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!

The M.A. in Educational Leadership (with principal licensure) online program requires 36 semester hours. Those pursuing licensure must dedicate 12 semester hours to clinical coursework.

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.


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.

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. 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.

Clinical Coursework and Standards

As part of the requirement for completion of the Master’s Degree with Principal Licensure  students will enroll in each of the four clinical courses (early childhood, elementary, secondary, and special education). Enrollment in the clinical courses should take place after a student has completed at least four core academic courses. Exceptions need to be cleared in consultation with the student’s advisor and the clinical instructor. NOTE: Students may take no more than two clinical courses in any given semester.

Clinical courses are field-based experiences that take place in a local school or educational agency setting. They are designed to bridge the gap, and provide balance, between theory and practice, and between academic courses and the practical application of material contained in the academic courses. The clinical experiences are supervised on-site by a practicing school administrator in an intern-like relationship with the student, as well as by university faculty who have overall responsibility for the clinical courses.

Clinical work is developed on an individual basis in consultation with the student, the on-site school administrator, and the educational leadership faculty. Unlike academic courses, clinical courses do not meet weekly. Instead, three or four clinical online seminars are conducted throughout the course of the semester during which clinical students come together to discuss their clinical work, to share ideas, to problem-solve, and clarify any questions or concerns that may arise during their clinical experience.

Over the course of four separate clinical enrollments students are expected to engage in a total of 400 clock hours of clinical related activities, including contact time, working on projects and programs as approved by the supervising on-site school administrator and the faculty supervisor. Students will also be preparing reflective journals, maintaining a log of clinical experiences, participating in large group seminar meetings, and in individual meetings with the faculty supervisor.

When enrolled in a clinical course, students will submit a documentation form to the faculty supervisor that includes the name and contact information for the on-site supervising school administrator. Once the student has had an opportunity to visit with the on-site administrator and come to some agreement regarding the nature of the clinical work proposed during the semester, the student will submit a brief proposal outlining the various projects and activities in which they plan to engage during the semester. Modifications may be made during the semester upon consultation with the on-site school administrator and the faculty supervisor.

Students are also required to maintain an on-going log of all their clinical activities and projects that includes a brief description of each activity, the number of clock hours devoted to that activity, the NELP standard with which it most closely aligns, and the date on which it was performed. In addition, students are required to include weekly reflections on their clinical work. This reflective journal should include what was learned as a result of that week’s experiences, as well as the relevancy of the experiences to future administrative practice.

Most of the clinical work will be done in conjunction and consultation with the on-site school administrator. The faculty supervisor will meet with each student on-site during the semester. In cases where travel is prohibitive (inclement weather conditions, distance—international or out-of-state students) video conferences will be held between the student and the faculty supervisor.


Last updated: 07/22/20

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,