Project Description


Overview | Curriculum | Careers

The Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, which we have called IDEAL (for Inclusive Development of Educational Administrators and Leaders) has been designed to provide aspiring school leaders with the rigorous, research-based, and job-embedded preparation required of equity-driven, instructional and transformative leaders of public, charter, private, religious, and international schools. The IDEAL Program has been designed to meet the needs of emerging school leaders who work full-time while they manage multiple personal commitments.

Completion of this degree and passing the Florida Educational Leadership Exam (FELE), leads to Florida Educational Leadership Certification (Level I), which qualifies an individual to serve as an assistant principal, intern assistant principal, intern principal, or interim principal.

In addition to the leadership domains of knowledge and experiential learning considered as world class by the profession, the IDEAL Program includes learning the Florida Principal Leadership Standards which are measured through the FELE, and the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL). It also complies with the program reaccreditation requirements specified by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

The curriculum’s delivery model is designed for both local and distant learners and is therefore offered in a synchronous distributed eLearning format. This means that, while all classes require real-time attendance with their instructor (on Saturday mornings and week-day evenings), students can opt either to attend on-site classes with their instructor at the FAU Campus in Southeast Florida, and/or join remotely via the University video-conferencing platform. All classes, including the three-semester internship, are conducted using this delivery model.

The IDEAL curriculum combines rigorous coursework with job-embedded clinical practice conducted at the student’s school throughout the program. Students apply what they learn by conducting the majority of their assignments and competency assessments in their schools. The program is delivered using the Canvas Learning Management System, supported by the LiveText (Watermark) Data Management System.

To ensure the effective completion of the school-based tasks included in the program’s three-semester internship, students are required to establish a strong working relationship with their Principal, who must agree to act as their mentor for the duration of the program*. Students in Florida graduate after completing state licensure requirements by taking the Florida Educational Leadership Examination (FELE). Students elsewhere should become informed as to the licensure requirements in their state.

* Principal sponsors are required to complete mentor training provided by the Department.

Both in-person and remote students will be attending classes following the schedule indicated below. The real-time classes are complemented by online readings, resources, assignments, and assessments.

Schedule of all courses:

Six-week fast-track courses (2 per semester):

  • Saturdays 8:30 – 12:30 pm
  • Thursdays 4:20 – 6:50 pm

Semester long courses, including the three-semester internship:

  • Tuesdays      4:20 – 6:50 pm

Required Courses:

The IDEAL Plan of Study comprises 15 courses, which includes three internships that are conducted at the student’s school with the guidance of their instructor and the support of their school administrator mentor. The program is mandated in terms of coursework – there are no elective classes, and courses are scheduled on a pre-established rotation. The following table lists the coursework that you need to take for your degree:

Students must take all of the following courses in a cohort model, in which a new cohort begins each January.

Leadership Foundations Coursework
ADE 6381 Leadership 1 – Adult Learning & Assessment 3
EDS 6100 Leadership 2 – Theory & Assessment 3
EDA 6103 Leadership 3 – Administrative Processes 3
Education Foundations Coursework
STA 6113 Statistical Methods in Education 3
EDF 6481 Educational Research Methods (pre- or co-requisite: Stat. Methods) 3
Professional Knowledge Coursework
EDA 6207 Managing School Operations 3
EDF 6786 Educational Governance 3
EDS 6050 Instructional Leadership 1 3
EDS 6052 Instructional Leadership 2 (prerequisite: Instructional Leadership 1) 3
EDA 6232 Practical School Law (prerequisite: Educational Governance) 3
EDA 6300 Systems and Community 3
EDA 6931 Leadership for Social Justice 3
Experiential Coursework
EDA 6945 Fall Internship 2
EDA 6946 Spring Internship 2
EDA 6947 Summer Internship 2


IMPORTANT: Additional Graduation Requirements

  • ESOL Endorsement — Candidates in public schools who have not met their ESOL/ELL requirement of sixty (60) hours of ESOL district in-service points, or three (3) credit hours in a survey type ESOL course, must take TSL 4324 ESOL Strategies for Content Area Teachers prior to program completion. All other candidates must provide proof of ESOL Endorsement or Certification or may opt to take TSL 4324 ESOL Strategies for Content Area Teachers.
  • The Florida Educational Leadership Exam (FELE) must be taken and passed before graduation.
  • There is no thesis requirement for this program.

ideal schedule

IDEAL Curriculum Schedule

As mentioned, coursework is complemented synchronously through online readings, journals, and assignments. The latter consist of directed research and tasks students conduct at their place of work. Using this rotation, students can complete the program in six semesters (see IDEAL Curriculum Schedule above). Please note that the program requires full-time attendance. Exceptions due to major life circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Careers: The IDEAL School Leaders Master’s Degree is designed for committed, equity-driven education professionals aspiring to leadership positions such as:

  • Assistant or vice-principals,
  • department chairs,
  • curriculum coordinators, and
  • interim principals

in public, private, religious, alternative, and international schools.

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We understand that there is more involved to being a student than just completing a class. The Center for eLearning at Florida Atlantic University offers a full range of support services to help our students be successful, such as online tutoring, career services, library services and disability access.


Degree Details
College College of Education
Degree type M. Ed.
*Cost per credit
- In State (FL) $369.82
- Out of State (FL) $1,024.81
Credits needed to graduate 42 hours*
* cost per credit and total cost are calculated using tuition per credit and associated fees for the current academic year. It does not include course materials, textbook expenses, and other potential expenses related to individual courses. See academic calendar for our quarter term schedule.
More Information About this Program
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Visit this department’s home page for more information about this online program.
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