An online master’s in educational leadership program prepares teachers and graduates for leadership positions in the field of education. Many educational leadership degree-holders become professional development coordinators, principals and administrators, and even district superintendents. Online master’s in educational leadership programs open up doors to higher paying careers than those positions requiring only a bachelor’s degree in education. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that middle school teachers earn an annual median wage of just $55,860 while the median wage for elementary, middle, and high school principals is $90,410 per year. While successful graduates with master’s of educational leadership online degrees will no doubt see a huge return on investment, it’s still important to do your due diligence and find a value-added program that meets your specific career goals.

Ranking Methodology
Awards and Recognition (Related to Educational Leadership)
• National Level – 2 points
• Regional Level – 1 point
20-Year Net ROI
• Above 500,000 – 5 points
• Above 400,000 – 4 points
• Above 300,000 – 3 points
• Above 200,000 – 2 points
Customization Options
• Content Customizations (e.g. Concentrations and Specializations) – 1 point
• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid, Synchronous, etc.) – 1 point
Innovative Programs and/or Teaching Methods in Educational Leadership – 1 point
Internship Opportunities in Educational Leadership – 1 point
Scholarship Opportunities in Educational Leadership – 1 point
Related Student Organizations and Societies – 1 point
Wow Factor
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

Best Value Colleges for an Online Master’s in Educational Leadership
In this ranking, we explore the 30 top value online master’s in educational leadership programs for 2017. Our editors scoured the web for schools offering this degree in a virtual format and compiled an initial pool of 73 colleges and universities. From there, we consulted PayScale.com to identify the 30 schools with the highest 20-year return on investment. Finally, we used information from each program’s website to apply the methodology above. In cases of a tie, the school with the lower tuition received the higher ranking.

#30 – Wright State University

Online Master’s in Education in Educational Leadership—Teacher Leader

Dayton, Ohio

Wright State University online master's educational leadership

Wright State University’s online master’s of educational leadership program can be completed in as few as 20 months.

Website
Points: 3
Wright State University offers a 30-credit hour online master’s in educational leadership program designed to be completed within 20 months. The program can be completed entirely online and includes course topics such as Student Assessment, Curriculum Analysis, Leadership for School Improvement, and Instructional Leadership & Change. This particular master’s of educational leadership online program is ideal for those teachers who want to remain in the classroom while taking on school leadership roles such as teacher leader, mentor, or curriculum facilitator.
Tuition & Fees: $12,788

#29 – Montclair State University

Online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership

Montclair, New Jersey

Montclair State University master's of educational leadership online

Montclair State University offers both a part-time and fast-track online master’s in educational leadership online.

Website
Points: 3
Montclair State University offers a fully online master’s in educational leadership degree program designed to be completed in just 2 years on a part-time basis. The curriculum is primarily a prescribed one and includes course titles such as Effective Leadership in a Diverse Society, Ethical Leadership and Decision-Making, Leading Curriculum Change for Student Achievement, and Education Law. A fast-track option is available, enabling students to complete this master’s of educational leadership online in just 14 months, but some campus visits may be required.
Tuition & Fees: $11,590

#28 – Florida State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership/Administration

Tallahassee, Florida

Florida State University master's of educational leadership online

Florida State University’s online master’s of educational leadership requires two years of prior experience in a K-12 setting.

Website
Points: 3
Florida State University offers a 36-credit hour online master’s in educational leadership featuring an experiential learning component. Specific course titles include Resource Management for Educational Leadership, Data Driven School Improvement, Instructional Leadership, and Applications of Policy. Prior to graduation, students must also complete a capstone project, which includes a Leadership Development Plan, a reflection paper discussing the mentoring initiative and field experiences as well as a Conceptual Connections essay. Students must have two years of full-time experience in a K-12 setting in order to be eligible for this online master’s educational leadership program.
Tuition & Fees: $11,543

#27 – Kennesaw State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Kennesaw, Georgia

Kennesaw State University online master's educational leadership

Kennesaw State University offers a unique online master’s in educational leadership program with a concentration in Leading Independent and Charter Schools.

Website
Points: 3
Kennesaw State University offers an online master’s in educational leadership with two available concentrations: Leadership in Urban Schools and Leading Independent and Charter Schools. The 36-credit hour program is comprised of core courses such as Leading Curriculum and Assessment, Leading 21st Century Teaching and Learning, and Data Analysis School Leaders, as well as concentration courses like Financial Management and Leadership and Institutional Advancement and Governance. A bachelor’s degree and two years of teaching experience is required for admission into this online master’s educational leadership degree.
Tuition & Fees: $6,740

#26 – Arkansas State University

Online Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Arkansas State University online master's educational leadership

Arkansas State University offers an online master’s in educational leadership program with concentrations in elementary, middle, and high school curriculum.

