Photo of ELAD students collaborating in the ADP Center.

MA in Educational Leadership: Core Choice, Fast Track, Fully Online and Off-Site

Program Administrator: Carla P. Engstrom
Office: University Hall, Room 2121
Phone Number: 973-655-7718

Program Mission

The Educational Leadership program at Montclair State University blends authentic work within schools, a strong theoretical foundation, and a rigorous grounding in research to prepare visionary and reflective leaders. Our graduates will be instructional leaders who partner with diverse communities, staff, and families, promote equity within schools and systems, and advance a democratic vision for teaching and learning. We utilize flexible modalities to meet the needs of deeply committed educators who practice across a variety of settings, and we leverage their experiences to enrich their learning environments. As a nationally recognized, interdisciplinary community of scholars and practitioners in educational leadership, our faculty are committed to continually improving our program so that our graduates are prepared to meet the emerging challenges of changing educational systems.


At Montclair State University, you will find numerous options to meet your needs as a busy educator. Our Master of Arts in Educational Leadership provides four distinct program options which will take into account your preferred learning styles and program pacing needs.

The Educational Leadership program offers three types of course formats: on-line courses that can be completed from home (8 weeks each), hybrid courses that combine face-to-face sessions with online instruction, and traditional campus-based coursework.  All Master’s programs lead to both Supervisor and Principal certification if you meet other state certification requirements.

Our programs in Educational Leadership have been continuously accredited by NCATE/CAEP since its inception.  Additionally, Montclair State’s Master’s in Educational Leadership has been ranked #10 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 Best Online Graduate Education Programs.  Please read the descriptions below to decide which program choice is best for you!

Core Choice (36 cr.)

The Core Choice program offers the most flexibility of all our graduate programs in Educational Leadership.  Students can take anywhere from 1-4 classes in a given term to work within their schedule and budget.  Coursework is offered in a diverse number of formats: online (8 week sessions), hybrid (including weekend), and campus-based instruction, so students can select the format that works best for them!  Candidates often select this option if they want to control the pace of their graduate work. For example, students who are receiving reimbursement from their school district may need to match the pacing of their program to their district’s reimbursement schedule (regarding credits covered per semester). The Core Choice option is also good for individuals who may need to take a certain semester off due to commitments such as coaching or activity advisor.  (The theme of this program is Choice – You select your pace and your course format!)

Fast-Track (36 cr.)

Our Fast-Track option allows students to earn the full Master’s degree with both Principal and Supervisor certifications (if eligible) in 14 months while working full-time.  This cohort-based program runs on a summer-to-summer time schedule.  Classes are offered on select weekends and evenings in both online and hybrid formats.  This program’s structure enables working professionals the flexibility of an intensive yet manageable course of study completed in an accelerated fashion.  Cohort members take three courses per semester. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and interested applicants should submit an Application by April 1st at the latest to begin in summer.

Fully Online (36 cr.)

The Fully Online program offers the Master’s degree in Educational Leadership to students who seek the convenience of distance learning.  All courses are fully online, which means you don’t have to commute to class.  You choose your own learning environment — whether it’s your couch, classroom, or the café down the block!  This two-year program has students take one course at a time, completing two 8-week classes per semester.  Students follow a prescribed set of classes in a cohort model that begins in either the fall or spring terms. The fully online program is a good option for out-of-state or international students as well.

Off-Site (36 cr.)

Our Off-Site program is for students who work in or near districts that have chosen to partner with Montclair State and wish to be part of the Montclair Experience.  Courses for the Master’s in Educational Leadership are offered in school districts across various regions of the State and bring our faculty expertise along with the expertise of local district and school leaders directly to a school in your district.  If you are interested in learning more details about having an offsite location hosted in your school district, please click on the link below.

Montclair State University’s online  Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program has been ranked No. 1 in New Jersey and No. 10 in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report 2023 Best Online Programs rankings. The Educational Leadership program’s Educational Administration and Supervision concentration was also ranked among the top 25 in the nation in the rankings’ new specialty areas results, coming in at No. 22.

For those interested in obtaining more information about the Core Choice, Fast Track, Fully Online and Off-site options, please email

Course Requirements Application Requirements Apply Now

All applicants who wish to be eligible for certification as a school leader in the state of NJ must possess a Standard New Jersey Teaching or Educational Services Certificate or an out-of-state (i.e. NY, PA) Standard Teaching Certificate or Educational Services Certificate and a minimum of three years teaching or educational service experience.  On a case-by-case basis, students who do not meet those requirements may apply for “DEGREE ONLY” admission and will NOT be automatically eligible for NJ certification as Principal or Supervisor upon completion of the degree.

Graduate students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership seeking to be Supervisors, Principals, directors and school superintendents will participate in courses and field experiences:

  1. To help develop and/or support a personal philosophy of education and social consciousness consistent with related theories of learning and human development.
  2. To develop characteristics required for effective leadership in education.
  3. To analyze educational organizations and plan programs and strategies for increasing organizational effectiveness.
  4. To develop techniques to facilitate interpersonal and group problem-solving and decision-making.
  5. To develop skills in managing change and conflict in educational endeavors.
  6. To interpret research findings and design and implement research techniques for their organizational needs.

In addition to the Educational Leadership Degree (M.A.), the department also offers the following certificate-only options for graduate study:  Supervisor-Administrative Services Certification, Principal-Administrative Services Certification, Director of School Counseling Services Certification. We also offer an Educational Leadership (M.A.) with a concentration in Higher Education.

Admission Information

All candidates must meet application and admission requirements as defined by The Graduate School.

Course Requirements Application Requirements Apply Now