Master of Education in Educational Leadership (K-12 Principal Licensure)


The Educational Leadership program at Montana State University is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) as well as by the Montana Board of Public Education.  The focus of the program is to prepare K-12 school principals to effectively serve Montana communities and rural communities throughout the Northern Plains and Northern Rocky Mountain region of the United States. Those students completing the degree requirements for the MEd will also have met the academic requirements necessary for a Montana Class III Administrative license with a K-12 Principal Endorsement. This is a full Master's program with a MEd granted upon graduation.

This program of study has been developed to prepare effective K-12 principals. Using a blended delivery model, it seeks to meet the needs of students who desire convenience and face-to-face interaction.  Courses will be delivered using a blended model that features online instruction with a few face-to-face sessions. During the summer, students will meet on the Bozeman campus for two full weeks of face-to-face instruction. The face-to-face instruction will usually take place during the latter weeks of June or early July.

Program Flow

The ideal time to begin the Educational Leadership masters program is in the summer. Students are expected to take coursework in the sequence outlined in the course offerings found below. Developing a learning community is a critical aspect of principal preparation. To enhance the development of a learning community among the students and to facilitate learning by offering an integrated curriculum, students will be placed into a cohort based on year of acceptance into the program and will matriculate together. The application deadline for the Summer Cohort is April 1st.

K-12 Principal Cohort typical Program of Study

EDLD 507Foundations of Educational Leadership3
EDLD 508Supervision of Instruction3
EDLD 515Planned Change3
EDLD 520Schools & Diverse Communities3
EDLD 526Evaluating School Programs3
EDLD 532School Law3
EDLD 534Data Driven Decisions3
EDLD 555School Finance3
EDLD 565K-12 Instructional Leadership3
EDLD 574Field Experience in Educational Leadership (I & II)6
EDLD 566Administration and Supervision of Special Education Programs3
Total Credits36


Each master's student's committee must consist of three members. The chair and one other member must be from the Educational Leadership faculty. The third committee member must have academic credentials in the area of the student's program of study and be approved by the Head of the Department of Education and Dean of the Graduate School.


The student should carefully select his/her chair after thorough conversations with the approved Educational Leadership faculty members. The chair will serve as the student's primary advisor. The committee, as a whole, is subject to the approval of the Head of the Department of Education. Chairs and members of a student's committee are subject to change. In addition, revision to the program of study can be made during the course of study with the chair's approval.

Contact Information

Dr. Tena Versland, Program Leader
406-994-6799  Email:

Dr. Bill Ruff
406-994-4182  Email:

Dr. David Henderson
406-994-6424  Email:

Application Materials for the MEd in Educational Leadership

The application deadline for the Summer Cohort is April 1st.  *Prior to applying for an Educational Leadership program, applicants must hold a Class I teaching license, should have at least three years teaching experience, and possess a 3.0 undergraduate GPA.

Complete the online application through the Graduate School Online Application System (and pay a non-refundable $60 application fee). During the online application process you will be asked to submit the following materials. 

  1. GPA calculation form: The form is provided during the application process. NOTE: We require a GPA of 3.00 for the last two (2) years of undergraduate course work.
  2. Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  3. Three (3) letters of recommendation: Candidates must meet the following criteria for one of the three letters of recommendation.
    1. At least one of the three letters must be from the candidate's PRESENT direct supervisor. That means a school district administrator who (a) is currently administratively certified by Montana Office of Public Instruction or other equivalent state agency; AND (b) currently acts as direct supervisor for the candidate, and has done so for a minimum period of one semester. If for any reason you cannot secure a letter from your present supervisor, then:
    2. At least one of the letters of recommendation must be from a PREVIOUS direct supervisor. That means a school district administrator who is (a) currently certified by the Montana Office of Public Instruction or other equivalent state agency; AND (b) has, at some point preceding the date of this application, acted as direct supervisor for the candidate for a minimum period of one semester. Any applicant who does not have a letter from a present direct supervisor must indicate in the self-nomination letter (see below) the specific reason(s) why they were unable to secure a letter of recommendation from their present supervisor.
  4. Self-Nomination Letter: The self-nomination letter should be 2-3 pages, double-spaced, and focus on the following:
    1. Your development and growth as a teacher, including professional development
    2. Your contributions to the school and district
    3. Your development as a leader. Specific examples are needed that clarify how you have grown as a leader and your leadership activities
    4. Your specific goals, including a timeline for assuming a school leadership position
    5. Your motivation to become a school leader and an explanation of how you came to this decision, and
    6. Personal qualities you possess that are desirable in a leader
  5. Academic Transcripts: Official transcripts verifying all Bachelor's Degree course work should be sent to the Department of Education Graduate Programs Office, 215 Reid Hall, PO Box 172880, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717. Electronic transcripts are also acceptable as long as they arrive directly from the applicants’ certifying university.  Please have electronic transcripts sent to Transcripts from a degree awarded through MSU are not needed.
  6. For International Applicants ONLY - 
  • TOEFL or ACE level 7 - Applicants who are not U.S. citizens and not from countries where English is the official language are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language and score a minimum 213 (paper version- 550, 80 for the iBT). This requirement may be waived if the applicant has earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution in the U.S.
  • International Student Financial Certificate

Application Deadlines

April 1st is the deadline by which all of the application materials for the Master's Program in Educational Leadership must be submitted via the online application system.  By submitting materials by the deadline, accepted students may be eligible for early registration. In order for a graduate degree application to be reviewed for admission, all required application documents must be submitted prior to the department’s posted deadline. Applications received after the deadline may be reviewed for acceptance on a case-by-case basis.

  • Fall  Semester: April 1st
  • Summer Cohort Session:  April 1st

*An early review deadline of February 1st has been set for those applicants wanting to be considered for Graduate Assistantships. Graduate Assistantships require students to work on campus 19 hours per week. Applications must be complete for an early review.

Contact Information

Micki MacGregor, Graduate Program Assistant
PO Box 172880, Reid Hall 215
Department of Education, Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717-2880 
Phone: 406-994-6786 Email: