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Department of Educational Leadership
and Policy Studies


Master of Education Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Students seeking to apply for administrative careers in public or private schools, school systems, and higher education institutions have two options for the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree: (a) a concentration in educational leadership for K-12 school administrators and (b) a concentration in higher education administration for post-secondary administrators. The unique problems, processes, and expertise associated with effective personnel, instruction, and instructional leadership decisions are explored, developed, and tested in simulations with an emphasis on applied research and human relations methodologies. The 36-semester-credit-hour degree program with an educational leadership concentration for K-12 is also designed to meet principalship certification requirements. In addition, a superintendency/central office program of 15 semester credit hours is available for practicing K-12 school administrators. Successful completion of the program and passing the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) can result in a recommendation to the State of Texas for principalship or superintendency certification.

Program Admission Requirements. The M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is for students aspiring to be school administrators in K-16 schools and other educational settings. Admissions are based on the following criteria:

  1. Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States or have proof of equivalent training at a foreign institution.

  2. Evidence of relevant work experiences must be provided as documented by the submission of a résumé. For the educational leadership concentration, applicants must have (1) at least two years teaching experience or a satisfactory letter of endorsement from a person who holds administrator certification and who has immediately supervised and evaluated the applicant and (2) engaged in leadership activities outside the classroom. Higher education administration concentration applicants must have at least one year of experience in student affairs or a related field.

  3. For those students applying for the higher education administration concentration: a statement of purpose of one to two pages is required that provides (1) the applicant’s reasons for pursuing a master’s degree with a concentration in higher education administration, (2) a biographical sketch of the applicant’s experiences relevant to higher education administration, and (3) career plans after obtaining a master’s degree with a concentration in higher education administration.

  4. Acceptance to the M.Ed. program is contingent on having a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 semester credit hours of coursework for the baccalaureate degree, as well as in all graduate-level work taken. If an applicant’s GPA is between 2.7 and 2.99, probationary admission may be granted and the student must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA during the first 12 hours of coursework. Applicants who have a GPA below 2.7 are denied admission as degree-seeking students.

  5. Applicants who lack appropriate academic background (e.g., Texas teaching certification) may be admitted conditionally, and specific coursework will be required to address their deficiency.

  6. International students must have a minimum score of 79 on the TOEFL Internet-based test, 550 on the TOEFL paper-based test, or 6.5 on the IELTS.

Degree Requirements

  1. Core Courses (9 semester credit hours required):

    EDL 5303   Human Relations in Educational Administration
    EDU 5003   Research Methods
    EDU 6223   Education in a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Society


  2. Support work (27 semester credit hours required):

    Educational Leadership Concentration

    C&I 5003   Theory of Curriculum and Instruction
    EDL 5003   Introduction to School Administration
    EDL 5203   School and Community Relations in Education
    EDL 5403   The Principalship: Educational Unit and Site Administration
    EDL 5503   Administration and Function of Special Programs
    EDL 5703   Legal Foundations in Education
    EDL 6013   Supervision: Teaching-Learning Process
    EDL 6023   Supervision: Tools and Techniques
    EDL 6943   Practicum in Educational Administration


    or

    Higher Education Administration Concentration

    HSA 5003   History of American Higher Education
    HSA 5023   Foundation and Function of College Student Personnel
    HSA 5103   College Student Development
    HSA 5203   Multicultural Issues in Higher Education
    HSA 6003   Higher Education Law
    HSA 6123   Program Planning and Evaluation in Higher Education and Student Affairs
    HSA 6143   Administration of Student Services in Higher Education
    HSA 6503   The Community College
    HSA 6943   Internship in Higher Education


  3. Comprehensive Examination: A comprehensive examination is required as described separately in this catalog (see Chapter 4, Master’s Degree Regulations).

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Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Leadership

The primary objective of the doctoral degree program is to provide advanced academic training in educational leadership, particularly in the area of administrative leadership. Graduates should gain an advanced understanding of theories of education and learning; extensive theoretical background and experiences in emerging paradigms of organizational leadership; high-level research skills for developing, analyzing, and evaluating educational programs; and the knowledge, skills, and understanding to work effectively with English language learners in linguistically diverse educational settings. Students pursue an emphasis in either K-12 leadership or higher education administration.

Program Admission Requirements. Applications are screened by the doctoral program faculty or a representative selection committee thereof. Applicants must apply to either the K–12 leadership or higher education administration emphasis as part of the admissions process. Applicants must meet or, as applicable, submit information related to the following criteria to be considered for admission:

  1. a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution;

  2. a master’s degree in education or other appropriate field;

  3. a grade point average of 3.5 or better out of a possible 4.0 in a master’s degree program;

  4. submission of an official score on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE);

  5. for applicants whose native language is not English, a score of at least 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) paper version or 79 Internet version;

  6. a résumé or curriculum vitae including demonstrated experience in a work environment where education is the primary professional emphasis (e.g., teaching, administration, curriculum development in elementary, secondary, postsecondary, governmental, or private industry settings);

