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Grad Program: Educational Leadership and Administration, General

Basic Information

Through a blend of graduate level coursework, research, field experience, and career development activities, graduate programs in educational administration prepare individuals for careers as educational leaders, administrators, and policy makers. Typically, master's programs take about two years to complete (for full time students) and include core coursework in leadership theory, curriculum studies, educational policy, and school law and management. After completing core requirements, students take electives in areas such as legal issues, athletics administration, urban educational policy, or educational technology. Many programs also allow students with a specific vocational interest (such as elementary school principal or superintendent of schools) to pursue coursework that will prepare them to fill those roles.

In addition to class work, field experience is a key component to most educational administration programs. Many core courses include a practical component, training students in observation and research techniques, evaluation, and creative problem solving. In most cases, students are expected to participate in a long-term research project or internship as a requirement of graduation.

Degree Information

Master's programs in educational administration usually span about one or two years and require successful performance in advanced level coursework, as well as participation in a practicum, research project, or internship. Some schools also require students to complete a master's thesis.

After completing a master's degree in educational administration, students may choose to continue their studies in an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) program, designed for students who want to engage in advanced fieldwork, internship experience, or research in a specific area of education. Doctoral programs in educational administration usually focus on research or public policy as it relates to school leadership.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • Do you want to be a leader in a primary or secondary school, in higher education, in government, or in policy making? Will the school prepare you for the type of career you want to pursue?
  • Where is the school located?
  • Where do students do internships and fieldwork?
  • Does the program focus on techniques for metropolitan or rural school leadership?
  • How does the curriculum combine theory and practice?
  • How does the school train students to be leaders?
  • What electives or special programs are offered?
  • Are there special summer programs or internships?
  • Who are the faculty? What experience do they bring to the program? What is their professional and academic background?
  • Does the school offer distance learning (via the Internet)?
  • Does the program allow part time study?
  • Can students pursue administrator credentials while working towards a master's?

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