Website
Points: 3
Arkansas State University offers an online master’s in educational leadership that allows students to specialize in elementary, middle, or secondary school curriculum. The comprehensive 36-credit hour program can be completed in as few as 20 months and includes course topics such as Philosophies of Education, School and Community Relations, Planning and Resource Allocation, and Theories of Instruction. A capstone course must also be completed prior to graduation from this online master’s educational leadership program.
Tuition & Fees: $5,810

#25 – Azusa Pacific University

Online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership

Azusa, California

Azusa Pacific University master's of educational leadership online

Azusa Pacific University offers an online master’s in educational leadership program with an optional administrative credential.

Website
Points: 4
Azusa Pacific University offers an interactive online master’s in educational leadership program that can be completed in as few as 18-20 months. In addition to earning their degrees, enrolled students also have the opportunity to add a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential. Some specialty course titles include School Improvement Leadership, Organizational & Systems Leadership, and Community Leadership. An electronic portfolio must also be submitted prior to graduation from this online master’s educational leadership program.
Tuition & Fees: $12,409

#24 – Old Dominion University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership: Admin. & Supervision K-12

Norfolk, Virginia

Old Dominion University master's of educational leadership online

Old Dominion University offers an online master’s in educational leadership program featuring a clinical program.

Website
Points: 4
The online master’s in educational leadership from Old Dominion University is offered through its Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership. The 30-credit hour program is comprised of 24 credit hours of coursework as well as 6 credit hours of clinical experiences. Enrolled students will study topics such as Leadership for School Improvement, Data Analysis and Decision-Making, and Strategic Human Resource and Fiscal Development. Online master’s educational leadership students must also complete 120 internship hours prior to graduation.
Tuition & Fees: $11,136

#23 – University of Northern Colorado

Online Master in Educational Leadership

Greeley, Colorado

University of Northern Colorado master's of educational leadership online

The University of Northern Colorado’s online master’s in educational leadership offering features three distinct concentrations.

Website
Points: 4
The University of Northern Colorado offers an online master’s in educational leadership program with three available concentration areas: P-12 education, higher education, and student affairs leadership. Additionally, students have the option of customizing individual programs by selecting electives aligned with their career goals. Course titles comprising this master’s of educational leadership online program include Leadership Development Through Inquiry, Shaping Organizations: Management and Leadership in Education, and Understanding People: Professional Development and Educational Leadership.
Tuition & Fees: $10,809

#22 – Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Online Master of Educational Leadership

Standish, Maine

St. Joseph's College of Maine online master's educational leadership

Saint Joseph’s online master’s of educational leadership program offers a unique concentration in Catholic schools.

Website
Points: 4
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine offers an online master’s in educational leadership offering with four distinct concentrations: public K-12 schools, Catholic schools, healthcare education, and adult training. There is no residency requirement for the program, and monthly start dates allow students to begin coursework as soon as their schedules allow. Some of the course titles comprising this master’s of educational leadership program include Research Design in Education, Supervision and Evaluation of Educational Personnel, Federal and State Civil Rights and Education Law, and Organizational Theory and Planning.
Tuition & Fees: $8,626

#21 – San Diego State University

Online Master’s in Education in Educational Leadership

San Diego, California

San Diego State University master's of educational leadership online

San Diego State University’s online master’s in educational leadership program follows a cohort model.

Website
Points: 4
The online master’s in educational leadership offering from San Diego State University is technically an MA in Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership and a specialty in PreK-12. The 15-month program follows a cohort model and includes course titles such as Curriculum Design and Management, Principles of Educational Administration, Professional Learning & Growth Leadership, and Visionary Leadership. Since the curriculum focuses heavily on technology, this master’s of educational leadership online program is ideal for those teachers who want to take on educational technology leadership roles in their schools.
Tuition & Fees: $8,242

#20 – California State University—Northridge

Online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership

Northridge, California

California State University master of educational leadership online

California State University–Northridge’s online master’s in educational leadership program prepares students for the state’s Tier I credential.

