Develop a career in education leadership.

Unlock Your Career Potential

Creative, strategic leaders are valued team members in all organizations—colleges and universities, K–12 schools, public and private companies, and more.

The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program provides the educational foundation you need to build:

  • Educational strategies for learners of all ages
  • Management and leadership skills that can be applied to a variety of workplace settings to support and develop those around you
  • Communication, creativity, and personal coaching skills
  • Data analysis and research skills to improve organizations

Learning from industry practitioners and classroom peers, you’ll feel supported in your educational journey. When you graduate, you’ll be well-prepared to make a difference in the lives of others and have a direct impact on organizational objectives.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the M.A. in Educational Leadership program are expected to be able to do the following:

  • Innovative Leadership—Provide educational leadership through the use of leadership principles and technology applicable to educational organizations.
  • Communication and Collaboration—Communicate effectively to facilitate professional learning communities.
  • Curriculum and Instruction—Evaluate and design curriculum and instruction to ensure and enhance the growth of all learners, especially adults.
  • Today’s Diversity—Foster cultural competency by leveraging diversity to ensure growth of the educational organization.
  • Management—Manage a safe and effective learning environment utilizing creative supervisory principles and research-based management styles.
  • The Ethical Leader and the Law—Embrace ethical values to act with responsibility and accountability.
  • Assessment—Assess educational effectiveness by utilizing data-driven practices and technological strategies.
  • Educational Research—Examine ways to improve education through quality data collection and analysis.
  • Developing Self and Others—Empower and nurture employees through effective staff development principles and adult learning theories.

From Start to Finish

  • You can earn your M.A. in Educational Leadership degree in less than two years.
  • Classes start every eight weeks.


On-Campus or Blended Programs

Fully Online Programs

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
  2. An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a university accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).
  3. A reflective essay which includes the following:
    • brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience; and
    • statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to the program; and
    • description of the areas the applicant considers to be his or her strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities; and
    • personal information the applicant wishes to share.
  4. Two letters of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability; and
  5. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
  6. Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities campus.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN  55404


This program is offered at our Twin Cities location and online.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Administration, Coaching, and Team Building 24 cr.
Process of Change 9 cr.
Total 33 cr.

Administration, Coaching, and Team Building: 24 cr.

EL600 Orientation and Writing Assessment (0 cr.)

This required session introduces newly enrolled students in the M.A. in Educational Leadership program to the policies, procedures, and expectations of the program. Commonly asked questions are addressed including an overview of the preferred sequencing of courses, action research project overview, and exit procedures. A writing assessment is also administered.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Explain the expectations of the M.A. in Educational Leadership.
  2. Demonstrate written communication skills.

EL602 Facilitation Through Communication (3 cr.)

In this course students develop academic written and oral skills, interpersonal communication skills, and technology skills for presentations and organizational communication.   The relationship between communication and organizational culture is addressed. 

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate academic and professional written, oral, and technological communication skills, including the use of appropriate APA writing style.
  2. Evaluate various modes of organizational communication, including technology, and its impact on communicating the organizational culture.
  3. Explore and apply various communication styles including variations found within diverse cultural, gender, and generational groups.
  4. Demonstrate interpersonal communication skills that promote inclusiveness.

EL603 Foundations of Educational Leadership (3 cr.)

This course focuses on leadership principles designed to create and sustain educational organizations/programs through the creation and implementation of vision, mission, and reflective practices. Leadership styles coupled with personal, cultural, and ethical awareness are evaluated.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify and synthesize educational leadership principles and styles.
  2. Create a vision and mission to drive educational quality.
  3. Develop and demonstrate culturally competent leadership skills.
  4. Evaluate the role of creativity and risk-taking in educational leadership.
  5. Examine and apply strategic planning models, including data-driven decisions, for educational improvement.
  6. Integrate ethics into leadership practices.

EL613 Fundamentals of Management (3 cr.)

This course examines management strategies for supporting organizational systems and infrastructure within an educational organization. Management styles and models, technology assisted budgetary decision making, project management, and crises management are addressed.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Differentiate between leadership and management.
  2. Evaluate management models and styles.
  3. Articulate one's personal management style.
  4. Identify and analyze the interrelatedness of informal and formal internal systems sustaining the vitality of the educational organization.
  5. Employ technology-assisted budgetary decision making skills and theories that drive organizational improvement.
  6. Apply project management skills.
  7. Design an organizational infrastructure to ensure a safe and effective environment.
  8. Discuss prioritization and action strategies for managing crises.
  9. Apply ethical principles to management practices.

EL622 Supervision (3 cr.)

This course examines methods of supervision, evaluation, and mentoring of personnel. Skills for hiring, evaluating, and developing personnel to enhance performance and growth of the educational organization with sensitivity to diversity are the main focus.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Evaluate strategies for identifying and recruiting quality staff.
  2. Analyze methods for evaluating and reporting faculty/employee performance.
  3. Examine and apply methods for developing personnel to enhance performance.
  4. Analyze various approaches/theories to supervision of staff including issues of law, conflict resolution, and negotiation.
  5. Analyze strategies for promoting a sense of belonging within a diverse organizational community.
  6. Demonstrate effective written and interpersonal communication skills that drive performance improvement.

EL623 Curriculum and Instruction (3 cr.)

