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Education Policy Drives Social Change

Students in DC

Our M.Ed. in Education Policy and Leadership gives students the tools to shape the future of education. The EPL program prepares educators and other professionals to serve as leaders in education organizations. Students gain the knowledge and skills in leadership, policy, law, economics, and research to effectively administer education programs and policies at all levels. The EPL program is offered in three formats: on-campus, online, hybrid.

Hybrid Option:

The Education Policy & Leadership program is excited to offer a Hybrid program option. Students will be able to complete their M.Ed. in one year by taking a mix of on-campus and online classes over three semesters. This fast-track option is designed for full-time students only. Admission requirements are the same for the on-campus and online programs. Degree and course requirements are also the same as the on-campus and online program.

On-Campus Curriculum Example


Fall 2023 Spring 2024 Summer 2024 Fall 2024 Spring 2025

EDU 631 – Education Leadership and Organizational Change 

EDU 790 – Quantitative Research In Education EDU 693 – Education Program and Policy Implementation EDU 633 – Economic Inquiry in Education EDU 686 – Proseminar in Education Policy and Leadership

EDU 610 – Overview of Qual. and Quant. Strat.

EDU 634 – Education and Public Policy EDU XXX – Elective  EDU 636 – Education Law and Policy  EDU XXX – Elective 


Online Curriculum Example


Semester 1 Semester 2 Semester 3 Semester 4 Semester 5
EDU 631 – Education Leadership and Organizational Change  EDU 790 – Quantitative Research In Education EDU 693 – Education Program and Policy Implementation EDU 636 – Education Law and Policy EDU 686 – Proseminar in Education Policy and Leadership 

EDU 610 – Overview of Qual. and Quant. Strat.

EDU 634 – Education and Public Policy

EDU XXX – Elective EDU 633 – Economic Inquiry in Education

EDU XXX – Elective


Hybrid Curriculum Example


Fall Semester 1 Spring Semester 2 Summer Semester 3
EDU 631 – Education Leadership and Organizational Change
(on-campus - Th)

EDU 790 – Quantitative Research In Education
(on-campus - T)

EDU 686 – Proseminar in Education Policy and Leadership 

EDU 610 – Overview of Qual. and Quant. Strat.

(on-campus - T)

EDU 634 – Education and Public Policy

(on-campus - Th)

EDU 633 – Economic Inquiry in Education

(on-campus - 1st 7 weeks)

EDU XXX – Elective EDU 636 – Education Law and Policy
(online - W)

EDU 693 – Education Program and Policy Implementation

- - EDU XXX – Elective


Program Highlights
Learning Outcomes
Washington, DC
Program Director
  • 30-unit master's degree that can be completed in four or five semesters
  • Cohort model for full-time teachers and other education professionals
  • Full-time faculty and expert practitioners who bring policy, research, and school experience
  • Practical consultancy projects with schools and DC education policy organizations
  • Special emphasis on implementation and on connecting policy to education practice
  • Support for identifying career pathways

See full Admissions & Degree Requirements.

Graduates of the M.Ed. program will be equipped with the skills every education leader needs to be effective, including strategic budgeting, collaborative inquiry, policy analysis, partnership building, learning science, and program evaluation. We strive to hone students’ knowledge and develop their skills and beliefs in the following four domains:

  • Students will be able to frame problems, understanding the role racialized identities and positionalities play to critically analyze education policies and leadership strategies using data, policy/legal/economic/equity frameworks, real-world experience, and other evidence.
  • Students will be able to critique education and other social systems, policies, and leadership strategies necessary to implement anti-racist solutions.
  • Students will be able to leverage research practices to evaluate and synthesize qualitative and quantitative data to inform antiracist decisions and continuous improvement.
  • Students will be able to provide cross-boundary and antiracist leadership by focusing on collaboration, communications, advocacy, and management.
  • Students will be able to disrupt and dismantle elements of oppressive education and other social systems to reimagine and rebuild antiracist systems that support all students.

The physical location of American University gives EPL Students many opportunities to access policy makers, non-profit organizations, government, and beyond. EPL Students have the chance to regularly meet with change makers in education while completing their degree. One feature of the EPL Program is the Pro-Seminar course. Students are paired with a partner organization and complete a field based consultancy project with the organization. Through these experiences, students help the partner organizations advance their work, while gaining valuable real-world experience and applying the skills and knowledge learned through their study.

