development; learning design and leadership
Tuition: $482/credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (217) 333-2603
Email: gradservices@education.illinois.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

The University of West Florida

Pensacola, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

The University of West Florida offers an online master of education in educational leadership for educators who have teaching experience and want to transition into an administrative or leadership role at an educational institution. This program prepares learners for the Florida Educational Leadership Exam. Online degrees at UWF may not be available in all states.

This 30-credit, 10-course M.Ed. in educational leadership includes classes that cover leadership in education: theory and practice, administration of school personnel, and principles of curriculum. Students must pass the Florida Educational Leadership Exam in order to graduate from the program.

To be eligible, applicants must hold a valid professional teaching certification, have at least three years of teaching experience, and a minimum 3.5 GPA. UWF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $295/credit in-state; $923/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.25 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT
Work Experience: 3 years

Contact

Phone: (833) 464-2256
Email: onlinedegrees@uwf.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook

8

University of San Diego

San Diego, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

The University of San Diego offers an online master of arts in higher education leadership for individuals seeking administrative and executive roles in higher education settings. Many participants are working professionals in higher education pursuing career advancement, while others are transitioning into the field.

This 36-credit online MA in higher education leadership degree includes a leadership core, a higher education core, research credits, electives, and an internship experience. Core courses cover integral leadership theory; ethical leadership; global perspectives in higher education; and dynamics of race, gender, and culture in higher education.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Professional experience is recommended but not required for admission. USD is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,465/unit
Credit Requirements: 36 units
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (619) 260-7790
Email: solesadmissions@sandiego.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

University of St. Thomas

Houston, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

The University of St. Thomas offers an online master of education in educational leadership for working educators and counselors who want to pursue a specialization or transition into an executive role in an educational setting.

UST's M.Ed. in educational leadership requires 30-36 credits. The program is structured in a cohort format, and courses are delivered completely online with some required live sessions and/or video conference calls. Students working toward a principal certificate must have at least two years of documented teaching experience; however, this experience is not necessary for admission into the program.

Eligible candidates must hold a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students who meet these minimum GPA requirements are not required to submit standardized test scores. Students who do not meet these requirements may qualify for alternative admission by submitting GRE or MAT scores. UST is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Counselor education; educational leadership; special education; dual language instruction; curriculum and instruction; generalist
Tuition: $598/credit
Credit Requirements: 30-36 credits
Program Length: 18-24 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid (online/on-campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 or higher preferred
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT

Contact

Phone: (713) 525-3540
Email: education@stthom.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

Fordham University

Bronx, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

Fordham University offers an online master of science in education in Catholic educational leadership. This degree track is designed for faith-based educators seeking to advance into administrative and leadership roles within educational institutions. The program uses a cohort model and focuses primarily on adult learning theory.

Fordham University's MSE in Catholic educational leadership requires 30 credits of coursework and can be completed in two years. The curriculum includes courses such as fundamentals of educational supervision, critical issues in Catholic and nonpublic education, ethics of school administration, and program evaluation and research.

Application requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA and submission of GRE or MAT test scores. Applicants employed at religious schools may qualify for a scholarship that covers 40% of tuition.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Education in Catholic Educational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,442/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT

Contact

Phone: (212) 636-6400
Email: ctrcsl@fordham.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

University of Denver

Denver, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

The University of Denver offers an online master of arts in educational leadership and policy studies that focuses on turnaround leadership development to improve the performance of students in the lowest performing schools and districts. This program is delivered through a blended learning model with 1-3 in-person Saturday meetings per quarter and weekly online sessions.

DU's 45-quarter-credit MA in educational leadership and policy begins with the classes necessary to earn an educational leadership and policy studies certificate. After completing their first year of the program, students are eligible for Colorado's principal licensure and only need 15 more credits to complete their degree. Students have the option of matriculating into one of six cohorts: the Adams County cohort, Aurora Public Schools cohort, Denver Public Schools cohort, Mountain Area cohort, Teach for America cohort, or the non-district-specific cohort.

