Master of Science in Educational Leadership

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Educational Leadership program is designed for educators who want to expand their leadership knowledge and skills to serve in formal or informal leadership roles in schools. The master's degree leads to Wisconsin certification as principal (#51) and director of instruction (#10). Educators not interested in formal administrative positions, but who are interested in expanding their leadership capacity for roles such as site council member, grade level coordinator, or department chair, will also benefit from the program. The format of the M.S. in Educational Leadership program is an accelerated cohort model with courses typically lasting six to eight weeks. The program is offered year-round in a face-to-face format at locations throughout Wisconsin, as well as online.

The course content emphasizes the knowledge, skills and dispositions that are compatible with effective school leadership in the 21st century, as defined in the Wisconsin Principal and Director of Instruction Content Standards. During the 31 credit program, students accrue practicum hours that are aligned with the Wisconsin Administrator Standards. The practicum contributes to the development of the School Improvement Plan that is completed by each student under the supervision of the school-based supervisor and the University supervisor. Students also complete a leadership portfolio as part of administrator licensure requirements.


Courses Are Available

Face to Face
Main Campus

Program Details

●  Credits: 31
●  View Tuition and Fees
MEL Program Focuses on Developing Leaders With The Following:
  1. A personal mission and leadership philosophy. (Wis. Admin. Stds. 1, 5, 6, 7)
  2. Ability to align their personal philosophy to organizational vision. (Wis. Admin. Stds. 1, 3, 7)
  3. Capacity to assess the organization’s ability to achieve its vision/mission. (Wis. Admin. Stds. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  4. Ability to assess the relevancy of current operation to external needs. (Wis. Admin. Stds. 2, 4, 5, 7)
  5. Ability to lead transformative change when current state of organization is not achieving its vision/mission. (Wis. Admin. Stds. 5, 6, 7)
  6. Ability to maximize the human potential of the organization to solve problems in a manner that is relevant to external needs while achieving vision/mission. (Wis. Admin. Stds. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  7. Ability to conduct and use research to strategically lead organizations (Wis. Admin. Stds. 1, 3, 4, 6)
  8. Ability to manage and lead in a financially and legally responsible manner with capacity for adaptive change. (Wis. Admin. Stds. 2, 4, 7)
Standard A. 1. Content and Pedagogical Knowledge The provider ensures that candidates for professional specialties develop a deep understanding of the critical concepts and principles of their field of preparation and, by completion, are able to use professional specialty practices flexibly to advance the learning of all P-12 students toward attainment of college- and career-readiness standards.
Standard A. 2. Clinical Partnerships and Practice The provider ensures that effective partnerships and high-quality clinical practice are central to preparation
Standard A. 3. Candidate Quality and Selectivity The provider demonstrates that the quality of advanced program candidates is a continuing and purposeful part of its responsibility so that completers are prepared to perform effectively and can be recommended for certification where applicable
Standard A. 4. Program Impact The provider documents the satisfaction of its completers from advanced preparation programs and their employers with the relevance and effectiveness of their preparation
Standard A. 5. Provider Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement:  The provider maintains a quality assurance system comprised of valid data from multiple measures, including evidence of candidates’ and completers’ positive impact on P-12 student learning and development. The provider supports continuous improvement that is sustained and evidence-based, and that evaluates the effectiveness of its completers. The provider uses the results of inquiry and data collection to establish priorities, enhance program elements and capacity, and test innovations to improve completers’ impact on P-12 student learning and development.

Transfer Credits You Already Earned

A maximum of nine graduate credits may be transferred from another accredited degree-granting institution. Download our guide that explains credit acquisition.

Application Process and Requirements

Academic and Professional Requirements 

Prior Education
  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (probationary acceptance may be granted).

Professional Credential and Competency

  • A valid Wisconsin teaching license, including 3 years teaching experience with this license, is currently required to receive the administrative licenses from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
  • Students who do not hold a valid Wisconsin teaching license earn the master degree only.

Admissions Application and Transcripts

Complete the Admissions Application
  • Submit the admissions application which is free to complete online. Applications for this program are reviewed on a rolling basis so allow sufficient time before the start of your program to be considered for admission.

Request Transcripts
  • Have official transcripts from each college or university you attended delivered directly to the Office of Admissions. Cardinal Stritch University alumni and current students should inquire with the admission counselor about locating transcripts already on file.
  • Transcripts from institutions outside of the United States require a course-by-course evaluation with GPA. Request the official report from ECE or WES to be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. Allow time for the evaluation to be completed since it could take up to 4-6 weeks to be created.

Information for International Students
  • If your prior education was not conducted in English, you must demonstrate proficiency with acceptable scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or an ESL program. Review the language and academic requirements to know if you are prepared for studying at Stritch. We can also help you obtain an F-1 student visa.

Two Letters of Recommendation

Your letters of recommendation should be provided by your building principal, department leader, or another individual who can comment on your professional leadership abilities.

Personal Essay

Essays should be a maximum one-page (double-spaced) word-processed statement addressing the challenges you see in education today and how you as a leader hope to make a positive change.

Send Application Materials to Admissions

Submit the application online and mail additional materials to:

Cardinal Stritch University
Graduate Admissions
6801 N. Yates Road, #516
Milwaukee, WI  53217-3985

Funding Your Education

Stritch is competitively priced to make graduate education affordable. Counselors in our Financial Aid Office know that each student is unique and they are dedicated to helping identify ways to help students fund their education. Learn more about our tuition and the financial aid process.


Alumni Network

More than 38,000 Stritch alumni are recognized worldwide for their leadership roles in businesses, health care organizations, corporations, educational institutions, entrepreneurial ventures and non-profit organizations. Responsive to the needs of their communities, Stritch graduates are critical thinkers, ethical decision-makers and lifelong learners.

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