  7. three letters of recommendation from those who have supervised the applicant in an academic, employment, or community service capacity; letters should comment on the applicant’s intellectual ability, discipline, creativity, sensitivity to others, and cite examples of leadership and scholarly potential; at least one letter should come from a university professor familiar with the applicant’s academic work; and

  8. a statement of purpose outlining, at a minimum, (1) the applicant’s reasons for pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership, including but not limited to the social justice purposes the applicant will strive to achieve as an educational leader; (2) a biographical sketch of the applicant’s experiences relevant to the field of education, including but not limited to describing (a) the obstacles the applicant has had to overcome in their educational experiences, (b) how the applicant has worked to improve the education of all students, (c) how the applicant has used criticism constructively to improve the performance of their educational duties, and (d) leadership experiences; (3) career plans, (4) scholarly interests including but not limited to areas of educational leadership about which the applicant would like to learn more; and (5) views on and roles in current and future educational reform efforts, including but not limited to discussing (a) a reform that the applicant believes has improved education significantly and (b) the reform or reforms most needed in educational institutions.

Qualified applicants may be required to interview as part of the admissions process. Interviews are conducted by the Doctoral Program Committee or a subcommittee thereof. As part of the interview process, students may be asked to produce an extemporaneous writing sample. The number of students admitted to this program may be limited.

Degree Requirements. Degree candidates must complete 33–36 semester credit hours of core courses:

  1. Culture (9 hours). The social, cultural, and linguistic dynamics of current and future school populations, historical and cultural contexts of schooling in Texas and the Southwest, issues related to language and linguistic policies and education, and issues related to leadership within culturally diverse communities.
  2. Methodology (12 hours). Survey of quantitative and qualitative research designs and methods and the uses of technology for data collection and analysis.
  3. Leadership (12–15 hours). Procedures and techniques of inquiry-based organizational development and leadership, effective leadership of culturally diverse school personnel, issues related to leadership of majority-minority schools, and the ethics of leadership.

  4. After completing the core requirements, students take an additional 15–18 semester credit hours of courses toward fulfilling the K-12 or higher education administration emphasis and cognate requirements:

  5. Area of emphasis (9–12 hours). This emphasis area targets the development of knowledge and skills in K-12 leadership or higher education administration.
  6. Cognate support (6 hours). Students select a cognate area of support to enhance their emphases and the research for their dissertations. Courses are selected from graduate offerings throughout the University, and students must meet prerequisites for enrollment.

Dissertation Requirement. Not later than the completion of the required 51 semester credit hours, students must pass a written and oral qualifying examination. With advisor approval, students may take the qualifying examination after completing all coursework but the cognate support requirements. They must also take a minimum of 9 semester credit hours of dissertation. The dissertation must meet these objectives:

  1. The dissertation format creates strong ties between the University and the selected educational setting.

  2. The dissertation’s research team consists of a doctoral student and faculty member who work in collaboration with an educational institution to focus on a single issue.

  3. Dissertation topics are linked to the goal of improving program effectiveness.

  4. The dissertation demonstrates the scholarly capabilities of the student working with his or her committee.

In addition, each student must:

  1. Pass an oral defense of the doctoral dissertation proposal, conducted by the Dissertation Committee, that addresses the dissertation’s potential for scholarly research as specified by University-wide requirements.

  2. Maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) each semester for the entire doctoral program, as specified by University-wide requirements.

  3. Complete an on-campus residency taking at least 6 semester credit hours per semester or summer term for two consecutive long semesters, or two full summer terms and one long semester (consecutively), or three full summers. No transfer students will be admitted to the program; however, up to 6 hours of transfer credit toward the degree may be accepted, provided that the graduate courses were taken at an accredited institution within the past three years and were not part of a program that culminated in the award of a degree.

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Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Administration

The Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Administration is a 15-semester-credit-hour program available to students who have been admitted as special students and seek the certificate independent of a degree as well as master’s degree students who are not matriculating through the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (Higher Education Administration concentration).

The Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Administration will provide an opportunity for higher education professionals working or seeking to work in the myriad of higher education institutions in the region to develop their knowledge and skills in higher education administration. With a large and expanding four-year university and community college student population, this certificate program will enhance the professional preparation and development opportunities for current and prospective higher education administrators.

To meet the curricular requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Administration, students must complete 15 semester credit hours to be chosen from the following list of courses:

EDL 5303   Human Relations in Educational Administration
HSA 5103   College Student Development
HSA 5203   Multicultural Issues in Higher Education
HSA 6003   Higher Education Law
HSA 6123   Program Planning and Evaluation in Higher Education and Student Affairs
HSA 6303   Seminar in Governance in Higher Education
HSA 6503   The Community College

Students seeking admission to the certificate program who are not enrolled in a graduate degree program will be required to apply to the Graduate School as special graduate students and indicate that they are seeking admission to the Graduate Certificate Program in Higher Education Administration. Because admission to the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (Higher Education Administration concentration) requires one year of experience in student affairs or a related field, this requirement will be extended to those seeking admission to the certificate program. All other requirements for admission as a special graduate student described in Chapter 1, Admission, of this catalog are applicable.

All other requirements for certificate programs described in Chapter 3, Certificate Programs, of this catalog apply to this program.

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