In the American heartland, education is embraced as a core value. That’s true in each of the states that make up this region – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
True to form, each of these states tend to rank high on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Report Card published by the National Center for Education Statistics, with high scores in math, science, and reading, especially at lower grade levels.
But it’s not all smooth sailing here. The Great Lakes region has been roiled by trends that have created trouble for schools in both urban and rural areas. The major metro areas, particularly Chicago, have seen upticks in violence that put school security concerns front and center. And in the small towns of the region, the decline of American manufacturing has left school districts strapped for cash and with declining student populations.
Excellence in Educational Administration Offers a Way Out for Challenged Midwestern School Districts
Yet the midwestern work ethic prevails, and communities continue to demand talented and caring principals and superintendents. To step up to the task and prepare for the challenges you’ll face on the job, you need the best education you can get.
That’s why we put together this list of our favorite master’s degrees in educational leadership available in the East North Central region. Encompassing the required coursework for licensure, along with a wide range of concentrations, electives, and unique learning experiences, you’ll get the kind of cutting-edge knowledge you need to face any challenge.
If you’re curious about how we picked these schools out of the many options available in this region, you can see our full criteria right here.
Editor’s Choice for the Best Educational Leadership Administrator Prep Master’s Programs in the East North Central Region
Loyola University Chicago
MEd in Administration and Supervision for School Leaders (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $35,640
Loyola University’s MEd in Administration and Supervision for School Leaders produces ethical, confident school leaders who have a passion for tackling some of the most pressing social justice and equity issues in today’s school systems. As you work toward your MEd, you’ll also have the option of preparing for the Principal endorsement. Earn your MEd and principal endorsement in just two years!
MA in Instructional Leadership (low-residency)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $26,790
Roosevelt University’s MA in Instructional Leadership is intensive, engaging, and designed to produce educational leaders with a pulse on today’s educational environment. This exciting course of study features focused, practical assignments, small group discussions and outstanding communication and collaboration, and superb field experience opportunities designed to align with your professional goals and school improvement plans. We also love the job-embedded coursework here that’s taught by an esteemed faculty of practicing school and district leaders throughout the region. Choose the MA in Instructional Leadership through Roosevelt and you’ll enjoy a convenient and flexible hybrid course format that includes in-person classes during the summer and remote classes during the school year.
MEd in Educational Leadership – Principal License (on-campus, online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $32,704
- EdS, EdD, PhD in Educational Leadership
- PhD in Global Educational Leadership
- MA/MEd in Teacher Leader
- MA/MEd in Catholic Teacher Leader
- MA/MEd in Higher Education
- MA/MEd in Catholic Leadership
- MA/MEd General
DePaul University’s MEd in Educational Leadership – Principal License offers outstanding preparation for Principal Endorsement and for exciting careers in educational leadership and administration! This top-notch program boasts small class sizes, an award-winning faculty, and some of the best collaborative learning experiences around. In fact, DePaul partners with Chicago Public Schools, the fourth-largest school district in the country, as well as many other private, suburban public, independent, and charter schools through the Chicago area, for unmatched support, guidance, resources, and more.
University of St. Francis
MS in Educational Leadership – Principal Preparation (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $25,674
The University of St. Francis’ MS in Educational Leadership – Principal Preparation is offered in a fully online format for maximum convenience and flexibility! This exciting program, which is designed to prepare educators for careers in building-level administration, consists of 33 credits that can be completed in just six semesters. It is offered as a tightknit, highly engaging cohort that nurtures outstanding connections between peers and faculty mentors. The P-12 Principal endorsement is within reach through the MS in Educational Leadership – Principal Preparation!
University of Notre Dame
Master of Educational Leadership (low-residency)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $54,021
The University of Notre Dame offers a low-residency Master of Educational Leadership, a robust, 25-month course of graduate study that’s designed to produce transformational Catholic school leaders. This exciting program is delivered over three summers and two academic years and combines on-campus summer classes with online courses throughout the school year. Students of this program learn to become exceptional Catholic school leaders who deftly address the challenges associated with building-level leadership. Upon graduation, students are eligible for Indiana’s K-12 administrative licensure.
Mount Mercy University
MSEd in Leadership and Administration (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $19,620
Mount Mercy College’s MSEd in Leadership and Administration features 36 credits… a fully online course of study… and a timeline of just 24 months! We love the live, online classes that provide students with an engaging learning experience, and the PreK-12 Principal endorsement that’s built right into the curriculum. Offering a dynamic curriculum that’s rich in practical applications, this program is expertly designed to produce ethical, impactful leaders. Other perks of this program include your choice of nine start dates throughout the year and accelerated courses delivered in five- or ten-week blocks.
MSE in Education Leadership - Principal Licensure (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $18,720
Drake University’s MSE in Education Leadership – Principal Licensure provides today’s working educators with the education they need to earn PreK-12 Principal endorsement and assume roles as confident, ethical principals and superintendents. We love the part-time design of this program that features convenient, weekend courses to accommodate the needs of today’s working educators. Students here learn from an esteemed faculty of experienced administrators who encourage collaboration and communication and lead hands-on, project-based courses. You’re sure to love the tightknit cohort community here!
MA in Educational Leadership (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $43,078
Andrews University’s MA in Educational Leadership provides aspiring principals and superintendents with a superb course of graduate education leading to new and exciting roles in education administration and leadership. Offered in a fully online format, this program provides busy, working educators with outstanding convenience and flexibility. Though you’ll be studying online, you’ll enjoy outstanding collaboration and communication with your peers and instructors throughout the entire program. Students here attend campus during the first summer of their program and then have the flexibility of completing the rest of their coursework through online study.
