Master of Education in
Educational Leadership

Designed to help you become a school principal, the Master of Education in Educational Leadership program will teach you to effectively lead, run, and manage a PreK-12 school.

Total cost at ACE


(tuition + fees)

Compare with other institutions*:


Concordia University


Capella University


Grand Canyon University

*Based on information provided on each institution's website as of August 2018

Applications due November 8 for November 11, 2019 Term

Estimated Time to Completion:
17 - 19 Months

View Tuition Details

Key Features of Our Online Master of Education Degree

  • Relevant Coursework: Aligned to national and state standards, you will learn how to think like a principal in every course, so you’ll feel prepared for the next step in your career.
  • Tailored Internship Approach: All courses are designed to prepare you for a meaningful internship experience.
  • Flexible: Study on your schedule. Our online format allows you to plan your coursework around your life.
  • Accelerated Completion: Florida students that have already completed a master’s degree can qualify for the Florida Modified EL option.
  • Accreditation: Along with HLC accreditation, this program is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)**.
  • State-Approved: This program is approved for principal licensure in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Texas.

For more information about this program, view the College Catalog. You can also ask questions anytime via chat.

Florida residents interested in principal certification within the state of Florida should review courses and information about our Florida licensure track for the Florida approved Master of Education in Educational Leadership program in our College Catalog

Texas residents interested in our Texas approved Master of Education in Educational Leadership program should review courses and information about our Texas program in our College Catalog.

Educational Leadership Internship

Your internship will be one of the most important components of your Educational Leadership experience. It’s an extended period of guided, professional practice during which you will take increasing responsibility for the learning of PreK-12 students while under the guidance of a self-selected, approved mentor and an ACE faculty member. You will provide administrative support to your mentor and school community in addition to instructional support for the campus in order to help increase student learning and achievement. See Internships for more details.

Dual Degree Programs

After you complete your M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, you can earn a second M.Ed. degree in less time due to the overlap in required courses. If you’re interested in an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, visit our Dual Degree page.

Department Chair

Sunddip Aguilar, Ed.D.
Administrative Faculty and Chair,
Department of Leadership and Administration

From the beginning of her career, Dr. Sunddip Aguilar has been interested in changing education. She has taught over 10 years in the K-12 setting and currently serves as an online adjunct instructor. Additionally, she is a master reviewer leading a team through course review design for both K-12 and higher education courses.

Dr. Aguilar’s current passion is assisting institutions in successfully achieving their goals. She has provided several schools across the globe with workshops in classroom management, assessment, and evaluation methods, 21st century learning, diversity in the classroom, and teaching to the secondary learner.

A Degree You Can Count On

We are, and have always been, regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This accreditation guarantees our programs meet certain levels of quality standards.   

A Note About Licensure:

Graduates of programs which are approved to lead to licensure, endorsement, or certification may be subject to additional requirements for the receipt of initial licensure, endorsement, or certification in the state in which they intend to teach or administrate.

Students are strongly encouraged to check licensure requirements in the state in which they intend to teach or administrate to determine whether they are eligible for licensure, endorsement, or certification.

It is vitally important that students know and be continually aware of the requirements for licensure in their state. State licensing requirements and licensing agency information may be found here.


**Granted Accreditation by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) for a period of seven years: May 3, 2013 to May 3, 2020. This accreditation certifies that this program has provided evidence that it adheres to TEAC's quality principles.

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M.Ed. in Educational Leadership

Total Tuition

34 semester credits x $235 per credit



$50 Application Fee

$1,360 Technology & Library Fee ($40 per credit)

$100 Program Conferral Fee


Total Program Cost*


*This is an estimated value of the cost for tuition and fees. Amounts may vary depending on number of transfer credits applied to the selected program hours, the pace and satisfactory completion of the selected program credit hours, receipt of scholarship and/or grant amounts, and adjustments to tuition or fees as described in the Catalog Right to Modify Tuition section.

State of California Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF)

It is a state of California requirement that a student who pays his or her tuition is required to pay a state-imposed assessment for the Student Tuition Recovery Fund. For more information and to see if you must pay the state-imposed assessment for Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) click here.

ACE General Admission Requirements

  • Complete and submit all application components including the admission application, including the enrollment agreement, and payment agreement.
  • Submit the nonrefundable application fee.*
  • Provide official transcripts from a regionally accredited institution indicating successful completion of the level of education required for entry to the program.**

*The application fee is valid for one year from date of submission.
**Additional evidence may be required to fulfill state requirements, including but not limited to verification of professional experience, test scores, or an interview.

