Earning a master's in educational leadership helps professionals diversify their skill sets. This degree can also open the door to new employment opportunities and increase a worker's earning potential. The following guide offers a close look at common concentration areas, admission requirements, required courses, and common career paths in this field. It also includes a list of the best educational leadership programs for 2020 and answers to frequently asked questions about the field.

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

Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
3 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
4 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
5 University of Wisconsin - La Crosse La Crosse, WI
6 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
7 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
8 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
9 California State University - Sacramento Sacramento, CA
10 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL

The curriculum of a master's in educational leadership prepares graduate students for many management and administrative positions in public and private schools. Many degree-holders move on to careers as principals, college provosts, district administrators, university registrars, and instructional coordinators.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary education administrators earned a median income of $94,340 in 2018. Many professionals with degrees in educational leadership also pursue careers as elementary, middle, and high school principals; these workers took home a median salary of $95,310 in 2018.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe that 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 transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings 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 your ideal school.

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Educational Leadership Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Florida

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

At the University of Florida, students anywhere can earn an educational leadership degree from one of the top online graduate education programs in the United States. The two-year M.Ed. in educational leadership program blends coursework with mentoring, field experience, and ongoing support for school leaders.

The 36-39-credit curriculum requires 10 courses that cover topics in the principalship, public school law, data-driven decision making, and administration of school personnel. Two elective courses examine how school leaders can lead change and effectively communicate.

Participants seeking to pursue Florida principal certification must complete an ESOL training requirement in this affordable online master's in education. Students typically complete six credits per semester, but can enroll on a full- or part-time basis. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA on the last 60 credits of undergraduate work and the GRE.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $734/credit in-state; $734/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36-39
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum on last 60 credits of undergraduate work
Standardized Tests: GRE (not required after fall 2020)

Contact

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

2

Indiana University - Bloomington

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

Indiana University-Bloomington continues a tradition of rigor and affordability as one of the best value colleges in the nation. The fully online M.S.Ed. in educational leadership enrolls teachers interested in school leadership, though the department considers applicants with no teaching experience who can make a strong case for their inclusion.

The 36-credit curriculum deepens participants' leadership skills, enhances their professional development, and their understanding of the challenges facing the education field. Topics covered include school community relations, legal perspectives on education, and educational leadership: principalship K-12.

Enrollees use nine credits to customize the degree with a strand they choose in collaboration with an advisor, and must participate in a practicum in educational leadership. Fellowships help fund this affordable online master's in education. Admission requires a minimum 2.75 GPA, the GRE, and teaching or relevant work experience.


Program Overview

Program Name: M.S.Ed. in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $434/credit in-state; $520/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2+ years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE
Work Experience: Teaching or relevant work experience in a related field preferred.

Contact

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

3

Florida State University

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

Florida State University manages a robust virtual college. Teachers with at least two years of full-time pre-K-12 teaching experience can advance their careers with the fully online MS in educational leadership. The 33-credit degree, which blends theoretical knowledge and applied research opportunities, offers Florida certification and non-certification tracks.

The MS examines an array of topics, including how to plan effective instruction, data-driven school improvement, leadership for diversity, and the principalship. During a practicum, educators show how they can use their knowledge and skills to make a positive impact on students and schools. Students culminate the affordable master's in education with a comprehensive exam.

The College of Education at FSU offers more scholarship and fellowship opportunities than any similar department in Florida. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA, the GRE, and a current Florida Professional Educator's Certificate.


Program Overview

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

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum in upper-division work
Standardized Tests: GRE
Work Experience: At least 2 years of full-time pre-K-12 teaching experience

Contact

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

4

University of Central Florida

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

The University of Central Florida celebrates 20 years of administering top online degrees in various disciplines. The MA in educational leadership offers a fully online curriculum designed to meet the needs of working professionals. The degree does not meet Florida Department of Education approval for educational leadership certification.

Learners interested in administrative and leadership positions in schools and other settings that do not require certification enroll in the program. The 30-credit curriculum examines topics in organization and administration of schools, educational supervisory practices, and educational systems planning and management.

