Jul 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Educational Leadership, M.Ed.

College of Education  
Department: Leadership, Policy and Lifelong Learning


  • K-12 Public School Leadership
  • Curriculum Leadership

This major shares a core with the M.A. in Urban Educational Leadership.


The Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) program is committed to offering holistic and personalized educational opportunities to support learners’ preparedness to enact leadership collaboratively toward equitable and excellent education, educational systems, and educational policy. It operates from the shared perspective that its programs are strengthened through diversity of the overall body: faculty, students, partners, and communities.  

The M.Ed. in Educational Leadership offers students an opportunity to pursue a concentration in one of two areas: K-12 Public School Leadership and Curriculum Leadership. Each concentration has a unique focus in Educational Leadership; students are encouraged to consider their career goals to determine the appropriate concentration.

  • K-12 Public School Leadership Concentration: Effective school leaders must be focused instructional leaders who are able to lead in diverse school settings. Successful completion of the concentration fulfills degree and core curriculum requirements for Florida certification in Level I K-12 Educational Leadership – Administrative Class.
  • Curriculum Leadership Concentration: Graduates of this concentration bring leadership skills to curriculum focused roles in schools, district offices, and education-related organizations. The concentration is designed to teach and assess the knowledge, skills and dispositions of effective leadership in curriculum, instruction, and professional development for K-12 teachers or other educators. This concentration does not satisfy all requirements for administrator certification.

Students in the program engage research in order to develop decision-making strategies, engage and inform stakeholders, sustain motivation for change, and build academic improvement opportunities for all children. Program students are prepared through collaborative inquiry, culturally relevant pedagogy, and applied leadership opportunities. Accordingly, the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership prepares schools leaders to perform their designated tasks in an effective, equitable and ethical manner aligned to the Educational Leadership Standards (FELS) for K-12 schools.

Accredited by Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP); and the Florida Department of Education.   More info:  https://www.usf.edu/education/about-us/accreditation.aspx

Admission Information

Admission is based on a holistic evaluation of each applicant’s demonstrated academic potential to complete all degree requirements successfully. Success in the program requires a commitment to utilizing rigorous inquiry, developing strong analytical and writing skills, and demonstrating a commitment to purposeful inclusive practices that lead to learning for all students. The program faculty will consider each applicant within the context defined by her or his personal and professional qualifications.

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • Professional Resume
  • Letter of Intent outlining experience and goals for the degree (2-3 pages).
  • Three letters of professional recommendation from persons knowledgeable about the applicant’s academic and professional competence, addressing the applicant’s instructional expertise and leadership potential. At least one of the three (3) recommendations must be from the applicant’s current or recent direct supervisor.

Additional Application Materials:

Note for applicants pursuing state licensure via the K-12 Public School Leadership Concentration, the following may be required as part of the preparation for licensure:

  • A State of Florida Level I Educational Leadership Certification (a valid Florida Professional Educator’s Certificate)
  • Documentation of two years of full-time teaching experience
  • Documentation of successful demonstration of the core standards for effective educators outlined in the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPs) and a documented track record of achieving student gains. Candidates not employed by a Florida public school district may provide equivalent documentation of two years of effective instruction with a record of learning gains.
  • Proof of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training (e.g. ESOL endorsement; completion of ESOL certification exam plus 120 hours of ESOL district in‐service training; or, completion TSL 5085; ESOL 1 or equivalent.) Note: in consultation with the program coordinator, students without this training may meet the training while in program by enrolling in a USF ESOL Course.

Note the Curriculum Leadership Concentration is designed for experienced teachers.  Applicants may also be required to submit:

  • Documentation of satisfactory two (2) years of Post-Bachelor’s Teaching or Satisfactory Curriculum-related Experience (K-12preferred) with either a Florida Professional Educator’s Certificate or a Letter of Verification from the Employing Institution.

International Students

International students should check with International Services (https://www.usf.edu/world/international-services/index.aspx) for the latest information on requirements related to State testing, internship and practica.

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours: 30 Credit hours

  • Shared Core Requirements - 12 Credit Hours 
  • Concentration - 18 Credit Hours

Concentration (18 Credit Hours)

Students choose one of the following two (2) concentrations:

K-12 Public School Leadership Concentration (18 Credit Hours)

Complete the following:

Comprehensive Exam

A concept paper is submitted for evaluation in lieu of a comprehensive examination.

Graduation Requirement

The Florida Educational Leadership Exam (FELE) is required for students enrolled in the K-12 Public School Leadership Concentration and must be passed prior to graduation. Official FELE score report submission required.  The FELE is not required for students in the Curriculum Leadership Concentration.


Please be advised that program and/or course requirements are subject to change, per state legislative mandates, Florida State Department of Education program approval standards, and accreditation criteria.