In this article, we list the top-ranked and most affordable online master’s in educational leadership programs for 2017.

Educational leaders and administrators manage elementary, middle, and high schools. They’re often school principals and overseers who manage teaching staff, coordinate curricula, and provide a safe and productive learning environment for a diverse student body. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for educational leaders and administrators is expected to grow 6% faster than the average for all other occupations over the next eight years. The employment growth is anticipated to be driven by an increase in school enrollments.

Ranking Methodology

We examined a total of 231 accredited colleges and universities that offered an online master’s in educational leadership, educational administration, or closely related program. Our initial pool of 231 schools came from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator. To narrow our search, we selected institutions with rankings from major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. We then chose the 30 most affordable of these recognized institutions based on in-state graduate tuition/fees published by College Navigator. Our list is ranked in order of affordability.

Below are the resulting selections for the 30 top affordable schools for an online master’s in educational leadership degree for 2017.

#30 – University of New England

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Biddeford, Maine

Website

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The 100% online master’s in educational leadership from University of New England has no GRE admission requirement.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $23,172

University of New England offers an online master’s in educational leadership program designed for professionals looking to advance their education careers. This 100% online program requires no campus visits and no GRE at admissions. The program is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the online graduate education programs rank #66 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs in the most recent edition of Best Colleges. Several focus areas are available so that students may tailor their degree towards career goals and personal interests. Focus areas include career and technical education, curriculum and instruction strategies, educational leadership, inclusion education, and literacy (K-12).

#29 – Northeastern University

Online Master’s in Higher Education Administration

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Northeastern University - Online Master's in Educational Leadership Degree

One of the most prestigious schools on our list to offer an online master’s in educational leadership is Northeastern University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $23,166

Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies offers an online master’s degree in educational administration that requires no GRE or GMAT and is available entirely online. The program is designed to prepare students to assume leadership roles within segments of higher education. All courses are delivered online and taught by experienced professors who teach on the Boston, Charlotte, and Seattle campus locations. These courses include education as an advanced field of study; enrollment, retention, graduation, and success; faculty, curriculum, and academic community; the demographics of higher education; and the landscape of higher education. Northeastern is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the institution as the 39th best national university and 7th most innovative school.

#28 – Pennsylvania State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

University Park, Pennsylvania

Website

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Pennsylvania State University’s online master’s in educational leadership has three emphasis areas.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,832

Pennsylvania State University’s educational leadership master’s degree online program is designed to prepare educational professionals to lead in their school and field. Three emphasis areas are offered, including school leader (for certification as a school principal), school leader (without principal certification), and teacher leader. All courses are delivered online and include curriculum design–theory and practice, financial management for schools, introduction to educational leadership, leadership for inclusive education, principles of instructional supervision, and technology applications in educational leadership. Penn State is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 50th best national university in the country. Other rankings include #14 for top public schools and one of 800 institutions surveyed for having a best education school.

#27 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction–Educational Leadership

Manchester, New Hampshire

Website

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Southern New Hampshire University’s online MEd in educational leadership is a top-ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810

One of the more affordable educational leadership master’s degree online programs on our list is the MEd in curriculum and instruction with educational leadership emphasis at Southern New Hampshire University. Minimal requirements are needed for admission. No GRE or GMAT scores are required and acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year. All courses are delivered online, and there are no campus visit requirements. Online courses include curriculum development, educational assessment, educational factors of diversity, ethics and school law, learning through technology, student-centered curriculum and instruction, school and community relations, and the educator researcher. Southern New Hampshire University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 101st best regional university in the North and the #1 most innovative school.

#26 – Northcentral University

Online Accelerated Master’s in Educational Leadership

Prescott Valley, Arizona

Website

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Northcentral University offers an accredited online master’s in educational leadership degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,856

Northcentral University offers an accredited online master’s in educational leadership degree that can be completed in just 12 months. The accelerated program is considered to be rigorous, suggesting students devote 30-35 hours per week to the program. The program is designed for educators who want to earn a professional degree quickly that allows them to assume leadership roles in various fields of education. All courses are delivered online and taught by doctoral faculty. There are no physical residency requirements–only flexible online learning. For those interested in higher education, an accelerated MEd program is available with an emphasis in leadership in higher ed. Northcentral has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a best national university.

