Jul 24, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2016-2017 
Graduate Catalog | 2016-2017 Previous Edition

School Administration, M.S.A.

The mission of the Master of School Administration (M.S.A.) program is to prepare innovative, collaborative, effective, and reflective leaders who are prepared to develop school environments that ensure equitable and quality learning opportunities for a rapidly changing and increasingly diverse population and that focus on improving the learning for all students in the 21st century. Program graduates qualify for a PreK-12, Level 1 School Administrator’s license (Principal).

Program Objectives

Program objectives are aligned with the approved national standards of the Educational Leaders Constituent Consortium, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the National Council for Accrediting Teacher Education, and the State Board of Education’s Standards for School Executives. In particular, there are six basic standards that serve as core curriculum components:

  1. visioning for school improvement
  2. creating a positive school culture, providing an effective instructional program, and designing comprehensive professional growth plans
  3. managing the organization
  4. collaborating with families and community, responding to diverse interests and needs
  5. acting with integrity, fairly, and equitably
  6. interacting and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for admission to the Graduate School, applicants must:

  • Have a minimum of three years of successful teaching or other professional education experience
  • Hold a Class A North Carolina educator license or equivalent
  • Submit an acceptable GRE or MAT test score
  • Submit a 1-2 page personal statement that addresses professional experiences, future goals, and an understanding that school administrators must possess a comprehensive conceptual, pedagogical, and reflective knowledge base
  • Submit a complete résumé showing evidence of leadership
  • Submit a copy of the educator license
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from school administrators (must include principal) who can attest to your potential success as a school principal

Application deadline is January 1 for applicants applying to the North Carolina Principal Fellows Program. Application deadline is April 1 for enrollment in the master’s degree program and the graduate certificate program.

Admission decisions are based on an analysis of applicant profiles made by program faculty and clinical instructors. Applicants with the highest profile rankings are invited to participate in interviews. Program faculty, clinical faculty, school district central office personnel, acting principals/assistant principals, and program graduates serve on interview teams. These interviews are designed to provide the applicant an opportunity to show evidence of academic strengths, leadership potential, and personal characteristics. After the interview, the applicant will provide a writing sample from a given prompt.

The Master of School Administration Program faculty is committed to achieving diversity among the students admitted in each year’s cohort group. The Graduate School will notify applicants of their admission status.

Degree Requirements

The M.S.A. program requires a total of 39 credit hours in a combination of courses in educational leadership, research, technology, curriculum, and instruction.  All students must complete the required academic year-long internship under the direction of a principal-mentor and a University supervisor.  The internship challenges students to demonstrate a thorough and well-integrated understanding of the basic principles, research findings, and theories covered in their coursework and apply these to educational practice and leadership situations.


Capstone Experiences

The year-long internship requires the productive application of knowledge, skills, and dispositions, to the problems of practice.  The experience provides a multitude of opportunities for the intern to progressively develop administrative competence. Interns are guided through their experience by their school-site mentor and University clinical supervisor. 

Additionally, the M.S.A. and the graduate certificate program completers seeking a North Carolina principal level I license must successfully prepare an electronic portfolio housing appropriate artifacts and evidences demonstrating their proficiency in all seven standards for school executives.  As of 2010, candidates seeking a North Carolina Principal’s license will no longer take the SLLA (School Leaders Licensure Assessment) from ETS.  The assessment to determine licensure has been replaced with the E-Portfolio.

Principal Fellows

Each year a limited number of scholarship/loans for persons seeking an M.S.A. as full-time students are available from the North Carolina Principal Fellows Program (www.ncpfp.org). The program is funded by the North Carolina General Assembly to help highly qualified persons study school administration on a full-time basis.