Master of Education in Educational Leadership

M.Ed. in Educational Leadership

The online Master of Education in Educational Leadership at American College of Education prepares educators for a leadership role in the classroom, school and district. The program is designed to teach effective principles and strategies to build a positive school culture, align the school community with a vision for learning, and advance student achievement.

Program candidates develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills and dispositions to lead effectively. Graduates emerge with the vision, decision-making skills and consensus-building abilities needed to improve education outcomes and affect positive change.

The Educational Leadership master's program curriculum is aligned to the Educational Leadership Policy Standards: ISLLC 2008 (Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium).

Prepare to become an educational leader with this online degree program. Start your application, or check admission requirements.

Note: State Specific Requirements – Ohio and Texas

Texas: residents of Texas applicants to the Master of Education in Educational Leadership program must:

  1. Complete an interview.
  2. Submit an Education Leadership essay.
  3. Have their school district submit a sealed Teacher Service Record
  4. To comply with the Texas Education Agency requirements, admits must confirm, in writing, acceptance of the admission offer.
  5. Additional requirements for applicants to the M.Ed. in Leadership program whose first language is not English: Applicants must submit TOEFL scores to prove English-language proficiency. Applicants must have a minimum overall score of 80, and a minimum score of 26 on the speaking section. 

Ohio: residents of Ohio applicants to the Masters of Education in Educational Leadership program must:

  1. Submit an Education Leadership essay
  2. Submit two (2) letters of recommendation

Note: Ohio students will follow the general course plan for the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership. Students in Texas will follow the course plan for residents of Texas. Please see the Course Overview tab for more information.

Illinois Students

To comply with Illinois educator testing requirements, applicants must provide evidence of passing the appropriate Illinois academic proficiency exam. Please refer to the Illinois State Board of Education website for detailed information, as the requirements are subject to change.

Students who reside in Illinois, enroll in, and complete the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program are now eligible to meet Illinois state requirements for the Professional Educator License (PEL) Administrative Endorsements. You must already have the PEL teaching credential before you apply for the endorsement.

Please note that completion of this degree program does not automatically earn students PEL endorsement. The Illinois State Board of Education may require additional materials before granting a PEL endorsement, and students should check with the ISBE to see if additional requirements must be met.

For more information on Illinois requirements for PEL, click here

Florida candidates interested who already hold a master’s degree (non-M.Ed. in Educational Leadership)

Starting with the May 23, 2016 term, candidates holding a master’s degree outside of the educational leadership field who are interested in becoming a licensed principal in the state of Florida will be eligible for a transcript review directly through American College of Education to assess a path forward.

ACE has taken the necessary steps to align our M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program courses with the Florida Principal Leadership Standards domains. Candidates for this transcript review process must have an application in process with American College of Education as a Student-at-Large. To begin the process, candidates are encouraged to contact an enrollment counselor at 1-800-280-0307, option 2. Additionally, applicants must fill out the Transcript review for Florida Modified Educational Leadership Program form.

Dual Degree Program

Graduates of American College of Education with an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership or M.Ed. in Elementary Education may continue their knowledge and development with an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction for Graduates of Educational Leadership.

Program Summary

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership program instructs aspiring school administrators in current scientific research, pedagogy, and instructional technology. Students are empowered to maximize school effectiveness and improve supervision and leadership skills in diverse P-12 school settings. Students will develop the strategies required to lead for learning, including creating a school-wide vision and using data to inform decision making. The program is aligned with Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Standards for effective leadership and is designed to create culturally aware and competent administrators.

To view a list of faculty for this program, please visit the Faculty page.

Program Outcomes (for students admitted or enrolled on or after the February 22, 2016 term)

  • Develop, implement, and monitor a shared vision of learning for a K-12 school, promoting the academic and social success of all students and effectively aligning the vision to the school’s mission.

  • Employ evidence-based strategies, including observation and high-quality professional development, and intellectual processes to support teachers as they strengthen content delivery, instructional effectiveness, and assessment for all students.

  • Engage faculty, staff, and other school stakeholders in team-building strategies, and facilitate the process of developing and maintaining professional learning communities to increase student engagement and achievement.

  • Implement skills, concepts, and practices to structure an educationally enriched, technology-enhanced, positive and safe school environment.

