What you can earn


2 years

Credits earned




Time commitment

Part-time, Full-time

Upcoming deadline

January 3, 2025

Equity-focused teachers start here

The Instructional Leadership masters program is geared towards K-12 educators, equipping you for impactful teacher leadership roles* within your school and district. You will learn how to nurture professional inquiry and collaboration through engaging in dialogue, investigation, reflection, and action. After graduation, you'll emerge as a passionate advocate for equitable access and opportunities on behalf of every student, and an empowered teacher-leader at your site.

Our flexible, hybrid program - a combination of in-person and online courses - allows you to continue your full-time teaching role while earning your M.Ed. in just two years or less. Program curriculum blends teacher leadership coursework, content-specific learning, and inquiry-focused leadership practice.

This program is tailored for educators seeking advanced knowledge in leadership and classroom practices, enhancing your capabilities both as a classroom educator and a leader committed to fostering inclusivity and excellence. Jobs or positions our alums take on include instructional coach, mentor, grade level or content area lead, committee chair, curriculum developer, and much more.

* Please note that the IL Masters degree does not provide administrative certification for principals. 

Instructional Leadership students having a discussion in a UW classroom

What you'll learn

  • How to advocate for equitable educational experiences for all students
  • Practice inquiry-driven improvement of professional practice
  • How to lead data-driven assessment of student learning
  • How to support and lead professional learning communities
  • How to coach and mentor adult learners
  • How to deepen your instructional expertise in one of the following curricular areas:
    • Literacy
    • Mathematics
    • Social studies
    • Science
    • Multicultural education
    • English language learning
    • Early childhood education
    • Special education

After graduation

According to Washington state educational leaders, qualified instructional teacher leaders are necessary for the state's drive to help every child learn and grow. Instructional Leadership graduates have gone on to roles that include:

  • Instructional coach in literacy, math, science, etc
  • Curriculum specialist
  • Literacy or math specialist
  • Data coach or assessment coordinator
  • Educational consultant
  • Professional development coordinator
  • Grade level or department lead
  • PLC leader
  • New teacher mentor
  • Early childhood program director
  • On-time graduation specialist

Even if you already have a master's degree, our sources indicate that the additional 45 hours could entitle you to a salary increase. Check with your district to find out.

Let's connect

We're excited that you're interested in our program! By joining our mailing list, you can receive updates on info sessions, deadlines, financial aid and more!

Connect with us

If you have any questions, please email Program Director Sylvia Bagley


    • Complete your degree in two years (or less or more), with a flexible start date
    • Designed for full-time working teachers
    • Combination of summer, evening on-campus, and online courses
    • Assignments that connect research directly to your practice
    • Specialization in a content area or educational focus of your choice
    • Highly personalized advising and cohort-based support


    The Instructional Leadership program is designed to fit the life of working teachers. Our flexible, hybrid format allows you to balance your full-time teaching commitment with the pursuit of your M.Ed. in two years or less. The program includes an immersive two-week summer program, fostering connections within your cohort. Throughout the two academic years of your program you will continue your coursework through a blend of online and evening on-campus courses. Additionally, you will return to campus monthly for a reflective seminar, building on your leadership and inquiry skills. At the end of a second year, after completion of a culminating project, you will have achieved your M.Ed. in just two years, marking a transformative step in your career as an empowered and skilled educator.

    This program is organized around four strands of instructionally-focused teacher leadership:

    Equity-driven educational leadership
    • Connecting educational policy, organizational and leadership theories with teachers
    • Teaching and school renewal
    • Understanding moral and ethical leadership
    • Building cultural competencies and practices
    Content-focused instructional leadership
    • Demonstrating deep knowledge of selected focus content area
    • Strong knowledge of common core standards, instructional frameworks and content-specific instructional practices
    • Differentiated instruction
    • Assessments of student learning
    Teacher leadership and professional learning
    • Practicing teacher leadership in the context of school renewal
    • Facilitating inquiry-based learning in professional communities and teacher study groups
    • Coaching and mentoring adult learners
    • Leading data-based instructional conversations
    Inquiry-focused teacher leadership
    • Conducting and leading inquiry in classroom, school, and district settings
    • Prepare to identify job-embedded problems of teaching and leadership practice
    • Pose impactful inquiry questions
    • Collect and analyze related data
    • Reflect on and interpret findings
    • Share inquiry outcomes with local and non-local audiences
    • Take action steps to improve professional work