Website
Points: 4
California State University—Northridge offers an online master’s in educational leadership degree program from the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies. This program also prepares eligible students for the Tier I Credential from the California State Credentials Office. Course titles comprising the curriculum for this master’s of educational leadership online program include Contemporary Administrative Leadership, Business and Financial Aspects of Educational Administration, and Management of Human Resources.
Tuition & Fees: $7,835

#19 – Park University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Parkville, Missouri

Park University online master's educational leadership

Park University’s online master’s in educational leadership offers students an optional middle school principal certification.

Website
Points: 4
Park University offers an online master’s in educational leadership program delivered in a cohort format. The program is designed to be completed in two years, and students take one eight-week course at a time. In addition to the standard coursework, students may also opt to study additional topics in preparation for middle school principal certification. Specific course titles for this online master’s of educational leadership degree include Foundations of Educational Administration, School and Community Leadership, and Curriculum Theory and Practice.
Tuition & Fees: $7,575

#18 – University of New England

Online Master of Arts in Education: Educational Leadership

Biddeford, Maine

University of New England master's of educational leadership online

The online master’s in educational leadership program from the University of New England includes five available focus areas.

Website
Points: 5
The University of New England offers a well-balanced online master’s of educational leadership program consisting of five core courses and five elective courses. Core course titles include Teacher as Leader, Motivational Theory & Strategies, and Action Research. Students will choose electives aligned with one of five focus areas: Career & Technical Education, Curriculum & Instructional Strategies, Literacy (K-12), Educational Leadership, and Inclusion Education. A final portfolio is also required for this online master’s educational leadership program.
Tuition & Fees: $23,172

#17 – Quinnipiac University

Online MS in Teacher Leadership

Hamden, Connecticut

Quinnipiac University master's of educational leadership online

The online master’s in educational leadership from Quinnipiac University features three unique concentration areas.

Website
Points: 5
Quinnipiac University offers an online master’s in educational leadership with three available tracks: the literacy leadership track, the mathematics leadership track, and the program improvement leadership track. The 30-credit hour program consists of a 21-credit core and 9 credits in the student’s chosen specialty area. Some required courses include Teacher Leadership to Transform School Culture, Leading School Improvement, Research-Based Literacy Practices, and Diversity in the Classroom. A letter of recommendation from a supervisor or principal is required for eligibility into this master’s of educational leadership online program.
Tuition & Fees: $17,874

#16 – University of Cincinnati

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Cincinnati, Ohio

University of Cincinnati online master's educational leadership

The University of Cincinnati’s online master’s in educational leadership program features a prescribed curriculum.

Website
Points: 5
The online master’s in educational leadership program from the University of Cincinnati is a 30-credit hour program designed to be completed over the course of 21 months. The curriculum is a prescribed one and includes 10 14-week courses. Some course titles include Educational Leadership Theory, Leadership for Social Justice, School & Community Partnerships, and Instructional Supervision. Prior to graduation from this online master’s educational leadership, students are also required to submit an electronic portfolio and a Principal Clinical Internship.
Tuition & Fees: $14,468

#15 – Ottawa University

Online Master’s in Education: Educational Leadership

Ottawa, Kansas

Ottawa University online master's educational leadership offering is an MA with a concentration in educational leadership.

Ottawa University’s online master’s in educational leadership leads to licensure.

Website
Points: 5
Ottawa University offers an online master’s in educational leadership degree program which is actually a Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership. To complete this program, enrolled students will take foundation courses such as Human Relations for Leaders in Diverse Communities and Data-Driven Leadership Practices, as well as concentration courses such as Education Law, School Finance, and School and Community Relations. This master’s of educational leadership online program leads to licensure by the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium.
Tuition & Fees: $11,305

#14 – Arizona State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership (Principalship)

Tempe, Arizona

Arizona State University master's of educational leadership online

ASU’s online master’s in educational leadership program requires 135 internship hours.

Website
Points: 5
Arizona State University offers an online master’s in educational leadership degree through the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. As they work towards their principalship certification, students will take courses such as Competency and Performance in Educational Administration, Instructional Supervision, School Finance and Human Resources, and School Law. This 36-credit hour master of educational leadership online program also requires a 135-hour internship. Although the program meets the requirements for Arizona principal certification, students from other states should check their specific state requirements to ensure the program is right for them.
Tuition & Fees: $11,304

#13 – Grand Canyon University

Online Master’s in Education in Educational Leadership

Phoenix, Arizona

Grand Canyon University master's of educational leadership online

The online master’s in educational leadership from Grand Canyon University is founded upon Christian principles.

