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Post-Master's Principal Certification: Leadership Institute

The Educational Leadership program at Texas State emphasizes a 21st century approach to the preparation of aspiring school administrators. The Leadership Institute courses include problem and field based learning experiences, skills development to strategically lead school improvement, and capacity building to lead for educational equity and success for all learners. Our faculty are nationally recognized and networked, and our program is a member of the University Council for Educational Administration which is a national consortium of research universities that are preparing leaders of excellence for the nation’s schools.

The post-master’s principal certification program is a non-degree online program that leads to principal certification (pending course completion and passing the TExES state certification exam). This program is offered in a Leadership Institute model that integrates leadership theory, skills development, and practicum activities in a hybrid format that includes seminar meetings, online learning, and fieldwork in schools and communities. Candidates for this program must already hold a master’s degree. The Leadership Institute design builds on your expertise in educational practice and research that you developed in your master’s program and in your teaching practice. Students take courses in cohort groups in order to form long-term supportive relationships and professional networks.

The program consists of 18 credit hours, inclusive of a year-long principal preparation internship in your school. It is offered online and can be completed within one full year for students who follow the published course schedule. Faculty are committed to our students’ academic and professional growth, and we are delighted to work with you!

  • Application Information

    Admission is for classes starting in May. Applicants must submit:

    1. The Apply Texas online application with the stated application fee;
    2. Official transcripts from every college or university in which the applicant earned undergraduate or graduate credit; applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 on last 60 undergraduate hours earned in a bachelor’s degree; applicants to the post-master’s certification must have a master’s degree in education or an education related field from a regionally accredited university;
    3. A copy of the applicant’s teaching certification documenting valid and current initial teacher certification;
    4. A copy of the applicant's official teaching record documenting at least one year of K-12 teaching experience;
    5. English Proficiency: If English is not the applicant’s native language or if the applicant is not eligible for an automatic TOEFL/IELTS waiver, then the TOEFL or IELTS exam scores are required.
    6. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is NOT required.

    For application deadlines, more specific information on each of the requirements listed above, and to access the Apply Texas application please visit our Educational Leadership – Principal Certification page at The Graduate College.

    Accepting an Offer of Admission

    If your application is approved for admission, you will receive an email from The Graduate College at Texas State University offering you admission to the program. The State of Texas requires that you accept this offer of admission into the principal preparation program and that a $35 Texas Education Agency (TEA) fee is paid. The email offering admission will direct you to a link though which this fee can be paid online. Payment of the fee will complete both state requirements because it also signifies that you have accepted the admission offer. This payment must be completed within a maximum of 2 weeks after receiving the admission offer. After this step has been completed you will receive another email from The Graduate College admitting you to the Post-Master’s Principal Certification program and may begin registering for classes (see below). If the payment link is not completed within 2 weeks, The Graduate College will automatically deny admission. The university will transfer the $35 payment to TEA – it is not retained by the university.


    Visit the Graduate Tuition page for Texas resident and non-resident tuition charts. Fees vary slightly for off campus, hybrid, or online courses. Student Business Services can assist with tuition and payment related questions. Post-master’s certification students are not eligible for financial aid or scholarships because eligibility for these requires enrollment in a degree seeking program. In 2018, estimated total tuition and fees appear to run about $900 less for this program than through the Austin regional service center. Tuition payments to Texas State include 9 credit hours in summer, 6 credit hours in fall, and 3 credit hours in spring.

    Principal Certification Requirements

    This post-master’s, non-degree certification program prepares you for principal certification in the State of Texas. Candidates for principal certification must meet the following requirements by the end of their program and before Texas State University can recommend them to the Texas Education Agency for principal certification:

    1. Complete Texas State’s post-master’s principal preparation program (Post-Master’s Principal Certification),
    2. Hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education,
    3. Hold a valid classroom teaching certificate,
    4. Have two or more creditable years of classroom teaching experience, and
    5. Successfully complete the TExES principal certification examination.

    Candidates for Principal Certification must meet the program’s academic and professional standards, as determined by the faculty, in order to be recommended to TEA for certification.

  • The Educational Leadership (EDCL) program is housed in the Department of Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education & School Psychology (CLAS). Our department’s New Student Information page provides general orientation information on topics such as parking passes, library access, how register for classes, accessing your Texas State email, the academic calendar, student health and counseling services, etc. We recommend visiting this information page at the time you accept admission so as to make your start smooth, informed, and connected. For academic advising information (including what courses to take and when), please continue reading below on this current page.

  • The start date for this program is in May. In May through July, students participate in 3 Leadership Institutes (9 credit hours). In the Fall semester, they take one course on Action Research and one on the school-based internship (6 credit hours in Fall). In the Spring semester, students take a second semester school-based internship (3 credit hours).

