Educational Leadership - Instructional Leadership K-12 School Leadership, Master of Education

Department of Educational Leadership

College of Education

This plan is not available at the Flagstaff campus.

Through this program, you explore the underpinnings of the K-12 educational system and develop knowledge and leadership skills applicable to the K-12 setting. We designed this program for teachers wishing to take a more active leadership role in their schools; it is a first step if you wish to pursue state Administrative Certification.

The Educational Leadership department at NAU partners with local school districts to offer the following programs under our Organizational Partnerships Campus:

  • MEd in Educational Leadership with Principal Certification
  • MEd in Instructional Leadership, K12 School Leadership
  • Principal, Graduate Certificate
Earn your degree alongside your colleagues, right in your own community! 
  • Phoenix, North Valley – Fall starts
  • Chandler – Fall starts
  • Gilbert – Spring starts
  • Tucson – Fall starts
  • Statewide Zoom Cohort – Fall Start (beginning Fall 2022)

If you are interested in a cohort, contact NAU at (602) 728-9510 or northvalley@nau.edu to learn more. 

If you are a school district interested in starting a cohort in your community, contact us at partnerships@nau.edu.

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master's degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.

    Read the full policy here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 30
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Progression Plan Link View Program of Study

Purpose Statement

The purpose of the Instructional Leadership Degree is to prepare educators and other school personnel to serve in K-12 educational leadership positions that do not require building or district certification.
Students in this program will develop the ability to apply organizational theory and socio-cultural aspects of education to the support and development of their professional area, improve their ability to supervise instructional development and assessment, hone their skills in school finance and budgeting and work with peers across the field of education as they explore and apply leadership concepts to address common challenges.  A set of electives within the program ensure students explore areas of interest tailored to their professional aspirations, and implement their new abilities and skills in an internship program. 
 Examples of leadership roles which our students are progressing towards include, teachers serving on special assignment as instructional coaches, curriculum leaders, special education leaders or as the department chair of an academic unit, leading curriculum initiatives or working with school and community programs.  Whether you want to increase your knowledge of effective management practices in K-12 educational systems, or improve your practice of leadership within your current career, we are here to help you.
Student Learning Outcomes

  • Apply effective organizational theory as a foundation for the development of strategies for leadership.
  • Develop and implement a vision of learning based on relevant teaching and learning knowledge and theory to promote the success of all students.
  • Develop comprehensive and rigorous instructional programs for student learning.
  • Collaborate with family and community members to plan and implement programs and services for diverse student populations.
  • Evaluate the financial health of the school system and employ strategies to effectively and efficiently use the resources available to create the best learning experience for all students.
  • Develop appropriate monitoring systems to efficiently use human, fiscal and technological resources to achieve teaching and learning goals.
  • Analyze qualitative and quantitative education research findings and develop action plans to implement significant findings to improve student learning.
  • Make decisions that promote student success based on ethical and legal principles, professional integrity, and fairness.
  • Evaluate the potential moral and legal consequences of decision making to ensure that the needs of students, families, and caregivers inform all aspects of schooling.
  • Develop and implement legal school-based policies and procedures that protect the welfare and safety of students and staff.
  • Analyze issues from a philosophical, social, historical, political, and intercultural perspective to guide decisions effecting students.
  • Determine community interests and needs to build and sustain positive school relationships with families, caregivers and other community partners.
Select an area of course work aligned with your interests to incorporate theoretical and research elements into your internship experience and project.
Design and complete a plan for the internship that integrates the course work and focuses on a common problem within the K-12 educational system:
  • Develop an internship plan outlining the intended activities you will undertake and the specific “products” or “deliverables” you will develop for your organization
  • Apply your educational research methods to complete tasks and contribute new thinking and perspectives to the organization
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your work and the implications for the organization and the K-12 educational systems, etc.
  • Identify the key educational issues that arose in the course of conducting the internship:
  • Write a professional paper reflecting on how effective educational leadership can create change in the organization
  • Present the results of your professional paper to professional and non-professional audiences

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • There are no additional individual admission requirements.
Master's Requirements
  • This Master’s degree requires 30 units distributed as follows:

    • Instructional Leadership K-12 School Leadership Common Course Requirements: 15 units
    • A course in education law or legal aspects of school administration : 3 units
    • A course in the political, sociological, philosophical or historical elements of education: 3 units
    • Specialization electives: 9 units

    Take the following 30 units:

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.