DU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
School Status: Private
Tuition: $5,704/quarter
Credit Requirements: 45 quarter credits
Program Length: 1.75 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (303) 871-2509
Email: mce@du.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Mississippi College

Clinton, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

Mississippi College offers an online master of education in educational leadership that features a faith-based curriculum. This track is suitable for working educators looking to become school administrators or district personnel. Graduates are eligible for a K-12 administrator endorsement and can upgrade to an AA license if they pass the School Leadership Licensure Assessment.

MC's 36-credit M.Ed. in educational leadership includes 330 internship hours and 180 clinical experience hours. Core courses cover administrator preparation, dimensions of leadership, and school law.

Eligible applicants must hold a bachelor's from an accredited institution, a renewable teaching license in a K-12 area, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and at least three years of teaching experience. MC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $276/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 12 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: 3 years

Contact

Phone: (844) 351-6654
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 52%

Florida Atlantic University offers an online master of educational leadership for the inclusive development of educational administrators and leaders (IDEAL). This program readies learners to take the Florida Educational Leadership Exam, which qualifies individuals to serve as school principals or assistant principals.

FAU's 42-credit master of educational leadership includes three courses in leadership foundations, two courses in education foundations, seven courses in professional knowledge, and three courses in experiential learning. Students are required to pass the Florida Educational Leadership Exam before graduation.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA, and at least three years of teaching experience. The IDEAL program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and FAU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Educational Leadership for the Inclusive Development of Educational Administrators and Leaders
School Status: Public
Tuition: $304/credit
Credit Requirements: 42 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Work Experience: 3 years

Contact

Phone: (561) 297-3000
Email: whardma1@fau.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

Indiana University Bloomington

Bloomington, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 78%

Indiana University Bloomington offers an online master of education in educational leadership for individuals interested in pursuing school leadership roles. The curriculum meets requirements for Indiana's principal license; however, to qualify for licensure, students must have taught as a licensed teacher or counselor for at least two years. Students without teaching experience are welcome to join the program but will not be eligible for the state principal license.

The 36-credit M.S.Ed. in educational leadership includes nine required major courses and three courses of strand requirements. Core courses cover school community relations, teacher development and evaluation, legal perspectives on education, and data-informed decision-making. Strand courses are determined by the student with approval from their master's advisor.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 2.75 GPA. IU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum

Contact

Phone: (812) 856-2927
Email: wbourke@indiana.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 86%

Gonzaga University offers an online master of education in educational leadership for working educators seeking to advance in their teaching professions or transition to administrative positions. This program is delivered primarily online but a residency is required during the first summer semester.

Gonzaga's M.Ed. in educational leadership requires 30 credits. The 10-course curriculum culminates in a comprehensive exam and covers topics such as leadership and inquiry, research and data analysis, cultural competence development, and curriculum and assessment. Students also have the opportunity to earn credit as a program administrator intern, which fulfills Washington's program administrator certification requirements.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and provide evidence of at least three years of work experience in a preK-12 educational setting. Gonzaga is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $535/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 4 semesters

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Work Experience: 3 years

Contact

Phone: (800) 986-9585
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 70%

George Mason University offers an online master of education in educational leadership for working educators pursuing careers as school or district-level administrators. This degree fulfills licensure requirements for preK-12 administration and supervision in Virginia.

Mason's online M.Ed. in educational leadership requires 30 credits and can be completed in two years. The curriculum is based on a cohort system, and students progress through the courses in a predetermined sequence. Required courses include organizational theory and leadership, contemporary issues in educational leadership, using research to lead school improvement, and education law.

Eligible candidates must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, a minimum 3.0 GPA, a valid teaching license, and have at least two years of teaching experience at an accredited institution.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $707/credit in-state; $907/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: 2 years

Contact

Phone: (703) 993-3633
Email: edleprog@gmu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

Arizona State University

Scottsdale, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

Arizona State University offers an online master of education in educational leadership (principalship) program for prospective school leaders, counselors, program directors, and principals. This degree prepares learners for Arizona's principal or supervision certification and meets state licensure requirements. Online students seeking certification in other states should contact their state department to determine if this degree will fulfill their state principal or supervision requirements.