  • Manage human and fiscal resources effectively which includes prioritizing decisions based on the school’s academic achievement goals.

  • Practice and model ethical decision making skills to include equitable considerations, valid data gathering, various reporting measures and consequence analyses concerning school personnel and other issues impacting school environments.

  • Promote strong parent, family, and community relations by modeling equity, fairness, and respect among all school stakeholders.

  • Demonstrate shared decision making and an effective communication network through various media modes and accessibility for the purpose of maintaining positive community/school relationships.

  • Apply legal and social principles in an institutional framework to enrich the school’s climate, culture, and diverse learning infrastructure, including an emphasis on civic and global learning.

  • Engage in professional learning activities, including research, to remain current in the field and to ensure relevant application of evidence-based practices in the school setting.

Program Outcomes (for students who are enrolled or admitted prior to the February 22, 2016 term)

The American College of Education’s leadership program is designed to address the following areas of Leadership: Visionary, Instructional, Administrative and Ethical, School and Community and Social, Political and Legal Leadership.

Visionary Leadership

  • Develop a vision of learning for the school or district-level community that promotes the academic and social success of all students, and effectively assign the vision to the mission or belief statements of the school.
  • Formulate the initiatives necessary to motivate staff, students, and families to achieve the school’s vision. This also requires the ability to collect, interpret, and analyze school data and/or outcomes.
  • Develop plans and processes for implementing the vision.
  • Demonstrate the ability to involve community members in the realization of the vision and in related school improvement efforts.
  • Monitor, through periodic evaluation, the effective operation of the vision and mission.

Instructional Leadership
  • Problem solve potential instructional deficiencies in staff to improve overall content delivery and enhance professional development.
  • Engage teachers in team-building strategies and facilitate the process of developing and maintaining professional learning communities to strengthen instruction and to increase student achievement.
  • Strategically plan effective lessons with teachers and engage in data-driven decision-making to enhance learning for all students.
  • Effectively assess instructional proficiencies through classroom observations to determine teacher needs and strengthen effectiveness.
  • Evaluate instructional models on an ongoing basis, used by teachers to determine suitability based on student assessment data.

Administrative and Ethical Leadership
  • Implement skills, concepts, and practices to structure an educationally rich, positive, and safe school environment.
  • Create a learning culture inclusive of operations and resources for an efficient and effective learning experience to enhance academic achievement for all students.
  • Foster stewardship of the school vision by relaying, executing, and promoting the vision to all stakeholders.
  • Promote and facilitate the use of instructional tools, strategies, assessments, and current technologies.
  • Manage school financial resources effectively, which includes prioritizing decisions based on the schools vision, mission, and academic improvement goals.
  • Provide information and support for rigorous and relevant professional growth activities that will foster an enthusiastic work environment.
  • Expand decision-making skills to include equitable considerations, valid data-gathering measures, and consequence analyses concerning school staff.
  • Practice and model ethical behavior at all times.
  • Serve as an advocate for all children and promote their continuous development.

School and Community Leadership
  • Build strong community relations by modeling and promoting equity, fairness, and respect among faculty, staff, students, parents, and community leaders.
  • Provide opportunities for stakeholders to develop and use skills in collaboration, shared decision-making and responsibility for the purpose of maintaining a comprehensive program of positive home/school relationships.
  • Acknowledge and respect the goals, values, and aspirations of diverse family and community groups by engaging the support of business, philanthropic, political, social, and civic or faith-based organizations and other resources to enrich the school’s climate, culture, and diverse learning infrastructure.
  • Maintain a broad communication network throughout the school and community by using a wide variety of print and electronic media modes while establishing a high level of visibility and active involvement among stakeholders.

Social, Political and Legal Leadership
  • Establish partnerships with social, political, and community leaders to obtain and integrate the resources necessary to build a productive school environment.
  • Demonstrate the knowledge of and apply legal, political, social, and economic principles in an institutional framework to enrich the school’s climate, culture, and diverse learning infrastructure.
  • Promote the success of all students by understanding causes for achievement gaps, while responding to and influencing educational equity with cultural context.

