Online master’s in educational administration

One teacher can have an impact on the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of students over the course of their career, one classroom at a time. That impact multiplies exponentially across an entire school when a teacher steps into an administrative or leadership role. Enacting change on this broader scale takes wisdom, inspiration, and hard work—and a set of professional skills that can only be built centered around the classroom.

As an administrative leader, you have the potential to truly make a difference in the lives not just of students, but also the teachers who look to you for guidance. From curriculum basics to missions and values, you can set the standard for your educational community. Because of their undeniable importance, these managerial roles are also in high demand; the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of PK–12 principals will grow 5% from 2021 to 2031.2

Whether you're already in an administrative or leadership position, or you want to make a career change, an online master’s in educational administration from the University of Kansas can help you get there.

Let us help you harness the power of education for good.

Learn From Passionate Practitioners

Dr. Lena Batt

Dr. Lena Batt (she/her/hers) is an assistant professor at the School of Education and Human Sciences, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies of the University of Kansas, specializing in leadership decision-making and school finance policy. With a Ph.D. in educational policy studies, she has researched resource decisions, teacher labor markets, and taught various education courses.

Dr. Batt also has experience as a high school teacher and principal. Dr. Batt's research examines how education leaders make sense of resource decisions and determine priorities in school-level spending.

Lane Batt

Top Ranked Online Master's in Education programs

#16 Best Online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction, and the #1 Best Online Master’s in Special Education Program1

Choose your path

between the Building Leadership and Non-Licensure Endorsement Track

Build your skills firsthand

in Jayhawkville, a virtual school district that simulates real-world scenarios

Put theory into practice

Bridge the space between pedagogy and leadership.

To be an effective leader in education, you need to understand not only pedagogy, but also policy development and the political, economic, and social forces that influence administrative decisions in education. To help you strike that balance, KU's renowned faculty brings its diverse experience and expert knowledge to each of your classes to prepare you with the theoretical and practical understanding you’ll need in your leadership career.

In this program, you'll take a top-down approach that encourages you to look at broader issues beyond the scope of a single classroom at the school. You'll examine the different staff specialists who will compose your team and explore a variety of effective methods to support educators, staff members and students. Ultimately, you'll graduate ready to overcome any challenge you may face as an educational leader.

In addition, as a student in KU's online educational administration program, you'll also have access to a unique tool to help you explore leadership in a number of different educational settings: Jayhawkville. Jayhawkville is a comprehensive, interactive virtual school district of more than 30 simulated schools spanning suburban, urban, and rural communities, complete with educators and students representing diverse real-world populations and experiences.

The Jayhawkville school district is very impressive. It was amazing to see how realistic the environment is: the problems posed; the issues the different schools face; the school districts; the economics. It honestly reminds me a lot of the district I'm in now.
Garrett Hartwig
Garrett H. ’22
Post-Master's Graduate Certificate in Educational Administration

Select your master’s in education administration track

Building leadership track

The online master's in educational administration building leadership track* is designed to prepare graduates to serve as principals or in other formal leadership roles; it meets Kansas licensure endorsement requirements and may qualify graduates to obtain a building leadership licensure endorsement in other states as well. The track requires an administrative internship and a final portfolio project developed and submitted during the internship experience.

Program details

  • 12 courses, 8 weeks per course, 36 credit hours
  • Complete in as few as 2 years
  • Complete your coursework anytime, anywhere through our innovative online format
  • No GRE required for admission
  • Accredited under NCATE/CAEP standards
  • Experience the challenges of over 30 diverse schools and their case-study-based curricula in the innovative simulated community of Jayhawkville
  • Includes an internship designed to be completed within your current school environment

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What you'll learn

You'll explore various administrative roles; learn about education law; examine the national context for education in the U.S.; and focus on how to develop, support, and manage staff members—everything you'll need to successfully lead a school. You will also be able to choose electives depending on which elements of the student and classroom experience most interest you. All students following the building leadership track are also required to complete an internship and related portfolio project.

For more detailed information on the topics covered in this program, view the course listings.

Career outcomes

Graduates of the online master's in educational administration building leadership track often move forward in their careers as administrators in their school, including roles such as department heads, assistant principals, principals, or athletic directors.

These positions hold a unique place in the educational ecosystem. Although your daily interactions with students may fluctuate, your work directly affects their experience and outcomes. Typical work includes, but is certainly are not limited to:3

  • Coordinating activities within a school or school system
  • Selecting and evaluating standardized tests
  • Designing the curriculum
  • Overseeing athletic programs
  • Creating and enforce disciplinary measures
  • Connecting with parents, faculty, and students

For more information on potential positions and career paths, visit our Careers page.

Course Descriptions

Our meticulously constructed courses for the online master's in educational administration challenge you to make a difference in the lives of your students and community. This program is for experienced educators looking to make the transition into administration. All courses listed are worth 3 credits.

Please note: Course list and sequence are subject to change.

Core Courses


An introduction to the role, responsibilities, expectations and major duties of elementary, middle and high school building administrators. Students are presented with typical problems faced by school administrators through simulations and role playing and are expected, through reflection and discussion, to develop viable solutions.


This course offers an overview of several topics directly related to the principal's role as a data driven leader in the 21st century school. The course focuses on the role and effective use of data and its analysis in making decisions regarding school improvement, meeting the needs of students with exceptionalities, evaluating educational programs, developing student management strategies and using instructional technology.


This course introduces the concepts and skills involved in understanding and analyzing research in education and related areas. The course provides an overview of basic, general knowledge of various research methodologies. Students should expect to study much of this material in greater depth through additional course work before being fully prepared to conduct independent research. However, this course should enhance their ability to locate, read, comprehend and critically analyze research articles and reports. Topics in the course include quantitative and qualitative methods and designs, historical and descriptive research and program evaluation.


