District of Columbia Education Leadership Administration Graduate Programs & Schools

If you are passionate about the field of education, you might consider engaging in one of many educational leadership graduate programs to learn how to promote student, ...

teacher, and institutional success. Educational leadership programs that emphasize school administration help students develop the knowledge and skills they need to analyze, evolve, and enact school policies, procedures, and reform at systemic and institutional levels. Professionals who emerge from these Educational Leadership Graduate Programs are typically prepared to pursue administrative licensure and provide leadership in K-12, collegiate, and other school settings. 

What is Educational Leadership?

At the most basic level, educational leadership is the set of skills and actions used to promote and ensure student achievement, teacher effectiveness and job satisfaction, and institutional improvement and success. Educational leaders typically work closely with teachers, faculty, students, parents, and governmental and other entities to create stability and workability in school systems. They might create, manage, and control policies, guide and direct leaders in other capacities, and support and supervise teachers and other faculty. Some areas of educational leadership and administration include:

  • Student affairs administration and leadership
  • Academic affairs administration and leadership
  • Community college administration and leadership
  • Adult education administration and leadership
  • University administration and leadership
  • Administration and leadership in the educational branches of governmental agencies, non-profits, and NGOs

Professionals with an educational leadership degree or certificate might work as school administrators, principals, counselors, directors, supervisors, content specialists, or in a variety of other positions. They often work alongside education experts, researchers, and scholars to affect change and promote student, teacher, and institutional success.

Who Might Pursue a Graduate Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration?

Typically, professionals who already have experience in the field of education pursue a graduate degree in educational leadership and administration. Many of them have teaching certificates, and some may have experience working in educational administration, curriculum design, or advocacy. In most cases, professionals who pursue advanced education in this area care deeply about education and its ability (or inability) to promote student success. They often devote their thoughts and efforts to improving education and providing quality and effective instruction to students.

Professionals interested in educational leadership and administration may work in K-12 education, collegiate education, adult education, or in administrative capacities at a school-based or central office. They may have experience working as teachers, supervisors, leaders, or in other capacities. They’re commonly interested in taking on professional responsibility and accountability at advanced levels.

What Graduate-Level Programs Are Available in Educational Leadership and Administration?

Educational leadership graduate programs come in three primary levels:  

  • Certificate programs
  • Master’s degree programs
  • Doctorate degree programs

Through these types of programs, students might study specializations such as educational policy, educational research, or student affairs and development. Many of these programs are offered in on-campus, online, and hybrid formats.

Certificate Programs

The educational leadership certificate may be a great option for students who want to focus on educational leadership and administration but already have a master’s degree in another subject. Many certificate programs prepare students to apply for school leadership and administration licensure. Depending on the program, they may help professionals become assistant principals, principals, or supervisors at schools or central offices. Most certificate programs require one to two years of fulltime study.

The Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration

Master’s degrees in educational leadership and administration typically fall into two categories: a Master of Science or a Master of Art. Programs may focus on areas of educational leadership and administration and emphasize areas of study such as the history, politics, and sociology of education; student learning and development; program curricula, delivery, and assessment; educational analysis and assessment (with an emphasis on data, statistics, and research); and educational access and opportunity (with an emphasis on economics and diversity, for example). Students typically pursue a masters in educational leadership over the course of one to two years of intensive or fulltime study.

Master’s degree programs in educational leadership and administration may help prepare students for leadership and administration licensure and to pursue jobs as assistant principals, principals, supervisors at schools or central offices, content specialists, teacher trainers, and a number of other leadership positions, especially in K-12 or adult education.

The Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration

Many professionals in the field of education opt to pursue a doctorate degree (EdD) or PhD in educational leadership and administration. The doctorate in educational leadership often delivers curricula more suitable for practical application, while the PhD in educational leadership often prepares students to conduct research and study theories of educational leadership and administration. While doctorate programs commonly prepare students for leadership positions in K-12 and collegiate education, PhD programs may prepare professionals to work as educators and researchers in colleges and universities. However, this is not always the case and ultimately, you should study each potential doctorate program carefully. Either type of degree might prepare students to work in schools or districts’ central offices.

In most cases, it takes anywhere from three to six years for students to earn their EdD or PhD in educational leadership and administration, depending on individual program and course load.

What Might I Study in an Educational Leadership and Administration Graduate Program?

Ultimately, what you’ll study in a graduate-level educational leadership and administration graduate programs depends on the program level and the goals of the particular program. However, we can give you a sense of how your curriculum might be arranged and what subjects you might study.

First and foremost, many programs’ credits, courses, and field requirements may be designed according to licensure requirements. Licensure requirements vary by state, so you may want to check with your state’s department of education and ensure that the program you select meets those requirements.

Second, most programs, especially master’s and doctorate degree programs, will orient around a collective of core and elective credits. To conclude your program, you might have to take a comprehensive exam, complete an internship, or write a thesis or dissertation.

Third, most educational leadership and administration programs cover core, elective, and emphatic subjects that prepare students to think about and take action in areas critical to educational success and reform. In any given program, you might cover subjects such as:

  • Theories of leadership and leadership styles
  • Diversity in the classroom and institution
  • Resource management
  • Legal and ethical aspects of leadership and administration
  • Using data, statistics, and analysis to affect change
  • Principalship (and department, school, and district leadership)
  • Instructional leadership
  • The history, economics, anthropology, politics and sociology of education 
  • Methods of educational research (quantitative and qualitative)
  • Philosophies of teaching and learning
  • Curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • Literacy and learning (adolescent or adult)
  • Integrating technology in the classroom
  • Subjects such as math, reading, and social studies
  • Special education
  • ESL, TEFL, and TESOL
  • Pedagogy and epistemology
  • Human development
  • Education and business theories  

Through courses in subjects like these and others, professionals in educational leadership and administration graduate programs may study theoretical and practical applications and explore various aspects of education and leadership. They may discuss the challenges of today’s education system and ponder how to direct and transform education in the future. These are just some of the many things students might study in their Educational Leadership Graduate programs.

How Can I Find Educational Leadership Graduate Programs?

You can begin your search for Educational Leadership Graduate Programs: certificate, master’s degree, or doctorate degree program in educational leadership and administration here. Just below you’ll find a list of programs to scroll through and get a sense of what’s available. You can also opt to learn more or request additional information directly from the institution. Alternatively, you can use our search tool to refine your search and browse Educational Leadership Graduate Programs by type or location. We wish you luck as you pursue your dreams of earning a certificate, master’s degree, or doctorate degree in educational leadership and administration!

This program provides an opportunity to understand and address deep-rooted social and educational inequities through the lens of critical Human Rights Education.