Website
Points: 5
Grand Canyon University offers an online master’s in educational leadership degree program from its College of Education that approaches school leadership from a Christian perspective. The 30-credit hour program is designed to be completed within 20 months and includes course topics such as Developing and Implementing Professional Development, Improving Teacher Performance and Self-efficacy, Shaping School Culture, and Strengthening Curricular Programs to Promote Continuous School Improvement. Master’s of educational leadership online students may also be eligible for certain scholarships.
Tuition & Fees: $10,124

#12 – Kansas State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Manhattan, Kansas

Kansas State University master's of educational leadership online

Kansas State University online master’s in educational leadership students may be eligible for certain scholarships.

Website
Points: 5
Kansas State University offers an online master’s in educational leadership that leads to a building-level principal licensure. The curriculum consists of a 9-credit hour leadership core, 6 credit hours in student learning needs, and 21 credit hours in leadership operations. Specific course titles include Ethical Dimensions of Educational Leadership, School-Community Relations, Education Law, and Technology Leadership for Administrators. The school’s College of Education also offers a limited number of scholarships for its online master’s educational leadership students.
Tuition & Fees: $9,972

#11 – Indiana University—Bloomington

Online M.S.E.D in Educational Leadership

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University- Bloomington online master's educational leadership

Indiana University–Bloomington’s master’s in educational leadership program allows students to choose from several different specialization strands.

Website
Points: 5
Indiana University offers an online master’s of educational leadership program that includes an optional teacher leadership specialist track. In addition to core requirements, students may choose to specialize in a specific strand, including the Higher Education and Student Affairs Strand, the Leadership in Educational Organizations Strand, the Learning Sciences Strand, and the School Law strand. Specific course titles comprising this master’s of educational leadership online program include Legal Perspectives on Education, Public School Budgeting and Accounting, and Instruction in Context of Curriculum.
Tuition & Fees: $9,743

#10 – Graceland University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Lamoni, Iowa

Graceland University online master's educational leadership

Graceland University’s unique online master’s in educational leadership offering emphasizes the quality schools concept.

Website
Points: 5
Graceland University’s online master’s in educational leadership offering is actually an MEd in Management in a Quality Classroom: A Quality Schools Approach. This unique program focuses on the quality schools concept and prepares graduates to become experts in the field of classroom management. The prescribed curriculum includes specialty course topics such as Classroom Management: Dealing With Discipline Problems, Gaining Parental Support: Building Home-School Relationships, and Choice and Responsibility: Managing Student Behavior. This online master’s educational leadership program includes a field experience, enabling students to immediately apply their learning.
Tuition & Fees: $9,440

#9 – University of Texas—Arlington

Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy

Arlington, Texas

University of Texas at Arlington online master's educational leadership

UTA offers an accelerated online master’s in educational leadership program.

Website
Points: 5
The University of Texas—Arlington offers a non-thesis online master’s in educational leadership program leading to principal certification. The 36-credit hour program is comprehensive, yet can be completed in as few as 18 months. The curriculum is entirely prescribed and includes courses such as Educational Research and Evaluation, Leadership in the Instructional Setting, Leadership Theory, and Educational Governance. Though this particular online master’s educational leadership program is less customizable than other programs in this ranking, it does offer a quick and clear-cut road towards school principal certification.
Tuition & Fees: $8,517

#8 – University of Louisiana at Monroe

Online Master’s in Education in Educational Leadership

Monroe, Louisiana

University of Louisiana Monroe master's of educational leadership online

The University of Louisiana Monroe’s online master’s in educational leadership does require some campus visits.

Website
Points: 5
The online master’s in educational leadership program from the University of Louisiana at Monroe features several available certifications, including Teacher Leader Endorsement, Secondary School Principal, Director/Supervisor of Special Education, and Child Welfare and Attendance Officer. The program also offers an extended internship that allows students to apply their learning in a real-world setting. It is important to note that there is an on-campus component to this master’s of educational leadership online program, which requires several on-site experiences.
Tuition & Fees: $8,005

#7 – Lamar University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Beaumont, Texas

Lamar University online master's educational leadership

Lamar University’s online master’s in educational leadership program requires 200 practicum hours.

