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The Master of Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership is designed to prepare candidates to assume leadership positions in both schools and district offices. The organizing theme for the program is the school/district administrator’s central role as the interpreter, facilitator, and initiator of educational change leading to effective schools for all children. The program focuses on the principal within the context of the school community of students, parents, teachers, support staff, administration, and the district supervisor within the community of schools. It recognizes the constant state of mutual influence that exists among schools, organizations, and the culture of the broader society.

The educational leader must understand and interpret changes within this context that affect the mission and operation of schools. For example, as an interpreter of change, the administrator must be able to discern the meaning of modifications in financial support, school law, governmental policy, and educational research, and communicate these changes to the staff and community. In the role of facilitator, the administrator must be able to effectively implement programs mandated by the school board, as well as to nurture and support positive changes suggested by students, staff, or parents. Finally, as the initiator of change, the administrator must provide leadership for the process of continuous school improvement.

Length of Program

The program includes 33 Graduate credit hours and is broken into three interlocking components: Professional core courses, a set of key leadership courses, and a practicum or internship experience.

Many students complete the required coursework in about 24 to 36 months including summers.

The Master of Education program can be completed in local cohorts or fully online if cohorts are not offered in proximity to your location.


Admission Requirements

All criteria are considered when reviewing the candidates for admission to the Master of Education degree program. However, no one criterion will be the sole reason for lack of admission to the program. Criteria include the following:

  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Professional resume
  • Hold or have held a valid teaching license or provide documentation of professional employment in the field
  • A two- to three-page written statement (double-spaced) describing the applicant's professional background, the educational issues the applicant would like to address in the master's program and the applicant's long-term professional goals
  • Full-time teaching (or equivalent) experience in a school setting
  • Recommendations from school personnel (administrative and instructional) familiar with the candidate's teaching performance and leadership potential
  • Faculty interview session results (to assess conceptual and oral performance)
  • Writing samples provided by the candidate in response to questions administered by program faculty (to assess organizational and writing performance)

Candidates may be required to complete several other tasks and activities which are designed to assess leadership ability and other skills and competencies as a part of the admissions, retention and program completion processes.

The master's degree and certificate programs in educational leadership are designed for practicing school personnel who aspire to be educational leaders.

Degree Requirements

All candidates must pass a comprehensive examination and submit a portfolio before completing the concentration. The comprehensive examination is designed to assess the attainment of the desired instructional outcomes of the concentration. Some offerings require prerequisites for enrollment. These requirements enable a systematic and developmental approach to preparing school administrators. The concentration is fully aligned with the standards mandated by the Virginia Department of Education.


*All candidates must pass a comprehensive examination and submit a portfolio before completing the concentration. This assessment is only offered during Fall and Spring semesters.*

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