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Graduate & Professional | In-Person

Educational Leadership, M.Ed. or Ed.S.

An intensive and immersive program in Educational Leadership with the eligibility to apply for licensure as an instructional leader in the state of Tennessee

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College of Education

Hallie Caddy
Admissions Coordinator
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Why pursue graduate studies in Educational Leadership

Belmont University offers an intensive and immersive program in Educational Leadership leading to a Master of Education (M.Ed.) or Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree, as well as eligibility to apply for licensure as an instructional leader (school principal) in the state of Tennessee.

Our thoughtfully crafted program is applicable to those who are interested in principal preparation and seeking to become aspiring school administrators or other educational leaders as they gain the knowledge, skills, and capabilities they need to constructively lead educational organizations. Candidates experience opportunities with a deep grounding in the concepts of purpose, character strengths, and virtues which is critical to navigating the ethical dilemmas, challenges, and tradeoffs that educational leaders face every day.

Our goal is to recruit, train, and support the next generation of outstanding and committed PreK-12 leaders in all sectors of education in the state of Tennessee.

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

The ideal candidate will be an experienced and successful teacher leader who aspires to be an Assistant or Head School Principal in the next 3-8 years. An undergraduate education degree with an initial teaching license is required for admission. Candidates will graduate with a master's degree and administrative license.

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

The ideal candidate will be an experienced and successful teacher leader or an early career school administrator such as an Assistant Principal who aspires to be a Head School Principal in the next 3-8 years. A separate master's degree is required for admission. Candidates will graduate with an Educational Specialist degree and administrative license.

What You'll Learn? 

The Educational Leadership program includes several important curricular components, including:

  • Foundational Education Leadership Courses
  • Business and Entrepreneurship Courses
  • Personal Leadership Strand
  • Clinical Practice Internship
  • Reflective Practice Seminars
  • Capstone Education Project (Ed.S. only)
Two teaching students study outside on a sunny day

Career Possibilities

  • Assistant Principal
  • Head Principal

Program Details


The Educational Leadership program gives aspiring school administrators and other educational leaders the knowledge, skills, and capabilities they need to lead educational organizations constructively.

M.Ed. Total:  31 credit hours

M.Ed. Course Catalog

Ed.S. Total: 35 credit hours

Ed.S. Course Catalog

Courses you'll take for both an M.Ed. and an Ed.S.

  • BSA 6830 Data and Decision Making
    This course teaches students how to work with different types of data and utilize analytical tools to solve problems. Students will identify data requirements, utilize statistical techniques to evaluate data quality and completeness, prepare data for analysis, and transform data into useful information.
  • EDL 6005 Introduction to Educational Leadership
    Leadership theory will be examined from both a general and education-specific perspective. Effective practices and essential responsibilities of school and district leaders will be explored, and research demonstrating the impact and import of successful, culturally responsive instructional and organizational leadership in the context of student learning and achievement will be studied.
  • EDL 6015, 6080, 6170, 6180 Leading with Purpose I-IV
    In a four-course sequence on Leading with Purpose, aspiring leaders will be exposed to the Compass in Leadership Framework, and focus on themes of the candidate’s Leadership Center, Leadership Edge, Leadership Story, and Leadership Purpose.
  • EDL 6025 Educational Governance, Policy, Advocacy & Excellence
    Structures of educational governance and policymaking will be examined in considerable depth, including the statutory and regulatory environment for PreK-12 education in Tennessee and the United States. School, district, and state accountability mechanisms will be explored, and effective strategies for adopting and achieving rigorous academic standards will be studied.
  • EDL 6100 Equity and Social Justice
    The course defines the concepts and principles of culture, diversity, equity and social justice and their impact on public and private educational institutions. The focus is on current controversies and activity but includes the beginnings of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the desegregation of the nation’s public schools. There is a focus on the responsibility of leaders to create a culture that supports, builds, and champions equity and social justice in the institutions they lead.
  • EDL 6140 Change Leadership, Organizational Culture & Human Flourishing
    Organizational excellence will be examined from the perspective of the individual educator, staff member, leader, and student. Inspiration, motivation, incentive structures, developmental evaluation, and continuous improvement will be explored. The nature and dynamics of change will be studied, and strategies for aligning human flourishing with organizational success will be investigated.
  • EDL 6150, 6155 Standards-Based Reflective Leadership Practice I-II
    Students will process and reflect on how their clinical experience relates to and aligns with various leadership and educational standards, including the Tennessee Instructional Leadership Standards (TILS), the Professional Standards for Educational Leadership (PSEL), and the Tennessee Literacy Standards for Instructional Leaders. Students will document how their school-based experiences relate specifically to each standard.
  • EDL 6210 Financial Planning and Management in Education Organizations
    Educational Finance provides an overview and historical perspective of school finance in America. In addition to policy, legal and political issues at the state and federal levels of government, district budgeting and financial practices are studied. Current issues of funding and costs of public and higher education are considered as well as the challenges of financing and funding of philanthropic and non-profit organizations.
  • EDU 5431 Instructional Design & Pedagogy
    This course provides an introduction to adult learning theory, educational theory, methods, and strategies for instruction in classroom, clinical, simulation, and online learning.
  • ETP 6510 The Entrepreneurial Mindset
    This course aims to encourage students to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset by developing the discovery, thinking, reasoning and implementation skills necessary to create and develop prosperous ideas in highly uncertain environments. Its conceptualization extends beyond the narrow view of starting a new business, focusing instead on a method that could be employed to start new initiatives, profit or nonprofit, inside a family business, small business, social enterprise, or large corporation and involve systematic efforts to mitigate uncertainty and to manage risk.

