Master's programs in Educational Leadership

Making leaders ever bolder.
And education ever better.

Are you interested in education leadership roles that do not require state certification? If so, you should consider this customizable program in educational leadership.
In today’s increasingly challenging environment, educational and nonprofit institutions need capable, visionary leaders at various levels of the organization.  As an organizational leader, you’ll be able to impact not only the students or clients you currently serve, but your entire organization as well.

This master’s program will prepare you to be an effective administrator and agent of change within a variety of organizations – including, but not limited to, private schools, educational institutions in the United States and abroad, and nonprofit organizations – while giving you maximum flexibility to pursue your own interests and career goals. This program will be of special interest to international students.

Program Quickview

This customizable master’s program prepares you for leadership roles and positions that do not require state certification.

If you are interested in other educational leadership programs, check our Related Programs.
  • A bachelor’s degree.
  • Experience in an educational or nonprofit organization is highly preferred, but not required.
  • U.S. citizenship is required because of the program's online components. International students should contact Admissions for other program options. 
Key Program Features:
  • Highly Customizable: Of the 30 required credits, only six are specified; 18 credits of educational leadership electives plus 12 credits of other electives can be tailored to meet specific interests and career goals.
  • Flexible: Program can be completed in two years of part-time study while holding a job, or three semesters of full-time study; can start any semester.
  • Develop Valuable Leadership Skills: Can choose from courses that teach how to be effective in decision making, program evaluation, innovation, leading change, managing resources, securing funding, and other skills required of today’s leaders.
  • Online Options: Several courses are available fully online or hybrid-online.
  • Opportunities for Additional Specializations: With only a few additional credits, you can add an Advanced Certificate in Program Evaluation, Online Teaching or Digitally-Rich Teaching in K-12 Schools.
  • Optional Internship: No required internship; if desired, a supervised field experience can be conducted in one’s organization (or another context) and count for up to six credits.
  • Combined Program Option:  Students adding at least one advanced certificate may enroll in a “combined program” that will help secure the appropriate visa for international students and extend loan eligibility for domestic students.

Warner Programs that Prepare School Leaders

Check program requirements for:

M.S. in Educational Administration (AA1): This highly customizable 30-credit program includes 18 credits of educational leadership courses of your choice (which may include a master thesis in educational leadership), plus 12 credits of electives.
M.S. in Educational Administration (Combined option) (AA3):  This combined program will allow you to pursue the master’s program described above concurrently with at least one advanced certificate (see list below) – thus leading to multiple credentials for only a few additional credits.  The length of the combined program and its total number of credits will depend on the chosen advanced certificate(s) and other optional enhancements.  This option may be especially desirable for international students interested in additional specializations and willing to devote 4-5 semesters to their master’s program.
principal in school hallway
Opportunities for Additional Specializations (with minimum additional credits required):
  • Advanced Certificate in Urban Teaching and Leadership: Prepares you to work with highly diverse and disadvantaged students in urban settings.
  • Advanced Certificate in Program Evaluation: To strengthen your research and skills in planning and conducting evaluations of existing programs.
  • Advanced Certificate in Digitally-Rich Teaching in K-12 Schools: If you are especially interested in supporting the most recent advances in instructional technology and their implications for transforming K-12 schools.
  • Advanced Certificate in Online Teaching: To be more competitive for positions that may involve teaching online and/or administration in institutions engaging in online education.
  • Advanced Certificate in Teacher Leadership: To prepare you to take on important leadership roles in K-12 schools.
Vasquez in class at table with studnets

Our Approach

Creating Effective Leaders Who Can Inspire and Lead Change.

  • The Warner School’s program preparing organizational leaders is designed to instill in students a passion to take the initiative and develop the skills to inspire and facilitate change in schools and other educational and nonprofit organizations.
  • As advocates for thoughtful leadership, Warner graduates understand how to motivate others, make decisions, manage people and processes, and enable individuals to reach their highest potential. They also bring reflective and conceptual thinking skills, as well as a broad array of leadership talents, to the challenge of improving their organizations.
  • Extensive coursework in areas such as leadership, decision making, and management is a core element of the program. In addition, students interested in leadership positions in special contexts – such as religious or independent schools, professional schools, or nonprofit organizations – have opportunities to customize aspects of their program to address such interests.
superintendent with students in classroom

The Warner Advantage

Preparing Graduates to Innovate, Advocate, and Elevate.

Warner will give you the highest-quality preparation as an effective and innovative organizational leader.
  • Be challenged to become an innovator and a thought leader by learning the necessary dispositions and skills to be an effective, evidence-based decision maker.
  • Leverage the reputation of a leading research university to give your degree even more recognition.
  • Shorten your path to a doctoral degree by earning transferable credits.
  • Learn how you can lead organizations that foster excellence for all – especially those who’ve been marginalized and underserved.
  • Learn from an accessible, supportive faculty of researchers and accomplished practitioners who will prepare you in best practices for the realities faced by today’s leaders.
  • Network with the best and the brightest future leaders.
Our affordable and flexible program is designed to meet the needs of professionals working in educational and other nonprofit organizations.
  • Benefit from merit-based scholarships to make tuition costs more affordable.
  • Start the program in any semester and go at your own pace.
  • Program can be completed in as little as two years of part-time study while maintaining a full-time job.
  • Take advantage of online learning options to reduce your trips to campus.