Course Overview

(3 semester credits each unless noted otherwise)

EL5033 Creative Safe and Supportive Learning Environments
EL5753 Law and Policy
EL5023 Assessment Strategies
EL5053 Community Engagement, Outreach, and Collaboration
EL5123 Diverse Learners
RES5173 Research Methods for Educational Leaders
LIT5243 Strengthening Literacy for Educational Leaders  OR
LIT5233 Prescriptive Intervention for Reading Difficulties (for students in Michigan)
EL5623 Developing Teachers
EL5703 School Improvement
EL5723 Resource and Fiscal Management

Internship Courses:*

(based on state of residence)
(3 semester credits; 10-week format)

ELIN5983  Internship Experience for Educational Leadership (Indiana)
ELIL5983  Internship Experience for Educational Leadership (Illinois)
 Internship Experience for Educational Leadership (Florida)
ELOH5983  Internship Experience for Educational Leadership (Ohio)
 Internship Experience for Educational Leadership (all other states)
*EL5113 Educational Leadership Internship Completion
*EL5113 is scheduled after graduation if a student needs to earn additional internship hours above what was required (a minimum of 120 hours) and earned in EL5983.

Capstone Courses

(1 semester credit; 5-week format)

Any course from above, plus: (based on state of residence)

ELIN5091  Capstone Experience for Educational Leadership (Indiana)
 Capstone Experience for Educational Leadership (Illinois)
 Capstone Experience for Educational Leadership (Florida)
 Capstone Experience for Educational Leadership (Ohio)
 Capstone Experience for Educational Leadership (all other states)

Total: 34 semester credits

Course Overview for Residents of Texas

(3 semester credits each unless noted otherwise)

Texas students in the Educational Leadership program will take the following courses:

ELX5033 Creating Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (TX)
ELX5753 Law and Policy (TX)

Remaining courses (3 semester credits each, except if noted otherwise; order based on availability)

ELX5023 Assessment Strategies (TX)
ELX5053 Community Engagement, Outreach, and Collaboration (TX)
ELX5123 Diverse Learners (TX)
RES5163 Research Methods for Educational Leaders (TX)
LIT5243 Strengthening Literacy for Educational Leaders
ELX5623 Developing Teachers (TX)
ELX5703 Campus Improvement (TX)
ELX5723 Resource and Fiscal Management (TX)

Final Courses (3 semester credits each, except if noted otherwise) taken at the end of program

ELX5983 Internship Experience for Educational Leadership (TX)
ELTX5091 Capstone Experience for Educational Leadership (Texas) (1 semester credit)
*EL5113 is scheduled after graduation if a student needs to earn additional internship hours above what was required (a minimum of 160 hours for Texas) and earned in the ELX5983 course.

Total: 34 semester credits

Students who enrolled prior to February 22, 2016 should refer to the College catalog for course overview and requirements.

EL5023 Assessment Strategies

This course develops competencies in utilizing formative and summative assessment practices and data to inform and guide curriculum development and instruction. Classroom and school-based assessment tools provide teachers with the knowledge and skills required to meet the needs of diverse learners. Embracing assessment is the first step towards "data-based" decision-making in education.

RES5173 Research Methods for Educational Leaders

This course enables students to become informed consumers of educational research and to develop skills that prepare them to carry out action research in their schools and classrooms.

An emphasis is placed on providing students with knowledge that they can apply in determining whether particular research findings are relevant to their leadership and instructional practices and to distinguish between trustworthy and non-trustworthy research.

Throughout the course, students identify the elements that scientifically-based research and action research share. Emphasis is placed on how research can become a vital and relevant tool for teachers and school leaders.

ED5053 Community Engagement, Outreach, and Collaboration

How can those within the community support the established teaching and learning goals set by the school? This course provides a foundation for developing relationships among stakeholders in the school community—students, school, parents, and the community at large—for the express goal of supporting student learning. In addition to examining research findings, students will explore family engagement, mutually beneficial community relationships, and student advocacy. The course culminates with a plan for continuing school improvement and professional growth.

ED5123 Diverse Learners

This course reviews data related to the effectiveness of educational initiatives emphasizing evidence-based instructional design models used to assess and instruct students with diverse learning needs. Special attention is given to inclusion of traditionally underrepresented learner populations, i.e.; special education, LEP, economically disadvantaged, and ethnic minorities.

EL5033 Creating Safe and Supportive Learning Environments

Through classroom application of course content, this course provides students with substantial practical experience as they master and implement preventive and positive classroom management strategies. In addition, students acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge about the relationships between school-wide systems and behavioral development, learning and achievement among students with diverse needs. 