#25 – Michigan State University

Online Master’s in K-12 Educational Administration

East Lansing, Michigan

Website

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Michigan State University’s online master’s in educational administration program prepares teachers for leadership roles.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,122

Michigan State University offers online educational leadership programs designed to prepare educators for management and administration roles in charter, private, and public school settings. Students earn a master’s in K-12 educational administration degree that takes approximately two to three years to complete. Degree candidates also qualify to apply to the Michigan Department of Education for certification with elementary and secondary endorsements. Courses are administered online and include international education, leadership for urban education, and policy studies. Michigan State University is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 82nd best national university.

#24 – University of Cincinnati

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Cincinnati, Ohio

Website

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The online master’s in educational leadership from University of Cincinnati is affordable to in-state students.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,468

University of Cincinnati offers an online master’s degree in educational administration degree program that is designed to prepare educators to become leaders in the classroom, school, and district. The program also serves as preparation for those seeking Ohio principal licensure. A total of 30 credits (10 courses) can be completed in just 21 months. Classes are delivered online and include collaboration and team, curriculum development and data analysis, educational leadership theory, instructional supervision, leadership for social justice, and school finance and law. University of Cincinnati is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 135th best national university in the country. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #30 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#23 – University of Florida

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Gainesville, Florida

Website

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University of Florida is ranked #1 for having the best online graduate education program. This includes the online master’s in educational leadership.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,737

The accredited online master’s in educational leadership program at the University of Florida is ranked as the #1 best online graduate education program in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Not only highly ranked, but the program is extremely affordable. The professional degree also leads to Florida principal certification for those interested in becoming a school principal. All courses are delivered online and taught by the same university professors who teach on the Gainesville campus. These classes include administration of school personnel, communication in educational leadership, educational leadership, educational organization and administration, public school law, and supervised practice in educational administration.

#22 – Montclair State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Montclair, New Jersey

Website

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Montclair State University’s online master’s in educational leadership is fully online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,590

Montclair State University offers an affordable online master’s in educational leadership program that presents rigorous courses delivered in a fully online format. The program is designed to provide students with the tools and knowledge needed to become successful school leaders. Classes are delivered online and include differentiated supervision, education law, ethical leadership and decision making, effective leadership in a diverse society, leading curriculum change for student achievement, school and community relations, and school finance. Montclair State is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, the school’s online graduate education programs rank #136 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#21 – Florida State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration

Tallahassee, Florida

Website

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Florida State University’s online master’s in educational leadership is a top-ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,543

Florida State University’s educational leadership master’s degree online program is designed to develop high-performing and dynamic leaders for schools and school systems. The program is offered entirely online and with a principal leadership optional track. Courses are taught by the same professors who teach at the Tallahassee campus. These courses include data-driven school improvement, leadership for diversity, legal aspects of public school administration, planning effective instruction, resource management for educational leaders, and teacher leadership development. Students must also complete field experience hours along with the mentoring initiative. Florida State is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best national university and top public school. Also, the online graduate education program ranks #3 in the country.

#20 – Arizona State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Tempe, Arizona

Website

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Arizona State University’s online master’s in educational leadership is for those interested in becoming a building principal.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,304

Arizona State University’s online educational leadership programs include the master’s in educational leadership (principalship). The program is specifically designed for aspiring principals and teachers interested in pursuing leadership roles in school and districts. All courses are delivered via distance learning and taught by the same professors who teach on campus. Online courses include American education systems, critical issues in educational leadership, instructional leadership, introduction to research and evaluation in education, leadership in curriculum and assessment, and school finance and human resources. ASU is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #129 in the country among best national universities. Also, the school’s online graduate education programs rank #34 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#19 – Old Dominion University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership–Administration and Supervision K-12

