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Principal Preparation

This program is intended primarily for the educator with the following criteria:

  • A minimum of three years of teaching experience
  • Commitment to becoming a school principal or supervisor
  • Leadership potential
  • Academic potential
  • Educational values and professional commitment
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Commitment to the program
  • A favorable recommendation from the applicant's principal

Degrees Available

A Master of Arts Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies may be earned. For those having a Master's degree in Education, the coursework will qualify the student for an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Upcoming Information Session Date

Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Time slots: 5:45 pm, 6:30 pm, and 7:30 pm
Location: Northern Virginia Center, 7054 Haycock Rd, Room 204, Falls Church, VA 22043

Please RSVP to the information session on our Eventbrite page:

Admission Requirements and Process

To be admitted to a master's degree program in education, a student must:

  • Have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and present evidence of potential to succeed in graduate school.
  • Have at least a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale for the last two years of undergraduate study for regular admission to the master's program.
  • Interview with an admissions selection committee.

The following components are required as part of the application process to be admitted to the program:

  • Completion of a graduate school application and payment of an application fee.
  • Official transcripts from all college level degree programs.
  • Three letters of recommendation, one of which must be from the applicant's principal.


Principal Preparation students complete 30 hours of coursework on a part-time basis, over a period of approximately four

semesters. Generally, students attend two classes – totaling 6 credit hours – per semester.

Most courses are conducted in the evening to fit the schedules of full-time educators, and the majority of courses are taught inperson

or via blended learning, with the exception of the virtual (online) classes are all on-line, either synchronous or asynchronous.

The courses are:
1. Curriculum Leadership
2. Instructional Leadership
3. Leadership and Change
4. School Law
5. School Budgeting
6. Special Education Administration
7. Research, Assessment, and Evaluation
8. Personnel Administration
9. Internship (six credit hours)

Internship Component
The 30 hours of coursework include 6-credits of internship, focused on building-level school leadership and on division-level, agency, or special school leadership. Students conduct the internship on-site at a local educational institution, under the mentorship of a practicing principal or supervisor. To pass, students must demonstrate competency in a range of standards-based skills.

The internship consists of 36 specific objectives which are congruous with the work of school principals. It is intended to immerse interning principals in the actual work of principals so that they will be ready to successfully assume the role of an assistant principal, principal, or some other form of educational leader upon completion of the internship.

Interns work directly with a mentor who could be a home-school principal, or other affiliated principals and/or division-level administrators as well as their supervisor from Virginia Tech to complete specified objectives required by the Principal Preparation program.

The curriculum meets the standards of both the Professional Standards for Educational Leadership (national standards) and the Virginia Department of Educational Principal Performance standards.


The program will be a cohort approach. Students will be expected to begin together and proceed through graduation together.

Program Timetable

The upcoming Northern Virginia Cohort is scheduled to begin in August 2020, and run through December of 2021.

The following cohort to be offered in Spring 2021 will be selected from the Fairfax County Public School district. Students will follow a program of studies that requires coursework and internships year round.

Admission Timetable

Information Session: Date to be announced
Application Due: May 1, 2020
Interviews: June 2020
Notification by: July 2020
Program Begins: August 24, 2020

Additional Information

The Graduate Students Services Office (GSSO) is the Graduate School’s office in Northern Virginia. The GSSO’s website includes links to information on tuition and fees and the timetable of classes. Please visit the GSSO’s website for additional information about graduate study in the National Capital Region.

Graduate Students Services Office Website