Deadlines and Important Dates

Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts and letters of recommendation should be received by the following deadline to be considered complete.

  • July 1 for fall semester admission
  • November 1 for spring semester admission
  • March 15 for summer semester admission

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.

Admission Requirements

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates. 

Prior to submitting an application for the program, please be aware of the following:

  • If you are considering applying to the School Leader Emphasis or the Principal Certification, you will need to have a minium of three years of school related experience by the time you start or complete the program. 
  • At this time, only Pennsylvania-certified educators are eligible to apply for the Graduate Certificate for Principalship and/or the School Leader emphasis of Masters in Educational Leadership. You must have the capacity to complete a required, (calendar) year-long internship with a qualified mentor principal (who has been a Pennsylvania principal for at least three years) for the School Leader emphasis.
  • Our Master's in Educational Leadership with the Teacher Leader emphasis is open to educators from other states and countries. Please note that switching from one emphasis area to another is not permissible once the student has been accepted into a specific program emphasis.

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

GPA and Test Scores —A successful undergraduate record with a minimum GPA of 3.0

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

References (3) — you will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names and email addresses of two references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.  

Ask for letters from recommenders who can make a strong case for your commitment to success in an online program of graduate study. At least one of these recommenders should be your current school principal/supervisor. Remaining references should include individuals who have supervised you in an academic or professional setting, who can speak to your intellectual ability, communication and problem-solving skills, creativity, sensitivity to others, and educational leadership potential.

Ask for recommendations (completion of an online form and an attached recommendation letter) well in advance of the application deadline. Notify all recommenders that they must submit their recommendation in order for your application to be complete.

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Statement of Purpose - Write a brief statement, of about 1000 words, your purpose for applying to the Master's in Educational Leadership. Along with that, please answer the following questions: 

  1. Which area of study are you pursuing within the EDLDR program? (MEd School Leader, MEd Teacher Leader, or the Principalship Certificate) and why? 
  2. What experiences have contributed to your commitment to education?
  3. What are your academic and professional goals?
  4.  How, as a leader in education, do you plan to impact outcomes and expectations for all students and enact positive change in education?


Writing sample

  • Select an article from a current education journal or peer reviewed journal, such as Education Policy/EPX (Sage), Educational Administration Quarterly (UCEA), International Journal of Educational Policy and Leadership (electronic journal), Educational Leadership (ASCD), or another similar option.
  • Briefly summarize, in a maximum of three pages, the main points of the article and then critique the content from the vantage point of your experiences as an educator.
  • Your critique can include agreement as well as disagreement with author's perspective.
  • Include a complete citation for the article in your writing sample.

Start Your Application

You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.

Begin the graduate school application

  • Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus

Applying as a Nondegree Graduate Student

To begin taking courses right away, you may apply as a "nondegree" graduate student. You may take up to 6 credits in nondegree status before submitting your application portfolio. Only students matriculated into the Educational Leadership program as a student completing a degree or certification program are permitted to take the EDLDR 595, Internship for Principals course.

Note: If you apply and enroll as a nondegree graduate student, you must re-apply to the degree/certification program to be considered for admission into the Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree and/or for the Principal Certification programs. This new application includes a second application fee. Application/enrollment as a nondegree student does not guarantee admission to the program. Acceptance to the Educational Leadership degree/certification program is contingent upon approved (by faculty panel) application to a selected program. If you plan to enroll as a nondegree student, you must contact an advisor in the program for guidance prior to beginning coursework . No more than two courses (6 credits) are permitted as non-degree before acceptance to the program is required to continue.

In the graduate school application:

  • Select "Nondegree Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this program.