MA in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Advocacy

Working to Achieve Social and Educational Equity

Change the future of education with a career in policy and advocacy. In this master's degree, you will explore the sociocultural, political, and economic contexts of education. Create collaborative networks, engage in research and policy analysis, and improve communication between educational systems, human service providers, and the public they serve. Whether you have a solid background in education or little formal experience in the field, you'll be prepared for leadership roles in educational policy, politics, and advocacy. 

This program does not lead to New York state certification as a school building leader (assistant principal or principal). If you are interested in obtaining state certification through a master’s degree, see the MA in Educational Leadership: School Building Leader

In addition to this MA program, NYU Steinhardt offers students two other options to study education and policy. We encourage you to explore these options further to find the program that best matches your personal interests and career goals.

What you'll learn

  • How to analyze and critically assess issues of leadership and policy at the federal, state, and local levels
  • Competencies to employ multiple approaches to inquiry and research
  • Further study of topics such as economic analysis, policy analysis, demographic studies, participatory action research, survey design, and ethnographic and case study inquiry

The MA program in Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy prepares students who want to work toward social and education equity through leadership, policy, and advocacy positions in and around schools. Graduates will work in and lead child and community advocacy organizations; policy and research centers; private, charter, and independent schools; non-profits, and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

Students can pursue multiple paths toward analyzing and critically assessing issues of leadership and policy at the federal, state, and local levels and develop competencies to employ multiple approaches to inquiry and research. Students can choose from a wide array of options, including economic analysis, policy analysis, demographic studies, community asset mapping, participatory action research, survey design, and ethnographic and case study inquiry, to name a few.

This program is well suited for individuals who have a sound background in education as well as for those who have little formal experience but want to study and work at the nexus of leadership, politics/policy, and advocacy within the current sociocultural, political, and economic context of education.

Strong candidates for this program are interested in building capacity in and around schools and universities by creating collaborative networks, engaging in research and policy analysis, and enhancing communication between educational systems, human service providers, and the broader public they serve.

How you'll learn

Core Courses and Electives
The MA in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Advocacy combines content courses with fieldwork and electives. You'll study organization theory, the politics of education, and participatory action research, and pursue additional study based on your chosen focus: leadership, politics, or advocacy. Each course examines multiple theoretical perspectives, themes of equity and social justice, a focus on the needs and experiences of impoverished children and youth, and implications for leadership within and outside of educational settings.

Flexible Study
The curriculum offers considerable flexibility in creating a program of study that you can tailor to fit your goals and interests. You can choose to study full-time or part-time. Full-time students can complete the program in just three semesters.

Fieldwork and Internships
As part of your graduate studies, you will participate in an internship in community-based advocacy organizations, schools, or research centers. Placements take into consideration your academic interests. Additional field-based opportunities are also included in coursework throughout the program. Thirty-nine percent of our graduates’ internships resulted in a paid position within the organization.

Prepare for a career as a

  • Program director
  • Career and internship coordinator
  • Manager of economic opportunity program
  • Director of admissions and recruitment
  • Development and communications director
  • Program or data analyst

Our alumni are working in places such as Harlem Village Academies, the Colorado Department of Education, Annenberg Institute for School Reform, San Diego Youth Development Office, the Highlander Center, Brooklyn School for Music and Theater, Good Shepherd Services, Points of Light Foundation, Hunts Point Alliance for Children, Young Women’s Leadership Network, the After School Corporation, and Posse Foundation. Others go on to pursue doctoral study. 

For more information about this MA program, please contact

Gary Anderson
Program Director
212-998-5520