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Master of Science

Educational Leadership Master's


Make an Impact on the Future of Education by Becoming a School Principal


Are you an experienced, licensed teacher eager to take on new challenges? Perhaps it’s time you prepared to lead an institution of your own. Becoming a principal or educational administrator with this online educational license program will prepare you to change the future of education and impact students, teachers, and communities alike.

This online master's degree program is designed to enhance your expertise in educational governance, finance, law, leadership, and strategic planning. The program will give you the skills you need to manage a modern educational institution, including overseeing teachers, developing and implementing curriculum standards, and improving how your staff helps students achieve established academic goals. You'll also learn about school administration, how to manage educational budgets, ensure proper security, and better interact with parents, the public, and district administrators.

The Master's in Educational Leadership degree program (alternatively "Master's in Educational Administration") is aligned with National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) standards and Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL). Although it adheres to national educational standards, due to state-specific programming and licensure requirements, this program is not accepted in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, and Minnesota.

61% of students finish within 

21 Months*

WGU lets you move more quickly through material you already know and advance as soon as you're ready. The result: You may finish faster.

*WGU Internal Data

Tuition per six-month term is


Tuition charged per term—rather than per credit—helps you control the ultimate cost of your degree. Finish faster, pay less!

Graduates who recommend WGU


The vast majority of alumni say WGU delivered on its promises. In fact, over 50% of students found WGU thanks to a friend's recommendation.

Ready to Start Your WGU Journey?

Next Start Date: March 1

Start Dates the 1st of Every Month


Educational Leadership Courses

Curriculum that ensures you’ve mastered the skills you’ll need as a leader among students and staff.

This online Master of Education program provides the essential skills, knowledge, and field experience you need to successfully manage a modern educational institution, be it public or private. It will prepare you to be certified as a principal or educational administrator.

The WGU M.S. Educational Leadership program was designed (and is regularly updated) with input from the experts on our Education Program Council. These respected authorities know exactly what it takes for a graduate to lead a staff of educators, administrators, and support personnel in a modern educational setting.

This program comprises the following courses. You will typically complete them one at a time as you make your way through your program, working with your Program Mentor each term to build your personalized Degree Plan. You’ll work through each course as quickly as you can study and learn the material. As soon as you’re ready, you’ll pass the assessment, complete the course, and move on. This means that you can finish as many courses as you're able in a term at no additional cost.

Educational Leadership
Graduate Core

13 Courses

Program consists of 13 courses

At WGU, we design our curriculum to be timely, relevant, and practical—all to help you show that you know your stuff.

Capstone Project

Special requirements for this program

WGU's online master's degree program in educational leadership requires the successful completion of a capstone project. You'll take what you've learned during your studies and apply it to a real-world situation, proposing a solution to an actual issue you're likely to face in a professional academic environment. 

“After years of putting off getting my master's degree, I finally decided that it was time. While working a full-time teaching job and having a husband and two toddlers at home, WGU's program allowed me the flexibility of working at my own pace. I was able to earn my Educational Leadership degree in an accelerated time frame with the support of my course instructors and mentor. WGU allowed me to achieve my goals, and I love them so much that I registered for a second master's!”

M.S. Educational Leadership

Why WGU?

You Aren't On Your Own

WGU has Program Mentors who work with you from the day you start, all the way through graduation. They help you chart your courses, answer your questions, and ensure you can go through your program. You're not alone when you choose an online degree at WGU.

Flexibility You Need

Students choose WGU for their online degree program because of its flexibility. Whether you already have a full-time job, have responsibilities as a parent, or just have a busy schedule, WGU can work for you.

Strong Alumni Network

When you enroll in an online master's degree program at WGU, you join an impressive network of teachers. Over 13,000 students graduated from the Teachers College in 2021 alone, taking their skills and impacting the educational system all around the United States.

Accredited, Respected,

One important measure of a degree’s value is the reputation of the university where it was earned. When employers, industry leaders, and academic experts hold your alma mater in high esteem, you reap the benefits of that respect. WGU is a pioneer in reinventing higher education for the 21st century, and our quality has been recognized.


When We Say Affordable We Mean It

By charging per six-month term rather than per credit—and empowering students to accelerate through material they know well or learn quickly—WGU helps students control the ultimate cost of their degrees. The faster you complete your program, the less you pay for your degree.

Tuition Calculator
Pay less by completing your program faster

A Master's Degree Is Within Reach

There is help available to make paying for school possible for you:

The average student loan debt of WGU graduates in 2022 (among those who borrowed) was less than half* the national average.

*WGU undergraduate students have approximately half the debt at graduation compared to the national average, according to the Institute for College Access and Success (2022).

Most WGU students qualify for financial aid, and WGU is approved for federal financial aid and U.S. veterans benefits. 

Many scholarship opportunities are available. Find out what you might be eligible for.


A Different Way to Learn: Degree Programs Designed to Fit Your Life—and All the Demands on Your Time

Professional responsibilities. Family obligations. Personal commitments. At WGU, we understand schedules are tight and often unpredictable for adult students. That’s why we offer a flexible, personalized approach to how education should be. No rigid class schedules. Just a solid, career-focused principal preparation program that meshes with your current lifestyle. You'll be challenged. You'll work hard. But if you commit yourself and put in the hours needed, WGU makes it possible for you to earn a highly respected degree as a busy working adult.

"My experience at WGU was excellent. My mentors and professors where there when I needed them. There ability to keep me on track and to answer questions in a timely matter allowed me to get my master's faster than I thought possible.”

—Jerry Nielson
M.S. Educational Leadership


Pave the Way to the Next Step in Your Career as an Educational Administrator

If you're a licensed classroom teacher with at least three years of experience under your belt, and you have a passion for positive influence in an academic setting, you are ready to advance in your career by becoming an instruction-based principal, vice principal, assistant principal or school administrator. As an educational leader, you'll have an opportunity to shape the school that you run by creating an inspiring and safe environment for educators and the students they teach.

With the deep, comprehensive education you'll receive at WGU, you will be ready to be certified and become a school principal. This position allows you to impact the overall learning environment of an institution and lead students toward a better academic future. Consider this program an investment in yourself, in your professional growth, and in the future of your students.

Return on Your Investment


Employment of elementary, middle, and high school principals is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029.

—U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

WGU Has Alumni Teaching in Schools Across the Country

Graduates of WGU's M.S. Educational Leadership program have found meaningful, rewarding teaching careers in:

  • Elementary schools
  • Middle schools
  • Junior high schools
  • High schools
  • Private and charter schools
  • District-level positions

Impressive Class of Graduates

Graduates of the WGU Teachers College include recipients of many professional honors, including:

  • Gates Millennium Scholars
  • Intel Grant for Mathematics and Technology
  • Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award
  • Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award
  • Association of Public Charter Schools Educator of the Year Award

Focused on Equity and Accessibility

The WGU Teachers College is in the top 1% for granting degrees for Black and Hispanic/Latinx educators at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. It is second in the nation for combined graduate and undergraduate degrees and credentials for students of color, according to the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).


Master of Education Admission Requirements

Prior to entry into the M.S. Educational Leadership degree program, you will be required to complete a candidate interview and provide the following:

  • Evidence of an undergraduate bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  • Proof of a state issued, valid, and unexpired standard professional license
  • A resume showing three years of licensed professional experience in a P-12 setting (excluding probationary, temporary, and substitute teaching experience)
  • A confidential recommendation
  • Recent annual summative performance evaluation

Additionally, you will complete and submit a Practicum Site Agreement. Use the version for your state of residence.

Get Your Enrollment Checklist

Download your step-by-step guide to enrollment.

Get Your Questions Answered

Talk to an WGU Enrollment Counselor.

More About the M.S. in Educational Leadership

A master's degree in educational leadership is a graduate program that prepares you for certification as a school principal or administrator. It gives you important skills and credentials to understand how to run the school in an efficient way. 

Typical master's of educational leadership programs take 2 years to complete, but at some schools you may be able to accelerate and finish faster. For example, most WGU educational leadership students finish in just 18 months or less.

An educational leadership degree can prepare you to become a vice principal, assistant principal, principal, or other administrator in education.

An educational leadership degree can prepare you to become a vice principal, assistant principal, principal, or other administrator in education.

Most educational leaders fall into a few categories of leadership including: servant leaders, transactional leaders, emotional leaders, and transformational leaders.

Educational leadership is implemented to ensure that the entire school and system runs smoothly. Educational leaders are in place to create effective and robust places of teaching and learning where students feel safe and welcome. They ensure that the business end of a school runs well, while also ensuring that students and teachers feel confident as individuals.

Educational leadership theory evaluates the different approaches to running schools and classrooms in ways that are effective for students and teachers alike.

Educational leadership is a joint effort utilizing the talents and expertise of educators, students, policy makers and the public at large to enhance public K-12 educational quality and systems. These enhancements are typically executed through improvements to training regiments, pedagogy, epistemology, and developmental psychology. A degree in educational leadership will focus on helping current teachers advance their knowledge and skills, giving them greater opportunities to influence policy and move into education careers that impact the future of learning.

There are many qualities that an educational leader should exhibit. Qualities such as positivity, honesty, deep reflection, authenticity, integrity, passion, inclusivity, and a strong focus on community building and collaboration on educational issues are key to being a transformational educational leader. In an educational leadership degree program, you will focus on developing and honing these skills.

Understanding your post bachelor educational possibilities is crucial if you have a specific goal in mind. For some, a post-graduate certificate can fulfill the requirements that are needed to teach a specific course or courses, by fulfilling a state or national licensing requirement, but a certificate is what is considered a non-degree award. As a result, if you have career goals that include additional advancements for your career beyond the classroom, you may need to consider if a certificate will provide you the ability to pursue those goals. 

A master’s degree in education can open the doors to school leadership roles as a principal or assistant principal, and in some states is even sufficient to be considered for roles as part of the superintendency. This is not typically true of a graduate certificate. Check your state guidelines to see your specific state’s educational requirements for leadership roles. 

WGU is approved to offer federal student aid. You will need to apply using the FAFSA, which is used to determine your eligibility for aid. WGU’s FAFSA school code is 033394.

Scholarships are available for new WGU students and returning graduates. This video shows more about scholarship opportunities and how they can help you pay for school. Get information on:

  • How to apply
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Examples of scholarships
  • What happens after you apply
  • FAQs
  • Other financial aid options

WGU's tuition is a flat rate that is charged every six months. You can take as many courses as you are able in that six-month term—with no extra cost. You simply pay for the term and do as much work as you can or want to during that time. This means that finishing faster helps you save money—a major benefit you won't find at most other schools. 

Ready to Start Your WGU Journey?