Credits and costs
Education Leaders Drive School Success
Quality educational leadership is vital to the overall success of an individual school or school system. Strong academic leaders are key to high-performing schools; they help orchestrate school reform and serve as motivators to fellow teachers and students.
To help you prepare for your new role as an education leader, Penn State World Campus has partnered with the College of Education to offer you a completely online Master of Education in Educational Leadership, with your choice of three emphasis areas:
Teacher Leader: Our program allows you to continue teaching in the classroom while you pursue alternative roles, such as a lead teacher, mentor teacher, or department head. In your course work you will explore topics that include learning theory, teacher leadership, teacher inquiry, and curriculum design. Interested in Teacher Leader Endorsement in Pennsylvania?
School Leader: Approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the School Leader emphasis meets Pennsylvania state educational requirements for school principal certification. This option offers an internship, allowing you the opportunity to integrate the specialized knowledge learned through course work into the field under the supervision of an approved on-site mentor principal. The internship must span a full calendar year. At this time, only Pennsylvania-certified educators are eligible to apply for the Graduate Certificate for Principalship and/or the School Leader emphasis of Master of Education in Educational Leadership. Our Master of Education in Educational Leadership with the Teacher Leader emphasis is open to educators from other states and countries. Please note that switching from one emphasis area to another is not permissible once the student has been accepted into a specific program emphasis.
School Leader (without Principal Certification): Same program (courses) as above without principal certification. The internship (which is the capstone assignment for the degree) is modified accordingly. This emphasis area is best aligned to students in international and private schools, domestic and abroad.
Why Educational Leadership Online at Penn State?
Earn a respected degree from a school with more than 15 years of experience in online learning and 100+ years of distance education experience. Our College of Education is regularly ranked among the nation's best graduate schools, according to U.S. News & World Report, and your master's program is taught by the same nationally recognized faculty.
Act 48 Approved
Penn State is an Act 48–approved provider for Pennsylvania educators, so the courses for the Master of Education in Educational Leadership may count toward your professional development hours.
Who Should Apply?
If you are a K–12 teacher who wants to broaden your leadership potential, expand your knowledge about schools, teachers, and student learning, and renew your passion to work on behalf of public education as you meet professional development goals, Penn State's educational leadership master's program is for you.
Relevant Course Work
Penn State's 30-credit online master of education degree in educational leadership emphasizes the knowledge and skills that you need as a teaching professional to achieve a supervisory role in your school. Each course in the program focuses on helping you to integrate your teaching experience while honing your leadership skills.
Once you are accepted into the program, you may begin your course work at the start of an academic semester. The typical student course load is expected to be three to four courses per year.
Collaborative Experience, Practical Applications
The master's degree curriculum uses a blend of web technology, print, and other media to maximize flexibility without sacrificing professor and student interaction.
Communication tools, including bulletin boards and email, are used to foster a collaborative environment, providing you with the opportunity to learn from one another. The curriculum and course format can help you develop practical applications of the topics you study. Learn online when it is convenient for you, and immediately apply what you've learned to your job.
Teacher Leader Emphasis
Course work in the Teacher Leader Emphasis for the master’s program in educational leadership provides for core knowledge and skills to be explored through five required courses (15 credits) and for individualized program study to be explored through five elective courses (15 credits).
Teacher Leader Required Courses (15 credits)
Teacher Leader Electives (15 credits)
Selected by the student with support from their program adviser.
- Two EDLDR electives (6 total credits) at the 500- or 800-level
- One EDLDR elective (3 total credits) at the 500-level
- One open graduate elective (3 total credits) at the 500- or 800-level
- One open graduate elective (3 total credits) at the 500-level
School Leader Emphasis
School Leader Required Courses (30 credits)
The course work for the School Leader emphasis is based on Pennsylvania standards and can help prepare you to become an effective school administrator. You will take specially designed courses along with a dedicated internship with a mentor from the field of education.
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,007 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,082 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts and letters of recommendation should be received by the following deadline to be considered complete.
- Fall Deadline: Apply by July 1 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by November 1 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 15, 2024, to start May 13, 2024
If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.
For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
Prior to submitting an application for the program, please be aware of the following:
- If you are considering applying to the School Leader emphasis, you will need to have a minimum of three years of school related experience by the time you start or complete the program.
- At this time, only Pennsylvania-certified educators are eligible to apply for the Graduate Certificate for Principalship and/or the School Leader emphasis of Master of Education in Educational Leadership. You must have the capacity to complete a required, (calendar) year-long internship with a qualified mentor principal (who has been a Pennsylvania principal for at least three years) for the School Leader emphasis.
- Our Master of Education in Educational Leadership program with the Teacher Leader emphasis is open to educators from other states and countries. Please note that switching from one emphasis area to another is not permissible once the student has been accepted into a specific program emphasis.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:
Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.
