Educational Leadership (MA/MEd)

M.A. Educational Leadership

The program prepares equity-oriented school and community leaders to transform education at the campus level.
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Program Overview

With an explicit focus on cultural responsiveness and equity-oriented practices for the diverse classrooms of Texas, teachers completing the M.A. in educational leadership with a concentration in instructional leadership program will enhance their own teaching within the classroom, develop skills for assisting other teachers and learn how to become part of collaborative efforts aimed at school/district-wide instructional improvement.

The program concentrates on the teacher as a leader within the classroom, school, and district.

Recognized by the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) for preparing equity-oriented leaders, the M.Ed. in educational leadership with principal certification program focuses on situating school-based leaders within societal contexts and teaches students how to engage school and community assets as the foundation for improvement efforts.

Course Work

The master of arts (M.A.) in educational leadership with a concentration in instructional leadership is a 36-credit-hour program with 24 core hours (including courses focused on instructional leadership in practice) and 12 hours in a minor. Designed for teachers who want to develop leadership skills and become involved in school leadership activities, courses focus on instructional supervision, instructional design, curriculum development, leadership, and action research. Individually selected cognate courses are available in a wide range of content areas including bilingual education, STEM, literacy development, science, mathematics, and technology, allowing students to personalize the program to their interests and career goals.

The 36-hour M.Ed. in educational leadership program is designed for educators who aspire to formal leadership and administrative roles in schools and districts. The course sequence includes topics on leadership, school improvement, instructional design and school law with an emphasis on action research. All students complete a year-long, field-based internship and will graduate with the principal certification.

Educators who have already earned a master’s degree in education and have a minimum of one year of teaching experience in K-12 schools can take the 24-credit-hour post-master principal certification program. This program can be completed in three semesters with summer admission. Classes for both programs are offered at the San Marcos and Round Rock campuses.

Master's Degree Program

Degree Concentration Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
Instructional Leadership
Thesis Option
Minor Option
Cognate required

Master's Degree + Professional Certification Program

Degree Concentration & Certification Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
Concentration & Certification
Thesis Option
Minor Option
No minor

Professional Certification Exam

You will be eligible to take the Texas Education Agency principal certificate exam upon successful completion of specific program requirements.

What Our Alumni Say

“Getting my M.A. in instructional leadership from Texas State was pivotal to my career. The program shifted my thinking and created new lenses through which to view my work.”

— Lyn Crowell, M.A. '10, Ph.D. '15, Education School Improvement


“Emphasizing social justice, the principal preparation program provided me with opportunities to engage in scholarly learning and action research that directly impact my everyday work in schools.ˮ

— Tamey Williams-Hill, M.Ed. ’07, Ph.D. ’15, Education School Improvement, Director of Human Resources, Lake Travis ISD

Program Details

Students can expect classes and course work that invite provocation and debate, collaborative work and individual reflection, as well as the grounding of activities in real-world setting.

The program encourages students to keep issues of equity and ethics at the forefront while developing and implementing collaborative action research strategies to effect systemic change at the campus level.

Program Mission

The education and community leadership program is committed to developing leaders who understand how to build and nurture healthy schools and communities. The program believes the practice of leadership must be ethically grounded, committed to equity, and informed by research. It also demonstrates a strong commitment to this philosophy through a broad-based rigorous curriculum, strong and relevant instruction, and meaningful feedback to students. Effective leadership development begins with an understanding of self and progresses outward toward a critical consciousness of the interconnected relationship among people, organizations, communities, policies, and practices.

Related Programs

Career Options

The M.A. in educational leadership with a concentration in instructional leadership prepares educators to lead instructional improvement efforts. Graduates of this program work in a variety of positions, including instructional coach, curriculum specialist, master teacher, professional developer, mentor teacher, school improvement facilitator, department chair, team leader, and instructional technology specialist.

master’s degree in educational leadership with principal certification prepares educators for a variety of supervisory and leadership roles in schools and other educational organizations. Graduates of this program work in positions such as principal, assistant principal, academic dean, athletic director, instructional supervisor, curriculum specialist, special education director, director of student support services, and human resource specialist.

Program Faculty

Faculty members are experienced public school teachers and administrators. This practical background enables the professors to demonstrate to students the manner by which ideas, techniques, and policy studies may be applied in a school setting. The faculty is actively engaged in professional organizations at state and national levels. They also serve as consultants to numerous school districts in personnel searches, facility studies, curriculum projects, staff development, and professional organization accreditation studies.

Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more. If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following individuals.

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Rolf Straubhaar
Academic Services Building South (ASBS), Room 324

Advisor Support
Jacqueline Todd
Academic Services Building South (ASBS), Room 306

front of round rock campus

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Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall - Priority
U.S. Citizen
February 1
February 1
Fall - Standard
U.S. Citizen
August 1
June 1
U.S. Citizen
No Admission
No Admission
Summer I
U.S. Citizen
May 1
March 15
Summer II
U.S. Citizen
No Admission
No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a flexible deadline, which means applications received after the posted deadline may be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, with no guarantees for admission consideration.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for certain types of funding.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis.

Admission Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.

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  •   Review important information about the online application.

    • $35 nonrefundable Texas Education Agency technology fee (if offered admission to the master's + professional certification program)
      and either
    • $55 nonrefundable application fee
    • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

      Review important information about application fees.

    • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
    • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
    • minimum 2.75 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

      Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

  • GRE Scores

    • GRE not required

    TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS Scores

    TOEFL Scores M.Ed (principal certification) applicants

    Applicants are required to submit TOEFL scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.

    • official TOEFL iBT scores with minimum individual scores of
      • 22 listening
      • 22 reading
      • 24 speaking
      • 21 writing

    TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS Scores for M.A. (instructional leadership) applicants

    Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

    • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
    • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
    • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
      • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

      This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

      Review important information about official test scores.

    • copy of your official teaching certificate documenting initial teaching certification
    • copy of your official teaching record documenting at least one year of teaching experience

      Review important information about documents.

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