Educational Leadership and Policy

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

Kimberly Graham

Witht her sights set on being a high school principal, Kimberly was thrilled to find our master’s program with a concentration in educational policy and leadership. In this program, she’ll focus on school leadership and change, with analyses of school institutions and instructional organizations. Her coursework will cover the social, cultural, and historical dynamics of educational systems to give her an understanding of the forces related to the running and improving of schools.

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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?

The Practice of Continuous Improvement

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.


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 Requirements page.

The Internship

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.

Next Steps

To explore how the Educational Leadership and Policy program might meet your interests and career goals, please visit our Applying to the Program page.

Plan of Study

The course planning sheet outlines the specific School of Education course, experience, and internship requirements for the MA in Educational Studies, Educational Leadership and Policy thread. 

In addition, students that already posses a master's degree may seek building-level administrator certification as a non-candidate for degree.

Are you a local educator interested in our program? Learn more about our School District Partner Program for leadership development.

The Educational Leadership and Policy thread is one of the threads leading to a Master of Arts in Educational Studies. The threads represent broad areas reflecting both expertise at the School of Education and areas that are emerging and important for twenty-first century career expectations. The other threads are:

Do you have questions about the program?

Would you like to talk with the MA Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator?  Phone 734.647.9395 or email

Program Faculty

Program Support

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Educational Studies

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610 E. University Avenue, Room 4218
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259

Phone: 734.647.9395
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