Graduate students talking in preparation for class

Our award-winning faculty are committed to providing a rigorous intellectual experience that helps students advance their careers while discovering the power of transformative, fully inclusive education.

Our graduate education programs emphasize inquiry and are grounded in commitments to equity and social justice. Courses help students to become reflective practitioners who are well-versed in educational theory and cutting-edge research. Professors use a variety of pedagogical strategies to model effective instructional techniques, help students learn how to apply their knowledge to various problems of practice, and engage students in meaningful discussions about current trends, challenges and opportunities in the field of education. Students can pursue our new 18 credit PK-12 Principal PA Certification, 15-credit certificates or a 30-credit MA in Education, including a Concentration in Higher Education or a Concentration in Teacher Leadership.

Only our PK-12 Principal Certification Program and the  Master's Plus Certification lead to PA teacher certification.


The MA in Education helps students learn to design effective and inclusive learning environments and master best practices to support diverse learners. This program is intended for current teachers and those seeking careers in education outside of teaching. Students will:

  • Integrate key insights from educational philosophy with the latest research on curricular design and student learning.
  • Learn how to design effective and inclusive learning environments and master best practices to support diverse learners.

Graduates are prepared to work in seconday schools, after-school programs, foundations and philanthropic organizations, educational non-profits, and private research firms and think tanks.

Students in the MA in Education with a Concentration in Educational Policy program will learn to:

  • Critically analyze, craft and implement education policy.
  • Evaluate the impact of educational policy on students and teachers.
  • Advocate for more equitable and effective educational policy.

This concentration prepares students for careers as policy analysts and program evaluators in government, advocacy organizations and non-profit organizations, including foundations, research organizations and think tanks.

The Concentration in Higher Education prepares students for careers in college and university settings, the public policy sector and higher education research. In this program, students will:

  • Learn tools for critical analysis of and constructive solutions to relevant needs and issues in higher education today.
  • Develop foundational and functional competencies, including resource management, collaboration with internal and external stakeholders and strategic planning.
  • Work closely with faculty and staff throughout their program, including conducting research, engaging in internships, practicums, diversity and social justice initiatives, campus leadership opportunities, and community service projects. 

A graduate of this program is prepared to work in university offices such as development and advancement, diversity and inclusion, student affairs, academic advising, and athletics.

Through the Concentration in Teacher Leadership, experienced educators will:

  • Hone their instructional practice.
  • Strengthen their leadership skills to support their colleagues’ learning.
  • Develop proficiency with data analysis and policy advocacy. 

This program is designed for experienced educators who are interested in assuming greater responsibility for improving student engagement and learning while continuing to serve as classroom teachers.

A graduate of this program is prepared to serve as lead teacher, professional learning community facilitator, department chairperson, curriculum specialist, faculty mentor and data coach.

NEW PDE Approved PK-12 Principal Certification 

This 18-credit PA certification can be completed through the Education Certificate or can be combined with our MA in Education.

Upon completion of the program and passing the required state testing, educators will be eligible to be a principal in PK-12 schools within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Aspiring school leaders will meet the following core and corollary standards:

Core Standards 

  • Knowledge and skills to think and plan strategically creating an organizational vision around personalized student success. 
  • An understanding of standards-based systems theory and design and the ability to transfer that knowledge to the leader’s job as an architect of standards based reform in the school. 
  • The ability to access and use appropriate data to inform decision-making at all levels of the system.  

Corollary Standards 

  • Creating a culture of teaching and learning with an emphasis on learning. 
  • Managing resources for effective results. 
  • Collaborating, communicating, engaging and empowering others inside and outside the organization to pursue excellence in learning.  
  • Operating in a fair and equitable manner with personal and professional integrity. 
  • Advocating for children and public education in the larger political, social, economic, legal and cultural context. 
  • Supporting professional growth of self and others through practice and inquiry. 


  • EDU 8672 Instructional Leadership
  • EDU 8656 School Law and Ethics
  • EDU 8699 Creating a Culture of Learning
  • EDU 8696 Practicum I
  • EDU 8693 Practicum II
  • EDU 7223 School Finance & Budgeting (1 credit)
  • EDU 7142 Parent and Community Partnerships (1 credit)
  • EDU 7129 Continuous Improvement (1 credit)

Successful completion of Graduate level courses in the following four areas are required for entry to the program:

  • Special Education
  • English Language Learners
  • Educational Research
  • Standards Aligned Systems & Curriculum

All students are required to take and pass the Praxis School Leaders Licensure Assessment 6990 and apply to PDE for certification. For more information regarding certification contact our Certification Officer Nancy Franz.



With the completion of 15 credits, students can earn a graduate certificate in Teacher Leadership or Higher Education Leadership. These credits may also be applied towards the master’s degree.

With the completion of any 15 credits in graduate Education, students can earn a Certificate in Education, affording students maximum flexibility to tailor the program to their interests and aspirations.




image of Karen Zaino

Karen Zaino '11 MA in Education, Doctoral Candidate, Urban Education at the Graduate Center, CUNY

The graduate program in Education spurred my passion for research and my desire to pursue a doctorate. During my time as a graduate student, I was privileged to assist Dr. Jerusha Conner with her scholarship, and her mentorship has been invaluable to my own career trajectory. As a current doctoral candidate in Urban Education at the Graduate Center, CUNY, I am so grateful for the time I spent at Villanova learning from Dr. Conner! 

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Villanova, PA 19085





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