Education Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship
Develop the tools to lead with impact and strategic vision, manage change, and nurture thriving, equity-focused organizations across today’s complex learning landscape.
Whether you seek to manage a complex learning organization or team, launch an entrepreneurial venture, or drive an initiative that sparks new possibilities within an existing school, district, or network, the Education Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship (ELOE) Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education will help you become an effective, strategic, and innovative leader within the field. Our program prepares you with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to lead with impact in diverse roles, including preK–12, higher education, the nonprofit sector, government, and philanthropy. With a focus on change management, organizational leadership, and entrepreneurial principles, this program equips you to envision, enact, scale, and transform.
“So many people hear the word ‘organization’ and think ‘business.’ But students who want to improve education and become education leaders – either at the school level, state level, or national level – have to understand how schools work. Recognizing the importance of organizational dynamics, the role of leaders, and the potential impact of entrepreneurship, is critical, and these concepts are at the heart of our program.”
Ebony Bridwell-Mitchell, Faculty Co-Chair
The ELOE Program will help students prepare to lead for impact — to bring greater access, equity, agency, and excellence to education. The program is centered on the core belief that a connected, collaborative, and committed community of students, supported by faculty experts, and guided by the ELOE program model, will successfully transform the field of education across a variety of sector roles and careers. The program's curriculum is anchored in five core competencies:
- Lead change and think strategically
- Foster productive organizational conditions
- Navigate politics and practice political inclusion
- Communicate effectively
- Develop self and others
The ELOE Program is designed to provide a set of scaffolded learning experiences helping students to grow along the five ELOE core competencies, gaining the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to have impact in professional roles as education leaders, organizational innovators, and entrepreneurs. A minimum of 42 credits are required to graduate with an Ed.M. degree from HGSE.
The main elements of the 2022–23 academic year curriculum are:
- The Foundation courses (14 credits) — How People Learn, Leading Change, Evidence, and Equity and Opportunity — in which students gain core skills central to the profession of education.
- This program commences with How People Learn, an immersive online course that runs June–July and requires a time commitment of 10-15 hours per week.
- You will continue Foundations with Leading Change, Evidence, and Equity and Opportunity on campus in August.
- Your Equity and Opportunity Foundations experience culminates in an elected course, which will take place during terms when electives are available.
To fulfill the program requirement, students must take a minimum of 12 credits specific to ELOE, including the following:
- The ELOE Program Core Experience (4 credits) is a yearlong set of experiences, including field-oriented panels, case discussions, simulations, skills-based workshops, and peer-supported professional development opportunities in micro-learning communities. This also includes the ELOE Self-Assessment and Individual Development Plan, which allows you to reflect on and track your development over time, across key indicators for each of the ELOE core competencies. Students must enroll in their first fall semester.
- ELOE Course Distribution List (a minimum of 8 credits), which is a curated set of courses specializing in one or more of the ELOE core competencies. At least one selected course must fall on the ELOE continuum of field-based learning. There are over 80 distribution courses to choose from, which cover subject matter including leading organizations; education sector nonprofits; educational innovation, social entrepreneurship; and race, equity, and leadership.
- The remaining credits are taken via elective coursework, which includes the opportunity to specialize in a Concentration if you are not pursuing the School Leadership Pathway.
Explore our course catalog.
Note, all information and courses are subject to change.
School Leadership Pathway and Principal Licensure
There is great demand across the education system for school leaders and principals who are effective – and will help their schools and its students thrive. If you are interested in pursuing leadership and entrepreneurial roles in preK-12 schools and have a minimum of 4 years full-time professional experience in an education setting, you should select the School Leadership Pathway, where you will also have the option to apply to the Principal Licensure strand. As part of the School Leadership Pathway, you will participate in an intensive internship with the support of an experienced mentor and a distinguished leader coach, while also building a strong leadership network and the necessary skills to lead and implement change. Learn more about the School Leadership Pathway and Principal Licensure option.
Students will work closely with faculty associated with their area of study, but students can also work with and take courses with faculty throughout HGSE and Harvard. The faculty co-chairs for ELOE are Ebony Bridwell-Mitchell and Jen Cheatham. View our faculty directory for a full list of HGSE faculty.
The ELOE Program prepares you for a variety of career pathways, including:
- Education nonprofit CEO/COO
- Entrepreneur/organization founder
- College or university administrator
- Principal or head of school
- School district or network leader
- School designer and developer
- Educational advocate and organizer
- Public official or administrator
- Education consultant
Today’s complex education landscape calls for innovative leaders who not only have the ability to design a vision for their learning context, but also deliver it so it becomes a reality. Our Education Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship Program will provide the skills, knowledge, and dispositions you need to make a transformative impact. Here are examples of the ELOE experience and the impact its community is making on the field:
Alum Clare Murray drives art to students in her home state
Writing curriculum for K–12 teachers looking for credible, unbiased material on climate change.
Cohort and Community
The ELOE experience is not only about strengthening knowledge, skills and dispositions but also about building a community of colleagues who can provide support during the program and for years afterwards as you work together to transform the field. The ELOE Program purposefully works to honor and build on the diverse backgrounds and experiences of students — from countries and regions around the world – by providing a varied set of cohort-based, community-building experiences. The aim of these experiences is to build a network of current students and future alumni united by a shared commitment to leading for excellence, equity, and impact in the field of education.
The application for admission to HGSE’s Ed.M. programs is now open.
Connect with Admissions
If you have additional admissions-related questions, please contact GSEadmissions@harvard.edu.