All About Experience

Your experience at Warner will be informed by the many research projects and community initiatives we are engaged in. In addition, you'll benefit from the experience of faculty that include nationally recognized researchers, award-winning authors and accomplished practitioners.

Leadership Development

Leadership Development

The Warner School’s Center for Professional Development and Education Reform provides valuable support to educational leaders as they navigate change and strive to move their organization forward to make them ever better. Learn from experts in leadership coaching, strategic planning and organizational change.

Learning from Successful School Leaders

Learning from Successful School Leaders

Stephen Uebbing’s 2011 book on The Life Cycle of Leadership share important lessons about the development of effective schools and the leadership practices this work calls for. These two former school superintendents teach at Warner and lead administrative professional development efforts in the region through Warner’s Center for Professional Development and Education Reform.

Entrepreneurship as a Lens to Approach Innovations

Entrepreneurship as a Lens to Approach Innovations

Warner faculty members Raffaella Borasi and Dave Miller have developed applications of entrepreneurship to increase the success of educational innovations. They have on-going collaboration with the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship – a University of Rochester interdisciplinary center that provides unique resources and networking opportunities for Warner students.

Career Opportunities

Advancing Education and Your Career to the Next Level.

  • Graduates from our MS in educational leadership program are prepared to take on leadership roles in a variety of institutions that do not require state certification, such as independent, charter and private K-12 schools, specialized schools, educational institutions outside the United States (including colleges and universities), and a variety of nonprofit organizations. 
  • This program, however, does NOT prepare for administrative positions in K-12 public schools in the United States, where specific state certification is required.
Vasquez in class at table with studnets


An Accessible, Supportive Faculty of Researchers and Accomplished Practitioners.


Making Warner Affordable.

Many of our students benefit from merit-based scholarships that significantly decrease tuition costs.

Contact admissions for more information about merit-based scholarships.

Are You a UR Employee? Inquire about your tuition benefits. If eligible, up to 95% of your tuition costs can be covered depending on your position. Contact the UR benefits office at
Meliora symbol from flagpole

Try Us Out

A Warner Degree Opens Doors. Open Ours to See Why.

Do you want to have a taste of what Warner can offer, before committing to one of our programs?

We invite you to come and observe one of our leadership courses.

Or even better, take a Warner course before enrolling (as a non-matriculated student) for a highly discounted price. We offer fully-online electives that could be taken from anywhere in the world.

Contact admissions to arrange for a visit or learn more about opportunities for non-matriculated students.
principal in class at table with students


Meliora Means 'Ever Better.' To Our Graduates, It Means Making a World of Difference.

  • Matt Cook, Superintendent, Newark, NY

    "The program is a perfect blend of theory and real-world experience from professors who have the practical knowledge that only comes with time in the educational system."

    Matt Cook, Superintendent, Newark, NY

  • Kathryn Colicchio, Assistant Superintendent, Greece, NY

    “There’s not one cookie-cutter solution in education. Warner teaches you how to go through the steps of the decision-making process where you examine alternatives, consult various stakeholders, and evaluate the information at hand before making a final decision. And that’s really important in education. There are no right or wrong answers. There are just the best decisions for your organization.”

    Kathryn Colicchio, Assistant Superintendent, Greece, NY

  • Warner Graduate

    "The K-12 Leadership program at the U of R has thoroughly prepared me to serve… students and families. The two most precious gifts I received through Warner were: (1) the guidance to understand my own moral purpose as an educator, and (2) the lasting relationships with Warner faculty who continue to offer professional advice."

    Warner Graduate

  • Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

    "The growth I’ve realized in myself is something I will be forever grateful for. I’ve learned to question, analyze, think and create in ways I never considered. I’ve changed as an educator and as a person."

    Laura Van Laeken, Teacher, Midlakes, NY

  • Dawn Santiago-Marullo , Superintendent, Victor, NY

    “The most important thing I received there was the opportunity to be immersed in the study of education and leadership with very talented people, that think-tank mentality of being surrounded by the best of the best. The intellectual stimulation from both the staff and fellow classmates really did allow me to think about things differently.”

    Dawn Santiago-Marullo , Superintendent, Victor, NY

Contact Admissions

The admissions team looks forward to assisting you as you explore graduate education at the Warner School. Please feel free to use the form below to contact us with any questions. You can also email us at or call (585) 275-3950.

Application Deadlines

The next application deadline is March 01, 2023. View all  Admissions Deadlines.

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