With half the Ivy League scattered around the three states of the Middle Atlantic region, it’s fair to say that standards are high for principal and superintendent positions here. And they have to be—this is a place where education has both a high value and a lot of obstacles to overcome.
There’s a lot going on in education in the Mid-Atlantic region. New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania are home to some of the largest and most elite educational systems in the entire country – both public and private.
The New York City Public School system is the heavyweight, constituting not only the largest American school district, but indeed, the largest in the world.
Like many other districts in this region, it’s also one of the most diverse. The New York Department of Education reports that 176 different languages are spoken among its student population. Census Bureau data shows that the region’s population as a whole is about ten percent more likely to speak a language at home other than English.
If you think you can step into any one of those schools and take charge without an in-depth understanding of the issues, and without the latest ideas and tools to meet them, think again!
Only The Best Educational Leadership Graduates Can Meet Big City School Challenges
Big districts and big schools come with big challenges. This is one part of the country where you don’t want to step into a principal or superintendent role with anything less than the very best training you can get in educational leadership.
And the best places to get that training are through one of the master’s degree programs you’ll find on this list. Each of them represents decades of expertise not just in educational training and pedagogy, but also research and investigation inside the very school systems you’ve likely been working in as an educator – and that you hope to continue your career in as an educational leader.
If you’re wondering how these elite institutions earned their spots on the list, you can see our complete criteria right here.
But after you look at a few of the listings, you’ll understand. These are schools you’ve heard of, offering experiences that go above and beyond the minimum licensing requirements. And the master’s programs they offer, with the networking and experience built in, can take your career above and beyond as well.
Editor’s Choice for the Best Educational Leadership Administrator Prep Master’s Programs in the Middle Atlantic Region
MSEd - Principal-School Administrator-Supervisor, Principal-Supervisor (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $70,080
Monmouth University’s MSEd with a focus on either Principal-School Administrator-Supervisor or Principal-Supervisor certification, features a fully online course of study that’s designed for today’s busy, practicing educators with aspirations of advancing their career in education to leadership and administration. Choose the Principal/Supervisor program and you’ll complete 32 credits that prepare you to become a school principal. Or choose the Principal/Supervisor School Administrator program and you’ll complete 35 credits that also prepare you to earn the Certificate of Eligibility for a superintendent’s position. Flexible and fully online, these exciting programs also include the opportunity to engage in independent study experiences with faculty members! Earn your graduate degree in education through Monmouth and you’ll have access to the university’s broad network of contacts in regional school districts!
Seton Hall University
MA in Education Leadership, Management and Policy (hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $54,483
The MA in Education Leadership, Management and Policy through Seton Hall University provides a streamlined path to a new career as a school superintendent, school principal, director, and more for today’s working educators. This exciting course of graduate study features an accelerated, 39-credit curriculum that’s offered in a unique hybrid format for maximum convenience and flexibility. Students of this program attend on-campus weekend courses (on-campus courses meet just two weekends per semester) while also studying online, thereby allowing them to earn their degree in just two years.
MA in Educational Leadership with Principal Licensure and Supervisor Licensure (on-campus/blended online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $41,379
Centenary University’s 39-credit MA in Educational Leadership offers outstanding preparation for working educators who want to shift their careers to educational administration and leadership. Students of this program study topics like school law, curriculum & development, and supervision; explore today’s learning environment; and consider student ability, socio-economic status, and cultural diversity as they work toward Administrative Certification and a School Administrator, or Principal endorsement.
MA/MEd in Public School Building Leadership – Summer Principal’s Academy (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $63,680
- MA in Private School Leadership
- MA in Adult Learning and Leadership
- EdM, EdD, Advanced Certificate in Adult Learning and Leadership
- EdM in Private School Leadership
- EdM in Public School Building Leadership
- EdD in Urban Education Leaders Program
- EdD, EdM, PhD in Education Leadership
- MA/MBA in Private School Leadership
- MA in Public School Building Leadership – Summer Principal’s Academy (New Orleans)
Columbia University’s MA/MEd in Public School Leadership – Summer Principal’s Academy offers a dynamic course of graduate study leading to NY State School Building Leadership certification and career advancement in educational leadership and administration! Study alongside your peers in this exciting program, which is designed as a cohort and offered over two, consecutive, five-week summer sessions. You’ll feel good about choosing a top-notch program that’s part of Columbia’s famed Teacher’s College, which is ranked as the top graduate school of education in the nation.
Bank Street College of Education
MSEd/EdM in Progressive Leadership Program (on-campus, online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $52,830
The Bank Street College of Education offers the MSED/EdM in Progressive Leadership Program, an exciting cohort program that brings together a group of educators who want to advance their careers and become competent and confident educational leaders for the PreK-12 school system. Choose this dynamic course of graduate study and you’ll complete challenging coursework and guided fieldwork alongside your peers as you receive unmatched guidance and support from the program’s core faculty of experts. Graduates of this program qualify to take the NYC School Leadership Assessment leading to the NYS School Building Leader certification. Graduates can also complete the five-credit School District Leader sequence and earn eligibility for the NYS School District Leader certification. Do you have a previous master’s degree? You’ll complete the EdM program. Otherwise, you’ll complete the MSEd program.
