An online Master’s in Educational Administration degree prepares educators to assume rewarding leadership roles across the full spectrum of educational institutions. The degree lays the groundwork for leadership positions in elementary, middle, and high schools (both public and private), as well as charter schools, alternative schools, colleges, and state education departments.
Students in Master in Educational Administration degree programs learn to manage the operations of an educational institution, including overseeing budgets, technology, curriculum, and staff. The programs help students build the leadership skills required to manage a school or a school district. The programs prepare educators to design and implement plans to meet demographic needs of a school system.
Masters in Educational Administration degree programs (the most common degree in the field) typically cover such subjects as fundamentals of educational administration, education administration law, financial management, school leadership, school organization, current trends in curriculum development, and human resources issues in education.
Master in Education Administration degree programs often include a practicum, fieldwork, or an internship. Some of the programs provide supervision by a working administrator (such as a school principal), which can then lead to recommendations or endorsements useful for landing a job.
Online Master in Educational Administration Degree Programs Ranking Guidelines
We selected the following degree programs based on academic excellence, range of courses provided, awards, rankings, faculty strength, and reputation.
The Best Online Master’s of Educational Administration Degree Programs
Florida State University (FSU), a public research university, is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Florida.
The Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Administration degree program, offered through FSU’s College of Education, has 36 credit hours and includes a face-to-face practicum, as well as a comprehensive portfolio mandatory in the student’s final semester. All core courses and the majority of electives are available online.
The online Educational Administration Master’s degree program offers comprehensive courses in depth and breadth, such as:
- Planning Effective Instruction
- Legal Aspects of Education
- Leadership For Diversity
- Multicultural Education
- Data Driven School Development
FSU ranks #91 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges National Universities list and #39 in the magazine’s Best Graduate Education Schools list.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) provide FSU with accreditation.
Founded in 1869, the University of Nebraska is a public land-grant institution which has been offering distance education for more than 100 years.
The university’s present-day distance learning division—University of Nebraska Online—offers a 100-percent online Master’s in Educational Administration (M.Ed.) degree program, which requires 36 credit hours. Upon graduation, students can choose from a variety of fields of interests such as student affairs, leadership development, distance education, instructional administration, and human resource development.
Students in the Master’s degree in Educational Administration program complete core courses, supporting classes, electives, and a practicum or internship.
The program offers courses such as:
- Statistical Methods
- Finance in Post-Secondary Education
- Administrative Theory
- Law and Higher Education
The University of Nebraska ranks #101 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges National Universities list and #48 in their Best Colleges Graduate Education list.
The Teacher Education Association Council (TEAC) and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools provide the University of Nebraska with accreditation.
3. LSU Online
(Baton Rouge, LA)
Louisiana State University (LSU) at Baton Rouge is the flagship campus of the Louisiana State University System. LSU is one of only 30 universities in the nation recognized as a land-grant, space-grant, and sea-grant institution.
The LSU Online Master of Arts in Education with a Specialization in Higher Education Administration degree program prepares students for higher-level careers in colleges as scholars, educators, and administrators in fields such as counseling, Greek affairs, alumni relations, and admissions.
The Online Master in Educational Administration program includes core courses, internships, and a capstone course. Students can complete the program (36 credit hours) in under two years.
A snapshot of courses include topics such as:
- Foundations of Higher Education
- Student Affairs in Higher Education
- Interpersonal Communications
- Finance in Higher Education
LSU ranks #135 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges National Universities list.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the NCATE provide LSU with accreditation.
4. Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University, a public university, offers a variety of graduate and undergraduate degrees.
The university’s Darden College of Education offers a Master in Education in Educational Leadership, Administration & Supervision K–12 degree program, which covers conceptual and theoretical knowledge and also includes field experience.
The program, which prepares students for leadership positions in schools and school districts, provides synchronous courses. Students need 30 credit hours to graduate.
The program covers subjects such as:
- Data analysis and decision-making
- Leadership for school improvement
- Establishing and leading professional collaborative communities
- Strategic human resource and fiscal management
Applicants to the program must have a job in a public or accredited nonpublic school division/district.
Old Dominion University’s Darden College of Education ranked as #70 in the U.S. News & World Report 2014 Best Graduate Education Schools list.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education provide accreditation.
(Stony Brook, NY)
Stony Brook University, founded in 1957 as State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, is a public research institution. One of the university’s points of pride is its membership in the Association of American Universities, a prestigious honor given only to 62 research universities in North America.
Offered through its School of Professional Development, Stony Brook offers an online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration degree program for students seeking to advance their careers in institutions such as community colleges, government agencies, student affairs, and four-year colleges, both public and private.
The Master’s in Higher Education Administration program, which requires 30 credits, includes expansive core courses, electives, a master’s project, and an optional practicum.
A sample of courses offered include:
- College Student Development Theory
- Advising and Counseling
- Crisis Management and Prevention in Higher Education
- Student Affairs Administration
Stony Brook University ranks as #82 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges National Universities list.
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the New York State Department of Education provide Stony Brook University with accreditation.
Drexel University, a non-profit national research university, has over 200 degree programs.
The online Master of Science in Educational Administration program has five robust concentration options, including:
- M.Ed. Administration with PA Certificate, Principal K–12, 45 credits
- M.Ed. Administration without PA Certificate, Principal K–12, 45 credits
- PA Administration Certificate only, Principal K–12 Certification, 24 credits
- MS in Educational Administration with Supervision of Special Education Certification and Principal (K–12 Certification), 49 credits
- MS in Educational Administration with Supervision of Special Education Certification (No Principal Certification), 46 credits
All of the online Educational Administration Master’s degree programs offer core classes, research projects, and intensive internships.
A sample of core classes include:
- Leading in Urban, Rural, and Suburban Settings
- Evaluation and Assessment Competencies
- Mentoring and Collaboration Leadership
Drexel ranks #97 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges National Universities list and the School of Education ranks #26 among Graduate Programs at National Universities.
The Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges provides Drexel University with accreditation.
Founded in 1867, West Virginia University (WVU) is a public, land-grant, research university with over 32,000 students.
Offered through the College of Education and Human Services, the WVU Online Master in Educational Leadership Higher Education Administration degree program prepares students for high-level careers in colleges and universities. Students can complete the program (36 hours) in two years. Students can take the program either full-time or part-time.
The online program includes core courses with topics such as:
- Higher Education Administration
- Contemporary Issues in Higher Education
- History of Higher Education
WVU ranks #97 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges National Universities list and #106 in the America’s Best Graduate Schools in Education list.
The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the NCATE provide WVU with accreditation.
8. Ball State University
Established in 1918, Ball State University, a state-assisted research university, provides 180 undergraduate and 100 graduate degree programs.
The 100-percent online Master’s in Education in Educational Administration and Supervision degree program offers students a principal licensure. Students can complete the degree (36 credits) in 18–20 months.
To enter the program, students must have a minimum of two years’ teaching experience and complete a S.L.L.A. exam to qualify for licensure.
The comprehensive online Educational Administration Master’s degree curriculum includes a six-hour principal internship, a research course, and specialized core courses such as:
- Human Resource Development
- The School Principal
- Supervision of Instruction
- Principles and Procedures of Curriculum Development
- Educational Finances and Ethics
Ball State University ranks #181 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges National Universities list and as #11 in the Best Online Graduate Education Programs list.
The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the NCATE provide Ball State University with accreditation.
The University of Scranton, a Jesuit university, has over 42,000 students.
Students can complete the online Master of Science in Educational Administration degree program (39 credits) in 18 months. The program offers two robust 150-hour practicums in elementary and secondary education, as well as a research requirement, foundation courses, and administration classes.