    Coursework in our Instructional Leadership program is highly flexible. The following sequence is only an example of a common cohort schedule:

    First summer
    • Orientation one evening in May
    • Intensive two week summer institute in June/July
      • Meets daily from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m
      • Usually taken in first year but can be taken in second year
      • Courses taken:
        • EDC&I 525: Situating Teacher Leadership in Today's Schools (hybrid on-campus/online, 3 credits)
        • EDC&I 526: Building Authentic Professional Community (hybrid on-campus/online, 3 credits)
    First academic year
    • Fall quarter
      • EDC&I 552: Coaching and Mentoring Adult Learners (online, 3 credits)
      • EDC&I 572: Action Research in Education (hybrid, 3 credits)
      • Monthly evening seminars (1 credit)
    • Winter quarter
      • EDC&I 535: Educational Policy for Teacher Leaders (online, 3 credits)
      • EDC&I 503: Foundations of Curriculum and Instruction (4 credits)
      • Monthly evening seminars (1 credit)
    • Spring quarter
      • EDC&I 553: Collecting, Interpreting and Using Data for School Improvement (online, 3 credits)
      • Elective or foundations (3 credits)
      • Monthly evening seminars (1 credit)
    Second academic year
    • Fall quarter
      • Elective or foundations (3 credits)
      • Monthly evening seminars (1-2 credits)
    • Winter quarter
      • Elective course (as needed) (3 credits)
      • Monthly evening seminars (1-2 credits)
    • Spring quarter
      • Content area course (3 credits)
      • Monthly evening seminars (1-2 credits)

    Throughout this program you will be asked to apply what you are learning into your workplace setting. For example, in the course "Coaching and Mentoring Adult Learners" you will select a colleague and practice your coaching skills with them throughout the quarter. You will also craft a final action plan for implementing or modifying a coaching cycle in your workplace.

    In addition to 37 credits of academic coursework, you will complete 8 credits leading to a job-embedded, inquiry-based culminating project. Program faculty will provide you with the support and knowledge needed to complete your project, along with an action research course.

    Your project will be grounded in a problem of practice in your own school or district. You will present your project during a public event that is scheduled in the last quarter of your program. Core faculty and advisors will attend the public presentations, review students' completed project reports, request revisions and provide final evaluation and approval.

    Admission requirements and process

      To declare your program of interest on your application go to the 'Program Selection' page and under 'Select your program' select 'Education - Seattle (MEd- Curriculum & Instruction)'. Next to go to the 'Application Questions' page an add your area of interest, here select 'Instructional Leadership (MIL)' and save. Then finish the required application materials.

      Program selection page on application

      Program selection page on application

      Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution

      Your bachelor’s degree can be in-progress when applying but must be completed before the program starts.

      Unofficial transcript(s) with minimum 3.0 GPA
      • Include one from each institution from which you've earned a degree and one from every institution you have attended in the previous 5 years.
      • Your transcripts must include your name, coursework and degree (if completed)
      • If you are offered admission, the UW Graduate School will request an official transcript from your most recent degree earned

      The UW Graduate School requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0, or 3.0 for your most recent 90 graded quarter credits (60 semester credits). However, we review your application holistically. If your GPA is below 3.0, contact us at edinfo@uw.edu for advice on how to strengthen your overall application by connecting with a Graduate Admissions advisor.

      Two letters of recommendation

      During the online application process, you will be given instructions for adding your recommenders and getting their letters submitted electronically. All recommenders must submit their letters online.


      A current academic and professional resume or vita is required. In addition to educational degrees and professional experience, you should include a listing of all relevant awards, publications, presentations or other achievements that will help us evaluate your application.

      Statement of Purpose

      The admissions committee uses your statement of purpose, along with other evidence, to determine whether your goals are well-matched with our programs. Your statement should address goals, relevant experience, future plans and how the desired specific program meets your needs. Be sure to include personal experiences that have prepared you for the challenge of graduate school, topics like:

      • Scholarly interests
      • Career goals
      • Your match for the program
      • Faculty interests

      Your statement should be 1-2 pages, double-spaced.

