The M.A. in Educational Leadership requires 36 semester hours. Those pursuing licensure must dedicate 12 semester hours to clinical coursework.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall semester – July 1 (April 15 for international students)
  • Spring semester – December 1 (October 1 for international students)
  • Summer session – April 30 (March 1 for international students)

Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree from a Regionally Accredited American College or University, or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions
  • Undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better on a four-point scale
  • English Proficiency Requirements (international applicants)
  • Evidence of academic ability and professional promise
  • *At least 3 years of classroom teaching in a K-12 school

*If you are applying to a licensure program without having completed three years of teaching/administrative in-school experience, please contact the Program Coordinator directly to explain your circumstances.

Application Process

  1. Create an application account to begin the application process.
  2. Submit the online application to the Graduate College and pay the $60 application fee by credit card ($100 for international applicants).
  3. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive email instructions on how to establish your HawkID and password which you will use to access MyUI, our online service center for students and applicants.
  4. You will use your Admissions Profile on MyUI to upload required supplemental materials.

Required Supplemental Materials

  1. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  2. Official TOEFL scores may be required for some non-native speakers of English
  3. Answer each question in 500 words or less:
    a. Please describe why you want to be a principal or district leader. Why is the leadership program at the University of Iowa a good match for you?
    b. Graduate school will be a major time commitment. Please discuss specific strategies you plan to use to successfully balance your personal life, your professional life, and the demands of graduate school.
    c. Schools are diversifying across the state and the UI program aims to create leaders who focus on social justice. Please explain why social justice is important to you.
    d. The UI program will prepare you to be an instructional leader. What is the best way to prepare students to succeed and reach district and statewide expectations? What does this mean for students who may not be prepared academically?

  4. *Submit three letters from individuals who can speak to your promise as a leader. One letter should be from your current district superintendent. One letter should be from your current principal, or equivalent. If you are not currently employed as an educator, you may request letters from previous administrators who know your promise as a leader, and please explain your situation in your answer to Question 1a (see above).
  5. Review the Iowa Board of Education’s Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics. Please reflect on your own ethics as you answer the following questions:
    a. On which social media sites do you have an account (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, other)?
    b. Is there anything posted on any of those accounts that would cause you concern as a future administrator? If so, what?
    c. Have you ever been placed on a remediation or intensive assistance plan? If so, please explain.
    d. Is there anything else we should know about you?

* You will be asked to give the contact information of your recommenders, including their email, on your Admissions Profile. The recommender will then get an email with instructions on how to upload the recommendation letter and/or form.


Application questions can be directed to: Sue Cline in the Office of Student Services   319/335-5260,

We look forward to receiving your application!

Student Handbook

M.A. Educational Leadership and Principal Licensure Programs


Total semester hours required: 36 s.h.

Core Requirements (24 s.h.)

  • EPLS:6201 Foundations of School Administration (3 s.h.)
  • EPLS:6236 Administration of Students with Special Needs (3 s.h.)
  • EPLS:6242 Research for Effective School Leaders (3 s.h.)
  • EPLS:6260 Contemporary Management Strategies for the K-12 Principal (3 s.h.)
  • EPLS:6285 School and Community Relationships (3 s.h.)
  • EPLS:6298 Legal Aspect of School Personnel (3 s.h.)
  • EPLS:6381 Analysis and Appraisal of Curriculum (3 s.h.)
  • EPLS:6383 Supervision and Evaluation (3 s.h.)

Clinical Requirements (12 s.h.)

  • EPLS:6400 Early Childhood Leadership Clinical* (3 s.h.)
  • EPLS:6401 Elementary Leadership Clinical* (3 s.h.)
  • EPLS:6402 Secondary Leadership Clinical* (3 s.h.)
  • EPLS:6403 Special Education Leadership Clinical* (3 s.h.)

NOTE: Except in extenuating circumstances, clinical course registration should begin only after completion of four of the academic courses. Exceptions must be made in consultation with the student’s advisor.

More information on Clinical Coursework and Standards

Course Delivery and Requirements

The entire M.A. in Educational Leadership/Principal Licensure Program is offered online via distance delivery. (Note that some electives in the M.A. without licensure program may require students to be present on campus.) Both academic and clinical course requirements for the M.A. programs can be completed without traveling to campus by participating in class sessions from your home or work computer. Courses are offered in “real time” and meet once a week during the fall and spring semesters, normally at 4:30 or 7:15 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Courses in the summer meet twice a week, either in the morning or the afternoon during a six week session that typically runs from late June through early August (M-W or T-Th.). The program allows for two-way video and audio for full participation and interaction with fellow students and instructors. Additional information regarding online coursework at the University of Iowa can be found at:

Comprehensive Exams

For MA candidates completing their plan of study, they will be required to make a presentation to a team of Educational Leadership (EL) faculty who will act as a school board or administrative team, similar to a mock interview. This mock interview will be for an administrative position that the candidate is hoping to obtain.

Utilizing data and information from one of the schools where they completed a clinical experience, they will be challenged to address specific issues and answer a series of questions posed by the Educational Leadership faculty. Candidates will have 30 minutes to present their powerpoint presentation. The “school board” will have 15 minutes to ask questions and provide feedback. Students will have 10 minutes to respond, and to provide summative feedback on the EL program.

    Employment Opportunities
    • Principal of programs serving children from birth through 12th grade
    • Supervisor to instructional special education programs with children from birth to the age of 21
    • Supervisor of support for special education programs for children from birth to the age of 21

    Note: For those pursuing the M.A. with licensure, in order to obtain Iowa Endorsement #189, the individual must have at least 3 years of teaching at the Pre K-12 level.

    Application Deadlines
    • Fall semester – July 1
      (April 15 for international students)
    • Spring semester – December 1
      (October 1 for international students)
    • Summer session – April 30
      (March 1 for international students)

    Application Questions: Contact Sue Cline, Office of Student Services, 319-335-5260,