Some of the in-depth online Master in Educational Administration program topics include:
- School Law
- Educational Research and Statistics
- Foundations in Education
- Literacy and Diversity
- Advanced Education Psychology
Scranton ranks as #8 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges National Universities list and #2 for Top Online Graduate programs.
The Teachers Education in Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools provide the University of Scranton with accreditation.
10. UMass Lowell
UMass Lowell contributes to UMass Online’s 100+ degree and certificate programs in areas such as liberal arts, nursing, business and management, education, information technology, public health, and more.
Through the UMass Lowell Graduate School of Education, the Online Master’s degree in Educational Administration program (30 credits) helps students enhance their professional and administrative knowledge.
Only individuals with private K–12 teaching experience who hold a valid teaching license can take the professional program. The 100-percent online curriculum includes core courses, electives, a practicum, and a capstone course.
Some examples of courses offered include:
- School Policy and Law
- Role of Curriculum and Instructional Leadership
- Program Evaluation
- Principles of Supervision
- The Inclusive School
UMass Lowell ranks #158 on The Top 200 National Universities ranking by U.S. News & World Report. The Lowell campus has climbed 25 spots over the past three years and is tied for the second-fastest climb in the rankings in the United States.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the NCATE provide UMass Lowell’s Master in Educational Administration program with accreditation.
11. California State University Northridge
Established in 1958, California State University Northridge (CSUN) is one of the largest public universities in California.
Through the Tseng College of Graduate, International, and Midcareer Education, the online Master of Arts in Educational Administration program prepares students for leadership careers as principals, deans, department heads, and program managers.
CSUN offers the program in conjunction with the Michael D. Eisner College of Education. The 100-percent online course is organized in cohorts of 20–35 participants.
Students can complete the program, which consists of 33 credit hours, in two years. Upon completing the program, students can apply for a Preliminary Services Credential.
The online Master in Educational Administration program includes fieldwork, a comprehensive exam, and specialized courses such as:
- School and Community Relations
- Curriculum Development and Supervision
- Decision Making Simulation
- Research in Education
CSUN ranks #60 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges in Regional Universities (West) list.
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the NCATE provide CSUN with accreditation.
12. Angelo State University
(San Angelo, TX)
Angelo State University (ASU) is a public university that is part of the Texas Tech University System. Founded in 1928, the university has over 6,000 students, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1.
The Angelo State University Online Master’s in Educational Administration degree prepares students for careers in higher education, as well as to apply for the State Board Education Certification (SBEC).
Students need two years of teaching experience in an accredited public school prior to entering the program. The syllabus includes 36 credit hours. Students can complete the program in two years.
The online Master’s in Educational Administration degree includes electives and a comprehensive program review, as well as in-depth core classes such as:
- Lifespan Development
- Curriculum Development
- Legal and Ethical Principles
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the NCATE provide Angelo State University with accreditation.
13. Concordia University Wisconsin
Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW), a member of the Concordia University System founded in 1881, has over 6,000 students. The university offers undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as non-degree programs. CUW is the largest Lutheran University in the United States.
The CUW online Master in Education Administration degree program provides students with a curriculum which centers on servant leadership and leads to a Wisconsin Administrative Licensure with an optional add-on principal licensure or director of instruction licensure.
The syllabus includes core courses, portfolios, practicum, thesis, and a capstone project. The syllabus includes 21–39 credit hours.
Core Education Administration courses include topics such as:
- School Business Administration
- Educational Research
- Servant Leadership
- Legal Issues in American Education
The North Central Association of Schools and Colleges and NCATE provide the CUW online Master in Educational Administration program with accreditation.
With over 100,000 students, Liberty University is the largest private, non-profit Christian university in the nation, with over 350 programs of study. The university has been training Champions for Christ since 1971, and pioneering distance education since 1985.
Liberty University Online’s Master of Education with a Cognate in Administration and Supervision program provides skills in financial management administration, community relations, and school law.
