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EPL Students with Former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
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Education Policy Drives Social Change

EPL Students with Former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Offered online, in-person, or hybrid, the MEd in Education Policy and Leadership (EPL) will give you the tools to shape the future of education. The program 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.

Hybrid Option. The EPL program is excited to offer a Hybrid program option. Students will be able to complete their MEd in one year by taking a mix of on-campus and online classes over three semesters. This fast-track option is designed for full-time students only. Admission requirements are the same for the on-campus and online programs. Degree and course requirements are also the same as the on-campus and online program.

About the Program

On-Campus Curriculum Example


Fall '23 Spr '24 Sum '24 Fall '24 Spr '25

EDU 631
Education Leadership and Organizational Change 

EDU 790 Quantitative Research In Education EDU 693
Education Program
and Policy Implemetation

EDU 633
Economic Inquiry in Education

EDU 686
Proseminar in Education Policy and Leadership

EDU 610
Overview of Qual. and Quant. Strat.

EDU 634 Education and Public Policy EDU XXX
EDU 636 Education Law and Policy  EDU XXX


Online Curriculum Example


Semester 1 2 3 4 5
EDU 631 Education Leadership and Organizational Change  EDU 790
Quantitative Research In Education
EDU 693 Education Program and Policy Implementation EDU 636
Education Law and Policy
EDU 686
Proseminar in Education Policy and Leadership 

EDU 610
Overview of Qual. and Quant. Strat.

EDU 634
Education and Public Policy

EDU 633 Economic Inquiry in Education



Hybrid Curriculum Example


Fall Semester 1 Spring Semester 2 Summer Semester 3
EDU 631
Education Leadership
and Organizational Change
(On-campus - Th)

EDU 790
Quantitative Research In Education
(On-campus - T)

EDU 686
Proseminar in Education Policy and Leadership 

EDU 610
Overview of Qual. and Quant. Strat.
(On-campus - T)

EDU 634
Education and Public Policy
(On-campus - Th)

EDU 633
Economic Inquiry in Education
(On-campus - 1st 7 weeks)

EDU 636
Education Law and Policy
(Online - W)

EDU 693
Education Program and Policy Implementation

  • 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
  • Graduates of the M.Ed. program will be equipped with the skills every education leader needs to be effective, including strategic budgeting, collaborative inquiry, policy analysis, partnership building, learning science, and program evaluation. We strive to hone students’ knowledge and develop their skills and beliefs in the following four domains:

  • Students will be able to frame problems, understanding the role racialized identities and positionalities play to critically analyze education policies and leadership strategies using data, policy/legal/economic/equity frameworks, real-world experience, and other evidence.
  • Students will be able to critique education and other social systems, policies, and leadership strategies necessary to implement anti-racist solutions.
  • Students will be able to leverage research practices to evaluate and synthesize qualitative and quantitative data to inform antiracist decisions and continuous improvement.
  • Students will be able to provide cross-boundary and antiracist leadership by focusing on collaboration, communications, advocacy, and management.
  • Students will be able to disrupt and dismantle elements of oppressive education and other social systems to reimagine and rebuild antiracist systems that support all students.

Our location in the political, cultural and media capital of Washington, DC, is the most powerful lab for learning in the world, preparing students for engaged citizenship. Our distinctive character is further illustrated by the in the scope of our teaching and research programs and the diversity of the faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and student body, today representing more than 130 countries.

EPL Program Director Dr. Reuben Jacobson has worked at the intersection of education research, policy, and practice for nearly twenty years. He is committed to educational change and equity and has substantial experience designing and implementing strategies that bring stakeholders together to work on common challenges. Dr. Jacobson served as the Deputy Director for the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), where he helped grow and strengthen community schools by mobilizing national partners and local leaders. See Dr. Jacobson’s full profile here

Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer Dr. Jason Snyder developed and served as the Founding Director of the School of Education's Education Policy and Leadership (EPL) program. His teaching and research focuses on education law and education policy. In 2022, he received the university's Outstanding Teaching Award. Prior to joining American University’s faculty, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. See Dr. Snyder's full profile here.

Senior Professorial Lecturer Dr. Phelton Cortez Moss is the Spring 2024 Acting Director of the EPL program. He is a current Fellow in the Center for Education Innovation & Research at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Fellow (NAACP). He also served as a Senior Policy Adviser to Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24). Notably, he led the filing of the historic American Teacher Act to establish a federal grant program to incentivize states to raise teacher salaries. His research focuses on building school and district leaders' capacity to diversify the educator workforce and improve efforts to increase teacher recruitment and retention. See Dr. Moss's full profile here.

The EPL Program offers its students dedicated support throughout their time with the School of Education. The American University Career Center provides career exploration opportunities for our students including job fairs and resources for writing cover letters and resumes. EPL Students can also take advantage of free resources like the Academic Support and Access Center, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Bender Library Writing Center and many other resources available to students. 