Participants complete a nine-credit research and measurement component. They culminate the affordable education degree with a research report that synthesizes their learning. UCF pairs participants with a success coach charged with providing support from enrollment to graduation. All students pay comparably affordable tuition. Admission requires school transcripts.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $357/credit in-state; $1,152/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: No GRE required

Contact

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

5

University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

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

Educators seeking administrative certification in Wisconsin can enroll in the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's online MSED in educational leadership emphasis. The degree prepares learners for administrative roles in the principalship.

The curriculum covers topics of the principalship, supervision and instruction, data-based decision making for instruction, and leadership and cultural competence. Participants engage in a supervised practicum focused on the school principalship. Learners culminate the degree with a thesis that incorporates original research and data.

All students in the affordable online master's in education pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Applicants with a minimum 3.5 GPA qualify for scholarships that cut tuition down by $54/credit. Admission to the MSED requires a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, and one year of full-time teaching experience at the K-12 level.


Program Overview

Program Name: MSED Educational Leadership Emphasis
School Status: Public
Tuition: $450/credit in-state: $450/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36-38
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: One year of full-time teaching experience at the K-12 level

Contact

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

6

San Diego State University

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

San Diego State University administers an educational leadership program that ranks first in the state. In just one year, online learners can earn the MA in educational leadership. The degree uses a cohort model to prepare educators and administrators to assume leadership roles at the pre-K-12 school and district levels.

The curriculum requires 10 courses that examine topics in visionary leadership, school improvement leadership, organizational and systems leadership, and professional learning and growth leadership. All courses in the affordable master's in educational leadership focus on technology.

Students learn from faculty renowned for work in leadership and instruction. Graduates leave the program equipped to lead schools in the use of technology to improve student outcomes. Admission requires a minimum 2.85 GPA and the GRE. Cohorts start every summer.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $17,940 divided over four semesters
Credit Requirements: 30
Program Length: One year

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.85 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

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

7

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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

The College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign prepares educators with a drive to make education accessible to all learners. The online M.Ed. in education policy, organization, and leadership models that approach with five concentrations, including global studies in education and educational administration and leadership.

The courses for the 32-36-credit curriculum depends on the specialization. Those interested in the global studies in education specialization delve into education and human rights, education and globalization, and global youth and citizenship.

The educational administration and leadership specialization covers public school finance, leading learning-centered schools, and leading school improvement. Students use synchronous online sessions to complete this affordable online master's in education. All students pay an affordable online tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and no GRE.


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; human resource development; global studies in education; learning design and leadership
Tuition: $482/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 32-36
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact

Phone: (217) 333-0807
Email: gradservices@education.illinois.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

The University of Iowa designs educational Leadership programs for working professionals. The 36-semester-hour MA in educational leadership offers both a hybrid principal licensure track and fully online non-licensure track. The program generally enrolls practicing teachers and administrators.

The MA's 24-credit core examines the foundation of school administration, school and community relationships, analysis and appraisal of curriculum, and supervision and evaluation. Those pursuing licensure use the remaining 12 semester hours to complete clinical coursework. Those in the non-licensure track work with an advisor to choose 12 credits in electives.

All students in the affordable master's in educational leadership culminate the degree with a comprehensive examination. Faculty deliver the degree asynchronously. All applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants seeking licensure must hold at least three years of teaching experience at the pre-K-12 level.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Principal licensure
Tuition: $337/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36 semester hours
Program Length: 2 or more years

Delivery

Format: 100% online and hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: At least 3 years of teaching experience at the Pre K-12 level for those seeking a license

Contact

Phone: (319) 335-5370
Email: steven-triplett@uiowa.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

California State University - Sacramento

Sacramento, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

California State University - Sacramento's College of Education boasts graduates able to address the unique challenges of a changing educational landscape. The college's 30-credit MA in education focuses on higher education leadership.

The hybrid curriculum of this affordable online master's in education examines diversity in higher education, the dynamics of organizational change, and workforce development professional competencies. All students culminate the degree with a capstone research project or thesis that applies research in the practice of educational leadership.