EL5623 Developing Teachers

This course provides students with resource management strategies to identify the organizational needs of a school, leverage the unique strengths and talents of competent teachers, and build the instructional and leadership capacity of teams. Students also learn how to develop and implement assessment and evaluation strategies to document teacher performance and to guide decisions relevant to professional development and employment termination options.

EL5703 School Improvement

Students explore research on school improvement strategies, structures, and processes, analyze leadership decisions and behaviors, and examine the implications of research and commonly used practices for managing organizational change. Students also use existing research and literature to uncover underlying assumptions about school reform efforts, to improve the accuracy of problem identification, issues of human and social capital, the need for professional learning, and the challenges of overcoming bureaucratic and cultural norms.

LIT5203 Strengthening Literacy (Non-Michigan version of LIT5233)

This course prepares students to implement a school-wide leadership initiative to improve a comprehensive range of literacy skills. Specific principles and theories of reading instruction are evaluated in relation to currently employed practice so teachers can immediately strengthen instruction. Students examine the scientific research base underlying different models of reading instruction. Special attention is given to curriculum mapping, alignment, and the development of an implementation plan to strengthen literacy.

EL5723 Resource and Fiscal Management

This course identifies local, state, and federal sources for school funding and provides students with familiarity with state funding formulas and local budget guidelines. An emphasis is also placed on ensuring that aspiring leaders develop competencies essential to the allocation of resources toward teaching, learning, and school improvement priorities rather than simply monitoring facilities and accounts. Students will also have the opportunity to explore non-traditional funding sources such as grants, foundations, and community partnerships.

EL5753 Law and Policy

This course focuses on legal and ethical dimensions of school leadership with an emphasis on resolving conflicts in the school community. Students analyze legal cases and ethical dilemmas that relate to the role and responsibilities of the leader tasked with creating and maintaining an educational environment that protects and nurtures equity, fairness, tolerance, and respect.

EL5983 Internship Experience for Educational Leadership

This 10-week course is designed to allow students the opportunity to engage in a variety of field experiences to enrich their professional growth, skills, knowledge, and attributes as school leaders. In the course, students will apply academic learning to practice in the field and display occurrences through a series of projects.

EL5113 Educational Leadership Internship Completion

Scheduled after graduation if a student needs to earn additional internship hours above what was required (a minimum of 120 hours) and earned in EL5983.

This course is designed to assist students in completing additional internship hours to meet licensure expectations. Additional internship hours must be completed within two years after final course enrollment. 

EL5091 Capstone Experience for Educational Leadership (1 semester credit)

The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the Educational Leadership program.

Semester Credits Tuition Per Credit Total Tuition
34 $235 $7,990

Applicable fees

  • Application fee: $50
  • Technology and library fee: $10.00 per credit hour (for a total of $340)
  • Program conferral fee: $100

2016 total program cost: $8,480. For more information, visit the tuition section.

Total program cost for students who were admitted, re-entered, or changed programs and begin study before the February 22, 2016 term: $8,745


One of the most important components of your Educational Leadership experience at ACE is the Educational Leadership Internship. The internship will be documented during the dedicated 11th course in the sequence, EL5983 Internship Experience for Educational Leadership. Please see Internships for details.

The Educational Leadership internship experience at American College of Education represents an extended period of guided, professional practice during which the Educational Leadership intern takes increasing responsibility for the learning of P-12 students while under the guidance of a self-selected and approved mentor and an ACE faculty member.

The experience is designed to address the Educational Leadership program outcomes though standards-based work in a school setting guided by a practicing school administrator. All activities completed by the intern are expected to provide administrative support to the mentor and school community in addition to instructional support to the campus in order to help increase student learning and achievement.

Visit the Educational Leadership Internship page here.

Professional licensure, certification, and salary benefit requirements for educators vary from state to state and district to district. American College of Education cannot guarantee licensure, certification, endorsement, or salary benefits. In some states, students may need to satisfy additional requirements for licensure, certification, or endorsement. It is the students' responsibility to understand and comply with requirements in the jurisdiction where they choose to work as an educator. In all cases, students are solely responsible for determining whether they are eligible for licensure in a state and to confirm the precise requirements that must be satisfied to be licensed in that state before beginning the program.