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North Carolina School Executive Leadership Program

Masters in School Administration, Principal Fellows, Post Masters Certificate

Program Overview

Location: Asheville & Online Hybrid

Pre-Requisites: GRE Not Required

Principal Licensure OR Leadership Prep

App Deadline: March 1-PF: July 15-MSAPMC

Time to Complete: 36 Hours, 24 Months

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Master of School Administration

WCU's MSA program is a 36-semester-hour program designed for full-time educators with families and other community responsibilities. We use a cohort model to build a strong network of professionals as we prepare P-12 school leaders throughout NC in alignment with NC Standards for School Executives and National Educational Leadership Preparation Standards. Two key pillars of our program are 1) developing formal school leaders with a lens for equity and social justice and, 2) teaching scholar-practitioners to use Improvement Science to analyze the root causes of problems and lead teams to address problems in schools and school systems.

Our MSA is among the most affordable pathways to principal licensure in NC (*see tuition link for Distance Programs below). We are a Distance/Online Program which substantially lowers tuition for students. However, we bring students together for four Saturdays per semester (once a month) for in-person classes at WCU’s Instructional Site in Asheville, NC. Our in-person learning and relationships then transfer into our online learning environment, allowing students to grow and support one another within their cohort.

Students complete a year-long (two semesters) competency-based internship with the option to complete internships while remaining in current teaching roles or participate in fully paid, full-time, 10-month Asst. Principal internships. During their internships, students complete a Change Project in which they lead a team of educators through an improvement initiative that results in more equitable and socially just outcomes for students. We blend theory and practice as students complete core competencies throughout their program, providing aspiring leaders with a wide range of experiences to prepare them for the realities of school leadership.

See our MSA Fact Sheet for additional information. Tuition information may be found at tuition.wcu.edu under distance learning tuition and fees. See program schedule at the bottom of this page.

There are a few "Invest in Teachers" scholarships for which self-paying MSA students qualify. Scholarships are $1000 ($500 each semester) in year one of the program.

Principal Fellows Program

WCU’s Principal Fellows Program (PFP) is a 39-semester- hour program aligned with our MSA. However, Principal Fellows are “tapped” as aspiring leaders by their school districts. The NC Principal Fellows Program is a competitive, merit‐based scholarship loan program (paying tuition, books, coaching, and more) funded by the North Carolina General Assembly. Students do not self-select for the PFP program; they need to be nominated by their districts. Talk with your principal and superintendent to discuss being nominated for our next cohort. See our Principal Fellows Fact Sheet for additional information. See program schedule at the bottom of this page. 

Post Master's Certificate in Public School Leadership

WCU's PMC program is a 24-semester hour program for educators who have already earned their master’s degree in education or a related field; we offer aspiring and current school administrators the opportunity to earn a Post-Master’s Certificate (PMC) toward principal licensure (Add-On). PMC students take courses with Masters in School Administration students. Our graduates serve as principals, assistant principals, instructional coaches, teacher leaders, and in district office positions such as Exceptional Children, Student Support Services, and Federal Programs Directors.  We blend theory and practice that directly applies to the work of educational leaders. Courses are integrated with the internship, providing authentic leadership experiences while continuing in your current position.

The program is designed to build a strong cohort of professionals. Students complete a school-based internship for 2 semesters (6 credit hours) while remaining in their current employment positions. See program schedule at the bottom of this page. 

 

 

Virtual Open House

Wednesday, June 12: 5-6:30pm

Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University,  understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.

Register Today

 

Admission Requirements

Application Deadline: July 15 for MSA/PMC; March 1 Principal Fellows

* Official transcript with Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
* Three years of successful full-time teaching
* Hold or be eligible to hold a North Carolina Class A teaching license or a comparable license from another state
* Currently teaching in a NC school
* Three online recommendations including one from your current administrator
* Current resume highlighting leadership experience
* Short- and long-term leadership goals (in application system)

* Post Master Certificate students must have completed a master’s degree in an education related field with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and official transcripts from master’s program and undergraduate program. All above admission requirements also apply.