Fall '23 Commencement Address


Education Policy and Leadership MEd program student Jermaine Gassaway was selected as the School of Education's Fall '23 Commencement ceremony Graduate Student Speaker.

News & Events

• Senior Professorial Lecturer Dr. Phelton Moss is serving as the Acting Director of the EPL MEd program while Director Dr. Reuben Jacobson is on a semester-long sabbatical. Check out Dr. Moss's recent Diverse: Issues in Higher Education op-ed about the high number of uncontested school boards seats in the 2024 elections.• EPL Professor

• Dr. Jennifer Steele, who was recently named associate editor of the Journal for Research on Educational Effectiveness, was the interviewee for an American Magazine Q&A, "AI in the Classroom," where she discussed the importance of teaching students the evolving strengths and weaknesses of ChatGPT technology.

• Assistant Professor Dr. Robert Shand has been awarded a Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) Early Career Award. The award recognizes early career scholars whose work has advanced research as it relates to educational practice. 

• Subscribe to the EPL MEd program's monthly newsletter, Education Policy & Leadership Newshere.

Frequently Asked Questions

On-Campus & Hybrid Option

Please view our Med Requirements & Admissions page to learn about required application materials and application deadlines for the on-campus and hybrid options. 

Online Option

Please view our MEd Online Format page learn about required application materials and application deadlines for the online option.

International applicants interested in obtaining an F-1 or J-1 visa must apply for the hybrid (full-time) program modality. Learn more about international application requirements on the International Applicants webpage

Please view our M.Ed. Requirements & Admissions page to learn about required application materials and application deadlines for the hybrid option.

We #raiseourhand for our inspiring alums that are working in various sectors of education such as charter schools, non-profit organizations, higher education,  government, local agencies, research, and more. Examples of where some of our alums work are Communities in Schools, KIPP, New York City Department of Education, EducationCounsel, Prep for Prep, Uncommon Schools, and many more!

The program is 30 credit hours. 

Students may request up to 6 transfer credits for graduate courses taken prior to their admission to the Education Policy and Leadership program. Proposed transfer credits must have been completed with a grade of B (3.00) or better and must have been completed no earlier than 5 years prior to the beginning of the semester of which the student is admitted to a graduate program at AU. Transfer credits must be approved by a student’s Graduate Program Director during the students first semester of study and be included in the student’s Program of Study. Transfer credits may be accepted by the approval of the Associate Dean of the academic unit in the second semester of study. Students must give the Graduate Program Director an official transcript from the institution at which the proposed course(s) was completed as well as a syllabus for each course requested for transfer.

The Education Policy and Leadership graduate program director will approve or deny credits based on relevancy to the policy, leadership, and elective courses in our current curriculum. Teaching courses are unlikely to be approved. The program highly values teaching experience and courses, however, the goals of this program are to provide knowledge and skills directly related to policy and leadership. 

For more information please see section 5.2. in American University’s Academic Rules and Regulations for Graduate Students.

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 program's proseminar course is designed specifically to give students hands-on practical experiences in the field. Small groups of students work as consultants to education organizations in the DC area, conducting research and creating work products that meet the organizations' needs. 

We have worked with the following organizations in the past:

  • AASA: The School Superintendents’ Association
  • Center for American Progress
  • Council of Chief State School Officers
  • DC Public Charter School Board
  • DC's Office of the State Superintendent of Education
  • Ed Counsel
  • Education Forward DC
  • Education Trust
  • Jumpstart
  • My School DC/ Deputy Mayor of Education
  • National Governor's Association
  • National League of Cities
  • New Leaders
  • Office of the State Super. Education
  • Phi Delta Kappan
  • TeachPlus
  • The College Board
  • The Opportunity Institute

Yes, the program was designed to accommodate students who are full-time professionals. On-Campus classes are held in the evening 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM ET and online classes are held in the evening from 7:30 PM - 9:20 PM ET. Please note that the hybrid program was designed for full-time students.

The School of Education partners with local, regional and national organizations to increase access to higher education. These partnerships offer tuition scholarships for partner members. Please visit the Partnerships page for a list of partnership organizations and other American University partners.

Still have questions? Send us an email at or attend one of our open house information sessions.


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Virtual Open House Event
> Wednesday, April 3, 2024, 7-8 p.m. ET
> Learn about class format, curriculum,
tuition financing, and more!
> Free 

Register Now

Program Highlights

EPL Students at Networking Orientation

Career Panels & Networking

We host career panels and networking events so that students can make connections and better understand the career options available. 

Watch an Alumni Panel Here

Dr. Robert Shand with EPL Student

Prospective Student Advising

The EPL Program hosts advising and drop-in hours to answer questions and share student experiences.

Join Advising/Drop-in Hours Here