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Education Policy Drives Social Change

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Our MEd in Education Policy and Leadership is built on the foundations in the fields of policy, leadership, law, economics, and research so that the students who enter the program with a passionate desire to shape the future of education have the tools to do so.

  • Policy Studies track prepares educators and other professionals to serve as leaders in education organizations. Students gain the knowledge and skills in leadership, policy, law, economics, and research to effectively administer education programs and policies at all levels.
  • Teacher Leadership track prepares current educators to provide support and shape school-improvement efforts in areas of literacy, dyslexia, or STEM. Students develop deeper knowledge about how to support teachers and school-wide change, including learning about coaching, data use, curriculum design, and research methodology.
  • 30-unit master's degree that can be completed in four or five semesters
  • Cohort model for full-time teachers and other education professionals
  • Full-time faculty and expert practitioners who bring policy, research, and school experience
  • Practical consultancy projects with schools and DC education policy organizations
  • Special emphasis on implementation and on connecting policy to education practice
  • Support for identifying career pathways
See full Admissions & Degree Requirements.

You are bound to benefit from our location in the heart of Washington, DC. We arrange structured field experiences with partner organizations all around the Nation's capital, such as Education Trust, the DC Public Charter School Board, the Center for American Progress, the Council of the Chief State School Officers, and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Through these experiences, students help the partner organizations advance their work, while gaining valuable real-world experience and applying the skills and knowledge learned through their study.

American University is proud of the faculty members who lead the programs within the School of Education. Their distinguished careers include senior roles within the Department of Education, consulting assignments on the Obama administration's Reach Higher Initiative, and many other prestigious and influential positions within the field of education. They are not only exemplary instructors but also thinkers, innovators, and researchers who are helping to shape the future of education. Whether you enroll in our online or on-campus format, you can look forward to developing important and lasting mentor relationships with the professors you'll meet here.

See Faculty profiles.

The Education Policy and Leadership program is proud to offer career support to our students. Faculty member, Melissa Turner, works with students to provide career support, work on long and short term goal setting, resume and cover letter review, and the job application process. We also host career panels and networking events throughout the program of study to provide career support to students.


Partnership programs are available for corps members, alumni, and staff of the following organizations. Check out the benefits by clicking the links below:

Four students standing in front of the Capitol

Preparing Teachers to Lead

AU's MEd now offers tracks in policy and teacher leadership.

Learn More

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State of the Student

Jason Snyder and the reshaping of AU's Education Policy and Leadership Program

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Students with Education Secretary John King

Students with Education Secretary John King

Dr. King and EPL students discussed education policy issues at the US Department of Education

More Program Information

students presenting their final project

Making a Difference in the Field

EPL students complete consultancy projects for DC-based education organizations.


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Alumni speaking at a career panel

Speaking from the Field

Panelists speak about the education field and their experiences helping to improve K-12 education.

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Professor Steele

Inspiring Pathways to Education Policy

Researching how good data analysis leads to good education policy decisions.

Research News

Frequently Asked Questions

Students who complete the Policy Studies track are prepared to join a wide array of education organizations, like school district central offices, state educational organizations, education nonprofits, and the US Department of Education. Graduates of the Teacher Leadership track are prepared to become coaches, department chairs, team leaders, and reading specialists, and to fill other teacher-leader positions within schools. Program alumni have worked at DC Public Schools central office, New America, KIPP, The New Teacher Project, DC Board of Education, EL Haynes Public Charter Schools, RAND, the US Department of Education, and many other organizations both locally and around the country.

Cohorts generally range from 20-25 students.

Successful completion of the Education Policy and Leadership program provides students with a Master of Education (MEd) degree. It does not provide a teaching certificate.

The program is 30 credit hours. 

 No. We require a statement of purpose, resume, transcript(s), and two letters of recommendation. 
*For students with one of our partnership programs, one or more letters may be waived, as well as the application fee.

 The proseminar course is designed specifically to give students hands-on practical experience. The course is structured so that small groups of students work as consultants with education-focused organizations in the DC area. Each group works directly with their organization to conduct research and create products which meet the specified needs of the organization.

Yes, the program was designed to accommodate students who work full-time. Classes are held in the evening from 5:30-8:00 pm.

 Typically, graduate students are are eligible for financial aid if enrolled at least part-time. Part-time status is defined as 5 credits for Fall, 5 credits for Spring, and 2 credits in the Summer semester.

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