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K-12 Administration

The Master's of Education (M.Ed.) and Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degrees focused on administration and instructional leadership offer cutting edge, practically-based courses which provide future leaders with the knowledge and skills needed for roles as principals. The degrees are online, using proven and effective strategies and field experiences taught by expert faculty who understand the demands on today's leaders. The degrees are approved for principal licensure for those students who work and are licensed in Massachusetts. As the degrees are online, out of state students benefit from the coursework, but cannot be endorsed by UMass Lowell for licensure in any state including Massachusetts.

Each degree includes courses in the Principalship, Leading Professional Learning Communities, School Policy and Law and Resource Management.

Please note: The Ed.S. in Administration Planning and Policy is scheduled to increase to 33 credits for students admitted for Summer 2017 onward.

The M.Ed. and Ed.S. (Education Specialist) degrees consist of online coursework. The Ed.S. degree is open to candidates who already hold a master of education degree from an accredited institution. For Massachusetts teachers, the degrees culminate in a two-semester practicum and lead to principal licensure. We do not offer licensure programs for candidates who work in other states and these degrees culminate in either the Ed.S. seminar or the M.Ed. capstone and not in a practicum.

Online Learning

For information about online learning visit the Division of Online and Continuing Education.

Cohort Model

Candidates begin the program as part of a summer, fall or spring cohort. Candidates may choose to take two courses/semester or they may complete the program by taking one course/semester. No candidate may enroll in more than two courses/semester without special permission of the graduate coordinator; the nature of the coursework is too intense to allow for this.

Field Experiences

Candidates admitted to the program must be working in a school system, as each course requires field experiences to be completed which enable the candidate to develop the necessary knowledge and skills. Field experiences include: shadowing a principal; data-based improvement report; leading a professional learning community; budget analysis project; teacher supervision.

For Massachusetts Educators Seeking Principal Licensure (pdf)

Massachusetts' regulations for "Principal" licensure changed effective summer of 2013. Our newly constructed program has been approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Massachusetts educators who complete their degree and other requirements by December 2013 will be licensed under the old regulations and are responsible for submitting all the required documentation to DESE through the ELAR system by the deadline.

Degree Pathways are:

Massachusetts Teacher seeking principal licensure must be employed in a school which uses the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, where MCAS data are used and where your practicum can be overseen by a Principal and/or Assistant Principal who hold a Massachusetts Principal License.

For Educators in States Other than Massachusetts: Non-Licensure (pdf)

Degree Pathways are:
  • Ed.S. Administration, Planning and Policy – 33 credit degree beyond the master's level which culminates in an Ed.S. seminar and does not lead to licensure.
  • M.Ed. Educational Administration – 30 credit degree which culminates in a capstone and does not lead to licensure. We cannot endorse any state forms indicating that you have completed a licensure program.


Paperwork and fees for admission are submitted to Graduate Admissions. There are specific requirements for admission to the M.Ed. and the Ed.S. in administration listed below. Once you have completed the admission cover sheet and submitted your fee, the other materials may be sent individually and will be added to your admissions file until it is complete. The file is not reviewed until it is complete; review takes about one to two weeks if materials are received during the semester.

  • Cover sheet which is completed electronically on the admissions website or may be submitted in hard copy
  • Admission statement in which the candidate clearly communicates a commitment to education as a student centered enterprise, demonstrates a record of strong professional practice, exhibits and an ability to lead professional learning, and details a strong rationale for entering a leadership program
  • Minimum of five years PK-12 professional experience PRIOR to admission
  • Proof of Initial Teaching License or relevant professional support educator license
  • Reference letter from candidate's principal or other chief administrator attesting to the candidate's suitability for graduate study in administration.
  • Reference letter from a teaching colleague which speaks to leadership potential
  • One other letter of reference which attests to the candidate's potential for leadership
  • Resume, including indication of place and scope of current employment
  • Official transcripts
  • Undergraduate and/or graduate GPA of 3.0 or better
  • For Massachusetts teachers only: Proof of having passed the MTEL in Communications and Literacy
  • For Massachusetts teachers only: Completed UMass Lowell Principal's Acknowledgment Form (pdf) supporting (i) the need for the candidate to engage in field-based work during the practicum which may require him/her to gain release from the classroom on occasions (ii) the intensive practicum and willingness to facilitate, mentor and support the experiences in which the candidate must engage

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view any pdf files. It can be download for free from the Adobe website.