New Graduate Degree Approved!

In September, the Higher Learning Commission approved MLC’s request to offer a new degree – the Master of Science in Educational Administration. This program is targeted specifically for the roles of the Lutheran principal and early childhood director. It is appropriate for those who currently serve, or who wish to serve, in those roles. Why offer a new degree?

The MS Ed Admin program encompasses the entire scope of the Lutheran administrator’s call. In contrast, the MS in Education leadership emphasis, which has been completed by 36 principals and early childhood directors, is less comprehensive in school leadership but provides more opportunities to grow in areas of instruction, special education, and technology. The MS Ed leadership program still exists for those who appreciate its flexibility.

Principal Emphasis

In 2012 a team of Lutheran leaders examined the current national principal standards and the responsibilities of the Lutheran principal. They developed the WELS Principal Standards, approved by both the Commission on Lutheran Schools and the MLC graduate faculty, that underscore the position as a unique blend of spiritual guide, building principal, and district superintendent. It became clear that developing the gifts and skills to carry out the Lutheran principal position required a unique program that did not exist elsewhere. The Master of Science in Educational Administration program was created to meet the WELS Principal Standards.

School leaders across the WELS with expertise in areas of school leadership, supervision, curriculum, funding, and marketing came together to create the program and design instruction for those who want to grow in the Lutheran principal’s role. In June, MLC hosted a visit from our accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, to review our plans for the new program. Our visiting team recognized the high quality of our planned program and recommended full approval, which was granted by the HLC in September. The degree is also recognized by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. (principal emphasis program plan)

Early Childhood Director Emphasis

A similar process was then carried out to create WELS Early Childhood Director Standards, which are the basis for the early childhood director emphasis of the Master of Science in Educational Administration. This emphasis blends learning about early childhood development and school administration. Some program courses (child development, early childhood curriculum, early childhood directorship) are specific for early childhood directors, while others (supervision, school culture, marketing) focus on skills shared with principals. (early childhood director emphasis program plan)

Enrolling in the MS Ed Admin

Enrolling in the new program is simple. New graduate students will complete the application and mark their intent to enter this program. Current graduate students who wish to switch from the MS Ed program to this new degree need only send an email to Dr. Meyer letting him know. Before switching programs, compare your course record to the new program plan to make sure they align.

Comparison of MS Education – leadership emphasis and MS Educational Administration principal emphasis 

Comparison Leadership Principal
MS Educational Administration


  • Offers comprehensive training in all aspects of the Lutheran school leadership
  • Meets the WELS principal and early childhood director standards


  • Offers less program flexibility
  • Offers no opportunities to explore areas of special education or educational technology
  • Offers limited opportunity to explore areas of instruction

MS Education – leadership


  • Allows for exploration in all areas of interest
  • Allows for program customization


  • Requires only the basics of Lutheran school leadership
  • Does not fully meet the WELS principal and early childhood director standards