Program Admission Requirements

M.Ed. in Educational Leadership


  • Bachelor's or Highest Post-Baccalaureate degree earned
  • Minimum Grade Point Average 2.75 on a 4.0 Scale for full admission
  • Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.50 on a 4.0 Scale for Provisional Admission*
  • Documentation of at least an initial teaching license (in the state the applicant resides), school service personnel license, or a school services certificate
  • If applicants do not have a teaching certificate, they may document their teaching status by providing evidence of full-time teaching assignment from an individual in a supervisory capacity or from a human resources official of the school at their current employment

    *Applicants whose overall GPA, or GPA in the last 60 hours is below 2.50 will not be admitted to the degree program

State Specific Admission Requirements

  • Must hold a valid Illinois Professional Educator License
  • Must have four years of teaching experience in a public or non-public school recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education or
  • Four years of Support Personnel experience in the following area in a public or non-public school recognized by the Illinois Board of Education in the following capacity:
    • School Counselor
    • School Psychologist
    • Speech Language Pathologist
    • School Nurse
    • School Social Worker
    • School Marriage and Family Counselor


  • ​Submit an Educational Leadership essay
  • Submit two (2) letters of recommendation with a written signature (or sent directly from the person's email address) and a date
  • Complete an interview
  • Submit an Educational Leadership essay
  • Have their school district submit a sealed and signed Teacher Service Record
  • To comply with the Texas Education Agency requirements, admits must confirm, in writing, acceptance of the admission offer
  • Applicants to the Texas Educational Leadership program whose first language is not English must submit scores from the Internet-Based (IBT) TOEFL. An overall score of 80, and a score of 26 on the speaking section is required


  • Must hold a level two educator license

Submit an essay that describes desire to lead and leadership potential.


Submit two (2) letters of recommendation, one of which must be from the applicant’s principal or direct supervisor. Both recommenders must include an evaluation of the applicant’s leadership potential. The supervisor’s recommendation must include an evaluation of the applicant’s instructional practice and performance of students at an “effective” or “highly effective” rating as evaluated by their two most recent performance evaluations through official district documentation or verification.


*If unable to receive supervisor verification of instructional experience and performance of students, applicants can submit their the last two years of performance evaluations showing a rating of  “effective” or higher in instructional practice and performance of student sections. 


  • Submit an essay that describes desire to lead and leadership potential. 
  • Submit two (2) letters of professional recommendation 
  • Acknowledge the requirement of having three years successful teaching experience to be eligible for Arizona principal licensure.

International Transcript Requirements

All applicants must submit to the Admissions Office official, sealed college transcripts from each institution attended.

  • Transcripts that are international and/or not in English must be evaluated through an NACES-recommended agency.
  • Texas applicants may only submit evaluations from agencies approved by the Texas Education Agency.
  • International applicants must request the course-by-course evaluation. The evaluation report must show that the non-U.S. education is equivalent to the education/accreditation level required for the program.

English as a Second Language Applicants

All applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate competence in the English language as demonstrated in one of three ways:

  1. Submission of an official transcript showing a degree from a United States secondary school or regionally accredited college/university.

  2. Submission of a transcript from a secondary school or college/university whose country uses English as a primary means of instruction, including, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand.

  3. Submission of an official minimum score on the paper-based or internet-based TOEFL exam.
    • The minimum TOEFL score required for the paper-based Test (PBT) is 550, and for the internet-based (iBT) Test is 80.

    • Applicants to the Texas M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program must submit scores from the internet-based (iBT) TOEFL An overall score of 80, and a score of 26 on the speaking section is required.

    • The testing agency must send test scores directly to American College of Education.

Admissions Appeal Process

Applicants have the right to appeal admissions decisions. Begin the process by filling out the admissions appeal here.


Explore the classes you'll take to fulfill this program's 34 semester credit requirement. For more information, a complete list of requirements, and course options, see the College Catalog.

Research Courses

(3 semester credits)

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.

Literacy Courses

(3 semester credits)

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 by examining the scientific research base underlying different models of reading instruction.  Special attention is given to enhancing the skills of teachers as they address the needs of diverse populations, including gifted and talented, English learners, special education, and dyslexic thinkers, particularly within content areas.

Leadership Courses

(28 semester credits)

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 schoolwide systems and behavioral development, learning and achievement among students with diverse needs, including special populations, English language learners, and gifted and talented.
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, particularly balancing the needs of special populations, families, and underserved students.
Embracing the value of assessment and evaluation is the first step in improving learner outcomes through data-driven decision-making. This course develops relevant competencies and promotes a healthy balance of utilizing formative and summative assessments, evaluation practices, and data to inform and guide integrated curriculum development and instructional delivery. Assessments can provide facilitators with the knowledge and skills required to meet the needs of diverse learners, including special populations, in a variety of school and organizational settings.
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.
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.
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.
This course prepares students to promote and influence change in their schools with a goal of improving instruction and school and student outcomes. Students explore research on school improvement strategies, structures, and processes, analyze leadership decisions and behaviors, and examine the implications of research, technology, 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.
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.
This 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.
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.