A study of the roles and goals of education in the United States, the interrelationships among schools and students, teachers, administrators, and parents, and the culture of schools.

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An overview of the theory and practice of the management, recruitment, selection, compensation, placement and development of personnel in the school setting.

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This course introduces educators and related service professionals to practical, evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies related to a broad range of antisocial, aggressive and behavioral problems. Approaches focus on understanding and addressing the precipitating factors related to inappropriate behavior, crisis management in immediate situations and problem-solving strategies for longer-term change. Course content will include descriptions of problematic antisocial, aggressive, disruptive and internalizing behaviors; options for classroom interventions; school and system-oriented interventions, and ethical and legal issues involved in various prevention and intervention approaches. Class work will focus on literature, research-based intervention approaches, and case work illustrating specific approaches and programs.


An examination of the sources and uses of fiscal resources in education including underlying concepts from economic theory, the impact of values on fiscal policy, state funding formulas and school budgeting and accounting practices.


A study of children and youth with particular emphasis on demographic characteristics of the population served by schools and implications of those characteristics for schools and schooling.


This is an introductory course in special education law and policy implementation. It is designed to provide school and district administrators, and other special education stakeholders, with a basic understanding of key points in the history of special education law and policy. It focuses primarily on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its core concepts, with particular attention to Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). This course is designed to provide a working knowledge of IDEA's procedural requirements, the preferred practices associated with implementing the procedures in schools, criticism of these practices and their implementation, and ideas for addressing these criticisms in ways that promote more equitable and inclusive special education practices.


An examination of current trends in personnel evaluation with a focus on clinical supervision and adult development. Students will participate in simulation exercises to develop skills in classroom observation, conferencing techniques, evaluation of teaching artifacts and the construction of staff development plans.

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Analysis of models of teaching which represent distinct orientations toward students and how they learn. The application of these models is complemented by the study of research evidence on effective teaching strategies.


The on-site development of the skills necessary to effectively function as a school building leader. Activities will be tailored to the needs of individual students in consultation with a university advisor and a field advisor.


These elective courses are for non-licensure track students only, who will choose one of the following courses to replace ELPS 895 from the building leadership track.


The course will emphasize the latest research and practice related to school improvement. Students will function as a member of a school improvement team to assimilate and synthesize research and practice into the development, revision, and/or assessment of a school improvement plan for a specific school site.

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This course is designed for educators interested in expanding curriculum and instruction to accommodate diverse learners in the K-12 classroom. Topics include: models, methods and resources for differentiating curriculum and instruction, designing and modifying differentiated curriculum, evaluating student learning, and introducing students, parents and colleagues to differentiation. An evidence-based, practical course for teachers, administrators and support personnel.

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This course moves beyond the classroom, providing the knowledge and skills to form useful, collaborative relationships with families, paraeducators, and other educators and service providers to best serve the needs of the student. Learn to implement federal and state mandates for special education and related services programs as they relate to building and maintaining relationships with families of students with disabilities and developing effective school programs. Explore procedures for developing, implementing and evaluating (a) instructional accountability for special education students' participation in district and state assessment; (b) relationships between general and special education personnel and programs; (c) roles and responsibilities; (d) interdisciplinary team planning including families; (e) coordinating, educating, and supervising paraeducators; and (f) general management responsibilities associated with instruction of children and youth with disabilities. Course topics include collaboration in schools, community systems and families, historical perspectives of family life and school involvement, effective relationships between home, school and community, communication among professionals and with families, school-based programs, home-based programs, and multicultural considerations.


This course provides a background in career development and transition education for persons with disabilities from middle school through adulthood. Emphasis is placed on IDEA requirements for transition services, career development and the transition processes, transition services assessment, secondary special education curricular implications, career development and transition service needs, collaborative services in schools and communities to promote quality transition services, and current issues and trends in transition education and services.


The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students in special education and related areas who are specializing in secondary school/transition programs with an overview of career development for youth with disabilities. Emphasis is placed upon theory and practice related to career development, work-based learning, and school and community vocational training models. Prerequisite: SPED 856.


The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students with research evidence of each of the components of universal design for learning within access to the general academic curriculum: multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement. Prerequisite: SPED 856.

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The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students in special education and related areas who are specializing in secondary school/transition programs with an overview of models and issues pertaining to school and community engagement for secondary age youth. Prerequisite: SPED 856.

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Content & resources

Admissions requirements

Review the admissions requirements for the online master’s in educational administration.

Tuition information

Take a look at costs per credit hour and total estimated costs for our online graduate programs.

Explore Jayhawkville

Discover the dynamic virtual environment of Jayhawkville used in our educational administration programs.

Earn your degree in as few as two years

Application Deadline
August 12
Fall 2024 Term
Next Start
August 26
Fall 2024 Term

*This program is an online Master of Science in Education (M.S.E.) degree in educational administration.

The online master's in educational administration building leadership track program meets the educational requirements for licensure in the state of Kansas. If you plan to obtain a license or certification in a state other than Kansas or a US territory after completion of your program, it is highly recommended you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency BEFORE beginning the academic program to ensure you can obtain a license of certification in your home state or territory. The website provides resources for licensure and certification boards outside of Kansas.

Note: In order to enroll in any of these programs, a bachelor's degree is required. No program can guarantee licensure. It is each student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements in his or her state and to apply for the licenses or endorsements necessary to his or her career goals. Our department staff and Licensure Officer can provide individual support during the application process to help you understand your state’s requirements.