Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Leadership

About the program

The Master of Education in Educational Leadership program is designed to prepare you for a position as a school principal or program leader in the elementary or secondary school.

In addition to on-campus classes, graduate education courses in school administration are offered synchronously online.

A School Principal or Program Administrator “Certificate Only” program (30 credits) is also available for those who already hold a master’s or other advanced degree.

This degree is approved by the Professional Educator’s Standards Board (PESB). Its successful completion will qualify you for a Washington Residency P–12 Certificate as a school principal or program administrator.

School Principal or Program Administrator “Certificate Only” Program (30 credits)

Applicants who otherwise qualify to enter the educational leadership program and already have a master’s or other advanced degree need not complete a second master’s degree to obtain certification as a school principal or program administrator.

It is necessary to complete only the school principal or program administrator certification courses (21 credits) and internship (9 credits). The same guidelines and procedures for program admission apply.


A year-long (9-credit) internship is a part of both the master’s degree program in Educational Leadership and the Principal Certification-only or Program Administrator-only program. It is a vital, integrative experience in which you perform administrative activities while being supervised in a school-district setting. The primary objective is for you, the intern, to acquire and practice the skills of effective management and leadership. Internship experiences will center on those competencies and skills defined in the Washington Administrative Code and by the National Policy Board for Education Administration.

Each applicant to the educational leadership program must have at least three years of documented successful school-based experience in an instructional role with students, as either a certificated classroom teacher or in an ESA role.

Those in the program administrator program are not required to hold a teaching or ESA certificate, but they must have at least one year of documented successful school, district, or school-site experience.

Option for a second certificate

Applicants who have earned Residency Principal or Program Administrator Certification from SPU may earn the other certificate (either Principal or Program Administrator) by completing 6 additional internship credits, along with an elective course that matches your interests.

A valid teaching or ESA certificate is required for those who wish to add a principal certificate.

Students must complete all coursework for the second certificate within three years of earning the previous certificate.

Comprehensive exam

At the end of the program, students will complete a written comprehensive exam that is based on both coursework and internship experiences. Arrangements for taking the exam are made through the program chair.

Admission requirements

Applicants must submit the following items to Graduate Admissions:

  • Online application and $50 application processing fee.
  • Copy of current Washington state teaching certificate, front and back (not required for Program Administrator Certification candidates).
  • Official transcript(s) from each college/university attended.
  • Résumé.
  • Personal statement (1–2 pages).
  • Present a GPA of at least 3.0 (4.0 = A) in the last 45 quarter credits of coursework completed.*
  • Two letters of recommendation (one supervisory, one professional).
    • Recommendations must come from present principals and other school administrators who recommend support of your pursuit of administrative certification.
    • At least one of the letters must be from a school-district level administrator who affirms district support for you to conduct a year-long administrative internship, school-based for principal certification and/or district based for a program administrator.
  • Verification of Experience Form — required for anyone seeking a Washington state Principal Certificate.

*The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) or MAT (Miller Analogies Test) will be required if GPA is less than 3.0. On the GRE, preferred minimum scores of Verbal: 148 and Quantitative: 147. On the MAT, preferred minimum scaled score of 400.

Enrollment policy

  • Students must be continuously enrolled in required SPU courses to earn this master’s degree, or until officially withdrawing from the program. Exceptions to continuous enrollment must be approved by the program director.
  • Students may be granted a leave of absence for up to four quarters by the program director. Once the leave of absence has expired, the student will either enroll in graduate coursework or be dropped from the program.
  • University academic policy requires continuous enrollment to remain admitted in a graduate program. After four quarters of non-enrollment, students will be placed in “inactive status” and will need to reapply for admission.
  • If a student decides to no longer pursue a master’s degree, the student may officially withdraw from the program and SPU by notifying the program director and the associate director of graduate programs.


Admissions materials should be directed to Graduate Admissions. If you have questions about graduate education or certification programs: