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School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Master of Education in Educational Leadership Degree Program

Master of Education in Educational Leadership with Eligibility for Principal Endorsement

This program is delivered online and includes scheduled virtual class meetings.

“Our program is 100% online, but also incorporates a unique combination of asynchronous work coupled with scheduled virtual class meetings. You’ll get to know your peers and continue to develop those important professional relationships and cohort-based friendships just as you would if you were coming to class on campus.”   Dr. Bruce A. Spitzer, chair Education Department 

Join us for the next Instant Admission Webinar to learn more about how our graduate program can set you up for success in an educational leadership position. 

The Educational Leadership program is focused on the moral purpose of building the capacity of our graduate candidates so they can go forward and bring Cultures of Character practices into the heart of their school communities. Our program leaves students with more than just a graduate degree- the Masters Educational Leadership program prepares students for educational leadership by focusing on professional development through real-world experience. 

Educational Leadership Program Foundation Components

Kern graphic


Why Cultures of Character?

The graduate program has an emphasis on character combined with culture-building allows future leaders to not only design curricular efforts for character education and Social Emotional Learning, but also to extend this work throughout all aspects of the school environment. Our educational leadership program will supply graduate candidates continuing education with a wealth of knowledge and experience in instructional, organizational, and school leadership, which will help set them for success in any future career opportunities. 

Watch our M.Ed. in Educational Leadership webinar to learn more.

  • Identify and develop your own sense of a leadership role through clarity of your own vision, values, beliefs, and character orientation.
  • Learn how to create a safe, supportive, and nurturing culture including character frameworks.
  • Develop your ability to put systems into place and advocate for student-centered cultures of character that promote agency, including story-telling and sharing of best practice.
  • Advance your ability as a school leader to create environments that promote character development through parent and community partnerships, management efficacy and ongoing school improvement reflective of a growth mindset.

Click here for instructions on how to apply

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Master of Education in Educational Leadership Curriculum

This master's degree requires a student to complete 36 credit hours of prescribed coursework:

  • Seven 4-credit hour courses
  • A year-long internship (3 courses, 8 credit hours total)
    • Can be completed while candidates are employed full-time
Complete the program in as little as 24 months
Fall 2023
MEDU 500 Mission-driven Leadership (4)
Spring 2024
MEDU 536 School, Home & Community (4)
MEDU 620 Curriculum & Program Assessment (4)
Summer 2024
MEDU 535 Supervision & Instruction (4)
MEDU 693 Educational Internship Residency (2)
Fall 2024
MEDU 622 School Law & Policies (4)
MEDU 691 Educational Internship I (3)
Spring 2025
MEDU 610 Operations & Management (4)
MEDU 692 Educational Internship II (3)
Summer 2025
MEDU 696 Educational Leadership Capstone (4)

Educational Leadership, M.Ed.


The purpose of the Master of Educational Leadership Degree (M.Ed) is to develop principals and assistant principals who have the vision, perspective, and skills to lead educational communities. The program provides students with an understanding of the school environment and how an administrator--through his/her abilities at the technical, managerial and institutional levels--creates and fosters a professional learning environment that facilitates the learning of students, teachers, and staff. Students are provided a breadth of theory in leadership as well as a foundation of knowledge, practical experiences and performances necessary for the enterprise of educational leadership. The North Central College program provides a strong foundation of knowledge, dispositions and performance based on the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL, formerly ISLLC) leadership standards to prepare candidates to become successful school assistant principals and principals.  It is also aligned to NELP and Illinois Performance Standards for School Leaders.

The North Central College Educational Leadership Master's Degree admission standards address the new Illinois State Board of Education requirements for candidates, including appropriate educators license and two-years of professional experience in schools.  Latest updates to admission requirements are available on the graduate admissions web page.

The program and its internship requirements can still be completed while employed full-time in a school setting.  It does not require a candidate to take a leave of absence.  The year-long internship is taken by enrolling in MEDU 691, MEDU 692, and MEDU 693 (optional order as approved).

