Educational Administration - P-12 School Leadership

Educational Administration - P-12 School Leadership Master of Arts (M.A.)

New applicants to our P-12 School Leadership programs should look into our Big Red Leader tuition remission program as they might be eligible for a 15% tuition discount.

Program Length

2 years





GRE/Entrance Exam

Not Required

M.Ed. Handbook

Application Process

Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders

The challenges for school leaders have never been greater. No longer are principals expected to simply manage budgets and student behavior. Today’s building-level leaders are at the forefront of school leadership and everything that comes with it, from improving instruction and student learning, to providing optimal learning environments for teachers, students, and staff, and ensuring a safe, welcoming culture and climate for all. For us, the principal is the decisive element in the building.

The Nebraska Difference

That is why we have built a program focused on standards, supported by research, and founded on relationships. Our program is aligned with the National Educational Leadership Preparation Standards (NELP) as well as the Nebraska Teacher and Principal Performance Standards (NTPPS). But we didn’t stop there. Our faculty have used research and practical experience to identify three core competencies we seek to develop in future school leaders. We call it The Nebraska Difference.

Learning the research interests and expertise areas of potential faculty advisors, particularly at the doctoral level, is an important consideration for prospective students. We encourage prospective applicants to learn about faculty advisors via the links below and through the “EDAD Community” link on the “About EDAD” tab.” Based on capacity, the following faculty members serve as advisors in this program:

Our Unique Program

Award-Winning Faculty

  • Students learn from faculty who conduct and share leading research on authentic school leadership challenges. These scholars are devoted their careers to teaching, researching, discovering, and sharing what works in school leadership.
  • Students also learn from faculty with decades of real world experience as school leaders. These leaders have walked the walk of school leadership as principals, superintendents, and more.

Individual Attention & Hands-On Learning

  • Students complete an authentic internship experience within and around their respective districts with support from a field-based mentor and faculty member.
  • Students develop long-lasting relationships through a nationally-ranked cohort-based leadership program.
  • Students have a dedicated advisor and other faculty members to help guide them through their journey.

Flexibility for Working Professionals

Learning Opportunities

    • We recognize that your career is a top priority, and that's why we offer a flexible hybrid program tailored for part-time students. Our program is specifically designed to cater to your busy schedule, empowering you to pursue your dreams while balancing your commitments.
    • Students form meaningful relationships with classmates, faculty, and others through a cohort-based, unique combination of face-to-face and online courses. Experiences begin in the summer with Internship I, along with two initial program courses, offered in a blended manner.
    • Full access to our award-winning Student Success Center, which offers a wide array of online resources for success in graduate education at a distance;
    • Many no-cost, extra learning opportunities available through the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL)

Access to Leading Authorities

  • Students learn from leading authorities who share well-established expertise on particular topics, such as instructional leadership, school culture and climate, technology, grading and assessment, curriculum, and other key topics.

Launching Your Journey

Program Curriculum

The program is designed to be completed in two years and features an authentic, field-based internship. It begins with two courses in the summer delivered in a hybrid (face to face and online) format. Students meet in Lincoln for two days in June, two days in July and culminate with students presenting research of an authentic problem of practice during Nebraska Administrator Days in Kearney. Attendance is mandatory during the summer. Students come together in the same format for the last course (Principal Internship). Other courses in the program are offered in an online format.

Upon completion of courses, students are prepared to take the state-required PRAXIS exam and upon passage, apply for Nebraska administrative endorsement.

The heart of school leadership today is leading instruction and addressing authentic challenges. Your UNL journey begins with this in mind.

