Leadership Education (MS)


Leadership Education, MS

On Campus 30 - 36 cr

Today’s organizations and communities require dynamic and inclusive leadership ready to address complex challenges. Learn to develop, train, teach, and evaluate leadership for modern society.


An M.S. degree in Leadership Education immerses students in three specific areas:

  1. Leadership scholarship: understanding the field of leadership from an evidence-based perspective.
  2. Teaching & outreach: developing skills necessary to effectively convey information to others about leadership.
  3. Research methods & program evaluation: developing the skills necessary to conduct research or evaluate programs related to leadership.

Through close student-faculty mentoring relationships, the program provides content and experiential activities that support leadership studies, training and development, extension education, postsecondary teaching, and positions in business, government, or the private sector.

For more information, visit https://alec.unl.edu/home/ms-leadership-education.

Career Pathways

  • Training and development
  • Talent development
  • Leadership development
  • Extension educators
  • Postsecondary teaching
  • Community development


  1. Environmental Studies
  2. Great Plains Studies
  3. Teaching and Extension Education
    • On Campus

    The Teaching and Extension Education specialization prepares students for careers in community college or university teaching, public school teaching (additional certifications and courses may be required), outreach programs, and Extension. The specialization is valuable for students planning teaching careers, as well as for individuals providing educational services. Teaching and extension courses focus on teaching strategies, program planning, adult education, innovation, and the use of technology in learning.

Graduate Admission Requirements

  • Application for Admission with $50 non-refundable application fee.
  • One set of transcripts.
  • If International: upload copies of all college- or university-level transcripts or mark sheets (records of courses and marks earned), with certificates, diplomas, and degrees plus certified English translations.

    * Official documents are required from all students who are admitted and enroll. Photocopies of certified records are not acceptable. International students enrolled in other U.S. institutions may have certified copies of all foreign records sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by their current school’s registrar office.

  • If the student’s native language is not English, verification of English proficiency is required.

    * When sending TOEFL scores, our institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed

  • If applicant is not a US citizen and expects an F or J visa: financial information.
  • Applicants must also fulfill any additional requirements the department specifies at the time of application.

Major Admission Requirements

  • GRE is optional. It is recommended for students with a GPA below 3.0. GRE scores can provide our faculty reviewers valuable information about your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills if you don’t have any evidence of those skills within your application materials (e.g., coursework, professional/research experience).
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume is required: Your vitae should include a complete account of your academic and professional history along with your community activities, service, accomplishments, and awards.
  • Personal Statement is required: (1) Describe 1 to 3 personal and professional goals or objectives, and how this degree will help you achieve them. (2) Describe how your past experience (work, volunteer, research, etc.) provides you a context for studying in this field. (3) Describe how your interests align with research, extension, and/or creative activity of each of the ALEC faculty you list in the Faculty section.
  • Essay is required: Academic writing or using evidence-based knowledge within writing is necessary for success in our graduate program. Your response should not be a reflection or musings of your personal thoughts, but a way to demonstrate how you would write a short argument using evidence-based knowledge. As such, our graduate committee wants to see the following: 1) demonstration of critical thinking appropriate for academic writing; 2) synthesis of information, knowledge, and/or evidence to reveal significant insights, themes, or ideas; 3) integration of knowledge and information collected from well-chosen sources in appropriate ways; 4) a writing "flow" and/or a high-quality writing style; 5) appropriate use of organization/format, grammar, and punctuation; 6) use of APA style guidelines, but this is not required.

Choose one of the following prompts to write a short essay (500 words max). Choose only one prompt that would reflect your area of study (e.g. if you want to focus primarily on leadership studies within your program, choose a statement with a leadership focus).

  • (Prompt 1) Why is it important to teach leadership?
  • (Prompt 2) Evidence-based practices in leadership development are important.
  • (Prompt 3) Is leadership more art than science?
  • (Prompt 4) What are the greatest challenges and merits of communicating evidence-based science in modern society?
  • (Prompt 5) Learning is central to teaching.

Writing Sample is required: Provide a writing sample that demonstrates your scholarly writing ability, for example, a term paper, thesis, or published article.

Other Upload is required: Provide a document sharing any specific experience you have engaging in research, especially any of the following:

  • specific social science research you've conducted (by yourself or as part of a team; if in a team, please articulate your contributions specifically)
  • program/project evaluation experience
  • quantitative research methods experience
  • coursework or training in statistics and/or math
  • any project (for class or work or other) where you engaged in data analysis (either quantitatively or qualitatively)
  • experience engaging in life sciences (e.g. biology, animal science, plant science) and/or physical sciences (e.g. physics, chemistry) research
  • qualitative research methods experience
  • experience conducting interviews;
  • experience coding/analyzing audio, video, or written materials.

It is not expected you have any and certainly not all these experiences.

  • Faculty: Review current faculty and their research areas. Identify at least one and a maximum of three faculty members in this department with whom you would like to work. Please also address faculty interest alignment in Personal Statement.
  • Letters of Recommendation are required: It is suggested that one letter speaks to your capacity to be a successful student (e.g. from a faculty member); one letter speaks to your professional capacity (e.g. from a supervisor); the remaining letter can speak to anything you believe makes you an ideal candidate for our program (e.g. commitment to diversity and inclusion, research capacity, teaching and training experience).
  • Funding/Assistantship: The department reviews applications on a rolling basis, and to be eligible for an assistantship, you must be admitted to an ALEC graduate program. You can complete the assistantship application prior to being admitted. See ALEC Funding and Assistantships for more information and to complete an assistantship application.

Admission Deadlines

The priority deadline is December 15; applications submitted after this date may be considered if space is available.

Graduate Chair

L.J. McElravy

Support Staff

Jennifer Greenlee

Tuition & Fees
See program summaries for details like application deadlines and requirements.
Contact Me
* If you would like to be contacted by phone, please provide your phone number in the comment section above.

The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities, or employment.

UNL Graduate Chairs and staff please complete the program update form to provide edits. Updates to graduate program pages are made on an annual basis in conjunction with the Graduate Application for Admission.