Deadlines and Important Dates

Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, should be received by the following deadlines 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.

Applicants must have at least three years of relevant professional experience in an educational setting that is related to the instructional process, and hold a current PDE–issued state certification.

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

  • At this time, only Pennsylvania-certified educators are eligible to apply for the Graduate Certificate for Principalship.
  • You must have the capacity to complete a required, (calendar) year-long internship with a qualified mentor principal (who has been, and still is serving as, a principal for at least three years).

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 and (if applicable) graduate 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 three 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. 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.

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Vita or Résumé — Upload your résumé to the online application.

Statement of Purpose —  Write a brief statement, of about 1000 words, of your purpose in applying for graduate study in Educational Leadership. Explain why you are applying to the Principalship Certificate program. Address the following questions:

  1. What experiences have contributed to your commitment to education?
  2. What are your academic and professional goals?
  3. 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.

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 EDLDR 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 certification program to be considered for admission into the Principal Certificate. This new application includes a second application fee. Application/enrollment as a nondegree student does not guarantee admission to the program. Acceptance to the certificate 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. 

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this program.