College of Education & Human Services

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

The M.S.Ed. in Educational Leadership concentrates on the general background knowledge and skills needed for entry into positions of leadership in the field of education. 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. 

Coursework is offered in a weekend academy format. Classes meet on Saturdays (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Sundays (8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.). A three semester hour course meets for three weekends. Courses are offered at both the Macomb and the Moline campuses. Candidates need to have a teaching licensce in the United States. 

Educational Leadership Program History

The programs in educational leadership at WIU have long been recognized for developing strong leaders who qualify for school principal and superintendent certification. The program 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 School of Education now also offers a doctoral degree (Ed.D.) that extends the program's efforts and, specifically, builds upon the master's level 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 and approved by the Graduate Committee. The student may earn principal endorsement after completing the degree program. The State of Illinois requires those enrolling in a principal preparation program to have completed two years of teaching prior to enrollment.


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

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

Apply to the WIU School of Graduate Studies

Step 2 - Application for admission to the School of Education

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



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 plus an internship. Students who complete the Master of Science in Educational Leadership and the requirements for principal endorsement at Western Illinois University will complete a total of 43 semester hours of coursework.  


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, for two semesters, for a total of four credit hours. 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 School of Education.

Download - Graduate Internship Application (pdf)