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Post-Master's 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 post-master’s principal certification program is a non-degree program that leads to principal certification (pending course completion and passing the TExES state certification exam). The program design builds on your expertise in educational practice and research that you developed in your master’s program and in your teaching practice.

Candidates for this program must already hold a master’s degree. The program consists of 24 credit hours, inclusive of a year-long principal preparation internship in your school. It is offered at both the San Marcos main campus and the Round Rock Campus, and can be completed within one full year for students who follow the published course schedule. Students who have not previously taken a graduate course in curriculum will take EDCL 6342 Curriculum Design (offered in Summer Session 2 after the internship) as an additional course in order to develop that expertise (27 credit hours). Most frequently, students who have completed a master’s degree in education have an appropriate curriculum course that will meet this requirement. The Graduate Advisor will be able to help you with this when they see your previous transcripts. Faculty are committed to our students’ academic and professional growth, and we are delighted to work with you!

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I. Admission & Principal Certification Requirements

Application Information

Admission is for classes starting in Summer Session 1. Applicants must submit:

1.      The Apply Texas online application with a $10 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.      Letters of recommendation; and

6.      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.

7.      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 $55 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 $55 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 enrolment in a degree seeking program.

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.

II. New Student Orientation Information

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.    .        

III. How to Plan Your Course Schedule: Pathways to Success

Course plans and schedules are based on your program (Post-Master’s Principal Certification) and campus (San Marcos main campus or Round Rock Campus). 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 may choose to take classes at the other campus, 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 program completion, perhaps significantly.

Students Starting Classes Summer 2017 or Later    

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. Please be sure you are following the column for “Cert Only” and not the column for “MEd.”

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

Use Self-Service Banner (accessible via the CatsWeb link at the top of the university’s main web page) to view the exact schedule of classes being offered in a specific semester (course, day, time, location) and register for classes. 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 in Banner. 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, Laura Shearer. Taking less than the recommended two courses per semester will delay your time to program completion, possibly up to one full year.

Using EDCL Courses Previously Taken at Texas State in Another Degree or Academic Program

If you have previously taken EDCL courses at Texas State as part of a different degree program or as an elective, and those courses are required in this post-master’s principal certification program, you can use those courses towards the requirements in this principal certification program even if the courses were already used to meet degree requirements. However if a course is more than five years old it will be evaluated by the Graduate Advisor for currency. If the course has been substantively upgraded, the faculty may require that the course be retaken. This evaluation can be done at the time you are admitted to the post-master’s principal certification program. 

Example: A student takes EDCL 5348 Supervision of Instruction as part of their requirements for a master’s degree in the Curriculum & Instruction Department at Texas State. Four years later, the student enrolls in the post-master’s principal certification program. The student may apply the EDCL 5348 they already took towards the program requirements, and does not have to take another course in its place (so this student’s principal preparation program would be 21 credit hours instead of 24). If you have questions about this or if the course is more than five years old, please contact Dr. Harris, the Graduate Advisor, and he will be able to help you.      

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 patters in Banner will generally list a 5 week session, so check the notes on your intended section for the actual meeting dates.    

Academic Advising

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

Dr. Bergeron Harris, Graduate Advisor: or 512-245-9909

Laura Shearer, Administrative Assistant: or 512-2445-9909

IV. Action Research & Comprehensive Examination

Action Research Design: For the program’s capstone project, conducted over four courses, 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.    


V. Internship Application

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 four courses scheduled before the internship (see the Course Schedule link above) in order to be eligible to begin the internship. Students may take the internship 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 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 past-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).   

VIII. Next Steps in Graduate Study

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.