Educational Leadership and Policy

Degree: Master of Arts in Educational Studies (with or without building-level administrator certification)

Britni Russel, Graduated 2016

I began the Educational Leadership and Policy program in 2015 while working full time at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This was daunting, to say the least, but I felt the support and mentorship from faculty and staff right away. I could not have known then what this incredible program would prepare me for.

Two aspects of the program stand out. The first was the mentorship from faculty. Dr. Don Peurach, a nationally recognized education scholar, supported my growth as a student, demanded rigor and expanded my worldview on education policy and practice. The second was a thoughtful curriculum that honed my ability to think critically and analyze systems, practices and policies to understand the multitude of implications for accountability and improvement efforts in schools.

Just one year removed from graduation, I am an associate program officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation working in global health and media. I develop and implement grants and projects with media organizations in the U.S., Europe, Africa, India and China. Our goal is to build a society where all people lead healthy and productive lives. It is truly exciting work. Every day, I think back to my time in the program and am thankful that U-M prepared me for the challenge and privilege of this work.

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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:

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.



Program Strengths

Strengths of our program include:

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.

Plan of Study

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.

Explore Your Fit

To express your interest in the program and be put in contact with the Educational Studies MA Recruitment Coordinator, please complete this short form.

Preferred Applicants

Are you an alum of our Teacher Education program? Or a U-M alum with an Education minor? You are eligible for our preferred applicant status. As a preferred applicant to our master's programs, the application fee and GRE requirement may be waived. Apply soon as these spaces are limited. To learn more contact

Program Faculty

Program Support

Program Ambassadors

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Educational Studies

To inquire about the master's program as a prospective student, click here.

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