ASU's 36-credit, online M.Ed. program includes 11 total courses, such as school law, leadership in curriculum and assessment, instructional supervision, and school finance and human resources.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. ASU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership (Principalship)
School Status: Public
Tuition: $682/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (855) 278-5080
Email: asuonline@asu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

San Diego State University offers an online master of arts in educational leadership designed for teachers who want to transition into leadership roles in preK-12 classrooms, schools, or districts. The program also emphasizes the use of technology in instruction.

This 33-credit MA in educational leadership degree includes 11 courses that cover topics such as methods of inquiry, organizational and systems leadership, visionary leadership, school improvement leadership, communication and decision-making, and technology architecture. Some courses involve field experiences or independent study.

To be eligible, students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Students do not need to be matriculated into a degree program to begin taking courses through SDSU's World Campus, but they can earn no more than nine credits before formally matriculating. SDSU is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $1,630/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (619) 594-0845
Email: edleadership.ces@sdsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Texas Tech University offers an online master of education in educational leadership. This degree track serves as a principal professional certification preparation program and qualifies working teachers for careers as elementary or secondary school principals in Texas. This program prepares students to sit for the TExES Principal Assessment and the Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL).

TTU's M.Ed. program in educational leadership requires 36 credits. Core courses include school-based leadership, educational law and policy, instructional supervision, and implementation challenges. The curriculum is delivered in a blended format with online courses and occasional in-person cohort meetings and internship requirements.

Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree, have at least two years of teaching experience, and at least two years of Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System evaluation data. TTU 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
School Status: Public
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Work Experience: 2 years

Contact

Phone: (806) 834-3670
Email: f.valle@ttu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Creighton University

Omaha, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 81%

Creighton University's online master of science in educational leadership is rooted in Jesuit values and prepares graduates to lead and manage a school. Most coursework is delivered entirely online, but the program requires one short on-campus session.

The 36-credit MS in educational leadership features specializations in school administration and teacher leadership. Within each of these specializations, students can also select a Catholic school track or a public school track. Core courses include school improvement, intervention strategies, school culture, and school law. The Catholic school track requires courses such as the foundations of Catholic education.

Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, a teaching certificate, and have at least two years of teaching experience in a state-approved school. Creighton is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: School administration; teacher leadership
Tuition: $927/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: 2 years

Contact

Email: denisework@creighton.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

Regis University

Denver, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

Regis University offers an online master of education in education leadership program that leads to principal licensure, preparing learners for a career in school administration. This is a Colorado Department of Education-approved principal licensure track and allows degree-seekers to complete requirements for principal licensure within their first year. Students pursuing a principal's license in Colorado must possess three years of experience in a licensed capacity in a school district.

This M.Ed. in education leadership requires 35 credits and can be completed in 1.5 years. Courses are offered in blended, five-week terms and cover topics such as school strategy and sustainability, fiscal leadership, equity leadership, and school law.

A 10% tuition discount is available for licensed or contracted teachers. Regis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $515/credit
Credit Requirements: 35 credits
Program Length: 1.5 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (800) 944-7667
Email: ruadmissions@regis.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

University of Wisconsin La Crosse

La Crosse, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

University of Wisconsin La Crosse offers an online master of education in educational leadership to prepare teachers, school counselors, and school social workers to advance into leadership positions. Graduates can obtain a principal license in Wisconsin; however, those wishing to teach in other states should contact their state board of education to determine what courses might transfer to meet state requirements for licensure.

UW-La Crosse's M.Ed. in educational leadership requires 36-38 credits and can be completed in 18-21 months. Core courses include introduction to educational leadership, principalship, data-based decision-making for instruction, supervision and instruction, and school law. As a capstone, students can take courses on educational research or produce a thesis.

UW-La Crosse is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $450/credit
Credit Requirements: 36-38 credits
Program Length: 18-21 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: 1 year

Contact

Phone: (608) 785-5409
Email: pse@uwlax.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

Saint Joseph's University

Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

Saint Joseph's University offers an online master of science in educational leadership and administration for individuals aspiring to school leadership positions. This program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and prepares students to earn the administrative I principal preK-12, instruction supervisor preK-12, and/or supervisory I special education preK-12 certifications.