Faculty deliver the program synchronously with face-to-face sessions held on Friday nights and Saturdays. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units of the bachelor's, professional experience in higher education, and some leadership experience.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Education
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Higher education leadership
Tuition: $2,082/0-6 units
Credit Requirements: 30
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

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

Admission Requirements

GPA: A minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units
Work Experience: Experience in higher education and some leadership experience

Contact

Phone: (916) 278-6403
Email: grad_admissions@csus.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

Florida Atlantic University

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

At Florida Atlantic University, the College of Education offers the IDEAL master's in educational leadership program to train teachers for the principalship. Faculty designed the 42-credit IDEAL (Inclusive Development of Educational Administrators and Leader) to cultivate leaders of leaders, reflective practitioners, and transformative decision-makers.

The curriculum involves scenario-based learning and practical application of learned concepts. Topics covered include theory and assessment, school operations, instructional leadership I and II, and leadership for social justice. Students engage in clinical practice during a three-semester internship at their school.

Participants in the affordable master's in educational leadership attend on-site classes at FAU's campus in Boca Raton, or join remotely in real-time through the college's video-conferencing platform. All students pay the same per-credit tuition. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA in the bachelor's degree, at least three years of teaching experience, and no GRE.


Program Overview

Program Name: IDEAL Master's in Educational Leadership for School Leaders
School Status: Public or private
Tuition: $304/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 42 credits
Program Length: Six semesters

Delivery

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

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 GPA in upper-division coursework in the bachelor's degree
Standardized Tests: GRE not required
Work Experience: At least 3 years' of teaching experience

Contact

Phone: (561) 297-3624
Email: whardma1@fau.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

Oakland University

Rochester Hills, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

Located in Michigan, Oakland University is a public college with an enrollment of about 20,000 students. OU offers the M.Ed. in educational leadership, a state-approved principal training program that leads to a Michigan administrative K-12 certificate. Students complete the 32-credit program in just 22 months. The curriculum develops administrators highly skilled in leadership theories and techniques, staff and curriculum development, school finance and business administration, and other key areas. The school-based internship provides hands-on experience in an educational environment.

A school leader provides invaluable support through a mentoring relationship with the mentee. Participants leave the program with an e-portfolio documenting their accomplishments. The school offers affordable tuition and comprehensive financial aid. Admission to the affordable online master's in education requires a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some teaching experience is preferred, though not required.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $771/credit in-state; $1,027/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 32
Program Length: 22 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Teaching experience recommended, but not required

Contact

Phone: (248) 370-2772
Email: ramarti3@oakland.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

University of Wyoming

Laramie, WY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

Situated in Laramie, the University of Wyoming develops effective educational leaders through a principal preparation program offered to distance learners. The MA in education with a concentration in educational leadership can lead to K-12 principal certification.

The 33-credit curriculum examines leadership for curriculum development; leadership for instruction; an introduction to school law; and assessment, accountability, and student learning. All students complete a course that introduces them to research methodologies. The principal internship gives aspiring school leaders 435 hours (11 weeks) of practical leadership experience at elementary, middle, and high school grade levels.

Tuition at UW consistently ranks among the nation's best for value. Several scholarship opportunities may help lower tuition. Admission to the affordable master's in education requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and at least two years of teaching experience.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $2,439/9 credits in-state; $7,299/9 credits out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 33
Program Length: 2+ years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: At least 2 years of teaching experience

Contact

Phone: (307) 766-5649
Email: tlegal@uwyo.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

Baton Rouge, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

The state's Flagship college, Louisiana State University manages a virtual college that makes learning accessible and affordable. The M.Ed. in educational leadership expands on educators' classroom experience by equipping them with advanced management and leadership skills.

The program consists of 13 seven-week courses that participants complete in as few as 15 months. Faculty explore issues of ethics and educational leadership, administration of school personnel, how to apply research in education, and implement school improvement initiatives. A four-part series examines best practices of principal leadership.

All students in the affordable master's in education pay the same affordable tuition no matter where they live. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in the final 60 credits of the bachelor's, a teaching certificate from Louisiana or another state, and at least two years of teaching experience.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $459/credit in-state; $459/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 39
Program Length: 15 months or more

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 GPA
Work Experience: At least 2 years of teaching experience in a certification area. Valid Louisiana Type B or Level 2 teaching certificate, or one that's comparable from out-of-state, required

Contact

Phone: (225) 578-3608
Email: carlee719@lsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

George Mason University

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

George Mason University is Virginia's largest public research college. The fully online M.Ed. in education leadership enrolls educators interested in pursuing school- or district-level administrative positions. The 30-credit degree leads to Virginia administration and supervision pre-K-12 endorsement.The curriculum of this affordable education degree requires coursework in education law, organizational theory and leadership, the use of research to lead school improvement, and how to manage financial and human resources. An internship provides educators with at least one year of educational leadership experience.

