Educational Leadership and Policy
Degree: Master of Arts in Educational Studies (with or without building-level administrator certification)
Why Leadership and Policy?
Improving student outcomes, particularly in chronically underperforming schools that disproportionally serve poor and minority students, is a national priority. To address this imperative, state and national education reform efforts are increasingly focused on improving the professional knowledge base and preparation of educational leaders, as catalysts of improvement.
Why Our Program?
Our master’s level Leadership and Policy program is centered on the collaborative practice of continuous improvement, which is deeply anchored in theory and research on school leadership, improvement, and turnaround. Our program prepares students to:
- Analyze student outcomes, classroom instruction, the school organization, and external environments.
- Devise and implement strategic plans for systemic, instructionally-focused improvement.
- Enact key administrative responsibilities of building-level administrators.
- Demonstrate the identity, dispositions, and values instrumental to enacting collaborative school improvement.
Our program differs from many other educational leadership programs that either focus exclusively on theoretical understandings of leadership or practical training for the duties of the principalship. We believe we combine the best of these different approaches, nested within a broader and research-based perspective of leadership for improvement.
Strengths of our program include:
- Opportunities to engage with leading researchers and faculty members of a top-rated school of education that is focused on the improvement of teaching and learning through practice-based teacher education and research and committed to the twin imperatives of diversity and equity.
- Access to all the coursework, resources, and opportunities of a preeminent public research university. For example, master’s students may take cognates or electives from any school within the university.
- Firsthand experiences, including a one- to two-semester internship focused on the practice of continuous improvement.
- Keen emphases on the core problems of contemporary educational leadership, policy, and reform.
- Opportunities to collaborate with engaged students with diverse expertise and interests.
- Students with two or more years of professional experience in education or a related field, may select coursework and internship options to become certified by the state of Michigan as a school administrator.
Future Career Roles
Our program prepares graduates for many types of school-based leadership roles including the principalship, instructional coach, data and evaluation specialist, or program developer. We also prepare graduates for leadership careers outside of schools in roles such as policy analyst, social advocate, or educational entrepreneur.
We believe that all master's graduates in Leadership and Policy should be well-versed in various disciplinary perspectives that bear on the analysis of educational practices, institutions, policies, and reform initiatives. Accordingly, our program follows a cohort model with a common core of five courses designed to provide this broad and common foundation necessary to understand and enact school improvement processes. In addition, when admitted, you will be assigned to an academic advisor from among the Educational Leadership & Policy program faculty based on shared professional interests. Together, you and your advisor will develop a plan of study beyond this core that is appropriate to your background and career interests. For more detail on the core sequence and other program requirements, please see the curriculum page.
- The internship is an extremely important component of our program. You will be placed you in a setting and role that support your particular professional interests. For more information on internships and other experiential learning opportunities, please visit our Internships page.
- The course planning sheet outlines the specific School of Education course, experience, and internship requirements for the MA in Educational Studies, Educational Leadership & Policy thread.
- In addition, students that already posses a master's degree may seek building-level administrator certification as a non-candidate for degree.
Explore Your Fit
To begin the process of exploring your fit with the program, please complete the short form here. You will receive a response that contains additional resources, including details on the application timeline and process, along with an invitation to schedule a one-on-one appointment with the Educational Studies MA Recruitment Coordinator