Norfolk, Virginia

Website

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Old Dominion University’s online master’s in educational leadership is one of the most affordable programs on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,136

Old Dominion University offers one of the most affordable online master’s degree in educational administration programs on our list. Students gain knowledge and skills needed to lead in and out of the classroom. Required courses are administered online and are taught by the same university professors who teach on campus. These courses include data analysis and decision making, establishing and leading professional collaborative communities, leadership for school improvement, and strategic human resource and fiscal management. Old Dominion is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best national university and top public schools. Also, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school’s online graduate education programs #48 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#18 – University of Northern Colorado

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Greeley, Colorado

Website

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The University of Northern Colorado’s online master’s in educational leadership program may be completed in 15-20 months!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,809

University of Northern Colorado’s online master’s in educational leadership is accredited and affordable. The program is designed to assist individuals who seek principal licensure and educational leadership roles in schools and districts. The program is fully online and takes approximately 15-20 months to complete. Online courses include external environments–social and political influences in educational leadership, leadership development through inquiry, shaping organizations–management and leadership in education, and understanding people–professional development and educational leadership. University of Northern Colorado is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a best national university. Also, the most recent edition of Best Colleges lists the school’s online graduate education programs #136 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#17 – Indiana University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Bloomington, Indiana

Website

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Indiana University’s online master’s in educational leadership is a top-ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,743

The School of Education at Indiana University offers an accredited and affordable educational leadership master’s degree online program. This degree is designed for individuals preparing for their licensing as a building-level administrator. According to the program website, the majority of those enrolled are teachers or have been teachers. All courses are administered online, and Indiana’s principal licensure requirements are embedded in the degree’s coursework. Classes include data-informed decision-making for school leaders, introduction to educational leadership, legal perspectives on education, and public school budgeting and accounting. Indiana University is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, the school’s online graduate education programs rank #22 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#16 – Iowa State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Ames, Iowa

Website

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Iowa State University offers an accredited online master’s in educational leadership degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,172

Iowa State University’s School of Education offers an affordable online educational leadership master’s degree program designed to fully prepare students for administrative and supervisory positions in educational organizations, schools, and school districts. The program also offers principal certification for those interested in becoming a school principal. Courses are delivered online and include current issues in site-level leadership, educational research, leading school reform, principles of educational administration, and supervision for learning environments. Iowa State is a nationally ranked university according to major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 111th best national university and 51st top public institution.

#15 – University of West Florida

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Pensacola, Florida

Website

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University of West Florida offers a master’s in educational leadership degree that may be completed entirely online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,062

University of West Florida offers an accredited educational leadership master’s degree online program designed for students who want to prepare for administration and supervisory roles in schools and school districts. The program is offered entirely online with courses taught by professors who regularly teach on the Pensacola campus. Required courses include administration of school personnel, data-driven decisions using standardized student achievement data, foundations of measurement, human relations and communication in education, introduction to educational leadership, and principles of curriculum development. University of West Florida is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as a best national university.

#14 – Ball State University

Online Master’s in Educational Administration and Supervision

Muncie, Indiana

Website

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Ball State University offers an affordable online master’s in educational administration and supervision.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,904

Ball State University offers an accredited and affordable online master’s degree in educational administration program that can be completed in just 18-20 months. The program is offered entirely online and designed to prepare students with administration and supervision skills needed to earn a K-12 administration and supervision license. All courses are delivered online and include education and ethics, human resource development, introduction to educational leadership, methodology of educational and psychological research, school law, supervision of instruction, and the school principal. Ball State University is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 176th best national university and the 93rd top public school in the country. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #11 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#13 – University of South Dakota

Online Master’s in Educational Administration

Vermillion, South Dakota

Website

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University of South Dakota’s online master’s in educational administration program has several specialization options.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,557

University of South Dakota’s online master’s degree in educational administration program is affordable and accredited. The program offers small class sizes, flexible schedules designed for working professionals, and highly accessible faculty and advisors. Several specializations are available so that students may tailor their degree to suit career goals and interests. These specializations include adult and higher education, pre-K-12 principal, and school district superintendent. All courses are delivered online and include introduction to educational administration, leading school improvement, school community relations, school law, and the administrator and curriculum development. The university is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best national institution. Also, the school’s online graduate education programs rank #95 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#12 – University of Nebraska

