Online Master’s in Education Leadership | Harvard Graduate School of Education – Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Second only to the public health system, education has been most dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Skilled leadership is essential to weathering the crisis — and addressing the longstanding inequities that preceded it.”

Bridget Long
Dean and Saris Professor of Education and Economics
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Today’s education landscape needs leaders like you — dynamic educators and innovators committed to making sustainable and scalable change for all students by building on your professional experience in preK–12 classrooms and districts; on college campuses; or in philanthropies, nonprofits, policy organizations, and ed-tech initiatives.

A graduate degree can strengthen the invaluable skills you’ve already developed and give you the tools to propel yourself to new leadership opportunities and to even greater impact. But we know it can be a challenge to pause your job and uproot your life for a full-time, in-person master’s program, especially as you juggle your important commitments to career and community. 

That’s why the Harvard Graduate School of Education has launched an online Master’s in Education Leadership, a new Ed.M. program specifically designed for education professionals who bring at least seven years of relevant work experience.

A New Option for Experienced Educators

Our two-year, part-time program consists of a diverse cohort of professionals like you — leaders who are advancing in their careers, and who bring important perspectives grounded in real-world challenges. Our program is conducted almost exclusively online — except for two brief residential experiences where you’ll meet your cohort in person and build community.

The online Master’s in Education Leadership offers a distinctive Harvard experience — including deep engagement and interaction with Harvard faculty and talented peers, as well as a lifelong professional network — within an intentionally designed curriculum and robust opportunities for mentorship and coaching. The program is career-embedded — so you can immediately apply what you are learning, in real time, to the work you are doing on the ground.

A Curriculum Intentionally Designed to Meet your Needs  

Our curriculum is anchored in both foundational knowledge and core competencies in education leadership. You will also complete pathway-specific courses to advance your leadership in preK–12 education or higher education. Courses combine synchronous meetings (scheduled to align with an Eastern time zone) and asynchronous work.  


Throughout your first year, you will participate in Foundations courses — rich learning experiences required of all HGSE master’s students, which will build on your experience and strengthen your ability to understand, evaluate, and address the challenges and evolving circumstances facing students, families, and communities. 

  • How People Learn: Offers a deep understanding of how people progress through different ages, stages, and contexts of learning.  
  • Evidence: Explores how to gather, evaluate, and implement evidence so you can make decisions that lead to better outcomes for all learners. 
  • Equity and Opportunity: Focuses on the core concept of equity in education — preparing you to identify and address the inequities that exist in the field.  
  • Leading Change: Provides knowledge on how to work within an organization or education system — with a concentration on leading and managing change.  

Professional Pathway Courses

All Education Leadership Ed.M. students choose between two pathways — PreK–12 or Higher Education — that align with the area of practice or the student community in which their work will make an impact: 

  • PreK–12 Pathway: Equips you to do change-making work within the education ecosystem on behalf of students from early childhood to secondary education levels — including in such positions as teacher leader, principal, afterschool director, education agency representative, education nonprofit/philanthropic leader, or education entrepreneur.  
  • Higher Education Pathway: Prepares you as a dynamic, agile leader in a diverse range of postsecondary education settings — including in college and university settings, nonprofit education organizations, state and federal government agencies, and policy organizations and think tanks.

Leadership Core Competencies

To help you manage, lead, and implement change in complex organizations, our curriculum explores the core leadership competencies that you’ll need to elevate your skills, knowledge, and expertise, wherever you are in your career. Throughout your coursework, you will strengthen your ability to:

  • Lead change and think strategically 
  • Foster productive organizational conditions 
  • Navigate politics and practice political inclusion
  • Communicate effectively 
  • Cultivate self-development and team professional development skills 

The online Master’s in Education Leadership will accept students for fall 2022 enrollment. Information about requirements and application deadlines will be available soon. Tell us about yourself so that we can provide you with relevant information about our programs!