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Education leadership and policy

Master of Education in Education Policy and Leadership

Education Policy Drives Social Change

Priority Application Submit Deadline

November 16, 2018

Final Application Submit Deadline

November 30, 2018

Class Start Date

January 14, 2019

Time to Completion

20 months


The US educational system needs innovation. With national policies directing resources away from institutions and students in need, schools and educational organizations, large and small, have a pressing need for driven professionals who can enact systemic reforms that will reinvigorate the American educational system. With an online master’s degree in education policy and leadership from American University, those with a fervent desire to change the course of American education will have the tools to do so. The master’s in education focuses primarily on policy, leadership, law, economics, and research, allowing graduates to cultivate the perspective and skills necessary to shape education policy and change schools, with an eye toward supporting students—especially the most vulnerable.

American University’s online master’s in education program provides access to faculty members who have worked in the US Department of Education and served as consultants on the Obama administration’s Reach Higher Initiative. MEd graduates leave prepared to join a network of American University alumni who are transforming education in the United States.

Click here for more information on our campus-based programs.

AU SOE Online Raise Your Hand for Education

Program Goal

To attract high-quality, diverse students with both professional and academic accomplishments so that students can learn from one another and (with MEd In hand) have a substantial impact at the national, state, or local level.

Program Highlights

  • Earn your degree in 20 months

  • Learn from current and former DC-based policy makers

  • Join an active and supportive alumni network

  • Receive support for identifying career pathways and opportunities

  • Gain hands-on experience through consultancy projects in educational organizations


American University’s master’s in education online program includes a foundation in law, policy, economics, and other disciplines that allow students to understand the educational system, its problems, and the necessary solutions from a systemic point of view.

The program requirements for the master’s in education include 30 credit hours of approved graduate work, comprising 12 credits of core courses and 18 credits focused on Education Policy. (Up to six credit hours may be transferred from work completed at other institutions and approved by the program director at time of admission.) The program culminates in a capstone experience for all students.

Student Stories


Gloria M-E.

After three years in the classroom, I joined the Government Affairs team at TFA, working to build and sustain relationships with Members of Congress and key decision makers in the Executive Branch to ensure educational opportunity for all children.

Christopher H with students

Christopher H.

I was attracted to the program because I wanted to get a MEd from a credible university; the partnership American University has with TNTP helped accomplish that. Even though I love being in the classroom, the program focus created potential to open doors down the road if I ever want to move out of the classroom teacher role.


Liana P.

I am currently a teacher and math teacher leader in the District of Columbia Public Schools through the Teacher Leadership Innovation program. I spend half the day teaching 3rd grade math and science and the other half of the day coaching other teachers.

Alumni & Outcomes

American University’s online master’s in education policy is for individuals who are ready to become active social change makers through their involvement in social justice and policy.

Within six months of completing their programs, 97% of American University’s Education in Policy and Leadership graduates are working, continuing their education, or both.*

*American University does not guarantee employment after graduation.

Program Head
Bilingual Teacher
Policy Maker
Classroom Teacher
Educational Game Designer
Curriculum Specialist
Art Coordinator
Adult Educator
Learning Specialist
Teachers presenting in front of a TV screen and room of students

What makes American University’s online education master’s programs unique?

Our faculty members have worked in the fields they teach, which means they know that formulating beautifully written policy is only a first step in affecting positive and lasting change.

“No matter how brilliant or researched a policy idea is, the wheels always fall off if there’s weak implementation,” says Jason Snyder, director of AU’s education policy and leadership program. “That’s why American University’s master’s in education policy and leadership focuses as much on putting policy into practice as it does on policy development.”

In other words, we meet passion with real-world, hard-won lessons to give students the best possible chance for success upon graduating, ensuring that they have the resources and tools required to bring innovation to the American educational system. We don’t doubt that our students can transform educational systems for the better, and that means we’ve worked hard to establish an education master’s program that marries the theoretical with the practical, the heady with the imperfectly real.

AU students in front of the capitol building in Washington D.C.

Who should choose this degree?

American University believes that in order to ensure that vulnerable student populations receive the education they deserve, we must train the next generation of school administrators and teachers to bring change to the educational system, addressing the problems and policy issues that hinder our nation’s academic institutions. We understand why our students enroll with us: they are passionate about the field of education and its ability to improve our society—and they want to extend the reach of the good they can do. Our nation’s educational system needs passionate teachers, individuals who are committed to driving access and developing innovative solutions to pressing concerns. With the online master’s in education from American University, students will be able to achieve lasting change.

American University’s online master’s in education policy studies track prepares educators and other professionals to serve as leaders in educational organizations, including federal and state education agencies, school districts, charter management organizations, and nonprofits that develop, implement, or evaluate education policies and programs. The degree prepares graduates to plug into a number of different roles, bringing positive change to programs and institutions in need.

Information Webinar Sessions


Join the admissions team for an information session on our Master of Arts in Education Policy and Leadership program. Ask any questions you might have around the program, application process or requirements.

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