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Master's and Educational Specialist Degree Options with Dual Licensure for Educational Leadership & Special Education Administration

This online interdisciplinary program is offered with two degree options, each of which also prepares you for dual licensure as both a Principal and a Special Education Director.

  • Educational Leadership and Special Education Administration Master of Arts (MA) – with dual licensure as a Principal and Special Education Director – for those who have earned a bachelor's degree.
  • Educational Leadership and Special Education Administration Educational Specialist (EdS) – for those who have already earned a master's degree. Though the dual licensure is not in the official degree name, this program does include that preparation.

Add valuable credentials, help create positive change, and be prepared to successfully lead high-achieving, culturally responsive schools.

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Course Topics Include:

  • The principalship
  • Contextual understanding of systems
  • Program planning & organization
  • Policy, budget & resource development
  • Parent/community engagement
  • Applied research/evaluation
  • Contemporary educational issues

Take the Lead and Make a Difference

Our online and hybrid delivery options allow participants to remain in their schools and communities while completing an advanced degree that will open a variety of doors to career advancement. Graduates assume roles as building principals at elementary, middle, or high school levels; and district level positions as special education directors and/or central office administrators.

Teacher talking to students in front of a chalkboard

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This program is 39 credit hours, which can be completed online in as few as 7 or 8 academic terms (less than 3 years). You will earn dual licensure as a Principal* and Special Education Director, and either an Master of Arts (MA) or Educational Specialist (EdS) degree.

*Note: this program will prepare graduates for Principal Licensure in Colorado. Residents of other states may be eligible for reciprocal recognition or your advisor will work with you on state-specific licensure requirement needs.

Synchronous Online Sessions

Each online course will include synchronous learning sessions where the professor and students meet online at the same time approximately one weeknight per week during the academic terms.


Required Coursework (39 Credit Hours)


Comprehensive Exam

Students must obtain a passing grade on a final comprehensive exam, which is a “take home” essay that requires students to apply the knowledge gained in coursework from both disciplines to address a practical educational leadership organizational dilemma.


For full details, see the official program listings in the UNC Graduate Catalog:

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