Online master’s in educational leadership and policy studies programs at KU

The University of Kansas is proud to offer online graduate programs through the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies to prepare the next generation of leaders in education. If you're ready to step into an administrative or supervisor role, a graduate certificate or master’s in educational leadership and policy studies from the KU School of Education and Human Sciences can help you cultivate leadership skills, deepen your academic expertise, and earn the qualifications you need.

Black female teacher at her desk

Lead today’s learners to a better tomorrow.

Education in America is evolving. Student populations around the country continue to grow more diverse and nuanced. Teachers must integrate new technologies into their classrooms, a trend accelerated by the reliance on remote and digital learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Simultaneously, the hiring demand for elementary, middle, and high school principals has grown to 6% nationwide in 2022.2

To keep up with all of these changes in the field, schools need visionary leaders who can provide better support and guidance for the 21st-century realities of our progressive digital world. That not only includes creating and influencing policies, balancing budgets, and working with teachers, but also leading by example to change students’ lives for the better.

Which educational administration program is right for you?

An online graduate certificate or master’s in educational leadership and policy studies is ideal for experienced PK-12 educators who want the skills and knowledge to transition to leadership roles such as principals, department heads, or directors. As a successful leader, you can meet the challenges of administration and improve the education of your students.

I am a licensed educator and I want to transition to a leadership position in education.

Man in plaid shirt standing in school hallway

Online master’s in educational administration: Building leadership track

  • Advanced graduate degree
  • Requires an active teaching license and undergraduate degree
  • Can be completed in as few as 2 years

Explore the Building Leadership Track

I want to learn about leadership, but I am not interested in pursuing educational licensure.

Female administrator standing in school hallway

Online master’s in educational administration: Non-licensure track

  • Advanced graduate degree
  • Requires undergraduate or master's degree
  • Can be completed in as few as 2 years

Explore the Non-Licensure Track

I hold a master’s degree but would like to pursue licensure as a building-level administrator.

School principal giving interview

Online post-master’s graduate certificate in educational administration

  • Recognition of specialized training
  • Requires an active teaching license, bachelor's and master's degree in an education-related field.
  • Can be completed in as few as 12 to 16 months

Explore the graduate certificate

Pursue a career with impact

“It is difficult to envision an investment in K-12 education with a higher ceiling on its potential return than improving school leadership.”3

These days, all eyes are on education. High-stakes accountability, multi-tiered teacher evaluation systems, heightened attention to equity, and numerous other factors have altered expectations for what educational leaders need to know, how they spend their time, and the outcomes they prioritize.3 From presidential debates to parent-teacher conferences, people are looking to their elected and appointed education officials for clarity, compassion, and an informed strategy.

With all of this in mind, educational leaders have the unique ability to improve students’ experiences from the top down. If you want to leverage this power for positive change, consider one of the potential careers that an online master’s in educational leadership can lead you to:

  • Principal
  • Superintendent
  • Academic dean
  • Chief Academic Officer
  • Department director

These leaders are also paid well for their efforts: while jobs for classroom teachers typically offer median salaries around $60,000, educational administration is just under $100,000.2

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To succeed, businesses need planning and oversight … and schools need educational management. The people in leadership positions set their institutions’ academic standards by choosing and evaluating their faculty and developing faculty skills. They’re responsible for determining whether an institution fulfills its educational mandate, creating solutions if it doesn’t, and, if it does, maintaining and improving upon the current standards.
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Higher education has become a necessity for many people who want to pursue a career in today’s job market. In an increasingly competitive landscape for top jobs, getting a bachelor’s degree might not be enough.
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Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect in an educational leadership program?

An online graduate certificate or master’s in educational leadership is a great way to expand your knowledge, learn new strategies, and evolve your training to serve districts, schools, and students. When you apply, you’ll be asked to submit a collection of materials including a completed application, transcript, and three letters of recommendation to make sure you’re a good fit for the program. You can find a more detailed checklist of our application requirements on our Admissions page.

Once the program starts, you’ll be able to complete your coursework whenever and wherever you prefer through our innovative online learning system. Every student is different, but you should expect to spend 8-10 hours per week on master’s work. Courses typically include a mix of observation, group discussions, projects, assessments, and persona-based case studies.

For specific information about our programs, tell us more about you in this short form.

How long does it take to get my master’s or graduate certificate?

The cost and length of the program, as well as the number of credits you’ll take, will depend on the program and track that you choose. For example, the online master’s in educational administration requires 12 courses and 36 credit hours, while the post-graduate certificate in educational administration only consists of 8 courses for 24 credit hours.

That being said, all of the courses in the KU School of Education and Human Sciences last eight weeks and can be completed anywhere, at any time, completely online.

Is a master’s in educational leadership worth it?

For those who want to advance their career in leadership, gain a licensure endorsement, or make a career change, a master’s degree or graduate certificate in educational leadership will help you achieve your goals. On all accounts, an online master’s in educational administration offers the same progressive course content, one-on-one faculty support, and exceptional professional benefits as an on-campus degree, but with the added flexibility and freedom of a digital learning system.

With these advantages, as well as the ability to continue working while you earn your degree, you’ll find that an online degree or certificate from KU is well worth your time.

Admissions Requirements

Review the necessary admissions requirements for a graduate program from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Financial Aid Options

Learn more about your options for financing your graduate education.

Explore Our Online Experience

Discover how students collaborate and develop their professional potential through our online classroom.


Application Deadline
April 24
Summer 2023 Term
Next Start
May 8
Summer 2023 Term