SJU's MS in educational leadership and administration program features 30 credits. Courses include leadership for social justice, data-informed assessment, transformational leadership, leading school curriculum, and fiscal allocation.

Most courses are available entirely online; however, special education courses and fieldwork are offered in a hybrid format. SJU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership and Administration
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Educational leadership and administration (without PA certification); principal and curriculum supervisor certification; supervisory special education certification; principal and supervisor certification
Tuition: $780/credit
Credit Requirements: 30-39 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (610) 660-3131
Email: edlgraduate.advising@sju.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

Montclair State University

Montclair, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

Montclair State University offers an online master of arts in educational leadership that prepares graduates to obtain a standard supervisors certificate and a principal certificate of eligibility. The program also provides an additional internship opportunity to qualify learners for the school administrator certificate of eligibility.

Montclair's 36-credit MA in educational leadership program includes core coursework in effective leadership in a diverse society, education law, differentiated supervision, school finance, and transformative leadership practices.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and submit acceptable GRE scores. Prospective students with a 3.0 GPA or higher — and those with a master's degree from an accredited institution — qualify for a GRE waiver. While a teaching certificate is not necessary for admission into the master's program, students who apply for New Jersey's principal and supervisor certification upon completion of the degree should hold a teaching certificate and have at least three years of teaching experience.

Montclair is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $623/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (973) 655-4000
Email: campost@montclair.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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Georgia College & State University

Milledgeville, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

Georgia College and State University offers an online master of education in educational leadership for working teachers planning a career in educational administration. The program requires 250 residency hours — which are embedded into the curriculum — and prepares graduates for tier I certification with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

Georgia College's 36-credit M.Ed. in educational leadership takes one year to complete. Core courses include management and compliance, stakeholder relationships, support and removing barriers, equity and differentiation, and continuous improvement. The program uses a cohort system and students progress through courses in a predetermined sequence.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and have a minimum 2.75 GPA. Georgia College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $373
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum

Contact

Phone: (478) 445-7364
Email: cheryl.reynolds@gcsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Online Master's in Educational Leadership Program Overview

The exact curriculum of an online master's in educational leadership program can vary depending on the college or university. However, most programs include education courses, educational leadership courses, and a capstone project.

Core courses in master's in educational leadership programs explore topics such as educational inquiry, data literacy and evidence-based practices, and cultural competency and social-emotional learning. Educational leadership coursework focuses on topics such as school law, systems management and school operations, leadership foundations and ethics, and school financial leadership.

Many graduate programs also require a capstone project, in which degree-seekers apply theoretical knowledge to solve practical problems. Many institutions let learners pursue their educational leadership degree online, allowing them to take advantage of flexible and convenient delivery methods.

Common Master's in Educational Leadership Degree Courses

Character and Ethics of Leadership

In this type of course, degree-seekers explore models for ethical organizational leadership. Coursework allows students to identify their personal values, character, and workplace ethics. Learners also explore leadership values and assumptions, with a special focus on practical experiences.

Case Studies in Law and Ethics

Learners examine the legal and ethical issues related to the practical matters that educators encounter in their daily responsibilities. Topics include day-to-day issues in education, such as emphasizing the dimensions of ethics relative to leadership and teaching.

Organizational Change

Degree-seekers in this course review the sociological and theoretical foundations of organizational change. Coursework allows students to explore the processes, sources, and outcomes of educational change and the impacts for both administrators and teachers. Course topics allow students to review the roles of lead teachers and concepts of educational administration.

School and Community Partnerships

Students examine the principles of administering and planning a program to build a relationship between schools and their environment. Learners can focus on developing the skills and strategies needed to link schools with parents, special interest groups, and citizens.

Strategies for Enhancing Student Achievement

This course explores strategies for helping students at all levels of study. Coursework emphasizes practical classroom applications.

Related Master's in Educational Leadership Degree Concentrations

Teacher Leader

The teacher leader concentration prepares graduates to pursue additional roles outside the classroom, including department head, lead teacher, and mentor teacher. Coursework focuses on topics such as teacher leadership, curriculum design, learning theory, and teacher inquiry.

