Professional Development: Educational Leadership Emphasis - Master of Science in Education

The Master of Science in Education (MSED) Professional Development: Educational Leadership Emphasis Program is a 36-credit program designed for bachelor-level teachers with three years of successful full-time teaching who are seeking licensure as a PK-12 principal. The philosophy of the program is based on a learning-in-community, constructivist model with an emphasis on culturally relevant teaching where students join the program in a cohort. In a learning community that is constructivist, learners come together as a group to share common emotions, values, or beliefs in education and are actively engaged in learning together from each other. The program meets the National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) standards, the Wisconsin Administrator Standards, and professional educational requirements for principal (5051) licensure in Wisconsin.

This program is offered in online, blended, or face-to-face formats. The program may start cohorts of 14 or more students in the fall, spring or summer terms.


To qualify for admission to the Professional Development: Educational Leadership Emphasis, a candidate for the program must:

  • Meet all UWL graduate application requirements.
  • Hold a bachelor's degree in education from an accredited institution.
  • Have an overall undergraduate grade point average of 2.85 or higher on a 4.00 scale.
  • Provide evidence of teaching license or certificate (i.e. copy of teaching license).
  • Provide a resume that documents at least one year of full-time teaching in a K-12 setting and current employment in a K-12 school.
  • Complete a successful criminal background check (initiated by UWL).

Admission on probation

Students may be admitted on probation if they do not meet the minimum academic or graduate program admission requirements. Upon completion of nine graduate credits or two terms (whichever comes first) with a grade point average of 3.00 or above, the students will be removed from probation. Students admitted on probation will be dismissed from graduate study if their cumulative GPA is below 3.00 after completing nine graduate credits or two terms (whichever comes first). More information is in the graduate academic eligibility policy.

Criminal background check

The WI Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requires that candidates for admission to a teacher education, administration, or pupil services program successfully pass a criminal background check (CBC) as one criterion for admission. By applying for admission to one of these programs, candidates agree to provide the necessary personal information to UWL in order to initiate their CBC and to complete their portion of the process prior to the deadline specified in their admission letter. Program candidates are responsible for all costs associated with their criminal background check(s).

Out-of-state applicants

This program may meet other states' licensing requirements. An applicant's state may or may not require that the applicant get a Wisconsin teaching license to be endorsed for their program of study. The Wisconsin licensing process may include taking coursework in Native American Studies (ACT 31). The applicant should check with their state licensing board prior to applying to ensure they understand the appropriate pathway to meet their state's licensing requirements.


(36 credits)

EDU 765Introduction to Educational Leadership3
EDU 766The Principalship3
EDU 767Data-based Decision Making for Instruction3
EDU 768Supervision and Evaluation3
EDU 769Leadership and Cultural Competence3
EDU 770School Law3
EDU 771School Finance and Resource Allocation3
EDU 772Inclusive Pedagogical Practices I2
EDU 782Inclusive Pedagogical Practices II1
EDU 773Practicum in the Principalship and Practicum Seminar4
EDU 641Educational Research I: Introduction2
EDU 642Educational Research II: Exploration2
EDU 743Educational Research III: Conduct2
EDU 744Educational Research IV: Publication2
Total Credits36

Program completion 

Eligibility for Educational Leadership (5051) certification is contingent upon:

  • Cumulative graduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.
  • Completion of Educational Leadership Program coursework, associated experiences, and artifacts (including portfolio).
  • Completion of DPI employment verification form documenting at least three years of teaching at the K-12 level or hold a WI Lifetime Educator license.

University graduate degree requirements

After being admitted to the program of one's choice, candidates for a graduate degree must:

  1. Complete any preliminary course work and deficiencies.
  2. Complete all courses and other program requirements, including residence requirements prescribed for the degree desired in the respective school or college within a seven-year period from the date of initial enrollment, with the exception of students enrolled in the Student Affairs Administration and Leadership Ed.D. (SAA Ed.D.) graduate program. SAA Ed.D. students must complete all degree requirements within ten years from the time of initial enrollment in the graduate program.
  3. Earn a minimum of 30 credits for a master's degree; 54 credits for a doctorate or post-master's degree. Earn at least one-half of the minimum number of credits required in the program in graduate-only level courses (700, 800, 900, and non-slash 600 level courses). Some UWL graduate programs require more than 30 graduate credits. Please review the individual program requirements listed in the catalog for the exact number of credits required.
  4. Earn a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00.
  5. Satisfy dissertation, thesis, seminar paper, terminal/graduate projects and internships, or comprehensive examination, where applicable. A dissertation or thesis approved by the committee must be submitted to Graduate & Extended Learning for editorial review and approval by the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. The recommended initial submission date for review is two weeks before commencement. Ordinarily, a seminar paper or project report does not have to be approved by the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. However, if the seminar paper or project report is to be archived in Murphy Library, the student must follow the same rules as they apply to the dissertation/thesis requiring approval from the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. For further research/dissertation/thesis guidelines, see Graduate & Extended Learning.
  6. File a completed "Intent to Graduate" form online via the WINGS Student Center immediately following registration for the final semester or summer term in residence. December graduates and winter intersession should file by May 1. May and summer graduates should file by December 1.
  7. Pay the graduation fee and remove all other indebtedness to the university. Payment of graduation fees does not imply readiness for graduation and does not take the place of applying for graduation.
  8. Complete all requirements within 30 days after the official ending date of a term in order for a degree to be awarded for that term. (See #5 above for separate deadline for written capstone experience.)