Skip to main content

Education Leadership Programs

MSA Alum - Jan Cowan King


Western Carolina University provides two degree programs and a certificate program designed to prepare students for jobs as leaders in education:

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

The Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership at WCU is a rigorous professional doctorate focused on the needs of senior level educational leaders.  With concentrations in P-12 and Community College Leadership the program is designed for working adults. Cohorts progress through the program in hybrid courses that meet one weekend each month, reinforced and extended with regular online assignments and discussions.

Learn More

Master of School Administration

The MSA is designed for working teachers who have not received their master's degree and who want to seek principal licensure. Students may go on to become principals or work in other K-12 leadership roles.

Learn More

Principal Fellows Program


The NC Principal Fellows Program (PFP) is a competitive, merit‐based scholarship loan program funded by the North Carolina General Assembly. WCU is one of ten universities in North Carolina currently participating in the program. PFP at WCU is an intensive two-year Master's program that includes graduate classes, travel to conferences, individual coaching, and a 10-month mentored internship during which fellows take a leave of absence from their districts. There is a strong focus on equity, social justice, and the use of data to analyze and address issues in the schools. Most courses are online, other than four Saturdays per semester when classes are held at Biltmore Park in Asheville. The grant is in the form of a forgivable loan; students' tuition, textbooks, and other expenses are covered, and Fellows may pay the loan back by serving in a leadership position in NC within 7 years of graduation. Students must be nominated by their districts for this program. For more information, please contact Dr. Heidi Von Dohlen at

Learn More

North Carolina School Executive Leadership Initiative

The MSA at WCU is offered as part of a collaborative program in partnership with the Western Region Education Service Alliance (WRESA). The unique design integrates three primary components:

  1. The North Carolina Standards for School Executives
  2. Research-based program experiences for developing quality school leaders
  3. The leadership needs of regional school districts as identified by practicing superintendents

It is our goal to work collaboratively to provide excellent professional learning opportunities that produce exceptional school leaders for North Carolina. Applications for the Master's in School Administration are accepted once per year.

Office of Web Services