This one-year internship requires the selection of a principal mentor. As prescribed by the State of Illinois requirements, the principal mentor must have a minimum of two years of experience, an Illinois license and evidence of student growth in two of the past five years as a principal. As part of the program, candidates will be required to participate in training by certified staff in accordance with provisions of Section 24 A-3 of the School Code (105 ILCS/24A-3). This training will involve completion of the State-prescribed teacher supervision modules.  Students are also required to take Principal exams as designated for the principal endorsement, currently Principal Exam 195 & 196. 

The program includes requirements for fulfilling licensure requirements for the principal endorsement.

Candidates successfully completing a principal preparation program shall obtain a principal endorsement and are eligible to work as a principal or assistant principal. (Section 21-7.1 of the School Code; also see 23 Ill. Adm.Code 25.337)

The Masters degree in Educational Leadership requires a student to complete 36 credit hours of prescribed coursework. Students who complete the M.Ed. degree in Educational Leadership may earn a principal endorsement on a State of Illinois educator license, a customary requirement to become a principal or assistant principal.

  • MEDU 500 - Mission-Driven Leadership

    MEDU 500 - Mission-Driven Leadership

    4.00 credit hours

    Mission-driven Leadership emphasizes the development of future school leaders, serving as a pre-admission course to either a Masters in Educational Leadership with principal endorsement or Masters of Arts with teacher leader endorsement. Students examine school culture, standards, organizations and the learning community, and the importance of increasing leadership capacity to achieve success in schools today. The course fosters development and competencies in future leaders regarding decisions they will make about their practice and how those decisions impact students, teachers and the community.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 535 - Supervision and Instruction

    MEDU 535 - Supervision and Instruction

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of the educational leader's role as a facilitator of learning. The primary objective of the course is the development of human resources as integral to achieving school success for students. Content includes exploration of coaching, mentoring, supervision, evaluation, pedagogical inquiry, conflict resolution, critical conversations, professional development and instructional development. The emphasis is on developing the skills of leadership that are required to enhance and extend student learning, including instructional supervision whether as a teacher colleague or supervisor. Candidates in principal preparation are required to participate in training by certified staff in accordance with the provisions of Section 24A-3 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/24A-3] outside of the course and prior to the Internship.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 536 - School, Home and Community

    MEDU 536 - School, Home and Community

    4.00 credit hours

    School, Home and Community is a course for each aspiring leader to discover and define the administrator's or teacher leader's interactive role and relationship in the school, home and community. Through discussion, interactive exploration, action teams and networking, the student experiences ways to be a collaborative leader within the triad of the school, home and community. Focus is on cultural responsiveness, implicit bias, collaboration, inclusion, partnership-building and fostering community stakeholders.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 610 - Operations and Management

    MEDU 610 - Operations and Management

    4.00 credit hours

    A focus on the use of leadership skills in the management function of the school principal. Students learn about the day-to-day responsibilities as well as the general, longer-term responsibilities of the school principal. Care and maintenance of the school plant, operating the food service program and the principal's role in transporting students are studied. Students study the principal's role in developing and managing a school budget. A focus is also given to writing building level operation and management orientated policies and procedures.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 620 - Curriculum and Program Assessment

    MEDU 620 - Curriculum and Program Assessment

    4.00 credit hours

    Increases the student's understanding of curricular and program assessment, data-driven decision-making and technology as a transformative tool. Students gain an understanding of data collection and analysis and how to use that information in the decision-making process. Using data collected through program assessment, students learn how to formulate effective school improvement plans, impacting instruction and learning. Students also discover technology as a tool for instructional efficacy and program improvement.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 622 - School Law and Policies

    MEDU 622 - School Law and Policies

    4.00 credit hours

    This course review and analyzes general legal principles, judicial and statutory law and regulatory agencies that impact schools and educational leaders. Relevant federal and state constitutions, statutes and court decisions are examined for their impact upon the responsibilities of teachers, principals, office administrators, superintendents and school board members. Students explore professional ethics, the process and management of litigation, policy development at the district level and the constitutional, statutory and regulatory provisions and accompanying legal issues.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 691 - Educational Internship I