Points: 5
Lamar University offers an online master’s in educational leadership resulting in an MEd in Educational Administration. Specialty course topics include titles such as Fundamentals of Leadership, Diverse Learners, Leadership for Accountability, and Curriculum Management. In addition to 36 credit hours of coursework, students pursuing their master’s of educational leadership online degree must also complete a minimum of 200 practicum hours in a public or private school setting. To complete this requirement, students will apply for an internship for supervision or an internship for principals.
Tuition & Fees: $7,898

#6 – De Paul University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership (MA/MEd)

Chicago, Illinois

DePaul University online master's educational leadership

DePaul University offers both a completely online master’s in educational leadership program and a hybrid option.

Website
Points: 6
DePaul University offers a highly customizable online master’s in educational leadership program. With both MA and MEd degree options, students can also choose between several concentrations, including Catholic Leadership, Higher Education, Physical Education, and Teacher Leader. Students can choose to take classes on a full-time or part-time basis and can earn their degrees completely online or opt for a hybrid format, combining online courses with on-campus offerings. To complete this master’s of educational leadership online program, students will take core courses such as Effective Leadership of Schools, School Finance, and Politics of Education.
Tuition & Fees: $29,873

#5 – University of Arkansas

Online Master’s in Education in Educational Leadership

Fayetteville, Arkansas

University of Arkansas master's if educational leadership online

The University of Arkansas’ online master’s in educational leadership program requires both an internship and a capstone project.

Website
Points: 6
The University of Arkansas offers a 33-credit hour online master’s in educational leadership degree program that can be completed entirely online. The school boasts a 100% pass rate on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA). Specialty courses include School Organization and Administration, Ethical Leadership, and Effective Leadership for School Improvement. In order to complete the requirements for this master’s of educational leadership online program, students must also participate in an internship and pass a written exam or portfolio presentation.
Tuition & Fees: $8,096

#4 – Drexel University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership and Management

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Drexel University master's of educational leadership online

Drexel University’s online master’s in educational leadership students can choose from five distinct tracks.

Website
Points: 7
Drexel University’s online master’s in educational leadership offering is technically an MS in Educational Administration. There are five different tracks offered by the school in order to accommodate the interests and career aspirations of all students. For instance, students may opt to get their online master’s educational leadership degree with a concentration in special education leadership or with a School Principal certification. Some specialty course topics include Integration of Technology with School Instruction and Management, School and Community Partnerships and Relations, and School Finance and Facilities.
Tuition & Fees: $31,519

#3 – Penn State World Campus

Online Master’s in Education in Educational Leadership

University Park, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State World Campus online master's educational leadership

Penn State World Campus offers an online master’s in educational leadership featuring three separate emphasis areas.

Website
Points: 7
Penn State offers an online master’s in educational leadership degree program with a choice of three emphasis areas: Teacher Leader, School Leader (with principal certification), and School Leader (without principal certification). The program includes 30 credit hours, and most students take three to four courses per year. Specific course titles include How Schools Work, Leadership for Inclusive Education, The Principalship, and Financial Management for Schools. Depending upon their chosen specialty, online master’s educational leadership students must also complete a capstone course or internship.
Tuition & Fees: $19,832

#2 – University of Missouri

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Columbia, Missouri

University of Missouri master's pf educational leadership

The University of Missouri’s online master’s in educational leadership program boasts the shortest possible completion time in this ranking.

Website
Points: 7
The University of Missouri offers an online master’s in educational leadership from its Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. This 30-credit hour program can be completed in as few as 15 months, but some courses do require campus visits. The curriculum follows a prescribed schedule and includes courses such as Foundations of School Leadership, Leadership for Data-Driven Change, School Law & Finance for Principal Leadership, and Supervision of Learning Environments. Students are also required to complete an internship prior to graduation from this master’s of educational leadership online program.
Tuition & Fees: $9,506

#1 – University of Florida

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Gainesville, Florida

Website

University of Florida master's of educational leadership online

The University of Florida’s online master’s in educational leadership program requires a 150-hour practicum.

Points: 8
The University of Florida offers an online master’s in educational leadership that leads to Florida principal certification. The 36-credit hour program features a prescribed curriculum that includes courses such as Communication in Educational Leadership, Leading Change, Administration of School Personnel, and Public School Law. Master’s in educational leadership online students must also complete a 150-hour practicum before they can sit for the Florida Educational Leadership Examination (FELE). U.S. News & World Report ranked the program first in online graduate education programs.
Tuition & Fees: $12,737

This concludes our ranking of the 30 top value online master’s in educational leadership programs for 2017.

CVO Staff
February 2017