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Program: Educational Leadership

Degree: Master of School Administration
Department: Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development (ELPHD)
Delivery Method: On Campus, Off Campus

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NC State’s program in Educational Leadership for school administrators is designed to improve the quality of K-12 schools by preparing leaders who are dedicated to educational excellence and equity.  Graduates are expected to use leadership strategies that will improve student performance in environments that are dynamic, interactive and culturally diverse.

Program Description

As a student pursuing a Master in School Administration, you will develop the professional expertise required for entry or advancement in K-12 leadership. MSA program faculty are committed to preparing leaders who embody the latest Professional Leadership Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL).

In addition, students will benefit from several distinct program characteristics:

  • Diverse students and faculty representing a variety of backgrounds, experiences and research interests
  • Access to distance education for those not located in Raleigh (depending on demand)

The MSA program requires completion of eight, 3-hour courses (24 credit hours), plus 18 credit hours of internship for a total of 42 credit hours. Courses are offered in person, in the afternoon or evening and some Saturdays during year 1 to accommodate full-time professionals who are students in the program.  Year 2 consists of a full-time residency/internship.

Admission Requirements

  • Personal statement including career goals and aspirations, research interests or focus and other relevant experiences
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended (except NC State)
  • Teaching experience in K-12 public or private school (3 years preferred)
  • Current professional resume
  • Three letters of recommendationOne recommendation is to be from current supervisor.
  • Minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA (preferred)
  • Participate in Candidate Assessment Day

Note:  All application materials must be submitted through the Graduate School’s online application process only (see ‘Apply Now’ button at top of this page).  No hard copies will be accepted.

NC State Model for Principal Preparation Programs

Course of Study

Time to degree for the Master of School Administration is typically 2 years and takes place in a closed cohort.


Course descriptions can be found in the university course catalog.

  • Teacher Empowerment & Leadership
  • School Law
  • Organizational Mgt. I: Human Resources
  • Organizational Mgt. II: School Finance
  • Community & Interagency Partnerships
  • Leadership in Professional Learning Communities
  • Leading & Transforming School Culture
  • Contexts & Challenges of School Improvement
  • Internship in Educational Leadership
Student Experience in Principal Preparation Program