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Give back to HGSE and support the next generation of passionate educators and innovative leaders.

Master's Programs

School Leadership

In the School Leadership Program (SLP), you will join a dynamic and diverse cohort of experienced teachers and education professionals ready to develop and hone your leadership knowledge, practice, and skills. SLP provides an exciting learning experience with a focus on race, equity, and excellence that combines rigorous academic work with two 250-hour internships. This combination of research, theory and practice prepares students to lead change, schools and organizations, people, and learning.

Playing a leadership role in education is something that's joyful. It's a way to improve the world; it's a way to provide service and it's a way to benefit children – our most precious resource.

Senior Lecturer Mary Grassa O'Neill, faculty director

SLP is a one-year, full-time program that engages you in learning experiences to develop critical leadership skills and make a real difference in the lives of learners. The many strengths of SLP include:

  • Cohort and Community – All SLP students share a desire to be influential agents of change, turning around underperforming institutions, and making already good schools and organizations even better. The diverse experiences and perspectives of your close-knit cohort will enrich your HGSE experience. Through common courses and cohort events, you will build strong relationships to support you as you move into leadership roles.
  • Fieldwork and Internships – Work with outstanding leaders in two different semester-long internships at district, charter, pilot, faith-based, or independent schools, or educational organizations in the Greater Boston area. You will engage in robust field-based learning through two 250-hour internships and work directly with leaders and coaches to develop and hone your leadership practice.

Curriculum Information

As an SLP student, you will choose one of two strands — Principal Licensure or School Development. Each strand requires 32 total credits which consist of core course and electives. 

Principal Licensure Strand 

This strand is a match for you if you are interested in earning a Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Principal License.

View Requirements

  • You have at least three years of full-time teaching experience; four or more years of full-time teaching experience is strongly preferred. 
  • You have a valid teaching license or obtain one while in the program.
  • You have demonstrated leadership experience and have been involved in schoolwide initiatives such as curriculum development, professional development, and inclusive education.
  • You want to pursue a career as a principal.
     
  • Core Courses (3 courses/8 credits)
    • A210D Schools and the Law: Selected Topics (summer)
    • A310H Race, Equity, and Leadership (summer)
    • A329Y Becoming an Educational Leader (fall)
    • A330Y Becoming an Educational Leader (spring)
       
  • Internship Seminar and Practicum (1 course/8 credits)
    • K-8 Level: T331DY School Instructional Leadership: Seminar and Practicum (fall)
      and T332DY School Instructional Leadership: Seminar and Practicum (spring)
    • 5-12 Level: T331EY School Instructional Leadership: Seminar and Practicum (fall)
      and T332EY School Instructional Leadership: Seminar and Practicum (spring)
       
  • Electives (4 courses/16 credits). At least 8 credits in leadership electives.

View all courses and information on cross-registration.

School Development Strand

This strand is a match for you if you are interested in leadership and entrepreneurial roles in district, charter, independent schools, and education nonprofits.

View Requirements

  • You have at least three years of full-time professional experience in an education setting
  • You have demonstrated leadership experience and have been involved in school or organization-wide initiatives such as curriculum development, professional development, or program development.
  • Your career goals may include: launching your own school or organization, leading an education organization, or leading in an independent, faith-based, charter, or other school that may not require a license.
     
  • Core Courses (3 courses/8 credits)
    • A210D Schools and the Law: Selected Topics (summer)
    • A310H Race, Equity, and Leadership (summer)
    • A329Y Becoming an Educational Leader (fall)
    • A330Y Becoming an Educational Leader (spring)
       
  • Internship Seminar and Practicum (1 course/4 credits):
    • A333Y Strategic Leadership: Schools, Organizations, and Start-Ups (fall)
    • A334Y Strategic Leadership: Schools, Organizations, and Start-Ups (spring)
       
  • Electives (5 courses/20 credits). At least 8 credits in leadership electives.

View all courses and information on cross-registration.

View all SLP Electives

As an SLP student, you will carefully select elective courses with the help of a faculty adviser to build your knowledge and skills as an educational leader. Sample electives are listed below.

  • A027 Managing Financial Resources in Nonprofit Organizations (fall or spring)
  • A029 An Introduction to Education Finance and Budgeting (fall)
  • A135 Education Entrepreneurship (spring)
  • A608 Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Learning (fall)
  • A310G Data Wise: Using Data to Improve Teaching and Learning (January)
  • A122 The Why, What, and How of School Family, and Community Partnerships: Teams in Schools and School Districts (spring)
  • A320 Building a Democratic School: School Design Workshop (spring)

View all courses and information on cross-registration.

Program Faculty

HGSE consists of a faculty of the whole and students can work with and take courses with faculty throughout HGSE and Harvard. The faculty that SLP students most often work with include: 

Fieldwork & Internships

Every SLP student engages in two 250-hour internships, one in the fall semester, and one in the spring semester. Students in the Principal Licensure strand intern directly with principals who meet state requirements at schools in Boston and the Greater Boston area. Students in the School Development strand intern at a range of sites in entrepreneurship, non-profit leadership and in-school leadership. Through the internship, you will learn from experienced leaders and have opportunities to take on substantial leadership roles in schools and organizations. Your leadership development will be supported by internship mentors, coaches, and faculty. 

Alumni & Student Profiles

All SLP students share a desire to be influential agents of change, turning around underperforming institutions and making already good schools and organizations even better. Our alumni can be found in leadership positions around the U.S. and the world, working in organizations, and public, charter, independent, faith-based, and international schools, in roles such as: principal, assistant principal, head of school, school founder, director of education and leadership, and program director.

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Connect with Admissions

More information about our admissions application requirements and instructions, tuition and financial aid, and answers to frequently asked questions is available on our website. If you have additional admissions-related questions, please contact Alicia Peralta or call 617.495.3414.

Introduce Yourself

Receive tailored admissions information about upcoming programs, events, and opportunities to connect with us.

Connect with Program Staff

If you have remaining program-specific questions, reach out to SLP Program Administrator Abbie Bloom.

Virtual Information Sessions

View the School Leadership recorded virtual information session to learn more about the program from faculty, students, and staff.