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– Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Page address: https://www.mnsu.edu/supersite/academics/catalogs/graduate/current/eduleadership.html

College of Education
Department of Educational Leadership

115 Armstrong Hall
Educational Leadership web site

The mission of the Department of Educational Leadership is to prepare and renew professionals for engaged leadership in a variety of educational settings. We provide unique, personalized opportunities for meeting Master of Science, Specialist, and Doctorate degree requirements. The Department of Educational Leadership provides Master of Science degrees in Educational Leadership and Experiential Education. Specialist degrees in Educational Leadership are provided and usually include licensure for principals, special education directors, or community education directors. Superintendent licensure is also available. As of 2009, the Department now offers an applied educational doctorate (Ed.D.) degree through its Doctorate in Educational Leadership program.


Complete the general admission requirements of the College of Graduate Studies and Research.

Educational Leadership MS (34 credits)

Required Leadership Core (9 credits)

  • EDLD 651  Seminar: Ethics and Leadership (3)
  • EDLD 652  Seminar: Leadership Studies (3)
  • EDLD 647  Seminar: Organizational and Systems Change (3)

Required Research Core (3 credits)

  • EDLD 662  Research in Educational Leadership (3)

Required Capstone Project (Choose one)

  • EDLD 688  Project Demonstration (capstone) (1-3)
  • EDLD 694  Alternate Plan Paper (3)
  • EDLD 699  Thesis (3)


Choose 500/600-level electives in consultation with an advisor. Minimum 24 credits total must be in the Department of Educational Leadership.

Director of Community Education, Licensure MS (34 credits, minimum)

To earn this licensure in Minnesota, there is a Human Relations course required. If that requirement has not been satisfied for a Minnesota teaching license, then it must be done prior to completion of this program. It is an undergraduate course and does not count for this program.

Required Leadership Core (9 credits)

  • EDLD 651  Seminar: Ethics and Leadership (3)
  • EDLD 652  Seminar: Leadership Studies (3)
  • EDLD 647  Seminar: Organizational and Systems Change (3)

Required Research Core (3 credits)

  • EDLD 662  Research in Educational Leadership (3)

Required Educational Administration Courses (12 credits)

  • EDLD 671  Introduction to School Administration (beginning of program) (3)
  • EDLD 670  Portfolio Review (Capstone) (3)
  • EDLD 698  Internship in Administration (6)

Elective Administration Courses (10 credits)

  • EDLD 645  Intro to School Public Relations (3)
  • EDLD 672  Policy and Administration (3)
  • EDLD 674  Supervision and Administration (3)
  • EDLD 665  Legal Issues in Administration (3)
  • EDAD 634  Practicum (1-3)

Educational Leadership Specialist Degree (30 credits)

This is an advanced degree, which requires a Master's degree for admission. This program leads to recommendation for administrative licensure as a K-12 Principal or a Director of Special Education.

Required Courses 

  • EDLD 671  Introduction to School Administration (3)
  • EDLD 672  Policy and Administration (3)
  • EDLD 673  Leadership of Special Programs (3)
  • EDLD 674  Supervision and Administration (3)
  • EDLD 665  Legal Issues in Administration (3)
  • EDLD 682  Field Based Research (3)
  • EDLD 679  Advanced School Administration and Finance (3)
  • EDLD 698  Internship in Administration (6)
  • EDLD 670  Portfolio Review (3)

 Superintendent and Additional Licensure

Prerequisite: Must have a Specialist degree with administrative license before taking these courses.

  • EDLD 635  Second License Internship (6)
  • EDLD 670  Portfolio Review (1)
  • EDLD 636  Superintendent Internship (6)
  • EDLD 637  Superintendent Portfolio (1)

 Other Options

Students who are pursing graduate work in more specialized fields such as higher education administration, general administration, and community education administration should consult with their advisor for designing their master's and/or specialist degree program.

Experiential Education MS (34 credits)

The Master of Science degree program in Experiential Education at Minnesota State University, Mankato is the oldest graduate degree program in experiential education in the United States. Originally started in 1972 as a joint venture between Mankato State University (now Minnesota State University, Mankato) and the Minnesota Outward Bound School (now Outward Bound), the Master's program is now housed in the Department of Educational Leadership and has expanded its vision and developed an ever-increasing number of options for graduate students. Although there is a strong and still viable tradition of involvement in outdoor oriented activities, the department is committed to the idea that experiential education is much broader than wilderness programming.