Participants complete the M.Ed. in two years when they take two courses each semester. Mason lauds in-state graduate tuition that ranks low compared to similar colleges. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of the bachelor's, a valid teaching license, and at least two years of full-time teaching experience.


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
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum in the last 60 hours of the bachelor's
Work Experience: At least 2 years of full-time teaching experience

Contact

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

15

Towson University

Towson, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

Towson University lauds the institution's reputation for helping to create some of the best schools in Maryland through educator preparation. The fully online MS in transformational educational leadership enrolls educators with at least three years of experience who want to assume leadership roles.

The 36-unit curriculum embeds the requirements for Maryland's Administrator I certification. Participants acquire expertise in the leadership of schools and groups, curriculum and assessment, evidence-based decision making, and transformational leadership. They apply learning during a 300-hour internship in a school system. Students may also choose a hybrid format with face-to-face classes in Towson or other locations around the state. U.S. News & World Report ranks TU among the best values in higher education. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and state certification/licensure as a teacher or school professional.


Program Overview

Program Name: MS in Transformational Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $612/unit in-state; $1,104/unit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online and hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: At least 3 years of experience.

Contact

Phone: (410) 704-2974
Email: cfinkelstein@towson.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

University of Missouri

Columbia, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

Through Mizzou Online, the University of Missouri opens up access to more than 125 online programs. The M.Ed. in educational leadership and policy analysis offers an emphasis in pre-K-12 educational leadership and administration. The two-year degree leads to elementary/secondary principal certification.

The 31-37-credit curriculum covers the supervision of learning environments, leadership for data-driven change, school improvement, and learning curriculum and assessment for school leaders. A six-credit internship provides hands-on experience. Students complete much of the degree online, blending virtual learning with face-to-face weekend sessions four to five times per term.

Distance learners qualify for in-state tuition no matter where they live, making this an affordable online master's in education. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of the bachelor's and no GRE.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
School Status: Public
Tuition: $453/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 31-37
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

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

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0

Contact

Phone: (573) 882-2491
Email: MizzouOnline@missouri.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

Lehigh University

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

A private college located in Pennsylvania, Lehigh University offers a hybrid M.Ed. in educational leadership for working professionals interested in assuming leadership roles at educational institutions and related organizations.

The 30-credit degree requires a five-course core that examines organizational leadership, diversity, and data-based decision making. Learners must pursue a 15-credit area of interest, such as special education, learning and technology, or school counseling. Degree-seekers in this affordable online master's in education complete just two more courses to qualify for Pennsylvania principal certification.

Lehigh offers most courses on campus and some online. Students complete the degree in 18-24 months and may opt for full- or part-time enrollment. All students pay the same affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and school transcripts.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Learners may design 15-credit areas of interest, such as special education, learning and technology, or teaching
Tuition: $565/credit in-state; $565/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30
Program Length: 18-24 months

Delivery

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

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (610) 758.3225
Email: coe-admissions@lehigh.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

California State University - East Bay

Hayward, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

At California State University-East Bay, the MS in educational leadership prepares leaders who can help improve school systems and enhance student performance. The fully online program offers a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential (PASC) option for those who hold a current California teaching credential.

The 24-month MS ideally serves educators in pre-K-12 schools and educators at community colleges. Faculty design the affordable master's in education using a cohort model. The 30-36-credit curriculum covers social justice and equity in urban schools, collaborative research for equity, and transforming professional learning to support equitable student outcomes.

Students pay one affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA. The PASC option has additional requirements, including at least five years of full-time K-12 teaching or service experience and additional MS fieldwork.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $442/semester unit in-state and out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30-36
Program Length: 24 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: PASC applicants must have at least 5 years of full-time K-12 teaching or service experience.