    MEDU 691 - Educational Internship I

    3.00 credit hours

    Provides extensive opportunities for leadership candidates to experience authentic field experiences and leadership development. During the internship, students are required to complete experiences working with all levels of students Pre-K-12, including special education. Internship projects require students to demonstrate proficiency in understanding and developing a school improvement plan, teacher professional development/evaluation and school-wide management of systems and resources. Each project includes a summative evaluation. During the internship experience, students work in partnership with a North Central College faculty supervisor and a field administrator as a mentor. MEDU 691, MEDU 692 and MEDU 693 allow students to complete all year-long internship requirements.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 692 - Educational Internship II

    MEDU 692 - Educational Internship II

    3.00 credit hours

    Provides extensive opportunities for leadership candidates to experience authentic field experiences and leadership development. During the internship, students are required to complete experiences working with all levels of students Pre-K-12, including special education. Internship projects require students to demonstrate proficiency in understanding and developing a school improvement plan, teacher professional development/evaluation and school-wide management of systems and resources. Each project includes a summative evaluation. During the internship experience, students work in partnership with a North Central College faculty supervisor and a field administrator as a mentor. MEDU 691, MEDU 692 and MEDU 693 allow students to complete all year-long internship requirements.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 693 - Educational Internship Residency

    MEDU 693 - Educational Internship Residency

    2.00 credit hours

    This course helps students apply and extend the field experiences of the internship to an immersive sustained administrative experience. Students serve in a full-time administrative role mentored by a field administrator for a minimum of two weeks full-time or four weeks half-time (approximately 80 hours total). This experience, combined with the year-long internship experience of MEDU 691 and MEDU 692, prepares educational leaders for the daily demands of leadership roles in schools.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MEDU 696 - Educational Leadership Capstone

    MEDU 696 - Educational Leadership Capstone

    4.00 credit hours

    The capstone experience for the Master of Education in Educational Leadership. It requires the analysis, synthesis and application of all learning and coursework in the program, as well as the graduate's own experiential knowledge. Students are expected to frame contemporary educational issues and provide varied approaches to address those encountered by school administrators. The student develops a personal leadership platform paper and a video of themselves presenting their philosophy with guiding principles for action.

    Schedule Of Classes

Education Alliance Partnership Grants

North Central College has partnered with several businesses and school districts to offer eligible M.Ed. students a 20 percent tuition discount. We invite you to explore the Education Alliance Grant to learn more.

