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Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis

College of Education

Master of Education

The Master of Education program is designed to prepare educators for beginning administrative positions at the campus or district level. It leads to Tennessee licensure as a Beginning Administrator. Entrance requirements include a bachelor's degree, teaching certificate, and a several years of teaching experience. The culminating experience is a professional portfolio review.

Concentration Areas and the Requirements:

Program Admissions Requirements

Students applying to the master's degree program in educational leadership must meet the general requirements for admission to the School of Graduate Studies, transfer of credit, and time limitations specified in the front section of this catalog. In addition, applicants must meet the specific requirements for admission to the department identified in this catalog.

Applicants may apply at any time during the year, although admission decisions will be made approximately one semester prior to the start of a new cohort group. This will mean an October or November decision for a cohort group that will be starting in the spring semester.

Professionally certificated teachers applying for admission to programs leading to a master's degree must show a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or an upper level GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. Their GPAs in professional education, psychology, and major field of study, each figured separately, must also be above 2.75. All exceptions to the 2.75 GPA for admissions must be approved on appeal.

A student must be admitted to the master's degree program to receive credit toward the degree. Applicants for admission will be required to achieve Tennessee standards for administrative endorsement before being granted consideration for a degree program with recommendation for public school certification. Prior to being admitted students must also submit:

  1. a letter of support from the candidate's superintendent or other comparable supervisor and
  2. three additional letters of recommendation. Applicants will also be asked to participate in a personal interview with departmental and local school district personnel and complete a written essay.

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All students in the Master of Education program in educational leadership will move through the degree program as part of a cohort group. Cohort students will begin the program in the same semester (usually in the spring) and continue through the program with the same group, taking one major course each succeeding semester until the program is completed. Applicants should contact the graduate coordinator of the ELPA master's degree program for information about when a new cohort program will be starting.

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Required Courses

Graduate students admitted to the master's degree program in educational leadership begin their program by completing ELPA 5100: Interpersonal Relations. The Tennessee Department of Education has approved the required sequence of courses as meeting requirements for Beginning Administrator Endorsement.

Summary of Required Courses for the Master of Education with a Major in Educational Leadership

ELPA 5100 - Interpersonal Relations - 6 hours

ELPA 5200 - Emerging Perspectives Influencing the School - 6 hours

ELPA 5300 - Professional Needs of Individuals & Groups - 6 hours

ELPA 5400 - Developing Learners Through Instructional Leadership - 6 hours

ELPA 5500 - Implementation Strategies: Making It Happen - 6 hours

ELPA 5600 - Shaping the Quality and Character of the Institution - 6 hours

EDFN 5010 - Interdisciplinary Seminar - 1 hour

Total = 37 hours

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Beginning Administrator Endorsement

The applicant for endorsement as principal or district-level supervisor shall hold a teacher's professional certificate. The applicant should have completed the approved master's degree program in educational leadership. The applicant shall have had a minimum of three years of successful teaching experience and/or administrative experience in grades for which the certification is sought. The applicant must successfully pass the examination required by the Tennessee Department of Education. For a "Type B" Beginning Administrator Endorsement, the applicant shall successfully complete an appropriate, supervised, Standard Ninety-Day Internship or Alternative Ninety-Day Internship as part of the planned program. No ninety-day internship program is required to receive a "Type A" Beginning Administrator Endorsement. The State Department of Education adds the endorsement of Beginning Administrator (K-12) to an existing teaching certificate.

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Internship Program

While students enrolled in the master's degree program in educational leadership are engaged in relevant fieldwork throughout their program of study, they are required to complete a focused internship as part of their educational experience. The internship may take one of two forms, the Standard Ninety-Day Internship and the Alternative Ninety-Day Internship. In the Standard Ninety-Day Internship, candidates will have a minimum experience of ninety days in a school setting and five days in a non-educational setting (e.g., business or community agency). The Standard Ninety-Day Internship is optional and leads to a "Type B" Beginning Administrator Endorsement at the completion of the master's degree program.

Candidates unable to pursue the Standard Ninety-Day Internship must develop an Alternative Ninety-Day Internship experience in collaboration with their graduate advisor. Candidates will be able to accumulate their 90 days of internship in a school over six semesters through a combination of different activities. The 90 days accumulated over six semesters will be logged and verified by signatures from the supervising mentors and the faculty advisor. The Alternative Ninety-Day Internship leads to a "Type B" Beginning Administrator Endorsement at the completion of the master's degree program.

Students may not finish the master's degree program without completing either the Standard Ninety-Day Internship or the Alternative Ninety-Day Internship. Applicants interested in learning more about the internship program and licensure options should contact the Graduate Coordinator of the ELPA master's degree program.

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Portfolio Development

While in the program students will develop a professional portfolio, the presentation and committee review of which will serve as a culminating experience. Development of the portfolio provides each student with opportunities for reflection and self-evaluation. The portfolio also serves to spotlight skills and accomplishments that will be of interest to future employers. Specific information on the required elements for the portfolio may be obtained from the Graduate Coordinator.

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Performance Assessment

Students in the master's degree program in educational leadership will be engaged in assessments that are based on the 21 domains of competence underlying the thematic core curriculum. These assessments will include written examinations, videotaped performances, materials development, research projects, and oral presentations.

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Program Coordinator:

 Dr. Foley

502 Warf-Pickel Hall
P. O. Box 70550
423 439 7615


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