Master of Arts in Educational Leadership & Policy

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Master of Arts in Educational Leadership & Policy

Master of Arts in Educational Leadership & Policy Overview

Are you interested in developing research skills and investigating questions about policy and leadership in elementary and secondary education?

The Master of Arts (MA) program in Educational Leadership and Policy is a thesis-based program that best serves students who are committed to scholarship and research on policy, leadership, change, and social diversity in elementary and secondary schools and other educational settings for children and youth. A combination of theory and real-world practice will enable students to tackle the complex challenges of current education policy, leadership, and reform. Program strengths include:

  • A focus on equity, anti-oppression, and educational justice;
  • Deep expertise in both the Ontario educational context and in comparative, international, and global contexts; and
  • Training in advanced qualitative and quantitative research methods.

The MA program is designed to develop critical and highly skilled researchers, educational leaders, and policy analysts who will advance knowledge in the field and make positive change in schools, school boards (districts), government ministries, foundations, nongovernmental agencies, and international organizations in Canada and around the world. It also prepares students to pursue doctoral studies in educational leadership and policy and related fields.

This program is delivered in person, which means that while the program may offer some courses online, a student will take less than one-third of their courses online.

Students interested in pursuing an online master’s degree (part-time) may consider the MEd Field in School Leadership in Diverse Contexts.

The MA is available through both full-time and part-time studies. The department welcomes applicants with diverse but relevant backgrounds and experiences. 

For detailed information about the program, please consult the School of Graduate Studies Calendar.

At a Glance

Delivery Mode 
In Person

Study Options
Full-time (6 sessions)
Part-time (10 sessions)

Program Requirements

Funding and Tuition
For current information about tuition fees, funding, and financial support, visit Tuition & Financial Support.  

Applications for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle are now closed.


Ready to join one of the world’s top universities? Take the next step in your academic journey and start your application to graduate studies at OISE.

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Why I Chose Leadership, Adult & Higher Education

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Sean Hartley (Master of Education 2023)

"When I made the decision to pursue an M.Ed, I chose OISE for a number of reasons. Chief among them was the curriculum; even within the Educational Leadership and Policy stream, I had the freedom to pursue subjects and topics that I found interesting. Professors and instructors were top-notch, allowing me to learn from their expertise and challenging my own thinking. I did my best academic work of my life at OISE, which is due in no small part to the faculty."

Admission Requirements

General Admission Requirements

Please visit the OISE Admissions website for detailed information about the application process, including general minimum admission requirements and supporting documents. 

Program-Specific Information

All applicants must submit: 

  • Transcript(s) from each post-secondary institution attended.
  • Two letters of reference (one academic, the other either academic or professional).
  • Resumé 
  • Answers to faculty admissions questions (applicants are to answer each question in an essay format). Please see the questions in the next accordion.


Applicants are to answer each question in an essay format. 

  • Please address the following (2000 words max): 
    • Describe your academic background, professional experiences, community service and other relevant experiences and accomplishments and how they relate to PK-12 Educational Leadership and Policy. If your academic background is not in education or a related social science field, you are encouraged to describe how your experiences have prepared you for the program. 

    • Discuss your research potential, prior research experience (if any), as well as any other related skills or experiences that make you a strong candidate for a research stream program. 

    • Describe your research interests and/or state the research question you wish to investigate and how. You should highlight the synergy between one or more of the program’s thematic areas (Policy, Leadership, Change, and Social Diversity) and your proposed research. You may want to cite core scholars or readings that orient you in this field. 

    • (optional) You are encouraged to speak to your academic and professional goals (after graduation) and how pursuing the MA in Educational Leadership and Policy would advance these goals. 

    • (optional) The Educational Leadership and Policy program seeks to maintain a diverse, inclusive, and engaged learning community. You are encouraged to identify any ways that your identity (including--but not limited to--ancestry, culture, gender, race, religion, socio-economic status or other social identities) or life experience will contribute to this community. 

