Stephen F. Austin State University

M.Ed. with Principal Certification

Principalship Certification Program
The Educational Leadership Program seeks to prepare future school leaders committed to youth, scholarship and lifelong learning through a scholar-practitioner learning community characterized by a learner-centered curriculum, field experience, mentoring and practical inquiry.

M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Principal Certification

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS The program is nationally accredited through NCATE, has over a 90% pass rate on the TExES, and maintains a rigorous curriculum taught completely by highly-qualified professors with successful leadership experience. A scholar-practitioner approach incorporates theory and practice-based learning that focuses on research-based leadership practices, curriculum and instructional leadership, data-driven decision-making, special programs, law, and school and community leadership. Field experiences and/or internship hours are included in all coursework. The university and department are committed to providing courses that are aligned to national and state standards, provide appropriate feedback for learning and growing, and supportive of all students. The program has earned national recognition as a Recognized Program through the NCATE accreditation process.

PROCEDURES FOR APPLICATION Admission to the program is determined by faculty review. Students should apply to the Graduate School through as well as the M.Ed.-Leadership program. Please contact the program at We will send you the program materials you need for the specific program of your choice: M.Ed.-Leadership/Principal, M.Ed.-Leadership/Athletic Director Concentration, