School Leaders Program

Master of Education: School Leaders Program - Program Information


The Florida Atlantic University (FAU) College of Education’s (COE) Department of Educational Leadership (EDL) has as its mission to contribute to the personal and professional growth of current and potential leaders who serve educational agencies or individuals in a variety of settings. It seeks to develop and sustain a commitment to positive social change; excellence in both understanding the need for, and implementing, the highly developed decision making and people skills associated with leadership in education; a belief in the power of lifelong learning, inclusion and human dignity; and exemplary standards of ethical and professional behavior.

The purpose of the School Leaders Program is to prepare and support school leaders in public and private educational institutions. The Master of Education program prepares aspiring teacher leaders and assistant principals to meet the challenges of today’s schools. In cooperation with Florida public school districts, the program of study includes leadership theory, research, professional knowledge, and school-based clinical experiences. Completion of this degree, in combination with three years of successful teaching experience and passing the Florida Educational Leadership Exam (FELE), leads to Florida Educational Leadership Certification (Level I) which qualifies an individual to serve as a public school assistant principal, intern assistant principal, intern principal, or interim principal.

In addition to the leadership domains of knowledge and learning considered as world class by the profession, the Masters Program contains the learning of the Florida Leadership Standards, Competencies, and Skills which are measured through the FELE. It also complies with knowledge requirements specified by NCATE and ISLCC Standards. Students who complete this program are prepared to sit for the FELE examination, and those opting for certification must pass the exam in order to graduate. Students who do not want Level 1 Certification will have different internship requirements.


Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university, achieve a minimum GPA of 2.5 in upper division undergraduate courses and complete the GRE (no minimum sub-score requirement). Additional program requirements can be found at this Graduate College site page.

As a part of the admissions process, prospective students must apply on-line to FAU through the Graduate Admissions Office and follow the admissions process described on the Graduate College website. Additionally, candidates for admissions must submit to the EDL an essay that identifies the candidate’s career goals and how the Masters program will enable them to meet these goals, a professional resume, and two letters of reference. For those students wanting Level 1Certification, a Letter of Commitment from a school principal who is willing to sponsor the student for three semesters of internship must be submitted. For specific EDL forms, please access them on the EDL website.

Masters Program Description

The School Leaders Masters Program is built on the COE's Conceptual Framework and the four major domains that the EDL requires for leadership learning; Leadership Foundations, Research Foundations, Professional Knowledge, and Experiential Learning. It is centered on providing effective leadership in areas of research, service and teaching at the local, state, national and international levels. In agreement with the framework, EDL believes that learning in the four domains of Leadership Foundations, Research Foundations, Professional Knowledge, and Experiential Learning will develop informed, capable, ethical and reflective decision making professionals. Students successfully completing the Masters Degree will have mastered the subject matter needed for the profession and understand the need to engage in lifelong learning to maintain effectiveness in a changing environment.

The first domain, Leadership Foundations, provides the student with learning specifically about leadership. Leadership is a relationship between leaders and followers who work together toward common goals to effect change in an ethical way. Leaders continually organize to ensure that goals are accomplished. They (a) set and seek to achieve goals, (b) find resources, (c) adapt to their environment, (d) maintain cohesiveness within the system, and (e) preserve a unique system of values and work flow. Leaders must develop their own minds in systems terms and see their organizations holistically, so they may transfer knowledge from one setting to another. They must develop skills and a capacity to envision the future and be able to find opportunities within and without their organizations. Informed reflective decision-makers need leadership foundational knowledge. The theory, learning, and application of leadership are provided through the three core courses that are required for all EDL programs.

The remaining three domains are Research Foundations, Professional Knowledge, and Experiential Learning. These domains have a core group of courses that provide the student with the opportunity to learn the most important elements contained within each.

Research Foundations. School leaders today must be adept at using current research methods and tools, as well as be able to interpret findings and analyze data thereby revealing answers to questions and problems encountered in practice. In the era of accountability, data-based decision making, and scientifically-based educational programs and practices, school leaders’ learning and knowledge in this area is critical to professional success.

Professional Knowledge. Ethical reflective decision-makers understand why they are given discretion in their roles and use that ability only for the student’s or client’s benefit. Students learn about specialized fields of school leadership including school operations and management, governance, law, instructional leadership, and school community in the component courses of this domain.

Experiential Learning. This domain implies the concept that elements of a professional’s education will be gained from a practical approach in a real-world situation. It is based on the belief that insights gained through a job, internship, volunteer work, or course field work will enhance academic studies and the professional’s critical reflection skills in thinking and acting upon his/her talents, aspirations, and the needs of the work setting. This domain also helps the professional in setting academic, career and personal goals. In Experiential Learning, students take internship courses with curricula that are built to practice assistant principal-level activities. These internships are semester-specific (Fall, Spring, and Summer). Each internship course presents different knowledge and skills applications. The curriculum of each internship is centered on the activities occurring during each of the Fall, Spring, and Summer school administrative calendar time frames.

Course Requirements: School Leadership Master Degree

The following lists the coursework that you must take in order to meet the requirements for the School Leaders Masters Program Degree. The Florida Educational Leadership Exam (FELE) must be taken and passed before graduation.

Prefix No Title Credits
ADE 6381 Leadership 1: Adult Learning and Assessment 3
EDS 6100 Leadership 2: Theory and Assessment 3
EDA 6103 Leadership 3: Administrative Processes 3
Prefix No Title Credits
STA 6113 Statistical Methods in Education 3
EDF 6481 Educational Research Methods (pre- or co-requisite: Stat. Methods) 3
EME 6426 Administrative Applications of Educational Technology* 3

* Students may substitute the Educational Leadership Technology Assessment Certificate

Prefix No Title Credits
EDA 6207 Managing School Operations 3
EDF 6786 Educational Governance 3
EDS 6050 Instructional Leadership 1 3
EDS 6052 Instructional Leadership 2 (prerequisite: Instructional Leadership 1) 3
EDA 6232 Practical School Law (prerequisite: Educational Governance) 3
EDA 6300 Community Partnerships and Diversity 3
Prefix No Title Credits
EDA 6945 Fall Internship 2
EDA 6946 Spring Internship 2
EDA 6947 Summer Internship 2

Total Credit Hours: 39 to 42 hours*

ESOL Requirement -- Candidates who have not met their ESOL/ELL requirement of sixty (60) hours of ESOL district inservice points or three (3) credit hours in a survey type ESOL course must take the following course prior to program completion: TSL 4324 ESOL Strategies for Content Area Teachers

All candidates must provide evidence to the Department of Educational Leadership that this requirement has been satisfied.

Last Modified 7/6/15