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K-12 Principal Graduate Certificate

Step up to leadership as a principal. Step into the role you were meant for.

Discover a path beyond the classroom and elevate your career by joining the administrative licensure program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota designed specifically for individuals seeking the Minnesota K-12 Principal license. With a master’s degree in any field and a minimum of three years of teaching experience, you possess the foundation needed to embark on this transformative journey.

At Saint Mary’s, we empower you to develop practical management skills and explore innovative approaches to enhance learning outcomes for all students.

Guided by our Lasallian Catholic identity and a strong emphasis on character and virtue education, you will navigate daily operations with integrity and contribute to student success. In less than two years, you’ll be prepared to pursue licensure as a K-12 principal in Minnesota. Meet your obligations — and career goals — in our immersive and fully online graduate certificate program.

Take the next step and unlock the doors to leadership possibilities in this online program. Your journey toward professional growth and making a lasting difference starts now.

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cost per credit


start dates

2 years

completion time





cost per credit


start dates

2 years

completion time


Program Highlights

  • Our program is characterized by immersive experiences, including a 320-hour field internship where you will engage with elementary, junior/middle, and high school levels, gaining valuable real-world insights and practical knowledge that will shape your leadership journey.
  • All students meet during Summer Institute to explore the principles of character education, hear inspirational speakers, and learn more about educational leadership from current school leaders. Graduates can return again and again to be inspired.
  • Our courses are taught by a network of current administrators from throughout Minnesota, so content, examples, and experiences are real issues happening in our school systems today so learning experiences are authentic and timely.

Things You'll Learn

  • Collaborative, visionary planning, and decision making to lead educational institutions
  • Organizational operations including human, financial, and physical resources
  • Effective learning
  • Effective learning environments and experiences for all students
  • Practical ethical leadership to ensure the best interest of all learners
  • School and district-wide literacy and numeracy systems
  • Inclusiveness and effective communication

Virtual Information Session

Join us for an information session to learn more about the program, the application process, and more. We offer live information sessions where you can meet program staff, as well as an archive you can view on your own time.

Apply for Admission

Ready to apply? Take the next steps here.

    • Applicants must possess a master’s degree in an education-related field, including at least 21 credits from among any of the following: teaching techniques, curriculum design, communication skills, education research/assessment, education leadership or administration. If additional credits are required to meet the entrance requirement, those credits must be earned before starting the Educational Administration – K-12 Principal program coursework. According to the Board of School Administrators for the State of Minnesota, an applicant for licensure as a principal shall have three years of successful classroom teaching experience while holding a classroom teaching license valid for the position or positions in which the experience was gained.
    • Applicants may apply for admission at any time during the year. A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, for which applicant maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, is required for admission.

  • Students with transcripts from universities outside the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada (except for the Quebec Province) must take and pass English proficiency testing.

    Saint Mary’s accepts:

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 72
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.0
    • International Test of English Proficiency (ITEP) with a minimum score of 4.0 or Pearson Test of English with a score of 51
    • Duolingo with a minimum score of 100.

    Please see our academic catalog for a list of all approved waiver countries.

  • Your application must include the following items: • A completed application form

    • An official transcript(s) issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor’s degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution.
    • Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated on a course by course basis by a university accepted evaluation service, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards). Evaluations from an approved member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES.org) will also be accepted.
    • All applicants must submit a personal statement which includes:
      • Brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience and,
      • Statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and their reasons for seeking admission to this program and,
      • Description of the areas which the applicant considers to be their strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities and,
      • Personal information the applicant wishes to share.
    • Two letters of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability and,
    • A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.

    Official Transcripts should be sent to Office of Admission:

    Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
    2500 Park Avenue
    Minneapolis, MN 55404
    Or electronically: tcadmission@smumn.edu

    Please reach out with any questions about the application process.

    Phone: (612) 728-5100
    Toll-free: (866) 437-2788
    E-mail: tcadmission@smumn.edu

  • While we have official start dates of August and January, consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis to get started on the program outside of these dates.

  • You can expect to be notified about your acceptance approximately two weeks following your application completion date.

Tuition and Fees

We help you find ways to finance your education. Talk to your Enrollment Counselor about scholarships, loans, and other ways to make education affordable.

Course Catalog

You’ll take courses such as:

  • Principal as Building Leader
  • Financial Management
  • Legal Issues in Education

The course catalog provides complete information about course requirements.

Careers & Salary

Today's complex world of education needs leaders with the skill set and ethical mind frame to help all learners thrive. That's why jobs as principals are projected to grow by 8 percent from 2020 to 2030.

High School Principal

$98,420 per year*

Frequently Asked Questions

  • At Saint Mary’s, we want you to succeed, and we help you do so, inside and outside of the classroom:

    Student Central: Your one stop for student services

    Library: Resources and services are available 24/7 to all students.

    Writing Center: Offers virtual and face-to-face services to support students.

    Career Services: Can help you develop your career-readiness skills at any point in your education.

  • The only thing virtual about your online experience is the classroom. Our flexible online programs offer the rigor and reputation you expect from Saint Mary’s.

    Explore more here.

  • If you are in a degree-granting program and enrolled at least half time, you may be eligible for financial aid.

    Learn more.

  • Life gets busy. Whether you’re raising a family, pursuing your career, or playing an active role in your community, we know you want to keep up with what you love while you take the next step in your career. That’s why Saint Mary’s online programs are flexible and designed to fit your demanding life.

  • The annual Summer Institute, held on Saint Mary’s Minneapolis Campus, enhances the curriculum of the Ed.S. program with an emphasis on character, virtue, and ethics. The Summer Institute features speakers and formation activities aimed to equip you to become a leader of character and lead schools of character. It’s a transformative experience that is professionally and personally rewarding.

Sources and Disclaimer

  1. ZipRecruiter, School Superintendent Salary in Minnesota at https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/School-Superintendent-Salary–in-Minnesota (accessed April 13)
  2. All other career data on this page can be found at Lightcast (lightcast.io) Q1 2023 Data, September 2022-February 2023.