School Leader

Students pursuing the school leader concentration graduate with the requirements needed to obtain certification as a school principal. This concentration includes an internship component that lasts a full calendar year, allowing students to integrate their specialized coursework and knowledge at an approved site and gain valuable field experience.

K-12 School Principal Leadership

The K-12 school principal leadership concentration prepares graduate students for leadership roles as principals. Upon completion of this concentration, graduates are recommended for certification as K-12 administrators. During their program, learners focus on topics such as school law and ethics; school business management; curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and educational leadership, systems, and change.

Educational and Global Leadership

Learners in this concentration focus on global education to support educational leadership practice. Students explore governmental and international organizations, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations, and other agencies with international components.

Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership

The higher education and student affairs leadership concentration focuses on broad-based student development and leadership. It incorporates field experiences with coursework. This concentration emphasizes diversity and inclusivity in higher education. It also promotes innovative discovery, learning, and service by focusing on professional development and scholarly research and practice.

Online Master's in Educational Leadership Admission Requirements

  • Leadership Essay

    Master's in educational leadership programs may require applicants to submit a leadership essay. This document outlines an applicant's professional and personal goals related to the program, specifically detailing how a master's in educational leadership would contribute to their overall development.

  • Building Principal Supervisor Verification

    Applicants interested in a master's degree in educational leadership may be required to submit a building principal supervisor verification. This certifies that they are practicing as a current administrator with a minimum of three years of experience under licensure.

  • GRE Scores

    Many colleges and universities require graduate-level applicants to submit GRE scores from within the last five years. Higher learning institutions that require GRE scores usually outline the minimum required scores to help applicants understand the expectations.

  • Official Transcripts

    To gain admission into a master's degree in educational leadership program, applicants must submit their official undergraduate transcripts. Most master's programs require applicants to meet a minimum GPA requirement, denoted on their transcripts. Depending on the program, a specific undergraduate degree may not be required.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    At the master's level, applicants are often required to submit letters of recommendation with their application. Letters should be professional in nature and come from academic and/or professional references, rather than a personal contact. Institutions that require letters of recommendation typically outline how many letters are required; this number is usually 1-3.


Online Master's in Educational Leadership Career Paths

Graduates of a master's degree in educational leadership program are prepared for a variety of opportunities, including careers as principals, assistant principals, university registrants, college provosts, instructional coordinators, district administrators, deans of students or faculty, and directors or supervisors.

Many graduates consider careers as education administrators at the elementary and secondary levels. The highest-paying industry for these professionals is management of companies and enterprises. Additionally, the highest-paying states for education administrators include Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, California, and Washington.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What job can I get with a master's in educational leadership?

Earning a master's degree in educational leadership allows professionals to qualify for administrative and teaching positions at the elementary, middle, secondary, and postsecondary school levels. Specific job opportunities include high school teachers, headmasters, assistant principals, and principals. This master's degree prepares individuals for teaching and executive roles in private and public schools.

How long does it take to get a master's in educational leadership?

The length of time needed to earn a master's degree in educational leadership can vary depending on the college or university's specific requirements and a student's enrollment status. Typically, master's students who pursue full-time enrollment complete their degree within two years, while learners who enroll in their program part time take closer to three years to graduate.

How much can you earn with a master's in educational leadership?

The salary of a worker with a master's degree in educational leadership depends on their chosen career. Positions such as education directors, elementary school teachers, high school principals, middle school teachers, high school teachers, elementary school principals, and assistant principals typically receive salaries that range from $52,000-$85,000 per year.

How do you abbreviate master's in educational leadership?

The abbreviation for a master's in educational leadership is MEDL. In addition to the MEDL program option, degree-seekers can consider pursuing a master of arts in teaching, a master of arts in educational leadership, or a master of education in literacy. Each program type features its own structure and requirements, and students should confer with an advisor to determine the right fit for them.

What are the different types of education leadership?

The different types of educational leadership include emotional leadership, servant leadership, transactional leadership, and transformational leadership. Servant leadership focuses on selfless leadership, guidance, and empowerment, while transactional leadership emphasizes a give-and-take structure. Emotional leadership focuses on emotions to provide guidance, while transformational leadership combines other types of leadership to motivate subordinates.

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