Education Alliance Partners
School District Name Number
Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative
North DuPage Special Education Cooperative
Bensenville School District 2
Addison School District 4
Queen Bee School District 16
West Chicago Elementary 33
School District 45 (Villa Park) 45
Elgin School District U-46
Schaumburg School District 54
Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Woodridge School District 68
Franklin Park School District 84
Joliet School District 86 `
Richland School District 88-A
Comm. Consolidated School District (Bloomingdale) 93
Community H.S. District (West Chicago) 94
Community H.S. District (Downers Grove) 99
Lake Park High School District 108
Lemont Bromberek 113a
Manhattan School District 114
Princeton Elementary District 115
Yorkville School District 115
Jacksonville School District 117
Harlem School District 122
Aurora West School District 129
Aurora East School District 131
Country Club Hills School District 160
Hinsdale CCSD 181
Wheaton Warrenville CSD 200
Plainfield School District 202
Naperville School District 203
Indian Prairie School District 204
Joliet Twp HSD 204
Lockport HSD 205
High School District (Arlington Heights) 214
Geneva School District 304
Oswego School District 308
Valleyview (Bolingbrook) 365U
Providence Catholic High School
Midwest Principals Center Number School District Number
Alsip/Hazelgreen/Oak Lawn School District 126 Midlothian School District 143
Aptakisic-Tripp Comm Cons School District 102 Mt. Prospect School District 57
Arlington Heights School District 25 Mundelein School District 75
Barrington Community School District 220 New Trier Township High School District 203
Beecher School District 200U Norridge School District 80
Berkeley School District 87 North Palos School District 117
Berwyn South School District 100 North Shore School District 112
Bloomingdale School District 13 Northbrook School District 28
Cary Community Consolidated School Dist 26 Northbrook/Glenview School District 30
Community Consolidated School District 15 Bellwood School District 88
Community Consolidated School District 21 Chicago Ridge School District 127.5
Community Consolidated School District 59 DeKalb Community Unit School District 428
Community Consolidated School District 93 East Maine School District 63
Community Consolidated School District 181 ECHO Joint Agreement
Community High School District 128 Lake Bluff School District 65
Community High School District 155 Naperville CUSD 203
Community High School District 218 Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization (NSSEO) 805
Consolidated High School District 230 Oak Grove School District 68
Deerfield School District 109 Oak Lawn School District 123
Des Plaines School District 62 Palos School District 118
DuPage County School District 45 Park Ridge-Niles School District 64
Elmhurst School District 205 Plainfield CCSD 202
Glen Ellyn Community Cons School District 89 Pleasantdale School District 107
Glen Ellyn School District 41 Prairie Hills School District 144
Glenbrook High School District 225 Prospect Heights School District 23
Glencoe School District 35 Queen Bee School District 16
Grayslake Community High School District 127 River Trails School District 26
Harvard Community Unit School District 50 Schaumburg School District 54
Hillside School District 93 Schiller Park School District 81
Hinsdale Township High School District 86 School Association for Sp. Ed. in DuPage
Indian Prairie School District 204 Skokie School District 68
Kildeer Countryside School District 96 Skokie School District 69
LaGrange School District 105 Skokie School District 73.5
Lake Forest Elementary School District 67 St. Charles Community School District 303
Lake Forest High School District 115 Township High School District 113
Lake Villa School District 41 Township High School District 211
Lincolnwood School District 74 Township High School District 214
Lisle School District 202 Wauconda Community School District 118
Lockport Township High School District 205 Wilmette School District 39
Lombard Elementary School District 44 Winnetka School District 36
Maine Township High School District 207 Wood Dale School District 7
Mannheim School District 83 Woodridge School District 68
Marquardt School District 15 Worth School District 127
McHenry High School District 156 Yorkville Community Unit School District 115
Cook County Intermediate Service Centers
North Cook School District Number South Cook School District Number West40 School District Number
Palatine CCSD 15 Summit SD 104 Hazel Crest SD 152.5 Rosemont 78
Wheeling CCSD 21 Willow Springs SD 108 Homewood SD 153 Pennoyer 79
Prospect Heights 23 Indian Springs SD 109 Thornton SD 154 Norridge 80
Arlington Heights 25 Central Stickney SD 110 Burnham SD 154.5 Schiller Park 81
River Trails 26 Burbank SD 111 Calumet City SD 155 Mannheim School 83
Northbrook (Jr. High) 27 Lemont-Bromberek CSD 113a Lincoln ESD 156 Franklin Park School 84
Northbrook (Elem.) 28 North Palos SD 117 Hoover-Schrum Memorial SD 157 Rhodes School 84.5
Sunset Ridge 29 Palos CCSD 118 Lansing SD 158 River Grove School 85.5
Northbrook/Glenview 30 Ridgeland SD 122 ESD - Matteson 159 Union Ridge School 86
West Northfield 31 Oak Lawn-Hometown SD 123 Country Club Hills SD 160 Berkeley 87
Glenview 34 Evergreen Park ESD 124 Flossmoor SD 161 Bellwood 88
Glencoe 35 Atwood Heights SDS 125 Matteson ESD 162 Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview 89
Winnetka 36 Alsip-Hazlgreen-Oaklawn SD 126 Park Forest SD 163 River Forest School 90
Avoca 37 Worth SD 127 Brookwood SD 167 Forest Park 91
Kenilworth 38 Chicago Ridge SD 127.5 CCSD - Sauk Village 168 Lindop 92
Wilmette 39 Palos Heights SD 128 Ford Heights SD 169 Westchester School 92.5
Schaumburg 54 Cook County SD 130 Chicago Heights SD 170 Hillside 93
Mount Prospect 57 Calumet Public SD 132 Sunnybrook SD 171 Komarek School 94
CCSD (Elk Grove Village) 59 Gen George Patton SD 133 Sandridge SD 172 Brookfield-LaGrange Park 95
Des Plaines 62 Orland SD 135 Steger SD 194 Riverside School 96
East Maine 63 Kirby SD 140 Thornton Twp. HSD 205 Oak Park School 97
Park Ridge-Niles 64 Forest Ridge SD 142 Bloom Twp HSD 206 Berwyn North 98
Golf 67 Midlothian SD 143 Lemont Twp HSD 210 Cicero School 99
Skokie 68 Posen-Robbins ESD 143.5 Thornton Fractional Twp HSD 215 Berwyn South 100
Skokie 69 Prairie-Hills ESD 144 Argo CHSD 217 Western Springs School 101
Morton Grove 70 Arbor Park SD 145 CHSD - Oak Lawn 218 La Grange North School 102
Niles Elementary 71 Tinley Park CCSD 146 Reavis Twp. HSD 220 Lyons School 103
Fairview 72 W Harvey-Dixmoor PSD 147 Rich Twp HSD 227 La Grange South School 105
East Prairie 73 Dolton SD 148 Bremen CHSD 228 La Grange Highlands Schools 106
Skokie 73.5 Dolton SD 149 Oak Lawn CHSD 229 Pleasantdale 107
Lincolnwood 74 South Holland SD 150 Cons HSD 230 Oak Park & River Forest 200
South Holland SD 151 Evergreen Park CHSD 231 J.S. Morton High School 201
Harvey SD 152 Homewood Flossmoor CHSD 233 Lyons Township 204
Riverside/Brookfield Township 208
Proviso Township High School 209
Leyden Community High School 212
Ridgewood High School 234
Elmwood Park 401
Our faculty commitment to Cultures of Character...
Bruce Spitzer 