Contact

Phone: (800) 730-2784
Email: ce@csueastbay.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, OK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

Oklahoma State University has 45 years of experience placing student affairs graduates at colleges across the United States. The MS in educational leadership studies: higher education continues that tradition by cultivating scholars who can lead higher education institutions.

The 36-credit curriculum explores student development theory, the impact of college on students and society, and leadership theory and ethical decision making. With electives, participants explore learning in a digital age and the community junior college. Enrollees complete an internship in higher education and student affairs.

The program's capstone course requires a creative component and portfolio. Faculty deliver the MS using a combination of face-to-face classes at the Stillwater campus and online coursework. OSU offers affordable tuition and scholarships that can help reduce costs. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA.


Program Overview

Program Name: MS in Educational Leadership Studies: Higher Education
School Status: Public
Tuition: $370/credit in-state; $1,016/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus); 100% online from fall 2021
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (405) 697-8263
Email: kerri.kearney@okstate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 46%

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley trains educators able to advocate for academic excellence and lead change in schools. The 30-credit M.Ed. in educational leadership offers a 10-month curriculum for busy educators to advance their careers faster.

The degree pays particular attention to developing school leaders able to serve diverse students, especially English language learners. The curriculum examines organizational leadership, instructional leadership, school community relations, and the principalship. A notable course focuses on the alignment of budgeting with HR areas, such as recruitment and retention.

At UTRGV, accelerated online graduate programs feature affordable tuition and a full complement of financial aid. Students may qualify for a $1,000 Graduate Dean's Accelerated Online Scholarship. Admission to the affordable online master's in education requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and the GRE.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $458/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30
Program Length: 10 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (956) 665-7399
Email: rosalinda.hernandez@utrgv.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Wilmington, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

The University of North Carolina Wilmington's College of Education designs programs for certified teachers who want to advance their knowledge and expertise in specialized areas. The M.Ed. in leadership, policy, and advocacy in early childhood trains school leaders who can improve the lives of young children and families.

The 36-credit program delves into core topics of leadership theory and behavior, public policy and advocacy for children and families, and diverse families and children in communities. With up to 15 elective credits, educators hone skills in budget and finance or organizational development for early childhood programs.

Students use six credits to complete a two-part advocacy research project that culminates the affordable master's in education. Admission requires a preferred minimum 3.0 GPA, bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field, and no GRE.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Leadership, Policy and Advocacy in Early Childhood
School Status: Public
Tuition: $590/credit in-state; $2,319/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum preferred

Contact

Phone: (910) 962-3724
Email: jonesmk@uncw.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

Ramapo College of New Jersey

Mahwah, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state's premier public liberal arts college. The

MA in educational leadership prepares educators for standard New Jersey Supervisor and Principal Certificate of Eligibility in just one year. Faculty ground the curriculum in theoretical studies and a sequence of field-based experiences.

The 36-credit curriculum consists in part of eight four-credit courses that examine topics in change leadership; effective leadership and school management; curriculum planning, design, and development; and contemporary educational leadership: theories and practice. Graduates leave the program skilled in the use of data for curriculum-based decision making.

Educators complete two 150-hour internships that provide practical experience. All students in the MAEL pay one affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission to the affordable master's in educational leadership requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and valid state-issued teacher certification.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $722/credit in-state; $722 credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36
Program Length: 12 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT

Contact

Phone: (201) 684-7300
Email: admissions@ramapo.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

The University of Texas at Arlington

Arlington, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

The University of Texas at Arlington developed a fully online M.Ed. in educational leadership and policy studies in collaboration with area school districts. The 30-credit program cultivates educators equipped to assume roles as principals or assistant principals.

The 16-month curriculum covers leadership theory, the principalship, curriculum design, and diversity in educational settings. Participants culminate the degree with an internship and an accompanying professional portfolio and research project. In order to earn the standard Texas principal certificate, candidates need a master's degree, a valid Texas classroom teaching certificate, and at least two years of teaching experience.