GPA and Test Scores — A successful undergraduate record with a minimum GPA of 3.0
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
References (3) — you will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of three references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.
Ask for letters from recommenders who can make a strong case for your commitment to success in an online program of graduate study. At least one of these recommenders should be your current school principal/supervisor. Remaining references should include individuals who have supervised you in an academic or professional setting, who can speak to your intellectual ability, communication and problem-solving skills, creativity, sensitivity to others, and educational leadership potential.
Ask for recommendations (completion of an online form and an attached recommendation letter) well in advance of the application deadline. Notify all recommenders that they must submit their recommendation in order for your application to be complete.
Statement of Purpose — Write a brief statement, of about 1000 words, describing your reason for applying for the Penn State World Campus Master of Education in Educational Leadership program and any experiences that have contributed to your commitment to education.
- Select an article from a current education journal or peer reviewed journal, such as Education Policy/EPX (Sage), Educational Administration Quarterly (UCEA), International Journal of Educational Policy and Leadership (electronic journal), Educational Leadership (ASCD), or another similar option.
- Briefly summarize, in a maximum of three pages, the main points of the article and then critique the content from the vantage point of your experiences as an educator.
- Your critique can include agreement as well as disagreement with author's perspective.
- Include a complete citation for the article in your writing sample.
Start Your Application
You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.
Begin the graduate school application
- Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
Applying as a Nondegree Graduate Student
To begin taking courses right away, you may apply as a "nondegree" graduate student. You may take up to 6 credits in nondegree status before submitting your application portfolio. Only students matriculated into the educational leadership program as a student completing a degree or certificate program are permitted to take the EDLDR 595, Internship for Principals course.
Note: If you apply and enroll as a nondegree graduate student, you must re-apply to the degree/certificate program to be considered for admission into the Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree program. This new application includes a second application fee. Application/enrollment as a nondegree student does not guarantee admission to the program. Acceptance to the educational leadership degree program is contingent upon approved (by faculty panel) application to a selected program. If you plan to enroll as a nondegree student, you must contact an adviser in the program for guidance prior to beginning course work. No more than two courses (6 credits) are permitted in nondegree status before acceptance to the program is required.
In the graduate school application:
- Select "Nondegree Admission"
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
Review the technical requirements for this program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?
Advance Your Career
Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
Earn a Valuable Credential along the Way
Earn a Valuable Credential along the Way
Show mastery of specific subjects before your degree is complete. Thanks to shared courses across programs, students can often earn a certificate along with their degree in less time than if they earned them separately.
Professional Licensure / Certification
Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map for more information.
You'll have the chance to gain real-world experience thanks to an immersive internship experience.
To learn more about the Master of Education in Educational Leadership, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of Education, fill out the form below.
For questions regarding the program and how to apply, please contact:
Administrative Support Assistant
Educational Leadership Program
The Pennsylvania State University
Email: [email protected]
Gerald K. LeTendre
DegreePh.D., Education, Stanford University
DegreeM.S., Sociology, Stanford University
DegreeB.A., Sociology, Harvard University
Dr. Gerald K. LeTendre is the Harry Lawrence Batschelet II Chair of Educational Administration at Penn State and co-editor of the American Journal of Education. His current research focuses on the impact of online learning and other information technologies on teacher-led professional development and teacher work roles. Dr. LeTendre has published on a broad range of topics in educational policy and comparative/international education. He is co-editor (with Motoko Akiba) of the International Handbook of Teacher Quality and Policy (Rutledge, 2017).
DegreeEd.D. Curriculum and Instructional Leadership, Vanderbilt University
DegreeM.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, Middle Tennessee State University
DegreeB.S., English Education, Indiana University
Dr. Deborah Schussler is an associate professor at Penn State and a faculty affiliate at the Prevention Research Center and Rock Ethics Institute. She has worked with pre-service and in-service teachers, counselors, and educational leaders for more than 20 years. Her research explores how educators acquire the skills and dispositions to meet the needs of all learners, focusing especially on teachers' social-emotional competencies, communication, and moral development.
Tiffany M. Squires
DegreePh.D., Instructional Design, Development, and Evaluation, Syracuse University
DegreeM.S., Instructional Design, Development, and Evaluation, Syracuse University
DegreeM.S., Education, Canisius College
DegreeB.S., Elementary Education, State University of New York at Fredonia
Dr. Tiffany M. Squires is an assistant professor and serves as assistant director of Online Programs for Education Leadership. Dr. Squires has more than 15 years of experience in K–12 education as a teacher, principal, and professional development facilitator. Her dissertation research focused on the perceptions of principals regarding the role of the school leader in the implementation of curricular and instructional change associated with standards-based reform. Her research continues to focus on school systems reform/improvement and highly effective leadership practice.