The first fundamental assumption of the Master's program is that there is more to the knowing process than much of traditional education assumes. Graduate students in the program are encouraged, even required, to leave the classroom and develop meaningful learning experiences for themselves. Whether their interest is outdoor programming, classroom teaching, administration, psychological interventions or others, the program gives students academic credit for testing ideas. This program is designed for strongly self-directed individuals who want to experiment with new educational ideas.

The other fundamental assumption of the Master's degree program in Experiential Education is that raw, direct experience must be complemented with careful thought and reason. In this light, the core seminars are oriented toward the analysis and questioning about the fundamental theory of experiential education. In addition to core seminars, students can develop their reasoning abilities by taking graduate-level elective courses of the students' own choosing. The goal of the program is to unite practical skills with scholarly abilities in the interests of the individual student. Graduate seminars include topics such as Philosophy and Theory of Experiential Education, Experience and Nature, Trends and Issues in Experiential Education, Experiential Education and School Reform, Controversial Issues in Experiential Education, Research Problems in Experiential Education, Leadership Studies, and Ethics and Leadership.

Recommended Leadership Core (9 credits)

Students choose three courses or seminars in the Department which will constitute the core requirement. Students are free to choose which courses or seminars they will take. Some courses which could serve as a core include, but are not limited to:

  • EXED 644  Philosophy of Experiential Education (3)
  • EXED 645  Experience and Nature
  • EXED 645  Experiential Learning and Educational Reform
  • EXED 645  Risk Management and Liability
  • EXED 645  Research Problems in Experiential Education
  • EXED 645  Trends and Issues in Experiential Education (3)
  • EXED 645  Controversial Issues in Experiential Education (3)
  • EXED 645  Teaching Methods of Experiential Learning
  • EDLD 647  Organizational & Systems Change (3)
  • EDLD 651  Ethics and Leadership (3)
  • EDLD 652  Leadership Studies (3)
  • EDLD 653  Women in Leadership (3)
  • EDLD 665  Legal Issues in Administration (3)
  • EDLD 675  Organizational Development (3)
  • EDLD 662 - Research in Educational Leadership (3
  • EXED 695 - Portfolio Development (1)


Recommended Experiential Education field-based or project-based courses within the Department (16 credits)

Choose any 500/600 level Experiential Education field-based courses selected in consultation with an advisor.

  • EXED 603  Experience and Education (project based)
  • EXED 604  Development of Experiential Education (project based)
  • EXED 634  Practicum
  • EXED 635  Internship
  • EXED 677  Individual Study
  • EXED 694  Alternate Plan Paper
  • EXED 695  Portfolio Development
  • EDLD 688  Project Demonstration
  • EDLD 699  Thesis

Recommended Electives (9 credits)

Choose 500/600-level Experiential Education, Educational Leadership, Educational Administration, or other electives selected in consultation with an advisor.

One course must be a graduate level research methods course, either within or outside the department.

Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership

The degree is designed for educational practitioners who seek an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in order to obtain positions as PK-12 public school administrators, leaders of alternative educational organizations and charter schools, administrators of nonprofit organizations, administrators in higher education, leaders in experiential education organizations, or as university/college faculty. The program will address the need for advanced preparation of educational leaders and will focus on applied research in the field of education. The program of study will be designed in consultation with an advisor and combine core courses, professional development colloquia, research, internship, and dissertation credits with other learning experiences so students may pursue their unique educational and professional passions and goals. The program will be grounded in strategies for adult learning and the development of inquiry research.

Core [Must take 3 of the below core listings] (9 credits)

  • EDLD 751  Advanced Leadership Ethics (3)
  • EDLD 752  Leadership Exemplars (3)
  • EDLD 747  Organizational Theory and Analysis (3)
  • EDLD 759  Influences & Assessment of Public Policy (3)

Professional Development Colloquium (6 credits)

  • EDLD 734  Professional Development Colloquium (3 credits required x 2)

Research Core (9 credits)

  • EDLD 782  Design and Method in Qualitative Inquiry (3)
  • EDLD 792  Quantitative Research Methods (3)
  • EDLD 793  Focused Research Investigations I (3)

Electives [options] (9 credits) 

Choose three electives at 600- or 700-level; or, two electives and EDLD 794, Focused Research Investigations II (3)

Internship (12 credits)

  • EDLD 798  Doctoral Internship (variable - up to 12 credits)

Dissertation (11 credits) 

  • EDLD 799  Dissertation (variable - up to 11 credits)

TOTAL CREDITS: 56 credits beyond 34-credit master's degree


Course Descriptions

Educational Leadership

EDLD 634 (1-6) Practicum

Practical experience in Educational Leadership.

