Leadership in Education

Leadership is a growing academic discipline built on the premise that all of us can be leaders and can hone the skills of leadership to be more effective in our everyday lives. Applied to education, the study of leadership takes on new meaning and potential. Leadership in Education provides us with opportunities to shape and support young people’s growth and development. How can we make decisions that align with our shared vision and values? How can we design specialized professional development to improve teacher performance and build capacity? How can we set smart goals and create policies and practices to achieve them?

The M.Ed. in Leadership in Education aims to supply you with the knowledge and skills to be able to answer these organizational questions. You will learn about group dynamics and collaboration, creating a culture of continuous improvement, how organizational policies shape behavior, and how schools and districts can change in order to adapt to new social, economic, and political environments.

M.Ed. students in Leadership in Education will have the ability to:

  • Assess needs and trends affecting school districts, and provide new ideas and effective solutions.
  • Plan and support organizational change initiatives.
  • Understand how business processes and organizational structure can be improved for efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Motivate and persuade others to address problems and work to find solutions.

This program prepares students for a wide range of careers, including:

  • Teacher leader
  • Instructional coach
  • School principal
  • Director of special education
  • Director of community education


The 30-semester credit leadership program focuses on two areas: leadership and contemporary educational issues. The faculty advise, guide, and mentor throughout the program, but the student’s individual vision provides focus for the appropriate curriculum and final leadership project (OLPD 5361) and the remaining credits of elective courses.

Required courses (16 credits minimum):

  • OLPD 5361—Project in Teacher Leadership (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5364—Context and Practice of Educational Leadership (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5374—Leadership for Professional Development (4 cr)
  • OLPD 5387—Leadership for Teaching and Learning (3 cr)
    OR CI 5155—Contemporary Approaches to Curriculum: Instruction and Assessment (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5501—Principles and Methods of Evaluation (3 cr)
    OR CI 5177—Practical Research (3 cr)

Electives (14 credits minimum):

14 or more credits of elective courses with advisor approval. Students often choose elective credits aligned with certificates in staff development, school technology, reading, and school administration.

Examples include:

  • Teaching and learning in a multicultural, pluralistic democracy
  • Planning interdisciplinary and thematic learning
  • Assessing student learning to differentiate instruction
  • Cross-cultural perspectives on leadership
  • Literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies
  • Professional development
  • School technology
  • Women in leadership

Transfer credits<:

A maximum of nine graduate semester transfer credits may be applied to the M.Ed. program. Credits may include any combination of the following coursework:

  • Up to six graduate semester credits from fully accredited institutions other than the University of Minnesota.
  • Credits completed at the University of Minnesota before admission to the M.Ed. program

Transfer courses must be completed at the graduate level and approved by a faculty advisor and the college; a review of course syllabi is required. Contact the program coordinator for more information.

How to apply

Applications are due by July 1 for Fall semester start, November 1 for Spring semester start, and March 1 for Summer session start.

Applications are not complete until ALL required materials and fees have been received. If anything is missing, your application may not be considered until the next review date the following year. It is strongly recommended to apply at least two weeks before any submission deadlines.

Applications are processed by the Graduate School. A decision for admission notice will be emailed to you once your application is carefully reviewed by the department's admission committee and your transcripts and any credentials (test reports, diploma copies, etc.) are authenticated by Graduate School officials.

Online application and instructions

Admission requirements

Degree: Bachelor's degree

GPA: Undergraduate 3.0

Note: Applicants should not submit GRE scores, as they will not be considered in the review process.

TOEFL/IELTS Scores (Not required for U.S. students):

  • TOEFL: Internet based = 79 or above
    (21 writing/19 reading)
  • IELTS = 6.5

Readmission: If a graduate student in an OLPD program has become inactive they must follow the readmission procedures.

Tuition and funding

Tuition information: CEHD | OneStop

Financial aid: CEHD | OneStop


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