Master’s in Education Leadership (MEd Degree)

Master of Education in Educational Leadership (Advanced Program for Continuing Professional Education)Advanced Program for Continuing Professional Education

Offered By: College of Education

Earn an Online Master’s in Educational Leadership from GCU

A Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Leadership degree from Grand Canyon University (GCU) prepares graduates for a future in educational administration. This non-licensure program in educational leadership prepares graduates to lead teachers and students at school sites. Entry to both the in-person and online master's in educational leadership degree program requires proof of teaching experience to ensure that GCU students in the program are continuing their professional development.

Two of the core focuses of the master’s in educational leadership degree program are learning and practicing the professional and ethical responsibilities of being a school leader. These responsibilities include topics such as:

  • School finance
  • Education law
  • Creating and sustaining positive school cultures
  • K-12 legal issues
  • Curriculum development
  • Professional development
  • Empowerment of teachers
  • Instructional leadership

To help you excel in these areas, the master's in educational leadership degree program coursework focuses on strategic leadership and management. Graduates of the educational leadership degree program will learn how to support teachers at school sites by growing their skills and promoting self-efficacy. Graduates will learn how professional development impacts teachers’ capacity and performance and improves school culture.

Career Opportunities With an Online Master's in Educational Leadership Degree

While this online Master's of Education in Educational Leadership degree at GCU does not lead to teacher or principal licensure, the coursework does prepare students to lead in educational settings. Some public and private schools do not require licensure for school leaders and the master’s in educational leadership at GCU would qualify graduates to work in those environments.

Because of the leadership and administrative skills learned in the online master’s in educational leadership program, some GCU grads have gone on to work as:

  • Preschool and daycare education and childcare administrator
  • Elementary and secondary education administrator
  • Postsecondary education administrator
  • Teaching assistant (secondary)

Your desire to lead teachers and students in an educational setting makes you a great potential school administrator. Follow your passion with the online Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree program at GCU. Join us today!

Master of Education in Educational Leadership Degree FAQs

If your goal is to leave an impact on the students you help, an online master’s in educational leadership is definitely worth the investment. A degree in leadership education can lead to many opportunities, such as school administrators, who often earn higher salaries than classroom teachers. The median annual salary of elementary, middle and high school principals is just over $98,000.1 If you want to further your career, achieve personal satisfaction or to affect change in the system, an educational leadership degree may be just what you’re looking for.

Yes. The master’s in educational leadership program is offered online and on campus to allow maximum flexibility to our students. Online programs offer a convenient, streamlined option for achieving your degree on your own time. To learn more about GCU’s online degrees, view our Online Learning page.

Earning the master’s in educational leadership from GCU has many benefits. GCU educators provide learners with detailed coursework and specific field experience that prepares students to understand and practice school leadership strategies. Students will examine topics such as financial records regulations, school budgeting and learn how to face challenges that are present in the daily operation of schools.

Additionally, many professionals who pursue their master’s degree may also be juggling a full-time job or even raising a family. GCU understands your time is precious, which is why we offer the master’s in educational leadership program both online and on campus, including day and evening classes. This allows our students the flexibility to attend school without facing major schedule changes. Visit GCU’s blogs to see how you can land a school administration job.

Leadership education influences other educators in an administrative setting. Professionals who choose to study educational leadership may want to transition into a leadership role or prepare for principal or superintendent certifications. If you enjoy working toward finding ways to increase learning and to improve the process of educating students, an education leadership degree program may be right for you.

1 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Elementary, Middle and High School Principals as of May 2020. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates elementary, middle and high school principals. It does not reflect workers’ earnings in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. The median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path.