This course focuses on designing and evaluating curriculum and instructional strategies to create programs that meet the needs of all learners including adults. Curriculum design models, instructional methodologies, methods for authentic assessment of learning, and learning styles are explored.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Examine and apply curriculum design models and instructional strategies in order to teach, train, and supervise adults.
  2. Apply learning style theory for instruction.
  3. Evaluate and apply methods of authentic assessment of learning.
  4. Create learning experiences that meet the needs of all learners through the development of appropriate curricular and instructional strategies.
  5. Examine methods for promoting educational strategies within an organization.

EL633 Ethics and Law (3 cr.)

This course surveys ethical principles and legal issues that impact leadership in an educational setting. Legal trends, state and federal laws, case studies, and ethical dilemmas as they apply to personal and professional ethics are addressed.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Analyze the history of educational ethical and legal issues in relation to social impact.
  2. Identify legal and ethical issues regarding education relevant to the student's career field.
  3. Discuss and evaluate ethical and legal case studies addressing educational issues.
  4. Identify and interpret the implication of the code of the ethics related to the student's career field.
  5. Demonstrate an integration of ethics and legal principles into personal and professional life.

EL652 Adult Learning (3 cr.)

This course is designed to study and apply learning theories that engage diverse adult learners in professional and personal development. The main focus is developing coaching and team building skills, creating a learning organization through the use of adult learning theory, establishing staff development, and comparing androgogy and pedagogy.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Examine and apply strategies for professional development incorporating theories of adult learning.
  2. Compare and synthesize androgogical and pedagogical instructional approaches.
  3. Define and identify components of a learning organization to promote effectiveness.
  4. Determine methods for creating and sustaining a learning organization.
  5. Demonstrate coaching, mentoring, and team building practices incorporating adult learning theory.
  6. Demonstrate an integration of demographic and cultural understanding into adult learning situations.

EL670 Multicultural Leadership and Team Building (3 cr.)

This course focuses on becoming a culturally-aware leader able to integrate diversity for educational and organizational growth. Students investigate ways to strengthen and advance organizations through effective team building and collaborative skills, and to promote organizational cultural awareness while garnering community involvement and political support.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Develop an awareness of various forms of diversity.
  2. Analyze the management of building involvement and political support from diverse communities and stakeholders.
  3. Review and interpret state and federal laws regarding diversity and cultural awareness.
  4. Engage in critical inquiry and respectful dialogue to engender cultural competency.
  5. Apply team building skills to create an inclusive learning community of diverse members.
  6. Evaluate the role and application of professional learning communities.

Process of Change: 9 cr.

EL630 Educational Research (3 cr.)

This course focuses on recognizing, designing, and conducting valid, reliable, and ethical educational research for improving teaching and learning. Published studies are critiqued by identifying strengths and limitations of the methodology and evaluating potential impact on educational practice. Action research design, evaluation of literature and published studies, decision analysis, and methods for communicating and implementing results are practiced through several experiences.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be ble to do the following:

  1. Recognize and differentiate between appropriate use of and the processes involved in conducting descriptive/experimental research and quantitative/qualitative research.
  2. Develop skills to generate research questions, review relevant literature and devise a plan for descriptive research.
  3. Critique published educational research by identifying limitations, assumptions, and biases of studies.
  4. Determine appropriate sources of data and data analysis for action research.
  5. Design basic action research implementing accepted design and reporting methods.
  6. Design a plan for communicating and implementing action research findings within an educational organizational setting.

EL634 Action Research Project (3 cr.)

In this summative course, participants conduct an in-depth study of action research, data collection and data analysis processes, ethical implications of research, and research as a continuous improvement tool. This learning is applied to various professional settings through the creation of an individualized action research project and a written paper, which includes an introduction, a review of current literature, research questions, a description of the methodology and means of evaluation, the findings and interpretation of results, and possible questions for further study.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Review relevant scholarly literature on a selected topic.
  2. Synthesize and evaluate findings from relevant, scholarly literature on a selected topic.
  3. Compose an educational research question.
  4. Apply skills to plan and conduct descriptive research.
  5. Use academic writing skills and APA style.


EL662 Promoting Change (3 cr.)

This course surveys concepts and strategies related to the creation and implementation of visionary change. Theories surrounding systemic change based on the examination and implementation of internal systems within an educational organization are examined.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify and analyze current research methods for planning and implementing organizational change.
  2. Evaluate ways to overcome resistance to organizational change.
  3. Evaluate reactions to change on an individual and organizational level.
  4. Examine the role of organizational data and technology-assisted data analysis for strategizing change.
  5. Analyze examples of successful and unsuccessful organizational change and the strategies employed.

EL699 Project Presentation and Exit Interview (0 cr.)

Students present, using visual technology, their summary paper including the literature review and action research to a panel of program members including paper advisor, reader, and department representative.

Connect With Us

Michelle Dougherty, M.A.

SGPP Admission - Enrollment Counselor Graduate School of Education

LaSalle Hall-TC Campus, LSH112

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5122


Craig Sundberg, M.A.

M A in Educational Leadership - Program Director, Master of Arts in Instruction - Adjunct Program Instructor

Martin DePorres Hall-TC Campus, MDP110

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5143

Craig Sundberg M.A.
Julie Kirsch

Program Coordinator, Master of Arts in Education

Martin DePorres Hall-TC Campus, MDP

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5181

Michelle Wallin

Graduate School of Education - Coordinator

Martin DePorres Hall-TC Campus, MDP

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5107

Michelle Wallin
Professor smiling with students

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