EDLD 635 (1-6) Second License Internship

This course provides students who are pursuing a second administrative license with an experiential experience as a school administrator.

EDLD 636 (3-6) Superintendent Internship

This course is designed for aspiring educational leaders and is intended to provide experiential experience with the roles and responsibilities of a school superintendent. Embedded in the course are the internship requirements for Minnesota state administrative licensure for superintendent.

EDLD 637 (1-6) Superintendent Portfolio

The intent of the Portfolio Review is to provide the student with a focused opportunity to construct and present a professional portfolio that will ultimately lead to Superintendent licensure. Students will document and present evidence of mastery of required competencies.

EDLD 644 (1-3) Selected Topics in Experiential Education

This seminar provides an avenue for the exploration and investigation of special study topics in educational leadership.

EDLD 645 (3) School Public Relations

A philosophic framework combined with a practical focus on school organizations and their relationships to community will be studied, including the school as a focal point of the community.

EDLD 647 (3) Seminar: Organizational & Systems Change

This seminar explores the dynamics of organizational and systems change in theory and practice.

EDLD 650 (3) Colloquium in Leadership

This is the introductory course for the Masters’ in Educational Leadership program. The purpose of this course is to provide students with foundational knowledge in the area of leadership. Throughout this course students will explore what it means to be a leader and will review current research on leadership. They will also investigate the personal side of leadership and focus on skills needed to lead an organization.

EDLD 651 (3) Ethics in Leadership

Selected ethical/moral philosophies are studied using theoretical paradigms. Students become skilled at making ethical and moral decisions regarding every day dilemmas facing educational leaders.

EDLD 652 (3) Leadership Studies

This course examines past and current research theory and philosophy relative to leadership development in both formal and informal educational settings.

EDLD 653 (3) Women in Leadership

Surveys past and current research about women in leadership roles. The course will examine leadership through the lives of culturally diverse women who had both traditional and non-traditional roles.

EDLD 662 (3) Research in Educational Leadership

Introduction to research methods as well as tools for becoming a critical consumer of the body of research that exists in educational leadership.

EDLD 665 (3) Legal Issues in Administration
This course examines legal issues in educational settings.

EDLD 667 (3) Seminar: Advanced Legal Issues in Administration
In this course students apply advanced knowledge and skills around legal issues in the educational setting.

EDLD 670 (1-6) Portfolio Review

The process by which candidates for school administration licensure document and present mastery level evidence of required competencies.

EDLD 671 (3) Introduction to School Administration

This course provides an overview of leadership in the educational setting.

EDLD 672 (3) Policy and Administration

This course examines how political influence and governance affect school policy.

EDLD 673 (3) Leadership of Special Programs

This course develops skills in leading programs for students of special populations.

EDLD 674 (3) Supervision and Administration

The course examines the role of the school leader within the function of supervision and evaluation.

EDLD 675 (3) Organizational Development

This course is designed to provide students with knowledge about the practical experience in identifying potential funding sources; planning, writing, and evaluating grant proposals and implementing funded projects.

EDLD 676 (3) Higher Education Administration

This course will focus on funding, organization, governance, processes, and structures of higher education.

EDLD 677 (1-4) Individual Study

Individualized study in an area of leadership theory, research, or inquiry. Admission by prior application only.

EDLD 679 (1-4) Advanced School Administration and Finance

In this course students apply advanced knowledge and skills in finance and leadership in the educational setting.

EDLD 682 (3) Field Based Research

This course develops research skills in the educational setting.

EDLD 684 (3) Multicultural Leadership
This course will examine to role of school leaders in a multicultural inclusive learning environment.

EDLD 688 (1-3) Project Demonstration

This course will present a wide range of techniques and models for developing professional academic projects, including portfolios. Students will develop and demonstrate a professional project. This course may replace or be used in addition to an APP or thesis.

EDLD 690 (1-4) Workshop

An experience where the principle learning takes place through interchange among class members and the facilitator.

EDLD 694 (1-3) Alternate Plan Paper

The alternate plan paper includes a research requirement less extensive in nature than a thesis, but significantly greater in quality and quantity than the standard graduate term paper.

EDLD 697 (3-6) Internship in Teaching

EDLD 698 (3-12) Internship in Administration

This course provides students with an experiential experience as a school administrator.

EDLD 699 (3-6) Thesis

The thesis involves extended research resulting in a significant contribution to new knowledge. This reflects a student's ability to do individual, independent work of a creative and/or investigative type in an area of relation to the student's major field.

