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Educational Leadership and Higher Education

the pylons on the blacksburg campus in springtime - pink flowers bloom on bushes in the foreground

Our faculty and students embody Excellence in Leadership, through our programs in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and in Higher Education. Whether your goal is to pursue initial PK-12 School Leadership Licensure (M.A.Ed. or Ed.S. option), to advance your career with an M.A.Ed., Ed.S., Ed.D., or Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, or to expand your options as a leader in Higher Education, we offer small cohorts and high levels of student/professor interactions.

Accreditation and Membership

The VTSOE Educational Leadership Program is approved by the Virginia Board of Education. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and the Educational Leadership Constituent Council. Since 2015, the program has been a member of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), a consortium of higher education institutions committed to the advancement of educational leadership.

Learn more about the programs and where they are offered below.

Our Programs

The Principal Preparation Program is designed to meet the standards of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) as well as those of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In addition to these standards, the curriculum also incorporates over 200 knowledge- and skill-based objectives identified by practicing school administrators. Courses place a heavy emphasis on student learning, collaborative leadership, productive culture, shared decision-making, and planned change.

We offer two options for future PK-12 school administrators: an M.A.Ed. and an Ed.S. (Educational Specialist). Both the M.A.Ed. and Ed.S. degree tracks prepare students to meet the requirements of the School Leadership Licensure Assessment and obtain endorsement as Virginia school administrators.

The M.A.Ed. is intended for students who have not yet earned a master’s degree. Learn more

The Ed.S. is intended for individuals who have already earned a master’s in an education-related discipline. Learn more

Our programs are offered at our Blacksburg, Roanoke, Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Southwest Virginia campuses, and all include some online courses.

Our Educational Leadership Programs have been offered for over forty years. If your goal is to expand your options with an Ed.D. or Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy studies, we will leverage our experience in these programs to help you continue your career trajectory.  More than one-third of the superintendents in Virginia public school systems are graduates of our Educational Leadership programs. Alumni of our program also serve as school principals, central office administrators, university presidents, state department of education officials, members of state boards of education, researchers, university faculty, and administrators of various colleges and universities including Virginia Tech itself.

Through our partnership with local PK-12 schools, the Educational Leadership Program contributes substantially to the quality of education in Virginia. Under Section 23-38.88.B.9 of the Code of Virginia, the University commits itself to “work actively and cooperatively with elementary and secondary school administrators, teachers, and students in public schools and school divisions to improve student achievement, upgrade the knowledge and skills of teachers, and strengthen leadership skills of school administrators.”

Our Ed.D. program is offered at our Blacksburg, Roanoke, Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Southwest Virginia campuses. Some classes are also online.
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Our Ph.D. program is offered at our Blacksburg campus. Limited slots are available annually to ensure that faculty may offer students the support and guidance they need. Ph.D. students are subject to residential requirements as set forth by the Virginia Tech Graduate School. Research and teaching assistantships are available for our doctoral students. 
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The Higher Education and Student Affairs programs at Virginia Tech prepares leaders for postsecondary education who use and produce high-impact research as part of their practice and who are committed to service in both professional and personal contexts.

Our Higher Education & Student Affairs M.A.Ed. program is designed for entry-level professionals, and meets the standards for master's level preparation in student affairs of the Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS).
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Our Higher Education Administration Graduate Certificate (Ed.S.) program is designed for full-time college administrators who may not have studied higher education through any formal degree program but wish to develop a deeper understanding of the environment in which they work. Doctoral students engaged in other disciplines who plan to enter the academy as tenure-track faculty members may also benefit from this experience.
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Our Higher Education Ph.D. program provides mid-level professionals with the essential knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes necessary for advanced practice in the field of student affairs and higher education administration.
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Our Higher Education programs are offered at our Blacksburg campus. Ph.D. students are subject to residential requirements as set forth by the Virginia Tech Graduate School. Research and teaching assistantships are available for our doctoral students.