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Master of Education in Educational Leadership Degree with Principal Certification

The Educational Leadership program at Texas State emphasizes a 21st century approach to the preparation of aspiring school administrators. 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. Students take courses in cohort groups in order to form long term supportive relationships and professional networks. 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. This master’s degree program is 36 credit hours, inclusive of a year-long principal preparation internship in your school, and is now offered fully online as well as in-person at both the San Marcos and Round Rock campuses. 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 Summer Session 1 (June to early July) or the Fall semester. Applicants must submit:

    1.      The Apply Texas online application with the stated application fee;

    2.      Official transcripts from every four year college or university in which the applicant earned credit; applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 on last 60 undergraduate hours earned in a bachelor’s degree;

    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 Page at The Graduate College of Texas State University

    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 M.Ed. in Educational Leadership 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.  

    Scholarships & Financial Aid

    In order to be considered for scholarship, fellowship, and assistantship funding opportunities, applications must be completed for review before the March 1 Priority Application Deadline. Applicants are encouraged to explore The Graduate College’s Funding page for information on scholarships and other funding options and to also visit the university’s Financial Aid & Scholarships page. To be financial aid eligible in a given semester, students must be taking two courses in the semester that are required in the degree plan (see How to Plan Your Course Schedule below). If you are taking a course that is not required in order to earn your degree, that course does not count for financial aid eligibility.


    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.

    Principal Certification Requirements

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

    1.      Complete Texas State’s principal preparation program (the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with Principal Certification),

    2.      Hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education (Texas State University is accredited),

    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.    

  • Degree pathways are based on your program (M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with Principal Certification) and location (whether online, on our San Marcos main campus, our Round Rock Campus, or as part of an off-site school district partnership). Courses are in a cohort format, and you should follow the pathway on the master schedule below for the courses to take each semester. This pathway is based on taking two classes per semester with your cohort group, and you should take these courses in the order listed on the schedule. Cohorts provide an opportunity to form long term professional networks that will support you during studies and in your professional career as a school leader. Students who start at one campus or in one modality (online/in-person)  may choose to take classes at the other campus or modality, but they should check the master schedule before doing so to see if there will be any impact on course availability and time to degree completion. If you do not follow the master schedule for your cohort that will delay your time to degree completion, perhaps significantly, as particular courses are only offered at particular times.

    Schedule of Classes: Follow this master schedule every semester to decide what classes to take and when. It is important that you follow this schedule so that courses are available when you need them.

    Course Planning Worksheet: Review this sheet carefully each semester before registering for classes, and use one copy as a check list to mark off classes completed and other requirements (such as the Comprehensive Examination).

    Course Registration

    View a semester’s schedule of classes being offered (course, day, time, location) and register for classes online. When registering, please be sure to look at the class notes for the section you are selecting. These notes will show you any unique requirements for that section as well as any required variation in the meeting dates. This may involve going to a different screen. You can also access Course Descriptions and the Graduate Catalog online. Both of these are best viewed in Chrome.

    The usual graduate course load is two courses (6 hours) each semester. Students must take EDCL 5339 in their first semester. The program faculty strongly recommend a six-hour course load for students who have full-time employment. The faculty believes that a course load beyond the six hour recommendation will compromise the quality of work, quality of life, and quality of the learning experience. Students who wish to apply for an exception to this practice should contact the administrative assistant, Jaqui Todd.

    Course Override Forms

    If you appear to need a specific course but are blocked by the system because of pre-requisites or a hold, please complete the online Class Registration Override form. Staff will respond to you within several days with an override approval or with advising questions/information.

    Class Meeting Days & Times

    Most Educational Leadership classes in the Fall and Spring semesters meet one night a week (Monday through Thursday) from 6:30 to 9:20 pm. If a class meets in an alternate format, you will see that listed in the class notes or class meeting time.

    The Summer semester is divided into two sessions (Summer 1 & Summer 2). Most Educational Leadership courses will meet during the day, 4 days a week (Monday to Thursday) for 4 weeks. The class meeting schedule listed will generally list a 5 week session, so check the notes on your intended section for the actual meeting dates.    

    Degree Audit

    The Degree Audit is the official academic record of your progress towards degree completion. It shows you required courses, and which ones are completed or in progress. For completed courses it lists your final course grade. Completion of the Comprehensive Examination and approved course substitutions (generally transfer of a parallel graduate course from another university, if that course was not used for a degree) will also show on the audit. Do not take any Texas State University course in place of a required course on your Course Planning Worksheet unless that course already shows as “approved” in the Petitions tab of your Degree Audit. Such substitutions are rare and occur only for very exceptional circumstances. You can view your Degree Audit via login to Self-Service.

    Academic Advising

    For academic advising questions not already covered by information on this page, contact one of the following:

    Dr. Rolf Straubhaar, Graduate Advisor and Program Coordinator: or 512-520-6723

    Jacqui Todd, Administrative Assistant: or 512-245-9909

  • Action Research Design: For the degree’s capstone project, conducted over four courses, students first design a research-based action research project that advances systematic school improvement at the campus level (beyond their own classroom). This project is designed in two courses: EDCL 6352 School as Center of Inquiry and EDCL 6358 Integrative Seminar. The course instructor assigns a grade for the written plan, which is a capstone academic paper.

    Comprehensive Examination: At the conclusion of the Integrative Seminar students present their action research plan to a panel of three faculty members. This is a formal presentation and constitutes the Comprehensive Examination for the master’s degree. A passing grade is required for degree completion. The faculty panel may request revisions to the written plan before issuing a final passing grade for the Comprehensive Examinations.

    Action Research Implementation: Students then 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. Students may take the internship in their second year after completing EDCL 6358 Integrative Seminar or concurrently with EDCL 6358. 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 payable to the Region 13 Educational Service Center as the certifying authority. 

    Please read the Principal Internship/Practicum page in the January before you intend to start 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. 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).   

  • We strongly hope that you will participate in the Commencement ceremony in order to celebrate with us this significant academic and professional accomplishment. In order to participate in the Commencement ceremony, you must complete the online Graduation Application by the assigned deadline. The Graduate College does not allow any exceptions to this deadline. Generally, this application should be completed within the first two weeks of your final semester of classes. The exact application deadline and other information for preparing for Commencement are located on the Candidate Information & Graduation page.  

  • In the spring of your second year, 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 School Law or be concurrently enrolled in it in the spring semester of your second year.

    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 graduation.

  • Students who have completed our M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with 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.


  • 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.