Long Island University
MSEd in Educational Leadership (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $48,672
Long Island University’s POST 36-credit MSEd in Educational Leadership provides today’s educators with everything they need to propel their career into administration and leadership! Grounded in a curriculum that’s rich in topics like human relations, leadership, research, school business, school-community relations, and technology, this exciting program prepares students to assume top positions in 21st century schools. You’re sure to love the program’s esteemed faculty, all of whom are active in their specialized fields, as well as the school’s superb network of leaders. The Department of Educational Leadership and Administration enjoys a rich history of certifying school administrators and has strong ties to all regional school districts. You’ll be prepared to take the NYC School Leadership Assessment upon graduation and earn certification as a School Building Leader!
St. John's University
MSEd in School Building Leadership (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $47,600
Boasting a rich and engaging online format, St. John’s University’s MSEd in School Building Leadership is where working educators become effective, confident educational administrators and leaders! The online design of the program, which aligns perfectly with the needs of today’s busy, working educators, is led by an accomplished faculty who teaches courses that are of the same high academic quality as those found on campus. This exciting program produces informed leaders who are prepared to make innovative contributions to current educational practice. You’re sure to feel good about choosing a program that’s been offered at St. John’s University for the past 75 years! Your NYS School Building Leader certificate is just months away!
MSEd – School Building Leader program (on-campus, online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $46,800
Fordham University’s MSEd – School Leader Program boasts an accelerated format; an on-campus model that’s available at the Lincoln Center, Rose Hill, and Westchester campuses; and a cohort design that offers outstanding collaboration and communication with faculty and peers. This exciting course of study leads to eligibility for the NYS School Building Leader certification and for positions like principal, supervisor, and assistant principal. This one-year, intensive master’s degree program is completed over three semesters (fall, spring, and summer) and coincides with a full-year internship at your home school. Once you’ve completed all requirements for the program, you’ll be automatically accepted into the School District Leader Advanced Certification program, where you’ll have the option of completing the requirements for certification upon graduation.
MA in Educational Leadership (on-campus, hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $46,620
Adelphi University’s MA in Educational Leadership boasts a dynamic blend of theory and field-based study that prepares today’s educators to become proficient practitioners in the management of school personnel. This exciting program features a convenient and flexible hybrid format and a tightknit learning environment that provides outstanding opportunities to build deep, working relationships with your professors and peers. The NYS Administration Certification for School Building Leader is within reach through Adelphi University!
MSEd in Educational Leadership (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $43,272
The MSEd in Educational Leadership through Iona University is where educators become educational leaders and administrators who create positive change in classrooms, schools, and communities. This exciting program, which prepares students for NYS School Building Leader certification, comes complete with a convenient schedule that includes weekend-only courses; an esteemed faculty of experts in school leadership; and access to a strong alumni network of 50,000+. You’re also sure to appreciate Iona’s strong partnerships with schools throughout Westchester County and the greater NYC area!
University of Pennsylvania
MSEd in School Leadership + Principal Certification (Public School/Charter track) (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $57,150
- MSED in School Leadership (Independent School Track)
- MSEd in Higher Education
- MSEd in Education Policy
- MSED in Global Higher Education Management
- EdD in Higher Education Management
- PhD in Higher Education
- School Leadership-Principal Certification
- MSEd, EdD, PhD in Teaching Learning and Leadership
The University of Pennsylvania’s MSEd in School Leadership comes complete with preparation for principal certification for tomorrow’s Pennsylvania’s PreK-12 educational leaders and administrators! This 11-month course of graduate study offers convenient scheduling; outstanding, one-on-one mentoring; and a diverse cohort model that offers a collaborative, engaging learning community. Choose UPenn and you’ll be a part of the famed Graduate School of Education – ranked one of the top graduate schools of education in the country!
MS in Educational Administration (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $47,130
- MS in Higher Education Leadership
- MS in Educational Administration (Supervisor of Special Education)
- EdD in Educational Leadership and Management (Athletic Administration, Educational Administration-with Pennsylvania Superintendent Letter of Eligibility, Higher Education, Human Resource Development, Special Education Leadership)
- PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy
- School Principal Certification
- School Superintendent Letter of Eligibility
- Certification in Special Education Leadership
- Certificate in Higher Education Leadership
- Certificate in Sport Leadership
- Certificate in Virtual School Leadership
- MS in Sport Coaching Leadership
Drexel University’s MS in Educational Administration prepares aspiring educational leaders and administrators like you to achieve principal certification and assume top roles with confidence! Specifically designed for busy, working educators, this exciting course of study is offered in a fully online format. Choose Drexel’s online MS in Educational Administration and you’ll be assigned an academic advisor who will help you craft a personalized plan of study and ensure you’re reaching your professional goals. Though you’ll be studying online, you’ll enjoy a dynamic, engaging curriculum that includes lectures by national speakers, workshops, internship orientations, and more.