    The class schedule is as follows:

    1. Leadership Institute I: Understanding Self & Environments: Developing a Personal Leadership Vision within Educational, Social, and Cultural Contexts

    Meeting Dates: Four day-long seminars on the first four Saturdays of May, held online via. Zoom. 

    Term: Summer Session 1

    Location: (Online)                 

    2. Leadership Institute II: Instructional Supervision & Professional Development

    Meeting Dates: Eight three-hour blocks of instruction on Tuesdays and Thursdays in June, held online via Zoom

    Term: Summer Session 1

    Location: (Online)               

    3. Leadership Institute III: School Law and Campus Leadership

    Meeting Dates: Four day-long seminars in July, immediately following the Fourth of July weekend

    Term: Summer Session 2

    4. Fall semester: Integrative Seminar (EDCL 6358) and Field-Based Practicum I (EDCL 6387).

    Meeting Dates: The research seminar meets weekly on a weekday evening (6:30-9:20), online via Zoom. The field-based practicum is asynchronous and consists of regular check-ins and visits from your Texas State field supervisor.

    Term: Fall

    1. Spring Semester: Field-Based Practicum II (EDCL 6388).

    Meeting Dates: The field-based practicum is asynchronous and consists of regular check-ins and visits from your Texas State field supervisor.

    Term: Spring

    Format: Each Leadership Institute is 3 credit hours and traditionally consists of online seminars at the dates/times listed as well as additional asynchronous online learning and field practicum activities before and after the seminar dates. 

    Course Registration: Students who have been admitted to the program can begin registering for these Leadership Institute classes in the beginning of April. Specific course numbers will be posted here and sent to admitted students at that time.

  • Action Research Design: For the program’s capstone project, students design and implement a research-based action research project that advances systematic school improvement at the campus level (beyond their own classroom). This project is designed in existing courses. Post-master’s certification students do not take a Comprehensive Examination.

    Action Research Implementation: Students implement this action research plan on their campus as one requirement of the yearlong principal internship. Results are presented in an Action Research Symposium on the San Marcos campus at the conclusion of the internship. The action research process provides aspiring school leaders with a high impact learning experience to develop and actually use skills to lead systematic school improvement on a PK-12 campus. At the conclusion of the capstone process, candidates are able to provide hiring districts with evidence of how they have already led school improvement

  • The principal internship is a year-long learning experience that starts in the Fall semester and ends in the Spring semester. Fall is the only semester in which the internship can be started. It is a two course (6 credit hour) internship. Post-master’s certification students must have completed the summer Leadership Institutes before the internship (see the Course Schedule link above) in order to be eligible to begin the internship. Students who are employed in PK-12 schools generally complete the internship at their campus, and need to secure their principal’s agreement to serve as their site mentor. The internship also includes Advancing Educational Leadership (AEL) training and certification, which is required for school administrators supervising through the Texas-Teacher Evaluation Support System (T-TESS). Although Texas State provides the AEL training, there is a separate fee (currently $80) payable to the Region 13 Educational Service Center as the certifying authority.

    Please read the Principal Internship/Practicum page before you apply for the internship. The Principal Field Practicum Application may be completed online between February 1 and May 1. The deadline to submit the application is May 1. This deadline must be met. The only exception is for post-master’s certification students admitted after May 1. These students should complete the Principal Field Practicum Application at the time they accept admission into the program. Applicants need to have their practicum school site and mentor (usually that school’s principal) confirmed before submitting the online application. The application must be completed at one time (it cannot be saved to be finished later).

  • In your final semester, while completing your internship, you will be eligible to register for and take the 268 and PASL exams required for principal certification in Texas. The Office of Educator Preparation (OEP) requires approval from our EDCL program before the testing portals will allow you to register. This approval occurs after we have verified that you have successfully completed the first semester of your internship and have completed your other preliminary coursework through the Summer Leadership Institute. Once your program approval is cleared, you should then receive an email from OEP letting you know that you are now approved to register and take the certification exams in time to be on the job market for AP jobs right after finishing the program.

  • Students who have completed our Post-Master’s Principal Certification may want to consider future studies in the Ph.D. in School Improvement program or the Superintendent Certification program. It is also possible for a Ph.D. student to incorporate superintendent certification into their doctoral studies.

  • An optional Professional Development program (1 credit hour) will be offered in Spring 2020 to candidates who have completed the full Leadership Institute leading to principal certification. The goal of the professional development is to support program graduates who have moved into school leadership positions or who are planning to do so in the near future.

    The alumni network of this program is vast and spans throughout Central Texas and beyond. Likely you already know an AP, principal or central office staff member who is an alumnus of this program. We consider this a strength of our program, and encourage our alumni to recruit amongst each other as they move on in their professional careers. You can stay in touch with other alumni via this Facebook group.