      Personal history statement (optional)

      While optional, you can add to your application by submitting a personal history statement with each application. This statement should address your intellectual growth and development, inclusive of and beyond your academic goals. Speak to topics like:

      • Educational, cultural and economic opportunities and disadvantages you've experienced
      • Ways these experiences affected the development of your special interests, career plans and future goals.
      • Any additional topics requested on a specific program's page

      Statements should be no longer than two pages long. And while there are no standard formatting requirements, we encourage double-spaced text with a legible font.

      1. Gather all required documents
      2. Visit the Graduate School website
      3. Log into your account or create a new profile if you are a first-time applicant
      4. Complete all steps in application process and upload your documents
      5. Pay the nonrefundable $90 application fee
        • You may request a fee waiver during the application process
      6. Submit your application

      When completing the online application, first select “Education - Seattle (MEd - Curriculum & Instruction)”. You will then select Instructional Leadership.

      After submitting your application, we'd love to hear from you! Send an email to Program Director Sylvia Bagley and introduce yourself.

      Here is our general timeline for decisions. Have questions about the process? Visit our graduate admissions page.

      Step 1: Application processing

      • Within 7 business days after the deadline, we will check if your application if fully complete
      • We will email you whether your application is complete or incomplete
      • If your application is missing anything, you will have a short amount of time submit these items
      • You can also log into the online application and check your status and see any missing items

      Step 2: Application review

      • Committees begin reviewing applications about three weeks after the deadline
      • You will receiving an email when your application has entered the review phase

      Step 3: Decision notification

      • The final decision will be emailed to you
      • Your status will also be updated in the online application

      We value and welcoming applications from international students! If you are applying from outside the United States, there are additional requirements and application materials.

      Prior degree requirements
      • At minimum, you must have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree (a four-year degree from an institution of recognized standing)
      • Evaluation of your degree will be based on:
        • The national system of education in the foreign country
        • The type of institution
        • The field of study and level of studies completed
      • International transcripts must be submitted in the original language.
      • Your transcript should include date of graduation and title of the awarded academic degree
      • If your transcript is not in English, you must also provide a certified English translation
      • You do not need to have your transcript evaluated for the degree by an agency
      English language proficiency

      Per UW Graduate School policy, you must submit a demonstration of English language proficiency if your native language is not English and you did not earn a degree in one of the following countries:

      • United States
      • United Kingdom
      • Australia
      • Bahamas
      • Canada
      • Ireland
      • Jamaica
      • New Zealand
      • Singapore
      • South Africa
      • Trinidad and Tobago

      The following tests are accepted if the test was taken fewer than two years ago:

      • TOEFL
        • Minimum score: 80
        • Recommended score: 92+
        • The UW's 4-digit code is 4854
      • IELTS
        • You must request from the center where you took the test that your scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system (E-TRF) to the following address:
          • University of Washington All Campuses, Organisation ID 365, Undergrad & Graduate Admis, Box 355850, Seattle, WA, 98105, United States of America
        • Minimum score: 6.5
        • Recommended score: 7.0+
        • School information for submission:
          University of Washington, All Campuses
          Undergraduate & Graduate Admission
          Box 355850
          Seattle, WA 98195
      • Duolingo
        • Minimum score: 105
        • Recommended score: 125+
        • Follow the instructions on the Duolingo website to submit your scores
      Financial ability

      If apply and are offered admission to UW, you will need to submit a statement of financial ability.

      Costs and funding

        We are a tuition-based program. Estimated tuition rates are based on your residency:

        View the UW tuition dashboard →
        Visit the Office of Planning & Budgeting →

        Estimates are subject to change and may differ due to course load and summer quarter enrollment. Estimates include building fees, technology fees, U-Pass, etc. Additional program-specific fees are not included in this estimate.

        If you are a state employee, you may be eligible for tuition waivers for a few classes in the program. Please contact us before applying to learn more about this waiver.

        Federal financial aid is available for students. Visit the UW Financial Aid website for information and resources. The College of Education also provides scholarship and other funding opportunities.

        If you are a state employee, you may be eligible for tuition waivers for a few classes in the program. Please contact us before applying to learn more about this waiver.

        Graduate students can be awarded $2,000 - $5,000 if they are earning their M.Ed, Ed.S, Ed.D or Ph.D through a College of Education program.

        Program Director

        Assistant Teaching Professor

        Program Faculty

        Assistant Teaching Professor

        Program Affiliated Faculty

        Associate Professor

        Program Staff

        Program Support Supervisor II