Master of Education
Educational Leadership

All-in price:
View Tuition Details
Application due date for July 11, 2022 term:
July 8
Estimated time to completion:
18 Months
All-in price:
View Tuition Details
Application due date for July 11, 2022 term:
July 8
Estimated time to completion:
18 Months

We create principals with principles.

Designed for aspiring principals, the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership prepares you to lead a PreK-12 school. You’ll develop the strategies to design and implement a shared school vision — one that reflects a core set of values surrounding equity, diversity, digital citizenship, and community. You’ll learn to maintain an inclusive culture and advocate for the needs of students, families, and personnel. Through systematic problem solving and data-driven decision making, this program will shape you to be a reflective and responsive educational leader.


in the nation for most Master's degrees awarded in Educational Leadership*.

Thinking of starting your journey?

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How you'll get there.

  1. You’ll take a total of twelve courses. Eight of these courses (most students take one at a time) are dedicated to leadership, studying topics that include school improvement, law and policy, community engagement, and developing teachers. You’ll also take one literacy course and one research course. Each course is five weeks long.
  2. Completed across the arc of your program, your 10-week internship is where theory and practice meet. With the help of a self-selected, approved mentor and ACE faculty members, you’ll demonstrate your ability to be a transformational educator. This extended period of guided practice is likely to be the most meaningful learning experience as you prepare to lead.
  3. At the end of your program, you’ll complete a capstone course to document the impact of the knowledge you’ve gained throughout the program, including an original contribution to the field.

What you can expect along the way.

  • Quality Instruction ACE is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
  • Practitioner-focused Learn from faculty who are or have recently been school leaders and alongside aspiring school leaders to share strategies.
  • Flexible class format Our asynchronous online classes enable you to plan your coursework around your life. Each course is 5 weeks long with outlined expectations each week.
  • A tailored internship Apply your knowledge and skills in a structured environment under the guidance of an experienced mentor and faculty members. Learn more about internships.
  • Principal licensure approval This program is approved for principal licensure in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Texas. If you are seeking licensure in another state, you are still welcome to apply to the program but you also may need to satisfy other requirements set by your state for licensure, such as years of service or internship hours.
  • Accelerated completion available Florida students who have already completed a master’s degree can qualify for the Florida Modified EL option. Texas students who have already completed a master’s degree can apply for the Certificate in Texas Educational Leadership to receive principal certification.
  • Dual degree pathway available After you complete the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, you can earn an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction in less time.

What it costs

Our tuition and fees have nothing to hide. The total cost you see is your all-in price, without hidden fees, add-ons, and even textbooks. See if you can say the same about other institutions. Go ahead — we’ll wait.

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 Cost1


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On average, see how ACE compares to other online universities.

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Based on information on each institution’s website as of April 9, 2020. Totals include tuition only for M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction or comparable programs provided and do not include fees or associated expenses.

Learn how we cut costs.

Partnerships save you more.

ACE has more than 1,750 education partners that provide a discounted rate and other partner benefits.

Learn about ACE partnerships.

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Meet your department chair.

Bryan Bailey, Ed.D.

Bryan Bailey, Ed.D.

Chair, Department of Leadership and Administration,
Department of Leadership and Administration

Read Bio

A degree you can count on.

American College of Education is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission— a federally-recognized accrediting agency. The College’s accreditation includes approval to offer degree programs, in education, healthcare, nursing and business and leadership through distance education via the Internet. Accreditation ensures that an institution’s academic program meets or exceeds acceptable levels of quality and is the most recognized accreditation status for higher education entities. To receive and maintain HLC accreditation and affiliation approval, we must continuously undergo routine peer review cycles and provide proof that our programs meet or exceed HLC accreditation criteria and expectations of quality.

Multiple Degree Pathways

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 Multiple Degree Pathways page.


M.Ed. in Educational Leadership

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)

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)

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)

3 semester credits

This course focuses on examining the role of the principal as school leader and linking leadership skills to positive student outcomes. Topics include the principal's responsibilities related to creating and living a shared mission and vision, establishing a positive school climate and culture, maintaining a safe and supportive environment, and demonstrating a high standard of professional ethics.

3 semester credits

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.

3 semester credits

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.

3 semester credits

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.

3 semester credits

This course focuses on diversity and inclusiveness as a guiding factor in the effectiveness of school leadership and instructional outcomes. Specific emphasis is placed on how to support teachers in using evidence-based instructional design models to assess and instruct students with diverse learning needs, including students at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels; students from varied demographic and socio-economic groups; and, students participating in needs-based programs such as special education, bilingual/ESL, gifted and talented, and career and technical education.

3 semester credits

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.

3 semester credits

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.

3 semester credits

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.

3 semester credits

This course provides candidates the opportunity to synthesize their completed internship experiences to demonstrate mastery of the responsibilities required of building-level leaders to promote the success and well-being of each student and adult in their school. Candidates will reflect on their growth and development as leaders and on how internship experiences enriched their professional skills and knowledge. Candidates will document their mastery of professional standards by demonstrating how they applied academic learning to practice in the internship to meet requirements for principal licensure.

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.

Admission Requirements

M.Ed. in Educational Leadership

ACE General Admission Requirements

  • Complete and submit all application components including the admission application, the enrollment agreement, and the 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


  • 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 two 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 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 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
  • 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.

Texas Applicants: In addition to the applicable general requirements for the M.Ed. In Educational Leadership, the following are required:

  • Valid classroom teaching certificate.
  • Complete an interview.
  • Submit an Education Leadership essay.
  • Have their school district submit a sealed and signed Teacher Service Record.
  • Acknowledge the requirement of having two years of creditable teaching experience, as a classroom teacher, under a valid classroom teaching certificate to be eligible for Texas principal licensure.

The minimum Grade Point Average on a 4.0 scale for full admission is 2.50. To comply with the Texas Education Agency requirements provisional admission is not permitted.

Applicants to the Texas Educational Leadership program whose first language is not English must submit SBEC-issued Texas certificate, or scores from the Internet-Based TOEFL (IBT). A minimum scaled score of 24 for speaking, 22 for listening, 22 for reading, and 21 for writing from the Internet-Based TOEFL (IBT) or evidence of an undergraduate or graduate degree earned at an institution of higher education in a country outside of the United States listed in Figure: 19 TAC §230.11(b)(5)(C).  

Additional evidence may be required to fulfill state requirements, including but not limited to verification of professional experience, test scores, or an interview.

To comply with the Texas Education Agency requirements, applicants who have been admitted, must confirm, in writing, acceptance of the admission offer. ​

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.

1This 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 or program pathway credit hours, the pace and satisfactory completion of the selected program or program pathway credit hours, receipt of, or eligibility for, institutional or non-institutional 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 two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50) per one thousand dollars ($1,000) of institutional charges, rounded to the nearest thousand dollars, for the California 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.

For information on international transcript requirements, see the Admissions Information section of the College Catalog.

For English as a second language applicant information, see the Admissions Information section of the College Catalog.

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