UTA emphasizes affordable online education and offers flexible payment options. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA. UTA does not offer the program in every state.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
School Status: Public
Tuition: $277/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30
Program Length: 16 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum in the last 60 hours of the bachelor's degree
Standardized Tests: GRE for some students
Work Experience: At least 2 years of relevant work experience

Contact

Phone: (866) 489-2810
Email: education@uta.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

Georgia College & State University

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

Located in Milledgeville, Georgia College and State University administers an M.Ed. in educational leadership that enrolls certified teachers who want to advance to administrative careers. The program offers an accelerated 36-credit curriculum that educators complete fully online in just one year.

Faculty use a cohort model to examine issues in management and compliance, stakeholder relationships, continuous improvement, and equity and differentiation. Participants culminate the degree with an exit requirement that includes an electronic portfolio presentation. The school recommends the educator for Tier I certification once they complete the GACE Educator Ethics for Leadership test.

All students pay the same affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 2.75 GPA and coursework on the education of children with special needs. The affordable master's in education begins each August and ends the following summer.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $288/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 12 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum
Work Experience: Some classroom teaching experience.

Contact

Phone: (478) 445-1383
Email: Cheryl.Reynolds@gcsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

25

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

Established as a virtual college by governors in the 1990s, Western Governors University continues to innovate with accessible, affordable, competency-based teacher preparation programs. The 39-unit MS in educational leadership gives licensed teachers a pathway to the principalship or assistant principalship with a fully online curriculum and practical experience.

The program develops leaders with expertise in areas of school law, school finance, curriculum design and instruction, and data literacy and evidence-based practice. Educators engage in a two-part practicum that gives them experience under the direction of a practicing school principal or assistant principal.

A capstone requires that educators use their knowledge to solve a challenge in the school environment. About 73% of students complete this degree in 24 months. WGU's per term tuition saves educators money. Admission to the affordable master's in education requires teacher certification and school transcripts.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $3,240/six-month term
Credit Requirements: 39 units
Program Length: 24 months on average

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Work Experience: Some classroom experience

Contact

Phone: (866) 225-5948
Email: admissions@wgu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Online Master's in Educational Leadership Program Overview

Online master's in educational leadership programs help students develop skills in governance, leadership, finance, law, and strategic planning. Depending on the program and the student's concentration area, master's degree-seekers learn how to manage school budgets, create supportive and safe learning environments, and communicate with students and parents effectively.

Online graduate students take the theories and methods they learn in the virtual classroom and transform them into effective, hands-on leadership practices. Master's programs ultimately strive to provide students with the skills needed to manage today's educational institutions, teaching participants how to oversee staff, develop and implement curricula, and help schools meet their long-term goals.

Master's degree-holders can pursue many careers following graduation. Alternatively, some learners move on to pursue a doctorate in education, depending on their career goals. In some cases, colleges and universities require high-level administrators to possess a doctorate.

Common Master's in Educational Leadership Degree Courses

Foundations of Graduate Studies in Education

This introductory course ensures that master's students possess the skills necessary to succeed in a graduate program. Learners explore how to critically engage with texts, convey their thoughts clearly through writing, and evaluate academic arguments. Enrollees also observe multicultural perspectives and diversity in professional environments.

Leadership Strategies and Communication

Online master's students in this class learn strategies for engaging with their pupils, students' families, and other professionals in administrative settings. With the help of faculty members, participants also learn to evaluate the effectiveness of community involvement in school events and collaborative initiatives in elementary, middle, and high schools.

Management Practices

This introductory course familiarizes master's students with fundamental aspects of school leadership and management. Most schools follow six standards provided by the National Education Leadership Preparation program. Learners examine public administration and business models, gaining a holistic view of leadership and management practices.

Financial Leadership in Schools

Pupils in this class explore common financial policies, issues, and practices that school administrators often encounter in preK-12 programs. Faculty members help distance learners understand critical school budgeting and funding practices. Pupils also learn how to distribute funds when managing school resources and ensure the ethical and legal use of financial resources.

Education and Inclusivity

This class prepares master's students for leadership positions to provide additional support and services for students with disabilities, language barriers, or notable levels of giftedness. Participants explore applicable laws, policies, regulations, and matters of equity for these scenarios.

Related Master's in Educational Leadership Degree Concentrations

School Development

Students receive a holistic view of instructional leadership, professional culture, and family engagement in learning environments. Learners who follow this concentration typically pursue administrative careers in schools or education-focused nonprofits. Students may also use this training as a springboard to start their own schools or educational facilities.