Online Master’s in Educational Administration

Lincoln, Nebraska

Website

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Ranked 14th in the country! University of Nebraska’s online master’s in educational administration is accredited and affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,556

One of the most affordable online educational leadership programs on our list is found at University of Nebraska. This 36-credit hour program offers a non-thesis track for those interested in pursuing higher education administration. All classes are delivered online and include administrative theory, finance in higher education, foundations of research and methods of inquiry in educational administration, higher education environments, higher education in America, law and higher education, and personnel management. University of Nebraska is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 111th best national university and 51st top public school. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #14 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#11 – University of Louisiana

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Monroe, Louisiana

Website

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University of Louisiana’s online master’s in educational leadership is a 36-semester hour program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,005

University of Louisiana offers one of the most affordable online educational leadership master’s degree programs on our list. The program requires the completion of 36 semester hours and offers multiple certifications like elementary and secondary school principal, superintendent, supervisor of instruction, and teacher leader endorsement. All classes are delivered online and include instructional supervision, legal and ethical issues, managing school and district resources, multicultural education perspectives, organizational theory and practice, and school and community relations. University of Louisiana is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as a best national university.

#10 – Liberty University

Online Master’s in Teaching and Learning–Leadership

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

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Liberty University’s online master’s in teaching and learning has a leadership concentration.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,000

Liberty University’s online master’s in educational leadership program combines Christian perspective with academics. The 36-credit hour program is designed for individuals seeking a non-licensure degree or entry into a doctoral program. This program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. All courses are delivered online and include advanced education and leadership curriculum. Classes include contemporary issues in education policy, elementary curriculum methods, learning theory, school leadership in diverse settings, and understanding educational research and assessment. Liberty is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. The online graduate education programs rank #146 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#9 – Minnesota State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Mankato, Minnesota

Website

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Minnesota State University’s online master’s in educational leadership degree is especially affordable for in-state residents.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,547

One of the most affordable online educational leadership master’s degree programs on our list is offered by Minnesota State University. The 34-credit hour program is designed to prepare individuals for leadership roles within educational settings in schools and school districts. While considered to be an online program, a hybrid instructional model is used. Courses include ethics in leadership, leadership communication in educational settings, leadership studies, multicultural leadership, organizational and systems change, program evaluation in educational leadership, and research in educational leadership. Minnesota State is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 103rd best regional university in the Midwest and 29th top public school.

#8 – Emporia State University

Online Master’s in Educational Administration

Emporia, Kansas

Website

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Emporia State University offers an online master’s in educational administration for those interested in becoming a building principal.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,488

Accredited online educational leadership programs that qualify individuals for licensure as building principals can be difficult to find. Emporia State University offers a 35-hour master’s in educational administration designed to prepare students for school leadership roles. The program is offered entirely online with classes taught by university professors and experienced school professionals. Courses include analysis of research, beliefs and values in educational practice, curriculum leadership models and strategies, educational law and regulations, human relations and group processes in education, school leadership theory, and school systems management. Emporia State is a regionally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. news and World Report ranks the school as the 108th best regional university in the Midwest and 32nd top public school. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #30 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#7 – Appalachian State University

Online Master’s in Educational Administration

Boone, North Carolina

Website

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Appalachian State University offers an accredited online master’s in educational administration that is top-ranked.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,409

Appalachian State University offers one of the most affordable online educational leadership programs on our list. The educational administration master’s degree is a 30 semester-hour program designed to equip students for specialized school administration positions. Coursework is delivered in three formats: asynchronous, synchronous, and internship practica (where students perform their internship hours within their local school district). Courses are taught by the same professors who teach at the Boone campus. Appalachian State is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges lists the school as the 9th best regional university in the South and the 3rd top public school.