MS in Educational Leadership (on-campus, online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $29,400
The MS in Educational Leadership through Madonna University is offered in a flexible format that aligns with the needs of today’s busy, working educators! This exciting course of study, which is expertly designed to prepare leaders to excel in diverse educational settings, can be completed on-campus or online. Students of this program prepare for administrator certification in Michigan as they learn to become ethical, confident leaders in educational settings.
John Carroll University
MEd in Educational Leadership (online, hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $26,910
Grounded in the Jesuit tradition and offered in a flexible format that includes both hybrid and online study, John Carroll University’s MEd in Educational Leadership is your path to Principal Licensure and an exciting career in educational administration and leadership! Just some of the highlights of this program of graduate study include a curriculum rich in practical experiences… one-on-one coaching and mentorship from an esteemed faculty…. and few on-campus requirements for maximum flexibility and convenience. On-campus courses here meet just every other week during the semester, while all course materials and assignments are easily accessible through the school’s online platform.
MEd in Educational Leadership + Administrative Licensure (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $21,600
Ashland University’s MEd in Educational Leadership includes an embedded Administrative Licensure program to prepare you for success as you lead in the 21st century educational environment! This exciting program offers contemporary content and instruction from top leaders in the field of education administration. It covers topics such as school climate, professional ethics, and school safety. You’re sure to love the curriculum’s format, which is organized as flexible, one-credit modules within two- or three-credit courses. These modules are delivered in a convenient, seven-week format. This program can also be completed as a cohort for outstanding collaboration with your peers!
University of Dayton
MSE in Educational Leadership (Principal Licensure) (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $21,450
- EdD in Leadership for Organizations
- EdS in Educational Leadership
- MSE in Teacher as Leader
- Teacher Leader Preparation Certificate
- Teacher Leader Preparation Endorsement
- MSE in Higher Education and Student Affairs
- MSE in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy, Leadership for Educational Systems
The MSE in Educational Leadership features an embedded Principal Licensure program and a fully online format that’s aligns perfectly with the needs of today’s busy, working educators! This exciting course of graduate study, which is designed to produce competent, ethical leaders who can assume a variety of administrative and leadership roles in the PreK-12 educational environment, features the same, top-notch curriculum and faculty as the program’s on-campus option (the on-campus program does not include the principal licensure component). The online design of this program features live, weekly classes that offer an engaging learning environment; interactive coursework that can be accessed 24/7; and a curriculum that’s rich in case studies.
MA in Education – Educational Leadership (on-campus, online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $32,160
- EdD in Educational Leadership
- EdD in Higher Education and Leadership Studies
- EdD in K-12 Educational Leadership
- EdD – Superintendent/District Leadership License
- MA in Education-Director of Instruction License
- MA in Education-Director of Special Education and Pupil Services License
- MA in Education-Principal License
- MA in Education-School Business Administrator License
- MA in Education-Professional Educator (non-license)
Designed for busy, working educators like you, Edgewood College’s MA in Education – Educational Leadership offers a robust course of graduate study that’s designed to produce transformational leaders who positively impact the schools and communities they serve. Through this exciting program, students also explore educational inequities, utilize social justice frameworks, and develop equity analysis plans as part of their coursework. It’s also expertly designed to prepare educators to earn Wisconsin’s Director of Instruction, Director of Special Education and Pupil Services, Principalship, or School Business Administrator certification. Just some of the other reasons why you’re sure to love the MA in Education – Educational Leadership include: online or on-campus (evening) courses; three start dates per year; eight-week, accelerated courses; and outstanding, personalized advising throughout the course of the program.
MEd in Educational Leadership (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $31,845
Wisconsin’s Principal or Director of Instruction certification is within reach through Marquette University’s MEd in Educational Leadership! Designed specifically for working educators and administrators, this exciting program is grounded in practical learning, research-based scholarship, and active engagement, thereby allowing students to critically analyze systems in educational organizations and then set about planning action for change. You’re sure to love the cohort design of this program, which is flexible for busy, working teachers. Most students take one course per term and two courses in the summer for maximum convenience and flexibility. Teachers in the Milwaukee Metropolitan area are eligible for scholarship credits and can apply for the MU-MPS Extraordinary Leadership Cohort, a partnership that’s open for up to ten individuals.
MEd in Educational Administration K-12 with Principal License (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $29,988
Offering a clear, streamlined path to Wisconsin’s Principal license, Carthage College’s MEd in Educational Administration is expertly designed to prepare educators to advance their careers and assume top-level roles in educational leadership and administration! This program, which was developed by a team of administrators from the Kenosha Unified School District and the Racine Unified School District, along with the Carthage Education Department, features a robust curriculum with coursework focused on topics like site-based management, school law, school finance, and leadership development. You’ll love the close guidance and support you’ll receive throughout your program. In fact, your dedicated faculty advisor will help you develop an individualized degree plan based upon your specific needs and career goals.
MAEd in Principal/Administrative Leadership (hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $27,200
Offering the best in flexibility, Alverno College’s MAEd in Principal/Administrative Leadership features a unique, hybrid curriculum and a clear path to Principal certification! Expertly designed to suit today’s busy, working educators, this program offers a combination of on-campus and online courses. Some of the on-campus courses meet on weekday evenings, while others meet on the weekends. The contemporary curriculum here is laser-focused on producing tomorrow’s leaders and administrators who serve as trailblazers, innovators, and changemakers in education. You’re sure to feel good about choosing a university that’s been ranked as the Most Innovative in Wisconsin by U.S. News & World Report!