The Master of Arts program in educational policy and leadership studies with an educational leadership subprogram requires a minimum of 36 s.h. of graduate credit. The program prepares individuals for appointments as school principals and for positions in area education agencies and state departments of education. Upon completion of this degree, students will have completed the requirements to earn a master's degree and to obtain pre-K-12 principal and pre-K-12 supervisor of special education endorsement (State of Iowa endorsement 189). In order to obtain the State of Iowa endorsement, an individual must have at least three years of teaching at the pre-K-12 level.

With the aid of an advisor, each M.A. student prepares a plan of study that includes the following core requirements.

Core Requirements
EPLS:6201Foundations of School Administration3
EPLS:6236Administration of Students with Special Needs3
EPLS:6242Research for Effective School Leaders3
EPLS:6260Contemporary Management Strategies for the Pre-K-12 Principal3
EPLS:6285School and Community Relationships3
EPLS:6298Legal Aspects of School Personnel3
EPLS:6381Analysis and Appraisal of Curriculum3
EPLS:6383Supervision and Evaluation3

For Iowa licensure as a principal, students must hold an Iowa teacher license, have taught for three years, and meet the human relations requirement of the State of Iowa. Students must complete the core requirements listed above and the following required clinical courses.

Clinical Courses
EPLS:6400Early Childhood Leadership Clinical3
EPLS:6401Elementary Leadership Clinical3
EPLS:6402Secondary Leadership Clinical3
EPLS:6403Special Education Leadership Clinical3

Students earning an M.A. without principal licensure are not required to complete the clinical courses. Instead, they complete a series of electives (12 s.h.) approved by their advisors. For more detailed information, see the Educational Leadership web page.

Comprehensive Examination

Students in the M.A. program with licensure or the M.A. program without licensure will be required to take comprehensive examinations at the end of their program of study. The M.A. comprehensive examination for students consists of two parts: a general written examination in educational leadership covering material from all courses in the program, and a written examination that focuses on content from one of the courses in the program. Students must be registered in the Graduate College during their comprehensive examination semester if they plan to graduate at the end of that semester.


Applicants to the M.A. program in educational leadership must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College. Admission decisions are made through a faculty review process. Factors considered include recommendations, grade-point average, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores, an essay demonstrating writing ability, and other evidence of academic ability and professional promise.

The Master of Arts program in educational policy and leadership studies with a higher education and student affairs subprogram requires a minimum of 40 s.h. of graduate credit. The program prepares individuals for careers in higher education, including academic administration, policy analysis, first-year programs, student activities and leadership, enrollment management, program evaluation, multicultural affairs, academic and career advising, residence life, and international student services.

The higher education and student affairs (HESA) program curriculum consists of course work in postsecondary administration, college students and their environments, college student development, and current and emerging issues in higher education, as well as in research and assessment. The curriculum integrates theory and practice and is designed to be completed in two years of full-time study or equivalent part-time study.

The curriculum includes the HESA core, a supervised practice, and integrative experiences. Elective course work is subject to advisor approval. An internship at an approved site is required for full admission to the program.

The M.A. in educational policy and leadership studies with a higher education and student affairs subprogram requires the following work.



Common Core
All of these:
EPLS:5100Issues and Policies in Higher Education3
EPLS:5247Multiculturalism in Higher Education3
EPLS:5250Introduction to Higher Education and Student Affairs3
EPLS:5251College Students and Their Environments3
EPLS:5252Administration of Higher Education and Student Affairs3
EPLS:5253Research, Assessment, and Evaluation in Higher Education3
EPLS:6332College Student Psychosocial and Identity Development3
EPLS:6334College Student Learning, Cognitive, and Moral Development3
Integrative Experiences
All of these:
EPLS:6301Professional Seminar I1
EPLS:6305Higher Education and Student Affairs Capstone3
EPLS:6333Practicum in Higher Education and Student Affairs (required once; students may enroll a maximum of 3 times; those with appropriate professional experiences may, with faculty approval, waive this requirement)3
Students choose elective course work in consultation with their advisor9-12
EPLS:5278Helping Skills in Student Affairs Work3
EPLS:6206Research Process and Design3
EPLS:6216Finance in Higher Education3
EPLS:6218The Law and Higher Education3
EPLS:6220History of Higher Education3
EPLS:6224Organizational Theory and Administrative Behavior3
EPLS:6225Higher Education Policy3
EPLS:6275Diversity and Equity in Higher Education3
EPLS:6293Individualized Instruction (may be taken once up to 3 s.h.)3
EPLS:6336Impact of College on Students3
EPLS:7380Practicum in College Teaching (may be taken once up to 3 s.h.)3
EPLS:7385Teaching and Learning in Higher Education3
EPLS:7432Multicultural Initiatives3

Courses from other departments also may be approved; students should consult their advisor.


Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College. Admission is based on grade-point average, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores, and promise for professional growth. Transcripts, GRE scores, a résumé or curriculum vita, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement are required. The statement of purpose (one to three pages) should include professional goals, whether the applicant plans to enroll full- or part-time, and how the applicant's goals and experiences are consistent with the higher education and student affairs program's mission and values.

Application deadline is December 15 for admission the following fall. Applicants who are recommended for admission are invited to come to campus on spring Campus Visit Day, during which they interview for internships. Full-time students must be employed at an approved site (usually in an approved internship).

Combined M.A./M.A. or M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning

The combined M.A. in educational policy and leadership studies with a higher education and student affairs subprogram (HESA)/M.A. or M.S. in urban and regional planning fills a growing need for higher education academic administrators with knowledge and understanding of planning and sustainability principles and methods.

The combined program reduces the total semester hours required to earn both degrees from 90 to 68. Students can complete course work for both programs in three years. All students are expected to meet the admission requirements of each respective program, take the required admission exams, and provide appropriate admission materials. The two programs make admission decisions independently.

Students may begin one program in advance of the other or begin the two programs concurrently. All requirements for each degree must be satisfied separately, which includes passing the final examination for each program. For more information, see the M.S. in urban and regional planning (Graduate College) in the Catalog.

The Master of Arts program in educational policy and leadership studies with a schools, culture, and society subprogram requires a minimum of 32 s.h. of graduate credit and is offered without thesis. The program develops students' ability to analyze the influence of social, historical, and philosophical factors that frame contemporary issues in education.

Students complete at least 24 s.h. in schools, culture, and society courses in three disciplinary areas: sociology, history, and philosophy. They earn 12 s.h. in one of the disciplinary areas and 6 s.h. in each of the other two areas. The remaining 8 s.h. of course work must be in a concentration area appropriate to the student's career and academic goals.

Students must satisfactorily complete a six-hour comprehensive examination covering the program's three disciplinary areas and the student's concentration area. The examining committee may elect to hold an oral examination after the exam.


Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College. A personal interview with one or more members of the program's faculty is recommended. Undergraduate and/or graduate emphases in education, sociology, and the humanities (philosophy, history, and so forth) provide good background for graduate study of schools, culture, and society, although other emphases also may be useful.

Applicants must submit a personal statement explaining their professional goals, experiences, and research plans; undergraduate and graduate grade-point averages; undergraduate and graduate transcripts; three letters of recommendation; a résumé; and scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test. Application deadline is February 15 for admission the following fall.