With a light heart and a servant’s perspective, Dr. Spitzer seeks to empower the work of individuals and groups that value learning, seek justice, and promote equality and success for all. He considers himself a teacher at heart, a teacher educator by calling, and technology-using professional by training. He enjoys working with people who are dedicated to creating tomorrow's teachers, school professionals, and community leaders who will make a difference in the world. Bruce believes our work with character development provides North Central College with a framework and a vocabulary to put into words the deeply held beliefs and dispositions we teachers and teacher educators have long known in our hearts. Schools are about more than the content we teach: we work to develop the whole child into a virtuous citizen who can contribute to building a better world.

Kathleen B. King

Driven to facilitate the realization of others’ potential, Dr. King is deeply committed to character and leadership development through the fostering of school cultures centered on core virtues.  In her teaching, she is dedicated to assuring professionals in the classroom and administrative ranks are committed to opportunity and equity, skilled in cultivating stakeholders of common mission, dedicated to fostering flourishing communities, and adept at facilitating growth towards our greatest potential.

Maureen V. Spelman

The overarching vision that has guided Dr. Spelman’s journey as a professional educator has been one of ensuring that all children have access to a high-quality learning environment. Her belief that the school leader is the keystone in that vision led her to the NCC Educational Leadership program. Dr. Spelman values and strives to integrate moral, ethical, servant, transformational, and visionary leadership styles into her work. She is committed to a path of personal life-long development focused on the character strengths/virtues of courage, strength, patience, wisdom, dignity, grace, kindness, and compassion.

Colleen M. Transier

Throughout her tenure as an educator, Dr. Transier has focused on building the capacity of others to achieve their maximum potential, both personally and professionally. Her journey as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent has provided keen insights into the diverse needs of school communities where aspiring school leaders will serve. As a professor, Dr. Transier strives to support school leaders in cultivating the essential knowledge and skills necessary to effectively lead schools, while additionally nurturing a culture of character in their school settings. Having served in both the public and parochial school settings, Dr. Transier affirms the contribution character education provides in a flourishing school culture.