Offered 100-percent online, the program (36 credit hours) prepares students interested in credentials for K–12 positions. The Master’s degree in Educational Administration program includes an internship, administrative and supervision cognates, professional courses, and core courses such as:
- Curriculum Development
- Advanced Educational Psychology
- School Administration
- Foundations of Exceptionality
- School Law
Liberty University ranks #89 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Regional Universities (South) edition.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the NCATE provide Liberty University with accreditation.
15. Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University (SHSU), a public, doctoral research university founded in 1879, houses over 19,000 students and offers over 80 undergraduate and 50 graduate program degrees.
The SHSU Online Masters in Higher Education Administration degree program prepares students for mid-level leadership careers at higher education colleges and universities. The program also prepares students to pursue doctoral degrees.
Students enhance professional skills in areas such as career services, financial aid, student advising, and other areas. The program includes 30 credit hours, practicum, and a comprehensive exam with or without a thesis.
The online Higher Education Administration Master’s degree program includes robust courses such as:
- Students Services in Higher Education
- Methods of Research
- Contemporary Issues in Higher Education
- Cross Cultural Issues in Counseling Academic Affairs in Higher Education
SHSU ranks #20 (tied with Fort Hays State) in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Program list.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the NCATE provide the SHSU Master’s degree in Educational Administration program with accreditation.
Fort Hays State University (FHSU), a public university established in 1902, offers hundreds of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
The FHSU Online Master of Science in Educational Administration (Principal) degree program offers students the ability to enhance their administrative skills. The program covers the standards as developed for principals by the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC). Students need 36 credit hours to graduate.
The Master’s degree in Educational Administration syllabus offers a practicum and core courses in topics such as:
- Educational Finance
- Educational Leadership
- School Law
- Cultural Diversity
FHSU ranks #20 (tied with Sam Houston State) in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Program list.
The North Central Association of Schools and Colleges and the NCATE provide FHSU with accreditation.
17. Tiffin University
Tiffin University, an independent private university founded in 1888, offers undergraduate and graduate programs for both online and on-campus.
The 100-percent online Master’s degree in Education with a Higher Education Administrative Concentration prepares students for careers in a wide range of education settings.
Only current teachers can enroll in the program. The program is not intended to lead to licensure or a teaching certification.
The Master’s degree in Educational Administration curriculum encompasses a capstone course and core courses in areas such as:
- Educational Leadership
- Philosophy in Education
- Technology for Educators
- Ethical and Legal Issues in Education
The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools provides Tiffin University with accreditation.
18. Lamar University
Lamar University, founded in 1923, is a public doctoral research university and part of the Texas State University System.
Students taking the online Masters of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Administration degree program (36 credit hours) can complete the program in as little as 18 months.
Students complete a capstone course, offered as an internship, under the supervision of a practicing school administrator. In addition, students must take an exam before they can apply for the official state exam.
Some of the comprehensive Master’s degree in Educational Administration course listings include:
- Human Resource Management
- School Community Relations
- School Law
- Diverse Learners
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools provides Lamar University with accreditation.
19. Emporia State University
Emporia State University (ESU), a public university established in 1863, has a student-to-teacher ratio of 18:1. The school has received recognition for its teaching programs and for its liberal arts, business, library, and informational management degrees.
The ESU Distance Education Online Master’s in Educational Administration program offers a master’s degree or a non-degree building option 100-percent online. Both programs can qualify students for licensure as an athletic director, principal, or assistant principal.
Students need 35 credit hours of courses and fieldwork to complete the program.
The program includes classes in specialized topics such as:
- School Systems Management
- Analysis of Research
- Educational Law and Regulations
- Technological Applications
- School Leadership Theory
ESU ranks #92 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges in Regional Universities (Midwest) list.
The North Central Association of Schools and Colleges and NCATE provide the ESU Master’s degree in Educational Administration program with accreditation.
20. Post University
Post University, a private, for-profit school established in 1890, offers an array of degrees.
The Post University Online Master of Education with a Concentration in Higher Education Administration degree prepares education administrators and aspiring education administrators to work in advanced higher education positions.
The university designed the program, which requires 33 credit hours, for completion in as little as 14 months. The Educational Administration Master’s degree curriculum includes core courses, administrative concentration classes, and a capstone course.
The depth and breadth of courses cover topics in areas such as:
- The Future of Education
- Digitally-Mediated Teaching and Learning
- Research and Planning
- Teaching the Adult Learner
Post University ranks in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report edition of Best Online Graduate Education Programs and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs reports.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges provides Post University with accreditation.
21. Gwynedd-Mercy University
Established in 1948, Gwynedd-Mercy University (“GMercy U”) is a private Catholic university.
The GMercy U Online Master of Science Degree in Educational Administration, a cohort-based program, offers concentrations in either K–12 Principal Certification or Certification for Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor.
Students in both concentrations take core courses, as well as courses in their area of concentration, and complete a practicum. Students need a minimum of two years’ teaching experience to take the 100-percent online, seven-week accelerated program.
The robust Master’s degree in Educational Administration curriculum includes 33 credit hours.
Courses cover subjects such as:
- School Law and Policy Decisions
- Human Resources and Staff Development
- Current Issues in Education
- Educational Leadership
GMercy U ranks #111 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges in Regional Universities (North) list.
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools provides Gwynedd-Mercy University with accreditation.
22. Caldwell University
The Sisters of St. Dominic founded Caldwell College in 1939. The Catholic liberal arts college offers 28 major programs.
The college designed the Master’s in Educational Administration degree for students seeking school principal or supervisor certification. Students need at least three years of teaching experience or equivalent in New Jersey under appropriate certification to enter the program.
The Online Master in Education Administration program includes a 300-hour internship and courses in topics such as:
- Curriculum Leadership
- School Finance
- Managing Human and Material Resources
- Educational Law and Regulation
- Qualitative and Quantitative Research
Caldwell College ranks #126 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges in Regional Universities (North) list.
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) provide Caldwell College with accreditation.
Capella University, a for-profit, primarily online school established in 1993, offers 141 undergraduate and graduate specializations with 1600 online courses.
The online Master’s in Educational Administration Leadership program prepares principals to lead the development and implementation of a school’s vision in institutions such as charter schools, colleges, or state education departments.
The program includes 46 credit hours of core courses, specialization classes, and leadership courses.
The Online Master in Education Administration program provides core courses in areas such as:
- Assessment and Improvement of Instruction
- Survey of Research Methodology
- Strategies for Eliminating the Achievement Gap
Specialization courses include Education and the Law and School Leadership and Management Practices.
The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the NCATE provide Capella University with accreditation.
Grand Canyon University, a private, Christian, for-profit university founded in 1949, provides both on-campus and online degrees through seven colleges in education, liberal arts, business, and healthcare, among others.
The university designed the online Master of Education in Educational Administration for students seeking a principal license. Students need certified teaching experience and a current teaching license to enter the program.
The online Master in Education Administration program (42 credit hours) includes an intensive 16-week, 270-hour internship.
Courses include topics such as:
- Educational Leadership
- Educational Administration
- Data-Driven Decisions for Schools Improvement
The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools provides Grand Canyon University with accreditation.
Brandman University, established in 1958, is a private, military-friendly, nonprofit university with over 25 campuses throughout California and Washington State.
Brandman University also has a virtual campus. The university offers more than 50 certificates, degrees, and professional programs in healthcare, arts and sciences, business, and education.
The online Master in Educational Leadership and Administration with Preliminary Administrative Services Credential program focuses on the legal and social models, as well as the policy and personnel issues, which affect a school system. Foundation courses, content classes, and a capstone course of directed fieldwork complete the 36-credit-hour, online Master in Education Administration program.
A snapshot of courses offered includes:
- Education Law and Ethics
- Seminar in Comparative Education
- School Finance and Resource Allocation
- Collaborative Leadership
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing provide Brandman University with accreditation.