Specializations & Curriculum

Master of Education Specialization: School Leadership

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The School Leadership specialization is designed for experienced K-12 educators who aspire to leadership roles within their schools and communities. The School Leadership concentration features a five-course specialization sequence that addresses essential areas of school leadership including data-driven decision-making, instructional leadership, professional learning communities, meaningful engagement with families and communities, and ethical and professional norms. All courses are grounded in a social justice foundation and are designed to prepare school leaders who advance equity and excellence in their schools and communities.

Students who graduate with an MEd specializing in School Leadership will be well prepared to complete the examinations and/or performance-based assessments required by their individual states for administrative credentials.

Course of Study

Earn this online Master of Education degree specializing in School Leadership by completing 10 courses (3-units each) for 30 units of coursework. The online Masters in Education program consists of five foundation courses including a capstone action research project as well as five specialization courses. You may begin your study in any semester with any of the courses offered. The Capstone Seminar is the final course in the program and builds on knowledge gained in the research and specialization courses. Course descriptions reference the ten standards of the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL).

*Note: Courses are not approved for the Education Administrative credential required by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to be an administrator in a California public school.

At a Glance

20 months
30 Units
May 7, 2024
April 8, 2024

What Makes USD’s Master of Education with School Leadership Specialization Different?

Which Important School Leadership Skills Will You Gain?

If you wish to pursue a master’s in educational leadership, you will foster many of the skills necessary to boost your career. Among them: 

School Leadership Career Outlook

Those with an educational leadership degree are well-positioned for the roughly 15,300 annual job openings projected for postsecondary education administrators through 2032. Employment of top school leaders is projected to grow 4% in the decade from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Median pay in 2022 was $99,940 annually, well over the median annual wage for all workers ($46,310). But specific salaries vary based on location, job requirements and other factors. Job titles that fall under the educational leadership purview include: administrative services and facilities manager, principal, human resources manager, teacher and training and development manager.


Accreditation is an important quality indicator for college and university degree programs, generally regarded as a stamp of approval that ensures you will be able to apply for financial aid and transfer your credits if you decide to switch schools. Most state universities and private non-profit universities will have a regional accreditation, which is the most widely accepted and trusted in terms of transfer credit and eligibility for employer tuition assistance programs. The University of San Diego has regional accreditation.

The WASC Senior College and University Commission – WASC is a regional accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as certifying institutional eligibility for federal funding in a number of programs, including student access to federal financial aid. Learn more about the importance of selecting a regionally accredited program.

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