M.S.Ed. in Educational Administration

Program Overview

This 36 semester hour program focuses on the knowledge, skills and dispositions required for persons interested in obtaining the principal endorsement on an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) in order to be eligible to work as a principal, assistant principal or in similar positions as designated by individual school districts. The goal of the program is to prepare visionary leaders with the skills and knowledge to effectively implement and manage an educational environment that utilizes evidence of student learning to drive continuous school improvement.

Our state-approved program is completed over the course of two years (six consecutive semesters) including the summer session. The courses are a hybrid of online and in-class instruction so students only spend about 50 percent of their time in a traditional classroom setting. The rest of the time students participate through synchronous online sessions in a virtual classroom setting. The program is offered in a cohort format so students take classes in a specific sequence with their peers.

We plan to start a new cohort every fall semester and we try to rotate cohorts between or main campus in DeKalb and our satellite campuses in Hoffman Estates, Naperville and Rockford. Classes will be offered on a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday schedule from 6-9 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters and from 5-9 p.m. during the summer session. Classes will remain at the same campus and follow the same schedule (i.e., Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday) throughout the entire cohort. Classes during the fall and spring semesters are delivered in a 14-week format and summer classes are an 8-week format.

Students complete a yearlong internship in their current school district during the final three semesters of the program. Students are not required to take a leave of absence from their current position in order to complete the internship or other course work requirements.

Tuition rates are subject to change and are not locked in for the duration of a cohort. Please refer to the Office of the Bursar for information about current rates.

Students are encouraged to contact their school districts about the availability of NIU tuition waivers or tuition reimbursement programs. You may also visit the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office for information about funding your education.

  • A minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.50 (preferred)
  • At least two years of full-time experience on a current and valid Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL)*
  • Current employment in an Illinois school
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)** (There is no specific minimum score. Admission decisions are based on the total profile of each applicant.)

Please Note: All students are admitted on a conditional basis. Applicants will be considered for formal admission after a review of assignments and activities completed during the first semester of the program.

*School support personnel (e.g., counselors and psychologists) are currently eligible to enroll in a principal preparation program by June 30, 2021.

**Applicants with a graduate degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.00 may request a waiver of the GRE test score requirement. Please send an email to Chloe Board at cboard1@niu.edu after submitting an application and your official transcripts showing evidence of the degree and GPA have been received by the NIU Graduate School.

In order to be considered for admission you will need to submit a degree-seeking application. Be sure to select Educational Administration M.S.Ed. as your intended major. During the application process you will be asked to provide the following items:

  • Statement of Purpose / Personal Statement - A written statement of academic and professional goals. Your statement should describe why you wish to pursue the degree and why you wish to do so at NIU. Most statements of purpose are between 250 and 750 words in length.
  • Current resume / Curriculum vitae
  • Transcripts – It is okay to upload unofficial copies for the initial review but official copies will need to be received by the NIU Graduate School prior to enrolling in classes. You do not need to request copies of official transcripts showing course work from NIU. The Graduate School will have a record of any official transcripts you have previously submitted.
  • Test scores from the GRE or a test score waiver – If you will be waiving the GRE requirement you may upload a Word document indicating that you are requesting a waiver. You may then send an email to Chloe Board at cboard1@niu.edu to request a waiver after your official transcripts showing evidence of your graduate degree and GPA have been received by the NIU Graduate School.
  • Names and email addresses of two references who are willing to write a letter of recommendation - Your references will be sent a link via email to complete an electronic recommendation form. They are not required to send a hard copy to the Graduate School.

After you submit your application you may log into CollegeNet to view your checklist and upload any required materials not previously submitted. For additional support with the application you may contact the CollegeNet HelpDesk. If you need further assistance you may contact the NIU Graduate School at 815-753-0395 or gradsch@niu.edu.

Completed applications are reviewed in the order they are received. We have a limited number of seats available so apply early to reserve your seat in a cohort. The priority application deadline for fall admission is April 15th but we can still consider completed applications received by July 15th.

After Applying

You should receive a decision letter from the Graduate School within a few weeks after submitting a completed application. Admitted students should log into MyNIU to accept their admission after receiving the letter. Our department will send out registration letters via email as soon as they are available. Be sure to check your NIU student email regularly for all official NIU communication.

After receiving conditional admission students must successfully complete the following items during their first semester in order to be considered for formal admission:

  • Submission of a portfolio that presents evidence of a candidate’s achievements during his or her educational experience
  • Secure a letter of support from your current superintendent (template will be provided)
  • Secure a letter of commitment from your prospective internship mentor (template will be provided)
  • On-site written response to a given scenario
  • On-site interview with at least two NIU faculty members
  • Earn a grade of “B” or higher in LEEA 500 and LEEA 501

More details about the formal admission process can be found in the Admissions and Overview handbook.

Please Note: Successful completion of the first two courses does not guarantee formal admission into the program. Any applicant who is denied admission may submit an appeal to be reviewed by the admissions committee. Appeals must be in writing, explain the basis for appeal and include information not previously submitted.

Apply Now


Contact David Snow, Graduate Program Advisor


Christine Rienstra Kiracofe

Kelly Summers

James Surber

Rebecca Surber

Teresa Wasonga