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.

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).


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 available to help during your application process. Contact Neomia Hagans Flores, director of academic and professional outreach, at neomia.hagans@nulluky.edu.



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.

All Applicants

You 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. Requirements include

  • Cumulative 3.0 or higher GPA on 4.0 scale on all previous postsecondary coursework.
  • Official transcripts for all postsecondary coursework.
  • Personal statement about why applying to program.
  • Updated professional resume.
  • Recommendations from three educators, including principal or superintendent if possible.

Experience working as a P12 teacher or as another type of educational practitioner is highly recommended.

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

Kentucky Teachers

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

  • Hold valid P12 teacher certification
  • Demonstrate the attributes of a highly effective teacher as defined by the Education Professional Standards Board through professional reflection
  • Receive recommendation for their principal or department chair who attests to applicant’s success as a classroom teacher and as potential teacher leader

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.

All students in the Graduate Certificate programs or in the combined Teacher Leader Masters/Ed.S. program receive a scholarship from the Department of Education Leadership Studies of 29% of current UK Graduate School tuition. Please contact us for more detailed information.

Contact Neomia Hagans Flores, director of academic and professional outreach, at neomia.hagans@nulluky.edu. 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.