Enhance your passion for learning and teaching in a 100% online Master of Education (M.Ed.) or Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) program – from the state’s flagship university.

Prepare to step out of your classroom comfort zone. Become a teacher leader within your school and beyond. Earn a 100% online Master’s (M.Ed.) or Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Teacher Leadership from the University of Kentucky. Our program is ranked 17th in the nation in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs rankings (listed by the magazine as “educational administration and supervision”).

If you’re a Kentucky-certified teacher, you can earn teacher leadership endorsement and rank change (as approved by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board).

Special Notice on Admissions: As of July 1, 2019, we have eliminated letters of recommendation as a requirement for admission to our master’s and educational specialist degree programs for teacher leadership and rank change.

Added Value of Graduate Certificates

Three graduate certificates are embedded within the program. You can select the ones you earn along the way.

Our certificates show hiring officials your expertise in:

  • Instructional Coaching
  • Leadership for Deeper Learning
  • School Technology Leadership

We are availble to help during your application process.

Application Questions

Program Questions



Our Program Experience

The primary goal of our 30-credit program is to prepare teachers for leadership that supports school and student success. We envision our graduates as teacher leaders who are actively engaged in and supportive of school-wide improvement initiatives and who model lifelong learning. We value:


Our program prepares teachers to assume formal roles (e.g., department chair, grade-level team leader, technology coordinator) or informal roles (e.g., instructional model, peer mentor) and lead from within and beyond the classroom.


Because collective leadership by administrators and teachers is essential for successful 21st century schools, our program emphasizes developing interpersonal relationships and interdependence to achieve shared visions and goals.


Because teacher leaders build organizational capacity through their shared instructional leadership and collegial support for sustainable change efforts, our program is delivered through cohorts that function as communities of practice.


Our program develops requisite knowledge and skills teachers need to foster learning-centered leadership and conduct action research while simultaneously engaged in individualized professional development.


All courses integrate individual and group learning, field-based activities and virtual class meetings, and research and reflection to assure relevance and applicability.


Students evidence their learning through creation and oral defense of their unique electronic portfolios.

Program Outcomes

Diverse learning experiences across the program prepare teachers to serve as a:

  • Curriculum specialist
  • Department chair or team leader
  • Instructional coach
  • Peer mentor
  • Technology specialist
  • Change agent


Words From Our Alumni

Being a part of the Teacher Leadership Program at UK was much more than I could have ever imagined. I was given the opportunity to be with like-minded, passionate educators who all share the goal of being effective leaders within our school communities. The course selection provided me with fundamental knowledge and skills so I could effectively initiate change within my own school community, and the instructors were knowledgable, passionate, and dedicated to helping each individual grow as an educational leader. Because of the level of preparation I had leaving this program I was able to earn my first principalship at a leading international school. My participation in this program has been the most profound learning experience of my career.

Jack Young

The UK Teacher Leadership Program was perfect for me! I am an aspiring principal, so this program provided the ideal framework for my future in educational leadership.The courses were relevant, the professors were supportive, and I sincerely enjoyed working with my cohort members. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to inspire positive educational change.

Jordan Elliott



You will earn your master’s or specialist degree in 30 credit hours (about 20 months).

Required courses:

  • ELS 620 – Leading Action Research and Inquiry 1
  • ELS 621 – Leading Action Research and Inquiry 2
  • (The action research report is a required artifact in your electronic portfolio.)

Courses required for Kentucky teachers seeking Teacher Leader Endorsement and rank change that can be achieved as a graduate student or as a certification-only student (15 credits).

