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Graduate Degrees | Educational Leadership

Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) Degrees in K-12 Educational Leadership

Take your knowledge and vision to the next level with the University of Mississippi’s online Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in K-12 Educational Leadership. The program is ranked among the top 50 graduate programs in education by U.S. News and World Report (2023).

The vision of the K-12 Educational Leadership Program at the University of Mississippi (UM) is to drive and support improvement in primary and secondary education in all Mississippi schools through the preparation of leaders with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to continually improve collaborative professional school organizations.

Geared toward education professionals in Mississippi and within 50 miles of the state border in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee, this research-based, fully online certification program enhances current educators’ skill sets with a curriculum emphasizing National Educational Leadership Preparation Standards (NELP) and Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) best practices. A flexible, convenient format accommodates your schedule as a determined full-time educator seeking to further your education and fulfill your aspirations.

About the Online Master’s and Ed.S. in Educational Leadership Program

This online program meets the educational requirements for principal leadership and other administrative roles. As with our on-campus program, our full-time UM faculty members teach courses within our online program and are joined by adjunct faculty selected from practicing Mississippi superintendents and principals, many of whom are UM doctoral graduates.

Our esteemed faculty are dedicated to the success of our online graduates and provide a unique level of support through the program’s optional virtual meetings for online students.

Two Graduate Degree Options

Both degree options expand upon your existing Mississippi state teacher’s license:

  • The online master’s format is ideal for teachers who have earned a bachelor’s and have at least three years of classroom experience. Following completion, you’ll pursue AA licensure in Mississippi.
  • The online specialist program is designed for professionals who have already received a master’s degree in education and have at least three years of teaching experience. Upon finishing all requirements, you’ll be eligible to pursue AAA licensure.

State Licensure Options

Upon finishing the online M.Ed. or Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, you can apply for the following licenses with the Mississippi Department of Education:

  • The Non-Practicing Administrator License is issued to an educator NOT currently employed in an administrative position.
  • The Entry Level Administrator License is issued upon request to an educator employed as a beginning administrator.
  • The Standard Career Level Administrator License is issued to a practicing administrator who has completed all requirements for conversion to Career Level.

Review all Mississippi state licensure requirements

*The School of Education has not determined if the program curriculum meets the education requirements for licensure or certification in the other U.S. states, territories, or the District of Columbia.

Online M.Ed. and Ed.S. in Educational Leadership Curriculum

The curriculum for the M.Ed. program is taught in 10 courses (30 credit hours) consisting of online courses and school-site internship. Taking two courses per semester/session, you will be on track to complete an online degree in 19-21 months. Courses in the program are based on NELP Standards and include the knowledge base for school leaders to improve school culture.

Review the course list for the online Educational Leadership curriculum for M.Ed. and Ed.S. candidates.

During the program you'll:

  • Building relationships
  • Providing educational opportunities for all students
  • Communicating and engaging with school and community stakeholders
  • Hiring and retaining educational professionals and school personnel
  • Supporting teachers and cultivating a professional organizational culture
  • Understanding and effectively utilizing school data
  • Applying change management theories
  • Transforming a school’s academic and social culture
  • Making decisions in challenging circumstances


The School of Education requires all online M.Ed. and Ed.S. candidates to complete an internship. The internship involves 400 clock hours of fieldwork and places you in an administrative intern role to gain practical experiences.

In the process, you will develop an electronic portfolio to highlight your learning, reflections, and accomplishments. A UM faculty mentor and a site-based mentor (school leader) will monitor your internship experiences in your school setting.

Careers in Educational Leadership

Graduates from the online Educational Leadership program often progress onto assistant principal roles. Through the curriculum, you’re further prepared for a broad range of educational leadership positions:

  • Administrative leadership roles
  • Dean of students
  • District administrator
  • Instructional coordinator
  • Academic director
  • Curriculum developer
  • Educational consultant

After a few years in this position, you may be ready to become a lead principal or district superintendent.

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, elementary, middle, and high schools will need 4% more principals between 2019 and 2029, and instructional coordinators will see demand increase 6% over this period.

For these careers, you’ll need to complete either the master’s or Ed.S. degree in Educational Leadership, pass the program’s comprehensive examination, and earn your advanced administrative license.

Summer 2024: April 1
Fall 2024: June 15
Spring 2025: October 1

Contact our Graduate Studies Office for in-depth information. Teachers and administrators in districts which host UM student teachers may qualify for bank hours to pay tuition. View the Cost of Attendance for 2024-2025.

Continue to Uplift Students with an Online Master’s or Ed.S. Degree in Educational Leadership

You’re ready to impact your school on a greater level, and the Ole Miss Online Master’s and Ed.S. degrees in Educational Leadership equip you for the challenge. To learn more, contact Program Coordinator Dr. Jill Cabrera with your questions.

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