Additional Course for the Ed.S. program

  • EDL 6995, 6998 Capstone Education Leadership Project I-II (Ed.S. Only)
    These courses encompass the culminating experience for the Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Educational Leadership. While enrolled in these courses, students will complete a substantial research-based special project in the area of educational leadership under the supervision of a faculty member.

Belmont Teacher Education candidates have many opportunities to practice their advocacy, leadership and teaching skills through participation in Belmont’s service-learning and volunteer opportunities as well as education department-specific opportunities.

Candidates should explore coaching, teaching and tutoring opportunities, as well as create their own opportunities as they engage in service in their new home community of Nashville.

Our community partners include area charter, independent and public schools, as well as nonprofit and for-profit community agencies serving Nashville’s families. Belmont University requires all students to be engaged in community and service-learning opportunities but it is not uncommon for teacher education candidates to go beyond the required hours and in a number of opportunities take leadership roles.

Below are some of the opportunities in which our candidates engage:

Belmont’s Service-Learning and Volunteer Opportunities
Through Get Connected, Belmont’s online volunteer service directory, our candidates can connect with more than 70 area organizations where they can connect and serve. Our teacher candidates take seriously the opportunity to serve the greater Nashville community and volunteer in programs such as English Language Tutors with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, athletic coaches with area middle schools, tutoring programs with the YMCA, Martha O’Bryan Center and area faith-based programs.

Best Buddies©
BESTBUDDIES® builds one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), through school and community friendship programs that provide socialization opportunities to help erase the invisible line that often separates students or adults with and without IDD. Best Buddies at Belmont is an active student organization where Belmont students and community members with IDD become friends and hang out together with a focus on reducing barriers and building inclusive communities focused on strengths and relationships.

Homework Hotline
Homework Hotline is the largest provider of tutoring in Tennessee, the only service available by phone, and the only program that provides tutoring in six languages. Belmont University candidates serve as a volunteer satellite of Homework Hotline, housed on the Belmont campus. In this way, Belmont University students practice teaching techniques while providing one-on-one tutoring to at-risk children.

Kappa Delta Pi National Education Society
Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), International Honor Society in Education, fosters excellence in education and promotes fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. Belmont’s Nu Phi Chapter is additionally, concerned with assisting the community and has been involved with food drives, raising funds for local literacy programs, as well as helping with Homework Hotline.

Student Teacher Education Association
Through its affiliation with the Tennessee Education Association (TEA) and the National Education Association (NEA), our student program leads tomorrow's teachers to a bright professional future. STEA exists to help our members move smoothly from students on campus to beginning teachers. This is achieved through a variety of avenues including organization meetings with speakers who highlight opportunities at Belmont and beyond to broaden understanding of what it means to be an educator, discussion of issues and trends in education, conference attendance for members to network and develop professionally and a focus on service to communities and families.

STEA is proud to work with Belmont University for Annual Family Literacy Day each spring by forming a reading circle where we read aloud books around a theme with children from the community. We also collect canned goods for local food banks as well as school supplies for teachers and children in Nashville Public Schools. Each spring we also host a campus-wide Valentine’s Day card-making event for the children and families of the Ronald McDonald House and residents of local nursing homes.

Belmont University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Questions about the accreditation of Belmont University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website.

Belmont’s Teacher Education Program is approved by the Tennessee Department of Education and accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) legacy site visit of 2021.

Click here for full accreditation, licensure and annual reporting information

Application Deadlines

Fall: August 1

Admissions Checklist

    • Application Form: Apply Online from the BU4U application portal.
    • Application Fee: A $50 non-refundable application fee is required.
    • Official Transcripts: Request official transcripts from previous colleges. You may request official hard copies to be mailed, or they may be sent using a secure third-party electronic service, if your institution participates (i.e. parchment, student clearing house, etc.). Please allow 4-6 weeks for all official transcripts to be received and processed. Official copies should be mailed to: Belmont University, Office of Admissions, 1900 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, TN 37212. Electronic copies should be sent to
    • Recommendations: Contact two individuals for professional recommendations. These are completed after the application fee has been submitted and are listed under the Supplemental Items section. Recommendations are done entirely through the BU4U portal through email.
    • Resume: A professional resume is required and is uploaded through your BU4U portal as a supplemental item.
    • Interview: You may be contacted for an interview with a faculty member from the College of Education.

International Students: 

This program doesn't meet Visa requirements for International students.

Application Status

Applicants are admitted on a rolling admissions pattern and will be notified of the admissions committee's decision shortly after the admissions requirements are completed. To check on the status of your application, check your BU4U account.

  • Tuition Information: Determine the total cost per semester on our Graduate Tuition & Aid website
  • After being offered admission to Belmont, you may secure your enrollment with a nonrefundable enrollment deposit of $150. This deposit will be applied to first-semester charges.


Contact Hallie Caddy if you have questions or need assistance.

Request Information

Contact Us

College of Education

Hallie Caddy
Admissions Coordinator
Email Hallie