MSEd in Education Administration - K-12 (on-campus, online, hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $43,740
Duquesne University’s MSEd in Education – K-12 offers an outstanding course of graduate study leading to top leadership roles in today’s culturally diverse, technologically complex educational system. Through this dynamic program, students explore culturally responsive leadership; policy, law, and advocacy; fiscal responsibility and budget planning; personalized instructional practices; and more as they prepare for principal certification. You’re sure to love this program’s flexible format, which features an outstanding blend of online, on-campus, and hybrid course offerings.
MS in Teaching Excellence – Principal Leadership Program (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $42,912
Mercyhurst University’s MS in Teaching Excellence – Principal Leadership program offers a dynamic pathway to PA principal certification and a fulfilling career in educational administration and leadership! Featuring a customizable curriculum that includes convenient, online courses, this program explores topics like leadership, organizational behavior, school finance, and more. You’re also sure to love the program’s esteemed faculty of working educators and educational leaders.
Saint Vincent College
MS in Educational Leadership – K-12 Principal (on-campus, online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $28,899
Saint Vincent College is home to the MS in Educational Leadership, the degree for experienced educators with aspirations of taking their careers to the next level! This exciting program, which prepares students for PA principal certification, is available in both an on-campus and online format for superb convenience and flexibility. And you’re sure to appreciate the program’s many resources, professional contacts, and tools available to help kickstart your career in leadership!
MEd in Educational Leadership (hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $27,720
- MEd in Higher Education Leadership
- Low Residency MEd with a focus on International and Independent Schools Leadership
- EdD in Educational Leadership K-12
- Higher Education Leadership and Administration Certificate
- K-12 Educational Leadership/Principalship Certificate
- Superintendent Letter of Eligibility Certificate
- Higher Education Leadership and Administration Certificate
Widener University’s MEd in Educational Leadership is your fast track to K-12 educational leadership/principalship! This flexible program boasts hybrid courses and your choice of full- or part-time study – the perfect plan for working professionals like you. Take one or two courses per semester; you set the pace to accommodate your specific needs. In addition to preparing for principal certification, you can also add the instructional coaching endorsement certification if you want to strengthen your professional knowledge and skills to work with other teachers in a peer coaching framework for PreK-12 classrooms.
MA in Educational Leadership with PK-12 Principal Certification (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $26,820
The MA in Educational Leadership with PreK-12 Principal Certification is where experienced teachers prepare to become effective and confident school leaders and administrators! This traditional, on-campus program is led by a faculty of leading experts in the educational field (many of whom have made exciting contributions to school administration, teaching, literacy, leadership, ESL programming, and more) and features an engaging, collaborative learning environment; a 14-week semester format; and convenient, late afternoon and early evening classes for busy, working professionals like you. You’re sure to appreciate Rosemont’s student-centered learning environment that boasts a low, 11:1 graduate student-to-faculty ratio and superb opportunities for mentorship.
College of Education
MEd in Educational Leadership (on-campus, hybrid)
M.Ed. in Educational Leadership – Urban Principals Academy@Lehigh (U*PAL) (hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $26,550
If a career as a principal or other educational leader is in your sights, then Lehigh University has the program for you! The MEd in Educational Leadership is a great path to PA principal certification and serves as the ideal foundation for future doctoral study. This program features a curriculum that’s rich in topics like organizational leadership, research, data-based decision-making, and diversity. It also includes elective options to allow students to pursue an area of interest. Flexibility is front and center, with full- and part-time options and both online and on-campus courses, many of which are offered in the late afternoon and early evening. Interested in a dynamic cohort-style program? Then you’ll love the Urban Principals Academy @ Lehigh (known as U*PAL), which boasts an exciting, 13-month course of study focused on creating visionary urban school leaders. Choose this master’s program leading to principal certification and you’ll enjoy online courses that are complemented with on-campus summer classes. Students of this program participate in team projects, special seminars, and workshops as part of a cohort for unmatched collaboration and communication with peers.
Saint Joseph's University
MS in Educational Leadership and Administration (on-campus, online, hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $25,350
The MS in Educational Leadership and Administration through Saint Joseph’s University is expertly designed to prepare students to become outstanding educational leaders and administrators who are prepared to take on the complex educational challenges of the 21st century with confidence. This program, which offers a truly flexible format of on-campus, online, and hybrid courses, is where today’s educators work to transform theory into practice and become leaders who can communicate effectively, foster school-community collaboration, and understand schools as professional communities. This dynamic course of study can be completed in preparation for the Principal PK-12, Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor PK-12, or the Special Education PK-12 certifications in PA!