EDLD 734 (4) Professional Development Colloquium

This course will provide doctoral students with the knowledge and skills required to become a professor or instructor in higher education settings through topics including professional development plans (PDP), professional development reports (PDR), library research, portfolio development, conference presentations, developing lines of research, and writing for publication.

EDLD 744 (4) Selected Topics

This seminar course provides an avenue for the exploration and investigation of special study topics in educational leadership.

EDLD 747 (3) Organizational Theory and Analysis

The primary framework of this course is the main theoretical perspectives and issues of organizational decision-making, organizational innovation and organizational identity. Each theory/perspective will be examined with the following questions in mind: what is/are the overarching question(s) with which the theory is concerned? What is the central unit of analysis? What are the key concepts?

EDLD 751 (3) Seminar: Advanced Leadership Ethics

Examination of ethics in Leadership which includes student research on ethics in leadership and professional settings.

EDLD 752 (3) Seminar: Leadership Exemplars

In depth study of exemplary leaders and research into their applicability to broader leadership contexts.

EDLD 759 (3) Influences and Assessment of Public Policy
This course is an required course for the doctorate in Educational Leadership. The seminar is offered so student can acquire the knowledge of how public policy is developed and the influences exerted on public policy.

EDLD 767 (4) Advanced School Law

This course is designed for doctoral students to conduct research in school districts to resolve problems that have legal implications. Completed research will be shared with the school districts as well as with fellow doctoral students.

EDLD 782 (3) Design and Method in Qualitative Inquiry

This course offers investigations into traditional and exploratory genres of qualitative research and provides the critical analysis tools necessary for doing so. Included will be aspects unique to qualitative design used for sampling, instrumentation, data collection and analysis, and report formats.

EDLD 792(3) Quantitative Research Methods for Educational Leadership

The course provides an overview of quantitative research methods, clarifies the role of quantitative methods in the research process, and provides experiences for application of quantitative methods.

EDLD 793 (3) Focused Research Investigations 1

This course offers focused investigations into a specific genre or methodology of research. Class members will work individually or in small learning groups in completing individually-constructed learning contracts to gain in-depth knowledge and skills in particular genre or methodology.

EDLD 794 (3) Focused Research Investigations 2

This course offers focused investigations into a specific genre or methodology of research different than those investigated in EDLD 793. Class members will work to complete an individually-constructed learning contract to gain in-depth knowledge an skills in research.

EDLD 798 (1-12) Doctoral Internship in Educational Administration

This course is designed for doctoral candidates in educational leadership to experience implementation of theory where they are given the opportunity to create, demonstrate, and maintain effective strategies and methodologies from leadership practices in a school or higher education setting.

EDLD 799 (1-11) Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation course is designed to guide the student through preparation and defense of the dissertation proposal, assist the student in the dissertation research and writing process and ensure focus and consistency in preparation and defense of the final product.

Experiential Education

EXED 590 (1-3) Workshop

EXED 603 (3) Experience and Education

An independent project-based course intended to immerse beginning graduate students into a 45-hour direct experience upon which they will complete a project and reflect on their own personal growth and learning.

EXED 604 (3) Development of Experiential Education

An independent project-based course whereby the student will design and/or facilitate an extensive learning experience for others. Designing and facilitating combined should total 45 hours.

EXED 634 (1-6) Practicum

A field experience that will further the learning of the student in Experiential Education. This course can be repeated in the degree plan of study.

EXED 635 (1-4) Internship

A field experience which typically entails working with a specific person or organization. This course can be repeated in the degree plan of study.

EXED 644 (3) Seminar: Philosophy of Experiential Education

This course examines the writings of historical and current thinkers who have made contributions to the field of e xperiential education. The philosophical underpinnings of Plato and Dewey, as well as more current experiential education literature will be discussed and examined.

EXED 645 (1-3) Seminar: Selected Topics

Courses that are routinely taught under Selected Topics include : Trends and Issues in Experiential Education, Experiential Education and School Reform, Research Problems in Experiential Education, and Controversial Issues in Experiential Education.

EXED 677 (1-3) Individual Study

A field-based course typically used for independent research or projects. This course can be repeated in the degree plan of study.

EXED 694 (1-3) Alternate Plan Paper

This course is used for students who did not complete their APP during their research class and for students who did or are planning to take their research course through another department, thereby completing the APP independently.

EXED 695 (1) Portfolio Development

This course serves as the primary assessment of a student’s growth throughout their program.