    • (optional) Is there any additional information you want to share with the Admissions Committee that will inform their review of your application? 

  • Indicate the faculty member(s) you would like to work with in the program and why. How will the expertise of the faculty member(s) support your proposed research? Note you do not need to secure a supervisor prior to applying. Please take time to review descriptions of the Educational Leadership & Policy faculty members here (200 words max) 
  • (MA full-time applicants only) If you will have funding from your home government, international organization or funding agencies, please provide details (Name of funding agency, value and duration).  If this does not apply to you, please leave blank 

Program Information


Students complete 4.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

  • Designing Masters Research Proposals (LHA1003H, 0.5 FCE)
    • This seminar examines the strategies, techniques, and problems involved in conducting research on educational administration. It prepares students to define research problems, review relevant literature, develop research proposals, conduct research and write reports. 
  • Research Literacy in Educational Leadership and Policy (LHA1004H, 0.5 FCE)
    • This course provides students with an introduction to the purposes of research in educational leadership and policy. Students will learn how to obtain, evaluate, interpret and use research in their work as educators and in their graduate studies. 
  • Introduction to Educational Leadership and Policy: Policy, Leadership, Change, and Diversity (LHA1040H, 0.5 FCE)
    • This course provides an introduction to educational policy, leadership and change by focusing on foundational concepts and theories.
  • 0.5 FCE in research methods, to be selected in consultation with the thesis supervisor.
  • 2.0 elective FCEs, of which 0.5 must be from the Educational Leadership and Policy program, normally at the 1000 level or 5000 special topics level. Educational Leadership and Policy program course codes typically have a “0” in the second digit, for example “LHA10XX” and “LHA50XX.” The following courses also count as Educational Leadership and Policy program courses: EDP3045H, EDP3145H, JOI3043H, JOI3048H, and JOI3049H.  Explore ELP courses. Additional courses may be required of some students. 

To be developed under the guidance of a faculty member. 

See a complete list of all courses offered in the Educational Leadership & Policy program.  

See course offerings for the current term: please visit  OISE’s Course Enrolment website

Collaborative specializations provide graduate students enrolled in participating degree programs with an additional multidisciplinary experience as they complete their home degree program. 

Learn more about the collaborative specializations offered to students in this program:

Faculty in the Educational Leadership & Policy program have multi-disciplinary teaching and research expertise in a wide range of fields. 

Our faculty's expertise includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Change facilitation and transformative pedagogies
  • Educational policy and social inequality
  • Large-scale data analysis
  • Special education policy
  • Politics of decentralization, privatization and accountability reforms
  • Online education; technology, surveillance, and society
  • School-level leadership in comparative context
  • Decolonizing, critical, and anti-oppressive educational leadership
  • Gender in education
  • Education for refugees and in emergencies
  • International organizations and educational change
  • Human rights and the rights of the child 

Regrettably, our Full-Time Funded Master of Arts program cannot accept International applicants at this time.  However, the Department may consider applications from international applicants where home governments, international organizations or funding agencies can provide them with funding. The funding must minimally have the value and duration of the graduate funding package that is offered and should be indicated on the application. Please review the Graduate Funding Package website

International students are invited to apply to the Part-Time Master of Arts program or the Master of Education (Full-Time or Part-Time) program. Any international applications for the Full-Time MA program will automatically be redirected to the Full-Time M.Ed. program for consideration.

Full Time

In their first year of study, full-time MA students receive a graduate funding package equal to the cost of academic tuition and fees, plus support as a Graduate Assistant. The second year of study is self-funded. For more information visit Tuition & Financial Support.  

Part Time

The part-time MA is a self-funded degree. For more information visit Tuition & Financial Support.  


For more information about awards and scholarships visit:

Please note: LHAE will advertise these awards via student listservs throughout the year as the competitions open. 

Ready to join one of the world’s top universities?

Take the next step in your academic journey and start your application to graduate studies at OISE.