  • ELS 600 – Leadership for Learning-Centered Schools
  • ELS 604 – Leadership in Communities of Practice
  • ELS 620 – Leading Action Research and Inquiry 1
  • ELS 621 – Leading Action Research and Inquiry 2
  • ELS 624 – Leadership Practicum

During the graduate program, you can select courses leading to one or more graduate certificates:

  • Graduate Certificate in Instructional Coaching (9 credits)
    • EDL 638 – Instructional Coaching and Mentoring
    • ELS 604 – Leadership in Communities of Practice
    • One of the following courses:
      • ELS 600 – Leadership in Learning Centered Schools
      • ELS 624 – Leadership Practicum
      • EDL 669 – Leadership for Creative Problem Solving
  • Graduate Certificate in Leadership for Deeper Learning (9 credits)
    • EDL 662 – Leading for Next Generation Learning
    • EDL 664 – Assessment Leadership
    • ELS 620 – Leading Action Research and Inquiry 1
  • Graduate Certificate in School Technology Leadership (9 credits)
    • EDL 661 – School Technology Leadership
    • EDL 663 – Leadership for School Program Improvement
    • EDL 665 – School Technology Leadership for Digital Citizenship



You must meet the admissions requirements established by the UK Graduate School and by the Department of Educational Leadership Studies.


To be eligible for admission to this graduate program, you must:

  • M.Ed. applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree, preferably education-based, from a fully accredited institution of higher learning in the USA or from a recognized foreign institution with cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Ed. S. applicants must have successfully completed a master’s degree, preferably education-based, from a fully accredited institution of higher learning in the USA or from a recognized foreign institution with cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Experience working as a P12 teacher or as another type of educational practitioner is highly recommended.

Kentucky Teachers Seeking Teacher Leader Endorsement and Rank Change

If you are seeking teacher leader endorsement and rank change, you must:

  • Hold valid P12 teacher certification. A copy of your certificate must be included in your application.
  • Demonstrate the attributes of a highly effective teacher as defined by the Education Professional Standards Board through professional reflection. This should be included in your application.

Application Documents

  • UK Application for Admission
  • Transcripts: Copies of all transcripts from all postsecondary institutions that you attended. Uploaded transcripts may be official or unofficial, however If you are offered admission and decide to enroll you will then be required to submit official transcripts to the Graduate School.
  • Resume: Limited to 2 pages, providing your name and contact information as well as postsecondary education (all degrees, years awarded, institution names, emphasis area), work experiences, education certifications, professional memberships.
  • Personal Statement: Please write 2-3 double‐spaced pages, word‐processed in either Times New Roman 12‐point or Arial 10‐point, page numbers and your name in upper right corner about why you are applying to the program. If you cite literature/resources to support your comments, adhere to the academic writing guidelines provided in 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
  • Writing Sample: If applying for Teacher Leader Endorsement or rank change prepare a Professional Reflection (2-3 double-spaced pages, word-processed in either Times New Roman 12-point or Ariel 10-point, page numbers and your name in upper right corner). Describe how your classroom evidences the components of highly effective teaching and learning (i.e., learning climate, classroom assessment and reflection, instructional rigor and student engagement, instructional relevance, knowledge of content). If you cite literature or resources to support your comments, then you must adhere to the academic writing guidelines provided in 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
  • If applying for Teacher Leader Endorsement or rank change a copy of your valid K12 teacher certificate.
  • No Letters of Recommendation Needed

International Teachers

If your native language is not English, you must submit either a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score.

  • Minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (internet-based)
  • Minimum IELTS mean band score of 6.5
  • Please note that the language score for international applicants who have received a degree from a U.S. institution is waived.

Award of rank change is determined by the Education Professional Standards Board according to graduate degree completed.


Frequently Asked Questions

Detailed information about the application process can be found at https://education.uky.edu/edl/admissions/.

30 credits taken over approximately 20 months.

For information regarding current program cost please refer to the UK Graduate Tuition and Fees page.

Application Questions

Program Questions

You can also fill out the form below to receive useful emails about the program, such as application tips and online info sessions.

We offer either a Master’s (M.Ed.) or Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Teacher Leadership depending on the program you enroll in.

Check out our departmental FAQ page for useful information about our programs.


Need more information before applying?

Tell us more about yourself. We will provide information to help you reach your educational and career goals.

State Authorization and Licensure

If you plan to complete a University of Kentucky online program while living outside of Kentucky, you should check the Out-of-State Students page to determine if the University of Kentucky is authorized to provide this program in your state of residence. If you plan to use the degree to seek licensure, you should also determine if the degree meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state.