  • EDAD 800: Foundations of Research A written report is required. Investigation and analysis of current problems in education administration and supervision.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 830: Administrative Theory in Educational Organizations Introduction to classic and contemporary administrative theory as applied to educational organizations. The theoretical nature of the course content is relevant to those with an interest in a broad variety of educational institutions. General organizational theory, organizational models, historical schools of administrative theory, authority, power, motivation, and leadership. Frequently students are involved in studying problems of practice as a means of testing theory.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 852: School Culture and Behavior School culture and student behavior in P-12 schools. Personalized teaching and learning environments that address student diversity, needs and interests.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 890 The P-12 school principalship reflects an dynamic and evolving educational role in American society. This course examines the evolution and present roles principals must play to promote success for school communities and the future of building level leaders through the lenses of the EDAD Core Competencies and the Nebraska Department of Education's NTPPS (Principal Appraisal Standards).
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 833: Educational Finance Critical analysis of the political and economic elements impacting K-12 school finance. Content and activities address both building and district level concerns with an emphasis on principles, programs, and trends in school finance.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 837 Education Law Evolution, principles, and practice of education law in relation to local, state, national units of organization. Education law of Nebraska.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 903: Issues in Community Relations Principles of community relations and public relations; development of school and community understanding; collaboration of educators and community agents and agencies; communication tools and evaluation.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • SPED 856/857: Supervising Special Education/Special Education Administration For principals or other administrators who have special education programs in their buildings. Overview of disabilities, related law, special education programs, personnel issues, etc., and instructional methods and administrative support for effective integration of disabled students into regular programs.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 851: Faculty and Staff Appraisal Faculty and support staff in P-12 schools: appraisal, professional learning communities, high standards/high performance and accountability.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • TEAC 948: Instructional Leadership: Emerging Trends and Practices Changing roles for persons engaged in instructional and curricular leadership in educational institutions. Literature on staff development, assessment and evaluation, and effective schools serve as the basis for studying and applying this information to a variety of educational settings. Issues such as teacher empowerment and site-based management, along with cooperative learning provide the focus of the activities.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 811: Internship May be repeated for credit. Rating and supervision of teachers; principles and procedures in the development of school policies; selection and promotion of teachers; courses of study and professional ethics.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 920: Diversity & Equity in Educational Organizations Understanding the individual and organizational issues of diversity and multiculturalism in P-20 schools. Increase the students' knowledge and appreciation of: cultural, social, political, and economic realities of our complex, pluralistic society in relation to our educational system. Through the integration of relevant information from history, law, interpersonal development, organizational development, and philosophy, students will develop a complex, comprehensive understanding of diversity and equity.
    • Credit Hours: 3

Frequently Asked Questions

"Relationships, leadership, and experience are just the beginning of the many benefits of the UNL Educational Administration program.  The face-to-face classes provide opportunities to build lasting relationships with colleagues as well as relevant-research opportunities to increase school improvement efforts. The professors are experienced instructional leaders willing to provide support during classroom instruction as well as in the field. As a graduate of UNL, the connections I made through classes and the internship experience have made all the difference as I navigate through my first year as principal striving to develop effective instructional leadership practices."

Charla Brant, Principal, Alcott Elementary School, Hastings, NE

"Participating in the M. Ed. program at UNL was one of the best decisions I have made in my professional career. The program also gave me enough leadership tools to use in many different roles, including the unique role I have now, which is a district security coordinator. I have been out of this program for 5 years and I continue to use the program leaders as mentors in my current leadership role."

Kyle Poore, District Security Coordinator at Lincoln Public Schools

Application Process

The application deadline for Summer admission is April 1.

Faculty members are Nebraska professors, experienced administrators, and curriculum specialists who are dedicated to preparing students for rewarding and fulfilling careers as P-12 school leaders.

The focus of this program is P-12 school leadership, leading to administrative endorsement in Nebraska.

In order to be eligible, applicants must hold a current Nebraska teaching license (or equivalent) and have at least two years of successful teaching experience at the time the program begins.

Graduate Admission Requirements
  • Application for Admission with $50 non-refundable application fee.
  • One set of transcripts.
  • If the student’s native language is not English, verification of English proficiency is required.
  • If International: upload copies of all college- or university-level transcripts or mark sheets (records of courses and marks earned), with certificates, diplomas, and degrees plus certified English translations.
    • **Official documents are required from all students who are admitted and enroll. Photocopies of certified records are not acceptable. International students enrolled in other U.S. institutions may have certified copies of all foreign records sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by their current school’s registrar office.
  • If applicant is not a US citizen and expects an F or J visa: financial information.
  • Applicants must also fulfill any additional requirements the department specifies at the time of application.
Major Admission Requirements
  • Essay (max 500 words):
    • Nebraska's EDAD P-12 leadership program is built around the school leader as a Visionary Thinker, Reflective Learner, and Servant Leader. Explain what these core competencies mean to you and how your experiences and aspirations align with them.
    • P-12 leadership is increasingly dynamic and complex. Describe what you see as the most significant problems, challenges, or opportunities facing P-12 education today and how your experiences, knowledge and background prepared you to deal with such challenges as a P-12 leader.
  • Resume
  • References: Provide names and contact information for three academic or professional references.
  • Other Uploads:  1) a current Nebraska teaching license or equivalent and 2) evidence of at least two years of teaching experience at the level of endorsement sought.


Want to know more?

Shavonna Holman Associate Professor of Practice, P-12 School Leadership M.A. Coordinator

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