The Master of Arts program in educational policy and leadership studies with a subprogram in educational leadership 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 subprogram in higher education and student affairs requires a minimum of 40 s.h. of graduate credit. The program prepares graduates for entry- and mid-level positions in two- and four-year institutions.

Students choose one of two tracks when they apply to the program: the student affairs track or the higher education policy/administration track. Through these two tracks, the program prepares individuals for positions in advising, programming, administration, assessment, management, and policy in higher education settings.

The Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) M.A. program curriculum consists of course work in postsecondary administration, college students and their environments, 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. At the time of application, students choose one of two tracks—student affairs or higher education administration and policy.

The curriculum includes the HESA core, track courses, a supervised practice, and an integrative experience. Elective course work is subject to advisor approval.

All students in the student affairs track complete an internship under the direction of an M.A.-level supervisor.



Common Core
All of these:
EPLS:5100Issues and Policies in Higher Education3
EPLS:5247Multiculturalism in Higher Education3
EPLS:5251College Students and Their Environments3
EPLS:5252Administration of Higher Education and Student Affairs3
EPLS:5253Assessment in Higher Education and Student Affairs3
This course:
Students choose elective course work in consultation with their advisor3-9
Examples include:
History of Higher Education
Impact of College on Students
Practicum in College Teaching
Advanced Practicum in Student Affairs

Electives also might include course work relating to law and higher education, career development, research process and design, or the college curriculum. Courses from other departments also may be approved; students should consult their advisor.


Student Affairs Track

Students must complete the following course work.

All of these:
EPLS:5250Introduction to Student Affairs3
EPLS:5278Helping Skills in Student Affairs Work3
EPLS:6301Professional Seminar in Student Affairs I1
EPLS:6302Professional Seminar in Student Affairs II1
EPLS:6303Professional Seminar in Student Affairs III1
EPLS:6304Professional Seminar in Student Affairs IV1
EPLS:6332College Student Psychosocial and Identity Development3
EPLS:6334College Student Learning, Cognitive, and Moral Development3

Higher Education Administration and Policy Track

Students complete the following course work.

All of these:
EPLS:6216Finance in Higher Education3
EPLS:6224Organizational Theory and Administrative Behavior3
EPLS:6225Higher Education Policy3
EPLS:6290Master's Project (in consultation with the faculty advisor)arr.
Recommended courses:
EPLS:6218The Law and Higher Education3
EPLS:6221The College Curriculum3
PSQF:6265Program Evaluation3
Other courses as approved by faculty 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 an indication of track (student affairs or higher education administration and policy), 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 M.A. students in the student affairs track must be employed at an approved site (usually in an approved internship).

Joint M.A./M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning

The joint M.A. in educational policy and leadership studies (higher education and student affairs subprogram)/M.S. in urban and regional planning allows students to earn two degrees in less time than it would take them to complete the degrees separately. For more information, see 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 subprogram in schools, culture, and society 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.