Masters of arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Our Master of Arts (M.A.) program helps you prepare for leadership roles by focusing on the development of school leadership competencies with a focus on turnaround leadership. This degree program begins with four quarters of coursework required for the ELPS certificate program within one of our six principal licensure cohorts.

After the completion of the first year you will be eligible for CO Principal Licensure and continue in an additional 15 credit hours of coursework to develop advanced skills in cultural leadership, applied research, data-informed leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation. In your application, you will select the principal licensure cohort option of your choice.

The ELPS MA is approved by the Colorado Department of Education as a Turnaround Leadership Development Program. Our program infuses transformative leadership education into the curriculum.

Program Requirements

The ELPS MA program begins with acceptance into one of our principal licensure cohort models: Executive Leadership for Successful Schools (ELSS) or Ritchie Program for School Leaders (Ritchie). These cohort models provide a number of options for you as an aspiring school leader.

The Ritchie – Executive Leadership for Successful Schools (ELSS) cohort model is open to educators across the state of Colorado and nationally. There are a variety of cohort options for Ritchie – ELSS – Denver Metro area and Colorado Springs (DU Main Campus), district partnership (Aurora Public Schools and Denver Public Schools), Western Slope and Central Mountain Region (Mountain) and Teach For America Alumna (TFA).

  • 45 credit-hour, blended online delivery model
    •  1–3 in-person Saturday sessions per quarter and weekly online interactions within a cohort
  •   300-hour, project-based internship integrated with coursework and supported by a mentor principal
  • A choice of six cohort options:
    • Adams County Schools: Serves educators working in the Adams County Schools (anchored in Adams 12 Five Star Schools)
    • Aurora Public Schools (APS): Serves educators working in the Aurora Public School district.
    • Denver Public Schools (DPS): Serves educators working in the Denver Public School district.
    • DU Main Campus: Composed of educators from a variety of districts across the state. Open to all aspiring leaders seeking a Colorado principal license.
    • Mountain: Serves educators in the Western Slope and Central Mountain region of Colorado.
    • Teach For America (TFA): For TFA alumni in Colorado and across the United States.
    • NOTE: The DU Main Campus cohort is open to applicants from any district or educational setting (private, charter, etc.) and applicants who are not currently working in an educational setting. The partnership cohorts (APS, DPS, Mountain, and TFA) are designed for applicants who work within those specific settings.
Graduation Requirements

You will need to complete 45 total credit hours. This includes 30 credit hours from the program certificate, plus 15 additional credit hours and an Action Research Capstone Project.

Approximate Completion Time

Seven quarters – 1.75 years


Department Chair
Dr. Susan Korach
303-871-2212, KRH 356

Academic Services Associate
Mayumi Beckelheimer
303-871-2314, KRH 358

Admissions Contact
303-871-2509, KRH 110
Office Hours: By appointment only

Additional Information

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