Best Educational Leadership Programs: List of Top Schools

Jul 20, 2018

Learn about the top schools in the nation that provide educational leadership programs. Obtain university rankings, degree options and location info, and compare similarities and differences to find the perfect school for you.

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School Information

You may earn a master's or doctoral degree in the field of education leadership. Concentrations are often available in public policy and business subjects. Many programs offer residencies or field experiences. Here, you'll be able to explore three top-rated educational leadership schools. These schools were recognized for excellence by U.S. News and World Report for 2017.

Most educational leadership programs are offered at the graduate level to recent baccalaureate graduates as well as educators with work experience.

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

In 2017, Harvard University was ranked fourth for its education administration and supervision programs in U.S. News & World Report's ranking.

The Graduate School of Education offers an interdisciplinary program leading to a Doctor of Education Leadership. In addition to education courses, the first-year curriculum includes business and public policy courses taught by faculty from Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Advanced electives in education leadership are available to second-year students of this 3-year program. The last year is devoted to a 10-month residency with one of the program's partnering organizations, which include schools, nonprofit organizations and for-profit education agencies.

Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, NY

Teachers College at Columbia University was named the sixth-best school for education administration and supervision by U.S. News & World Report in 2017.

The school offers several educational leadership| programs, including a Ph.D. in Education Leadership with three potential concentrations in leadership, policy and politics; or organization, leadership and learning. Students in the Summer Principals Leadership Academy can earn a Master of Arts or a Master of Education. The Urban Education Leaders Program, which leads to a Doctor of Education, prepares educators for district-level positions.

Four graduate degree options include a summer principal's academy and an urban education leadership program.

George Washington University in Washington, DC

George Washington University was ranked #45 among graduate education schools by U.S. News and World Report for 2017.

Relevant programs at the doctoral level include Doctor of Education programs in education administration, higher education administration and human and organizational learning/executive leadership. Students can also earn a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development, with a focus in education leadership and administration. Students are prepared for administrative certification in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Other master's degree concentrations include educational technology leadership, organizational leadership and learning, or higher education administration. An educational specialist degree is also available in educational leadership and administration, as well as a graduate certificate.

Top U.S. Schools with Educational Leadership Programs

Here are some other schools with great educational leadership programs:

School Name Distinction Location
New York University Study options include an intensive educational reform 6-week study abroad experience in Pretoria, South Africa New York, NY
Seattle University Educational Leadership Doctoral Program (ELDP) follows a cohort model, and courses are offered evenings and weekends Seattle, WA
University of California, Los Angeles UCLA's 36-month Educational Leadership Program (ELP) is designed for working professionals and results in an Ed.D - Educational Leadership credential Los Angeles, CA
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill All 36 credits for the Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) credential can be counted toward the 54-credit doctoral program Chapel Hill, NC
University of Wisconsin - Madison Ph.D. in Educational Leadership students are grouped into professional learning communities to progress together through the 3- to 4-year track Madison, WI
Vanderbilt University The nation's top-ranked graduate education school, according to U.S. News and World Report in 2017; the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy program offers a weekend schedule that takes 36 months to complete Nashville, TN
Wright State University Ranked #43 for its online graduate education program by U.S. News & World Report as of 2017 Dayton, OH

Education professionals who want to advance to positions of leadership can get relevant training through graduate programs at well-regarded institutions around the country.

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