Principal Certification Program in Educational Leadership

The Principal Certification program in Educational Leadership offered at the University Park campus includes the option of pursuing the required courses at Penn State Harrisburg. This program is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and training to be effective administrators.

Degree Conferred: Certification only

Admission Requirements

Enrollment in the Principal Certification program requires admission to Penn State’s Graduate School and to the program in Educational Leadership in the College of Education.

To be admitted students must:

  • hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university;
  • schedule a personal interview with the program coordinator prior to submission of application materials;
  • submit an online Graduate School application and application fee;
  • submit two official transcripts from each college and university attended;
  • obtain three references using the forms provided; (at least two of these letters must be submitted by individuals holding supervisory or administrative positions in a school district);
  • have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.25 in previous graduate work and/or a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last two years of undergraduate work;
  • submit an affidavit of experience documenting five years of teaching by completion of the program;

Application Deadline

Candidates may enter the program at the beginning of the fall semester; however, all information must be received by July 1, since students are admitted on a rolling basis. Enrollment will close when the maximum of 25 participants has been reached. Additional accepted applicants will be wait-listed and their acceptance for the next cohort will be confirmed.

Academic Requirements

Penn State will make an institutional recommendation to the Pennsylvania Department of Education when a candidate shows evidence of satisfactory completion of the requirements listed below. It is important to note that Penn State endorses successful candidates for certification; the Pennsylvania Department of Education officially grants the certification.

Candidates must complete at least 30 credits in an approved graduate program with at least a 3.0 GPA and hold either a master’s or master’s equivalency.

The credits shall include:

  • 24 credits in educational leadership and a 3-credit internship;
  • 3 credits in curriculum;
  • Successful completion of the required Praxis exam.

Core Course Requirements

3 credits in each of the following subject areas: Leadership; Principalship; Politics, School, and Community; Law and Education; Fiscal Operations; Instructional Leadership; Microcomputer Applications; Contemporary Curriculum; Inclusive Education; Internship.

Academic Calendar

Courses will be scheduled in cooperation with the Educational Leadership Program at University Park. For the convenience of participants, there will be evening and weekend courses varying in length from six weeks to 15 weeks. Many of the courses are offered in blended instruction; that is, both face-to-face and online instruction.


All faculty in the Principal Certification program have excellent credentials as scholars, practitioners, and researchers. Their backgrounds, active involvement, and continuing research ensure that participants will be exposed to the most current practices.


Each participant will have an adviser at Penn State Harrisburg. Those considering future enrollment in the doctoral program at University Park will be assigned an additional adviser at that location.

Course Sequence

Year One


  • EDLDR 480 Introduction to Educational Leadership (3)


  • EDLDR 568 The Principalship (3) Prerequisite: teaching or school administrative experience; 18 credits in education at least 5 of which are methods of teaching
  • EDLDR 560 Principles of Instructional Supervision (3)


  • EDLDR 576 The Law and Education (3) Prerequisite: EDLDR 480 or teaching or administrative or supervisory experience

Year Two


  • EDLDR 530 Leadership for Inclusive Education (3)



  • EDLDR 540 Technology Applications in Educational Leadership (3)
  • EDLDR 579 Financial Management for Schools (3) Prerequisite: EDLDR 480 or teaching, administrative, or supervisory experience  

Year Three


  • EDLDR 551 Curriculum Design: Theory and Practice (3) Prerequisite: 12 credits in education and psychology, or teaching experience


  • EDUC 506 Curriculum Development and Instructional Design (3) Prerequisite: EDUC 505  
  • EDLDR 595 Internship (1-15) Prerequisite: EDLDR 480, teaching experience, and a professional certificate  

Master's degree

It is possible to complete the 30-credit master’s degree program in Teaching and Curriculum in combination with the K-12 Principal’s Certificate. Those interested in doing so would need to be admitted to both the Teaching and Curriculum program as well as to the Principal Certification program. Core course requirements in Teaching and Curriculum include 18 credits. The other 12 required credits are electives, all of which are fulfilled in the Principal Certification program.

This page is not a part of the official Penn State University Bulletin.