Program Schedule

Courses have online and (F2F) Face-to-Face class instruction at WCU Instructional Site Biltmore Park, Asheville
Full-time Principal Fellows and full-time released internship in year 2
Students must be enrolled a minimum of 9 credit hours in each semester of the academic year
4 semesters, 36 credit hours total. All courses are 3 credits.
Summer 2024 Face-to-Face dates: June 8, June 29, July 27
Fall 2024 Face-to-Face dates: August 17 - 9-11 Virtual Orientation for 2024 Cohort;
      August 24, September 21, October 26, December 7
Spring 2025 Face-to-Face dates: Jan. 25, Feb. 22, March 22, April 12

Fall Year 1 Spring Year 1 Fall Year 2 Spring 2

EDRS 602: Research Methods
(F2F 9:00-12:00)

EDL 602: Shaping School Culture
(Online)

EDL 617: History, Sociology & Philosophy of Education
(F2F 1:00-4:00)

EDL 603: Instructional Leadership
(F2F 9:00-12:00)

EDL 642: Leadership for Social Justice
(F2F 1:00-4:00)

EDRS 709: Assessment for Advancement of Student Learning (online)

EDL 721: Current Topics in Public School Law 
(F2F 9:00-12:00)

EDL 686: Internship I
(F2F 1:00-4:00)

EDL 621: Leading Adult Learning
(online)

EDL 601: Ethical School Leadership
(F2F 9:00-12:00)

EDL 687: Internship II
(F2F 1:00-4:00)

EDL 612: Curriculum Leadership
(online)

Courses have online and (F2F) Face-to-Face class instruction at WCU Instructional Site Biltmore Park, Asheville
Students must be enrolled a minimum of 9 credit hours in each semester of the academic year)
4 semesters, 36 credit hours total. All courses are 3 credits.
Fall 2024 Face-to-Face dates: August 17 - 9-11 Virtual Orientation for 2024 Cohort; 
      August 24, September 21, October 26, December 7
Spring 2025 Face-to-Face dates: Jan. 25, Feb. 22, March 22, April 12

Fall Year 1 Spring Year 1 Fall Year 2

EDRS 602: Research Methods

EDL 602: Shaping School Culture

EDL 617: History, Sociology & Philosophy of Education

EDL 603: Instructional Leadership

EDL 642: Leadership for Social Justice

EDL 686: Internship I 

EDL 721: Current Topics in Public School Law

EDL 687: Internship II

Courses have online and (F2F) Face-to-Face class instruction at WCU Instructional Site Biltmore Park, Asheville
Full-time Principal Fellows and full-time released internship in year 2
Students must be enrolled a minimum of 9 credit hours in each semester of the academic year)
4 semesters, 36 credit hours total. All courses are 3 credits.
* Indicates that this is a hybrid course, requiring face-to-face attendance for 4, 6-hour, Saturday sessions (9:00-4:00)
Summer 2024 Face-to-Face dates: June 8, June 29, July 27
Fall 2024 Face-to-Face dates: August 17 - 9-11 Virtual Orientation for 2024 Cohort; 
      August 24, September 21, October 26, December 7
Spring 2025 Face-to-Face dates: Jan. 25, Feb. 22, March 22, April 12Spring 2024 Face-to-Face dates: January 20,  Feb. 17, March 16, April 27

Fall Year 1 Spring Year 1 Summer Year 1 Fall Year 2 Spring Year 2

EDRS 602: Research Methods
(F2F 9:00-12:00)

EDL 602: Shaping School Culture(Online)

 

EDL 617: History, Sociology & Philosophy of Education
(F2F 1:00-4:00)

EDL 603: Instructional Leadership 
(F2F 9:00-12:00)

EDL 642: Leadership for Social Justice
(F2F 1:00-4:00)

EDRS 709: Assessment for Advancement of Student Learning
(online)

EDL 604: Continuous School Improvement (online with F2F component)

EDL 721: Current Topics in Public School Law 
(F2F 9:00-12:00)

EDL 686: Internship I
(F2F 1:00-4:00)

EDL 621: Leading Adult Learning 
(online)

EDL 601: Ethical School Leadership
(F2F 9:00-12:00)

EDL 687: Internship II
(F2F 1:00-4:00)

EDL 612: Curriculum Leadership
(online)

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