MA, Emancipatory School Leadership

The SJSU Connie L. Lurie College of Education’s Master's in Educational Leadership, Concentration in Emancipatory School Leadership is designed for emerging K-12 school leaders who wish to engage with emancipatory leadership practices to improve educational opportunities for historically marginalized students. This program will prepare school leaders through deep engagement with research and practice through applied consulting on living case studies.

Emancipatory school leadership approaches create organizational cultures to reflect the diversity of experience and knowledge within school communities through collaborative approaches to deconstruct power systems, challenge inequitable practices and policies, and cultivate community cultural wealth.

Program Overview

This new Master’s Degree is designed to work in partnership with county LEAP programs to build upon the skills LEAP graduates bring to school settings. The program contains the following features:

  • Official program name: MA, Educational Leadership, Concentration in Emancipatory School Leadership
  • Format: Part-time, cohort, hybrid model with courses taught in-person and online
  • Units: 30 units
  • Start date: Summer
  • Program length: 14-month program (summer, fall, spring, summer)
  • Application deadline: March 1, 2022

Initial Eligibility and Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in any major/discipline
  • Three (3) years of successful, full-time experience in public, private, or charter schools
  • Nomination/recommendation from a school leader

Curriculum and Roadmaps

This program consists of 30 units of coursework. Students who have completed the CalAPA will be able to transfer 12 units of coursework and will take the remaining 18 units at SJSU’s Lurie College of Education. Applicants who have not completed the CalAPA can take an additional 12 units in our Lurie College of Education or possibly transfer in graduate level coursework. Descriptions of the required courses and the program roadmap are available on the SJSU Catalog website.

Upcoming Info Sessions

Meet with our program faculty and learn more about our MA in Emancipatory School Leadership program by attending an upcoming online info session:

  • Tuesday, October 12, 4-5pm
  • Thursday, October 21, 4-5pm
  • Tuesday, November 9, 4-5pm
  • Monday, November 15, 12-1pm
  • Wednesday, December 1, 4-5pm
  • Tuesday, December 7, 4-5pm

RSVP to attend an upcoming info session

Virtual Open House

Join us on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at 5:45pm for a virtual viewing of a live class in-session. The course, titled Equity & Access: Practices, Policies, & Pedagogies, will be opening their zoom classroom for prospective applicants to listen in and get a sneak peek at an Emancipatory School Leadership course.

RSVP to attend the virtual open house

Steps to Apply

Step 1 | Notify Our Department

Contact Dr. Rebeca Burciaga, Emancipatory School Leadership Program Coordinator, at to make her aware of your interest.

Step 2 | Complete the CSU Apply online application

  • Summer 2022 application deadline: March 1, 2022
  • Program name: Educational Leadership, Concentration in Emancipatory School Leadership, MA

Official transcripts can be sent either by mail or by email. If your university offers official electronic transcripts, you can email them to Hard copy transcripts can be mailed to:

Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations
San José State University 
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0017

Step 3 | Apply to Our Department

Complete our Emancipatory School Leadership Application form. Before beginning the department application please be prepared to upload all required documents:

  • Unofficial Transcripts | Upload a PDF copy from each university/college attended
  • Resume | Upload a PDF or Word version of your most recent resume
  • Three (3) Recommendations | Provide only names and titles on our application form - recommendation letters may be submitted directly from your recommender via our MESL Recommendation Google form
  • PASC Memo | If applicable, provide a PDF memo from a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential (PASC) program reflecting completion or near completion of the credential.
  • Verification Memo | Upload a PDF memo from a supervisor verifying a minimum of three years of successful, full-time experience in public, private, or charter schools
  • Written Portion | Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which people deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world (Freire, p.16, 1970). The Lurie College of Education Emancipatory School Leadership Program is grounded in critical research and practices that highlight the emancipatory effects of culturally sustaining and participatory approaches to school leadership. We are excited to learn more about the insights and experiences you would bring to our learning community. Please answer the following questions within 4 pages of a double-spaced document and upload as a PDF.
    1. Why are you interested in the Emancipatory School Leadership Program?
    2. Describe your most difficult school-related challenge and how you plan to address it.
    3. How might a MA degree in Emancipatory School Leadership benefit you/others/schools in the future?
    4. Is there anything else you would like to share?

Step 4 | Request Recommendations

Send our MESL Recommendation Google form to 3 people - a school leader, a faculty member, and a colleague who are recommending you.

  • A recommendation form from a school leader.
  • A recommendation form from one of your faculty members in your Preliminary Administrative Services Credential Program. If you took the test, please use this opportunity to request a recommendation form from a second school leader.
  • A recommendation form from a colleague that speaks to your collaboration with family and school communities.

Applicants whose files are complete will be invited to an interview to finalize the application process.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Dr. Rebeca Burciaga, Emancipatory School Leadership Program Coordinator, at

Current Students' Spotify Playlist

We asked students from our current MA cohort to share songs that help them resist and/or recover and added them to a playlist on our SJSU Lurie College of Education Spotify account. Give them a listen below.