Transforming Education in Expert School Leadership

The Accelerated School Leadership Program is a rigorous master's in educational leadership degree designed to prepare educators for a variety of leadership positions and education administration in preK-12 schools. Our alumni are principals, instructional coaches, and curriculum specialists who are making a difference in the lives of the students they serve.

“The professors have so much knowledge and experience that you learn from them in every single class; it's priceless.”

– Anson Jackson, ASLP alumnus

Preparing Educational Leaders

The Accelerated School Leadership Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at SMU prepares students for positions in leadership in public schools, public charter schools, turnaround schools, and private and religious schools. The curriculum reflects both the principal certification requirements established by the state of Texas and is consistent with national standards and empirical evidence on effective school leadership knowledge and skills. 
Academic courses of study focus on five key areas: Leadership and Campus Culture, Organizational Behavior and Change, Instructional Leadership, Developing Human Capital, and Administrative Leadership.  Field-based learning opportunities are provided through Field Studies courses, supported by SMU Field Supervisors and campus administrators.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Structure

This 30-hour master’s program is rigorously designed to prepare educators for a variety of leadership positions in pre-K through grade-12 public, charter, private secular, and religious schools. Courses begin in June and ends the following July. During the fall and spring academic terms, students take courses, plus an internship (Field Studies). The Field Studies course each semester involves internship activities on the student's campus of employment. During the final summer, students take one additional course and complete their Capstone paper.

The curriculum is designed in accordance with Texas principal certification requirements and national standards for principal preparation.

• Instructional Leadership Courses with a focus on Literacy and STEM
• Field-based projects (internship experiences) integrated throughout the program and completed on each student's campus of employment
• A cohort model allowing the student to complete the M.Ed. program in 13 months.
• A focus on ensuring that all graduates have the knowledge and skills to evaluate the impact of their leadership on the schools in which they serve. 

Internship Overview

The internship is a three-way partnership involving the student, the administrative mentor on the campus where the candidate is employed, and a member of SMU’s adjunct clinical faculty. Three Field Studies courses include internship activities directly aligned to program courses and to the state 268 Principal Competencies.  Beginning in June 2020 and ending May 2021, interns must have completed 160 hours of field based experiences that align with 268 Principal Competencies.


This program offers reduced tuition and need-based scholarships are available. Students are eligible to apply for financial aid.


Nick Gesualdi, Ed.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Program Director

W. Les Black, Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor

Leanne Ketterlin-Geller, Ph.D., Professor

Alexandra Pavlakis, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Meredith Richards, Ph.D., Associate Professor