Curriculum Development

This concentration best serves master's students who wish to develop and implement lesson content, create new learning resources, and recommend progressive teaching methods in their schools. Educational leadership programs with this specialization may include substantial training in educational technologies and related teaching methods for classroom instruction.

Higher Education Administration

A concentration in higher education administration helps prepare students for leadership and administrative roles in postsecondary education institutions. Master's students learn how to track undergraduate student progress; promote diversity on college campuses; and examine community engagement, theories, and policies. Students can also prepare for student affairs-focused roles on college campuses.

Education and Global Leadership

This concentration is suitable for master's students interested in pursuing educational leadership roles with an international component. The curriculum prepares learners to move on to leadership roles in international nonprofit or nongovernmental organizations.

Principal Leadership for K-12

This concentration helps prepare students for leadership roles as K-12 administrators or principals. Depending on the state, this concentration may lead to administrator certification or a principal endorsement. Coursework in this concentration includes substantial training in school law and ethics, school business management, data-driven decision-making, and cultural competence in schools.

Online Master's in Educational Leadership Admission Requirements

  • Letters of Recommendation

    Many affordable online master's and education programs require prospective students to submit letters of recommendation as part of the application process. Applicants should ask for letters from individuals who can speak to their likelihood of success in a graduate program, such as previous professors and academic advisors.

  • Graduate Record Exam

    Some master's programs may wish to see an applicant's GRE scores for consideration. The GRE requires prospective students to study and plan ahead. Students should determine whether their desired schools require the GRE well in advance of any deadlines.

  • Grade Point Average

    Admissions committees typically require learners to submit official transcripts with an accompanying GPA. This documentation helps graduate schools evaluate an applicant's previous course history and general abilities.

  • Related Bachelor's Degree

    Some programs may require candidates to possess a bachelor's degree in education or a related field. Related fields include special education, early childhood education, secondary education, and arts education.

  • Personal Statement

    This common requirement provides applicants the opportunity to articulate why they want to attend a particular academic program. Additionally, prospective students can use this document to express their interest in any specialized area of the field and how attending a certain school or department can help them meet their academic and career goals.


Online Master's in Educational Leadership Career Paths

Graduates who complete an affordable online master's in education can pursue mid- and senior-level careers in education. In most cases, a professional who holds a master's in educational leadership can find their desired career in K-12 programs; nonprofit organizations; or local, state, or federal government agencies.

Professionals with these master's degrees can pursue leadership or administrative roles at colleges and universities, although they may not qualify for top positions. In some cases, higher-level positions at universities require workers to possess a doctoral degree in education or a related field.

Most educators who work in a school setting also need a teaching or principal's license. Licensure requirements vary by state, but degree-seekers should plan to sit for a licensure exam before or immediately after graduation.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a master's in education cost?

Tuition for online master's in educational leadership programs varies from school to school. Prospective students should compare tuition rates among private and public institutions, fully online and hybrid programs, and in-state and out-of-state schools. According to Franklin University, an accredited master's program typically costs $30,000-$40,000.

How many credits is a master's in education degree?

Credit requirements also vary among schools. A student pursuing an online master's in educational leadership typically needs to earn 30-45 credits. Some colleges and universities use quarter-based schedules instead of semesters. In these cases, remote students can expect to complete 60-90 quarter credits.

How much can you make with a master's in education?

Professionals with a master's in education can earn above-average wages. For example, postsecondary education administrators earned a median salary of $94,340 in 2018. Additionally, high school principals took home a median income of $95,310, while instructional coordinators made $64,450.

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

Full-time students can complete online master's in educational leadership programs in 1-2 years. Distance students who enroll as part-time learners can expect to spend 3-4 years completing their degrees. Some programs require remote students to write a traditional master's thesis for graduation. Depending on the amount of original research involved in a thesis, this requirement could extend the length of a program by a year or more.

Is a master's in education worth it?

Earning a master's degree can increase your earning potential and open the door to additional career paths. According to BLS data, professionals in all fields with a master's degree tend to make more than $200 more per week than those with just a bachelor's degree.

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