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TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 30
Online: 6 weeks
[More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
PROGRAM TUITION RATE:
Online: $580 per credit [More Info]

Course List

Major:
30 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
30 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course begins by acquainting candidates with the GCU learning management system, while preparing them to be successful graduate-level students and future educational leaders. With an intense programmatic focus on developing people into leaders, this course examines the essential value of Leading with Purpose, a principal cornerstone of the College of Education's mission statement and Conceptual Framework. Major leadership styles, philosophies and the characteristic leadership behaviors will be a fundamental focus while candidates begin to understand and develop their own leadership style and philosophy. This development will occur in context as candidates are exposed to the leadership foundations provided through the professional standards and code of ethics for educational leaders. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

This course will introduce candidates to the laws and policies governing and relating to PreK-12 education in the United States. Through case studies, a broad range of topics will be examined including, due process, discipline, freedom of speech, school safety, discrimination, religion in schools, and rights of students with disabilities. These and other topics will be framed in context to inform the future principal’s role in improving outcomes for all students. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance not required. Prerequisite: EAD-501.

Course Description

This course examines PK-12 education finance with a fundamental focus on issues and practices that directly affect the operation of the school and local education agency (LEA). Candidates will be exposed to the regulations encompassed in the Uniform System of Financial Records (USFR) and the implications of these regulations at the school site level. School finance topics related to education at the federal, state, and local levels will be examined. Candidates will explore school budget and accounting principles, fiscal responsibility, resource allocation, basic administrative theories, processes, and techniques, as well as discuss the major challenges facing them in the daily operation of local schools. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance not required. Prerequisite: EAD-501.

Course Description

This course surveys effective strategies and practices in professional development. Special focus is placed upon theories and models, including andragogy, that enhance knowledge and skill development for adult learners in educational settings. Candidates develop and implement professional learning activities aligned with the needs of learners, schools and systems that ensure learner growth and advance the profession by leading collaborative interactions. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the critical role of the leader in creating and sustaining a positive school culture and shared vision. Given diverse settings, contexts and leadership situations, candidates will explore how various leadership styles, philosophies and behaviors can promote or hinder the development of a quality learning culture and positive workplace conditions. Additionally, candidates will examine supervisory processes and strategies by which educational leaders can empower teacher self-efficacy and promote instructional improvement that enriches the outcomes for all students. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course prepares candidates to become effective instructional leaders in the evaluation of school-wide curricular programs to promote continuous school improvement. Candidates will explore processes in planning, implementation, and evaluation of programs and curriculum, while ensuring that curricular design, instructional strategies, and learning environments integrate appropriate technologies that maximize learning and teaching. Data-driven analysis is emphasized throughout. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course prepares candidates to become effective building-level instructional leaders in the development of professional capacity. Candidates will investigate various school professional development program practices including Professional Learning Communities, Collaborative Learning Communities, beginning teacher induction, and mentor program models. Additionally, candidates will analyze theoretical models, research, and best practices for improving teaching as well as learning outcomes for all students, with a strong emphasis on data-driven, learner-centered decision-making. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course prepares candidates to become effective building-level instructional leaders who are able to positively enrich teaching and learning experiences/outcomes through leadership practices that improve teacher performance, self-efficacy, and morale. Course topics promote the learning of strategies including coaching; collaborative learning and decision-making; creating a safe and supportive professional learning culture; and reflective practice. Candidates will examine current policy and practice in the areas of teacher observation, evaluation, and teacher performance ratings. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course prepares candidates to become effective building-level instructional leaders who are able to positively enrich teaching and learning experiences/outcomes through leadership practices that improve teacher performance, self-efficacy, and morale. Course topics promote the learning of strategies including cognitive coaching; collaborative learning/decision-making; creating a safe/supportive professional learning culture; and reflective practice. Candidates will examine current policy and practice in the areas of teacher observation, evaluation, value-added student growth models, and teacher performance ratings. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: EAD-501.

Course Description

This course will explore critical issues facing school principals, including the challenge of attracting and retaining a quality work force, managing and allocating resources, innovative instructional leadership, creating community partnerships, and meeting the myriad of district, state and federal policies and laws. With a focus on all six Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards, candidates will holistically analyze a school’s Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP) and focused action plans in various contexts. This analysis will inform the candidate's understanding of the important implications of managing school resources in order to meet operational needs and improve outcomes for all students. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required.

Program Locations

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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