The EPL Faculty includes Program Director Reuben Jacobson. Dr. Jacobson has worked at the intersection of education research, policy, and practice for nearly 20 years. He is committed to educational change and equity and has substantial experience designing and implementing strategies that bring stakeholders together to work on common challenges. Dr. Jacobson served as the Deputy Director for the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) where he helped grow and strengthen community schools by mobilizing national partners and local leaders. See Dr. Jacobson’s full profile here

The EPL Program offers its students dedicated support throughout their time with the School of Education. The American University Career Center provides career exploration opportunities for our students including job fairs and resources for writing cover letters and resumes. EPL Students can also take advantage of free resources like the Academic Support and Access Center, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Bender Library Writing Center and many other resources available to students. 

EPL Virtual Open House

Free Virtual Open House

Learn more about the EPL Program through one of our free virtual open houses. Learn about class format, curriculum, tuition financing, and more! You’ll have the chance to hear from faculty and current students.

Register Now

Program Highlights:

Leading from the field article

Speaking from the Field

We host career panels and networking events so that students can make connections and better understand the career options available. 

Watch an Alumni Panel Here

AU Sign

Prospective Student Advising

The EPL Program hosts advising and drop-in hours to answer questions and share student experiences.

Join Advising/Drop-in Hours Here

Frequently Asked Questions

On-Campus & Hybrid Option

Please view our Med Requirements & Admissions page to learn about required application materials and application deadlines for the on-campus and hybrid options. 

Online Option

Please view our MEd Online Format page learn about required application materials and application deadlines for the online option.

International applicants interested in obtaining an F-1 or J-1 visa must apply for the hybrid (full-time) program modality. Learn more about international application requirements on the International Applicants webpage

Please view our M.Ed. Requirements & Admissions page to learn about required application materials and application deadlines for the hybrid option.

We #raiseourhand for our inspiring alums that are working in various sectors of education such as charter schools, non-profit organizations, higher education,  government, local agencies, research, and more. Examples of where some of our alums work are Communities in Schools, KIPP, New York City Department of Education, EducationCounsel, Prep for Prep, Uncommon Schools, and many more!

The program is 30 credit hours. 

Students may request up to 6 transfer credits for graduate courses taken prior to their admission to the Education Policy and Leadership program. Proposed transfer credits must have been completed with a grade of B (3.00) or better and must have been completed no earlier than 5 years prior to the beginning of the semester of which the student is admitted to a graduate program at AU. Transfer credits must be approved by a student’s Graduate Program Director during the students first semester of study and be included in the student’s Program of Study. Transfer credits may be accepted by the approval of the Associate Dean of the academic unit in the second semester of study. Students must give the Graduate Program Director an official transcript from the institution at which the proposed course(s) was completed as well as a syllabus for each course requested for transfer.

The Education Policy and Leadership graduate program director will approve or deny credits based on relevancy to the policy, leadership, and elective courses in our current curriculum. Teaching courses are unlikely to be approved. The program highly values teaching experience and courses, however, the goals of this program are to provide knowledge and skills directly related to policy and leadership. 

For more information please see section 5.2. in American University’s Academic Rules and Regulations for Graduate Students.

No. We require a statement of purpose, resume, transcript(s), and two letters of recommendation. 
*For students with one of our partnership programs, one or more letters may be waived, as well as the application fee.

The program's proseminar course is designed specifically to give students hands-on practical experiences in the field. Small groups of students work as consultants to education organizations in the DC area, conducting research and creating work products that meet the organizations' needs. 

We have worked with the following organizations in the past:

  • AASA: The School Superintendents’ Association
  • Center for American Progress
  • Council of Chief State School Officers
  • DC Public Charter School Board
  • DC's Office of the State Superintendent of Education
  • Ed Counsel
  • Education Forward DC
  • Education Trust
  • Jumpstart
  • My School DC/ Deputy Mayor of Education
  • National Governor's Association
  • National League of Cities
  • New Leaders
  • Office of the State Super. Education
  • Phi Delta Kappan
  • TeachPlus
  • The College Board
  • The Opportunity Institute

Yes, the program was designed to accommodate students who are full-time professionals. On-Campus classes are held in the evening 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM ET and online classes are held in the evening from 7:30 PM - 9:20 PM ET. Please note that the hybrid program was designed for full-time students.

The School of Education partners with local, regional and national organizations to increase access to higher education. These partnerships offer tuition scholarships for partner members. Please visit the Partnerships page for a list of partnership organizations and other American University partners.

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