Educational Leadership M.Ed.

Leaders of preK-12 schools and districts face an extraordinary array of challenges and possibilities as they work to improve the lives of students. The preK-12 Educational Leadership program is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to create and sustain meaningful and positive educational change in diverse contexts. Seven required courses and four electives will deeply engage you in the fundamental, innovative practices and principles that are necessary for all transformative leaders while also giving you the freedom to tailor your coursework to your own needs and interests. A capstone project will allow you to apply and test your learning in a real-life setting. Students who enroll in the program full-time (3 classes per semester) can expect to finish within 2 years. Students who enroll part-time (2 classes per semester) can expect to finish within 2.5 to 3 years, depending on their ability to take summer classes.

Student speaking to class with microphone

Course of Study

The M.Ed in preK-12 Educational Leadership requires a total of 33 credits — 7 required courses and 4 electives.

Required Courses

Course Description Credits
EDUC 726 Introduction to School Leadership 3
EDUC 618 Law for School Leaders 3
EDUC 770 Systems of Educator Evaluation and Development 3
EDUC 646 Leadership for Curriculum and Instruction* 3
EDUC 686 Making Sense of School Data 3
EDUC 638 Collaboration for Student Achievement 3
EDUC 698 Capstone 3

*Students who do not have extensive experience designing curricula may also need to take EDUC 665: Organization for Curriculum Development.

Students will have the opportunity to take advantage of the rich and diverse curricula offered at UMass Amherst by choosing elective courses from a range of domains, including:

  • Finance
  • Counseling
  • School Psychology
  • Supervision and Evaluation
  • Special Education
  • Content/Discipline Specific Courses
  • Public Policy

EDUC 726 Introduction to School Leadership

An introduction to basic concepts, skills, strategies, and research related to leading and managing schools.  Topics include organizational culture, and models of decision making, leadership, learning, and instruction.

EDUC 618 Law for School Leaders

To prepare educational leaders to be informed law teachers in their schools.  The focus is on how courts resolve conflicts in areas such as due process, discipline, search and seizure, liability for student injury, student and teacher freedom of expression and religion, dress codes, teachers' personal lives, discrimination and affirmative action, academic freedom, and school rules.

EDUC 770 Systems of Educator Evaluation and Development

Examines newly mandated educator evaluation reform policies and investigates how local approaches to educator evaluation and development support and/or inhibit teacher effectiveness and student learning. Prerequisite: Experience with or understanding of K-12 school settings.

EDUC 646 Leadership for Curriculum and Instruction

This course will immerse upcoming educational leaders in the philosophy, principles and practical applications of learning theory, differentiated instruction, and performance assessment.

EDUC 686 Making Sense of School Data

This course helps students develop a framework for the collection, analysis, and use of school data for educative decision-making.  It investigates data-driven decision-making: its theory, its obligations under NCLB, and as a normative professional standard.

EDUC 638 Collaboration for Student Achievement

"Collaboration" is a widely championed educational imperative, yet the concept is largely misunderstood.  Course participants will learn to capitalize on the power of inter-organizational and interpersonal collaboration so as to increase student achievement, empowerment and performance.


Applicants can submit their materials to the Graduate School

Application Timeline

Applications are due January 2. 


The master’s degree in preK-12 educational leadership is designed for professionals with relevant field experience. In admitting new students, we look for applicants who can demonstrate a professional commitment to educating students across a variety of contexts, a commitment to issues of equity and social justice, and career goals congruent with the program.

Required Materials

Contact: For questions about the program, please contact Jennie Southgate.