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Quick facts

  • Program type: Educational specialist degree
  • Academic home: College of Education | Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, Teacher Education Accreditation Council
  • Delivery mode: Blended, some campus visits required
  • Credit hours: 31–37
  • Estimated program cost: $16,762.11*

*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, course choices at Mizzou and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.

Get the degree you deserve

The online educational specialist degree in PK–12 educational leadership and administration from MU offers opportunities for professional growth in school and district leadership. If you want to be an effective, responsive, courageous and professional leader in education, this may be the degree for you.

You may choose one of seven different options for your degree:

  • Elementary principal certification
  • Secondary principal certification
  • Superintendent certification
  • Elementary principal and superintendent certification
  • Elementary and secondary principal certification
  • Secondary principal and superintendent certification
  • Elementary and secondary principal and superintendent certification


This program meets the requirements for both building-level and district-level certification (central office and superintendent) requirements in Missouri and many other states. Graduate candidates who already possess a Missouri Initial Administrator Certificate (building-level) can use the educational specialist degree to meet requirements toward a Missouri Career Continuous Certificate (building-level), a Missouri Initial Superintendent Certificate (district-level) or both.

Career prospects

Employment growth
Median salary

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Elementary, Middle and High School Principals.

Potential careers

  • Elementary school principal
  • Secondary school principal
  • School superintendent

Program structure and topics

Delivery of this program is blended: Much of your course work will be online, but some courses have on-campus weekend sessions three or four times a semester. Meeting dates and times are subject to change each semester.

Courses are semester-based. Students typically take one or two classes each semester, including summers, and finish in under two years.

Course work covers

  • Setting and articulating vision, mission and goals for buildings and districts
  • High-level learning for students and adults
  • Management of legal, fiscal and personnel systems
  • Collaboration and communication with students, families and communities
  • Ethical and integral leadership
  • Understanding of political and social systems
  • Continued professional development for the individual and the organization

In-state tuition rates

As a distance learner in a University of Missouri graduate program, you qualify for in-state tuition rates, regardless of where you live.

Ask us about this program

This program is administered by the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.