#6 – Indiana State University

Online Master’s in School Administration and Supervision

Terre Haute, Indiana

Website

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Indiana State University offers an accredited master’s in school administration online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,184

The online master’s degree in educational administration from Indiana State University is a 33 credit-hour program designed to prepare individuals for administration and supervision roles within private and public institutions. All courses are delivered online and taught by professors who regularly teach at the main campus. These courses include foundations of educational leadership, leadership for learning–curriculum and assessment to support improved student performance, legal aspects of educational administration, school and community– collaborating for effective schools, and the school principal–leadership for changing schools. Indiana State University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a best national institution.

#5 – Western Carolina University

Online Master’s in School Administration

Cullowhee, North Carolina

Website

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Western Carolina University’s online master’s in school administration may be completed entirely online or in a hybrid format.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,065

Interested in an accredited and highly affordable online educational leadership master’s degree? Western Carolina University offers a master’s in school administration program that is designed to prepare working teachers and school professionals for leadership roles. The program may be completed entirely online or in a hybrid format. Courses include assessment for the advancement of student learning, current topics in public school law, curriculum leadership, ethical school leadership, leadership for continuous school improvement, research methods, and shaping school culture. Western Carolina University is a regionally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks it as the 37th best regional university in the South and the 13th top public school.

#4 – West Texas A&M University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Canyon, Texas

Website

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The educational leadership master’s program from West Texas A&M University may be completed entirely online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,043

One of the best online educational leadership programs on our list in terms of affordability and flexibility is located at West Texas A&M University. The program is designed to prepare individuals as leaders in education and offers certification options that include Texas principal certification and Texas superintendent certification. All classes are delivered online and adhere to state standards. These courses include educational leadership and technology, educational law, educational research, introduction to educational leadership, personnel administration and supervision, school business management and finance, and special populations. West Texas A&M is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 91st best regional university in the West and the 35th top public school. Also, the online graduate education programs have earned recognition.

#3 – Arkansas State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Website

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Arkansas State University’s online master’s in educational leadership degree may be completed in just 20 months.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,810

In the #3 spot on our list of affordable online educational leadership programs, Arkansas State University’s online master’s in educational leadership may be completed in as little as 20 months. The program is designed to equip leaders to assume supervisory and administrative roles within the educational community. All courses are delivered online and include administration and supervision of special education, curriculum management, ethical leadership, introduction to statistics and research, philosophies of education, planning and resource allocation, school and community relations, and theories of instruction. Arkansas State is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 59th best regional university in the South and the 20th top public school.

#2 – University of Wyoming

Online Master’s in Educational Administration–K-12 Educational Leadership

Laramie, Wyoming

Website

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University of Wyoming’s online master’s in educational administration program focuses on K-12 educational leadership.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,498

The second most affordable online master’s in educational leadership program on our list is offered by University of Wyoming. This degree is designed for individuals interested in completing a principal preparation program with certification options. The program is offered entirely online with an internship requirement that may be completed in the student’s geographic location. All courses are delivered online and consist of 33 credit hours. These courses include assessment and accountability in student learning, introduction to school law, leadership for instruction, leadership for school and community relations, leadership for school organization, and special education law. The supervised internship is a six-credit component of the degree. University of Wyoming is a nationally ranked institution and top public school. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the university.

#1 – Fort Hays State University

Online Master’s in Educational Administration

Hays, Kansas

Website

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Fort Hays State University offers our #1 most affordable online master’s in educational administration program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $3,853

The most affordable online educational leadership program on our list is the master’s in educational administration (principal) offered by Fort Hays State University. This degree program is specifically designed for individuals who want to become a building principal. All courses are delivered online and include curriculum planning and evaluation of PK-12, data analysis and assessment, education research, school and community relations, school law, supervision and evaluation of personnel, and utilization of technology in classrooms. According to major publications like U.S. News and World Report, Fort Hays State is a regionally ranked university in the Midwest. Also, the most recent edition of Best Colleges lists the online graduate education programs #48 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

This article highlighted the top-ranked and most affordable online master’s in educational leadership programs for 2017.

BMD Staff
January 2017