College of Education & Human Services

Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) - Educational Leadership

The Department of Educational Studies offers a graduate program in educational leadership leading to a Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.). The master's program concentrates on the general background and skills needed for entry into positions of educational leadership. Utilizing a collaborative, inquiry-based learning structure courses explore how theory, research, applied technology, and heightened political understanding serve to resolve the issues educational leaders regularly face. 

The educational leadership program at Western Illinois University offers coursework through the Weekend Academy format. In this format, classes meet on Saturdays (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Sundays (8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.). A three s.h. course meets weekends a semester. Courses are offered at both the Macomb and the Moline campuses. International students do not qualify for admission into this program. 

Educational Leadership Program History

Educational Leadership has long been recognized for strong programs leading to school principal and superintendent certification. The department has certified more than 2,000 principals and 600 superintendents since 1967 when Illinois began approval of administrator preparation programs. These programs have received National Recognition by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) and the Specialized Professional Association for school leadership preparation programs. The Ed.D. degree extends the department’s other program efforts and, specifically, builds upon the Education Specialist program.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) degree in educational leadership requires a minimum of 33 semester hours (24 or more in educational leadership from Western Illinois University) to be selected in consultation with the student's adviser, if approved by the Graduate Committee. The student may earn principal endorsement after completing the degree program. The State of Illinois requires those enrolling in principal preparation program to have completed two years of teaching prior to enrollment.

Principal Endorsement

Persons seeking a principal endorsement through Western Illinois University must have a master’s degree or complete the master’s degree in Educational Leadership. The principal preparation program includes the following: 36 semester hours of course work and EDL 555 and EDL 556 (Internship). Students who complete the Master of Science in Educational Leadership degree and the requirements for principal endorsement at Western Illinois University will complete a total of 43 semester hours of coursework.  


Step 1 - Application for admittance to the Western Illinois School of Graduate Studies

Persons seeking admittance to a program within the Department of Educational Studies must first apply to the School of Graduate Studies.

Apply to the WIU School of Graduate Studies

Step 2 - Application for admission to the Department of Educational Studies

Apply for Master of Science in Education (M.S. Ed.)


Successful completion of an internship is required for endorsement as principal (EDL 555 and EDL 556) and for superintendent (EDL 655 and EDL 656). In both cases, the internship is taken for two semester hours of credit in Fall and Spring semesters or in Spring and Fall semesters, for a total of four credit hours over the two semesters. A minimum of 75 clock hours of planned activity is required for each semester hour of credit. Internships are carried out under the supervision of a school administrator and a faculty member in the Department of Educational Studies.

Download - Graduate Internship Application (pdf)

Application Deadlines: September 15 (Spring/Fall Sequence) OR February 15 (Fall/Spring Sequence)