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Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research

WKU Principal Certification Program

The WKU Principal Certification Program prepares aspiring school administrators to be highly effective P-12 school instructional leaders. Through graduate-level study in a cohort setting, practicing educators are introduced to a wide range of leadership theories, technical skills, and rich field experiences that set the stage for career-long professional growth and development as school principals.

Students who successfully complete this program and the state-required examinations are eligible for certification as school principals. This certification is not restricted to a particular age group of students but covers all P-12 grade levels. Students complete a common core of coursework designed to equip them for the challenge they will face as school leaders, but they will also extend their range of educational information and experiences through related Level II electives.


 Students must meet the following criteria before applying for admission:

  • Master's Degree (Teacher Leader preferred)
  • Copy of current, valid teaching certificate
  • Three years of documented successful teaching experience
  • GPA of at least a 3.0 on all graduate work

Student Must meet the following criteria to be admitted into the program:

1. Acceptance by The Graduate School

2. Submission of program application

3. Selection by the Principal Preparation Admissions Committee

Receiving applications now for the Fall 2016 cohort

Apply by March 30, 2016 for priority consideration


Program Requirements

The Principal Certification Program requires a total of 30 hours (Level I and Level II). Students must also pass the Kentucky Principal Specialty Test and the School Leaders Licensure Assessment test for Provisional Certification.

Co-requisite Courses: (9 hours)
All students must complete nine credit hours of specific co-requisite classes to be eligible for Level I certification. These courses are not required prior to enrolling in the core courses.

  • EDAD 588: Allocation and Use of Resources
  • EDAD 677: Legal Issues for Professional Educators
  • EDAD 684: Instructional Leadership

Program Sequence

Level I: (Principal Certification)
Initial certification is considered "Level I" and makes students eligible to immediately apply for jobs as school administrators. Level I requires a minimum of 18 credit hours, which enables students to obtain a Provisional Certificate.

Level I Courses: (18 hours)
These courses must be taken sequentially, two courses each term (Fall, Spring, Fall or Spring, Fall, Spring). Fieldwork consistent with the role of the school principal is required in each course.

The program is structured in a cohort format enrolling a maximum of 25 students per cohort.

  • EDAD 640: Introduction to School Leadership
  • EDAD 641: Building Culture and Community
  • EDAD 642: Leveraging Community Systems and Resources
  • EDAD 643: Securing and Developing Staff
  • EDAD 644: Creating Organizational Structures and Operations
  • EDAD 645: Practicing the Principalship

Level II:
 Level II certification serves as initial principal certification renewal and must be completed within five years of the completion of Level I. Level II certification requires an additional 12 hours, which enables students to satisfy Rank I requirements and obtain a Professional Certificate. Upon completion of Level II, students may file for a rank change.

Level II Courses: (12 hours)

  • EDAD 694: Seminar in Education Administration (6 hours)
  • Advisor approved electives (6 hours)

The combined Level I and Level II coursework may be used for Rank I status for teachers who have not achieved Rank I already (60 hours of relevant programs beyond the bachelor's degree).

Program guidelines are provided in advance, and students must have a signed program contract on file.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid:

Most students seek some form of Financial Aid, primarily student loans, to cover the cost of their advanced degree program.  For more information on Financial Aid available to WKU Graduate Students, visit The Graduate School Financial Resources, WKU's Office of Financial Aid or FAFSA.

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 Last Modified 9/11/18