About the Degree

The Master’s Degree in Educator Leadership prepares educators to take on a variety of leadership roles in their buildings or districts. The program is intended to (1) develop administrative skills such as management, supervision and decision-making but also will focus on preparing school leaders to be instructional leaders, and (2) improve instruction and in turn improve student learning.

The program focuses on building collaborative cultures and professional learning as well as continuous improvement through data-driven decision making. Another key focus of this program is to prepare these leaders to have a deep understanding of best practices in aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Applicants enter the program after completion of at least the bachelor's degree and will complete a minimum of 36 semester credit hours for the Master’s degree.

In addition to the completion of core courses, students will complete an Action Research Capstone project based on a field-based needs assessment and data analysis. Students are also expected to make presentations at professional conferences in order to communicate best practices related to applying specialized pedagogical content and displaying leadership abilities.

South Carolina Teaching Add-ons and Endorsements

All strands within the M.Ed. In Educator Leadership lead to either an add-on certification or endorsement by the Department of Education. While the completion of one strand (or 12 elective credit hours) is required, students are encouraged to compete as many of the certification areas as they so desire. Individuals who wish to add certifications to an existing license may see additional information at the South Carolina State Department of Education.

Specific to USC Aiken, teachers must meet the following requirements: (a) Bachelor’s degree, (b) initial or professional license at the middle, secondary, or PK–12 level, (c) minimum qualifying score(s) on the content area examination(s) required by the State Board of Education. In addition, you may need to complete the following courses approved by the State of SC Office of eLearning to correlate with the courses required as part of the M.Ed. in Educator Leadership. 


Applicants enter the program after completion of at least the bachelor's degree and will complete a minimum of 36 semester credit hours for the Masters degree. In addition to the completion of core courses, students will select a specialty area that will address their particular interests.

Degree requirements:

  1. Successful completion of an approved program of study providing a minimum of 36 hours of graduate credit. A student’s official program of study must be approved not only by the student’s advisor but by the Dean of the School of Education and the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
  2. A minimum grade point average of 3.00 (B) is required on the total graduate program with a minimum average of B on all 700-800 level courses.
  3. Successful completion of an action research project and an oral defense.

Transcripts of transfer graduate credits must be on file prior to approval of graduation applications.

The program is entirely web-based.

Total hours required : 36

Core Courses (18 hours)

EDUC A660 - Professional Leadership and Mentoring (3 hours)

EDUC A661 - Professional Development & Adult Learning (3 hours)

EDUC A632 - Cultural Diversity in Education (3 hours)

EDUC A662 - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment (3 hours)

EDUC A663 - Assessment & Data Analysis (3 hours)

EDUC A664 - Applied Research (3 hours)

Practicum Courses (6 hours)

EDUC A672 - The Teacher Leader in Practice I (3 hours)

EDUC A673 - The Teacher Leader in Practice II (3 hours)

Elective Courses (12 hours minimum)

Students will select a minimum of 12 credit hours from the following Specialty Area Courses.

English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL Add-on Certification)

EDUC A630 - Principles and Strategies for Teaching Elem and Sec ELLs (3 hours)

EDUC A631 - Teaching Reading and Writing to Multilingual Leaners (3 hours)

EDUC A636 - Linguistics (3 hours)

Project-Based Learning (Add-on Endorsement)

EDUC A641 - Introduction to Problem-Based Learning (3 hours)

EDUC A642 - Applications of PBL in Curriculum & Instruction (3 hours)

EDUC A643 - Practicum in Project-Based Learning (3 hours)

Gifted & Talented (Add on Endorsement)

EDUC A650 - Introduction to Curriculum for GT Students (3 hours)

EDUC A651 - Nature and Needs of Gifted and Talented Students (3 hours)

Educational Technology/Online Teaching (Add-on Endorsement)

EDET A722 - Instructional Design & Assessment (3 hours)

EDUC A755 - Design & Evaluation of Information Access & Delivery

Choose 2 of the following 3 courses :

Literacy (R2S Endorsement)

EDUC A653 - Foundations in Reading (3 hours)

EDUC A654 - Assessment of Reading (3 hours)

EDUC A655 - Content Area Reading and Writing (3 hours)

EDUC A656 - Instructional Practices (3 hours)

Early Childhood Special Education

EDUC A620 - Adv Study of Intro to Early Childhood Special Education (3 hours)

EDUC A621 - Adv Study of Assessment of Young Children with Disabilities (3 hours)

EDUC A622 - Adv Study of Procedures for Working with Young Children with Disabilities (3 hours)

EDUC A623 - Adv Study of Social/Emotional Development and Guidance for Young Children with Disabilities (3 hours)

EDUC A624 - Practicum/Field Experience in ECE SpEd (3 hours)

EDUC A625 - Family Engagement in ECE SpEd (3 hours)


For consideration for admission, applicants should have:

  • Licensure (or eligibility for licensure) as a teacher.
  • An undergraduate degree from a United States regionally accredited institution.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on undergraduate coursework or permission from the Dean

Questions? Contact Dr. Erin Besser at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..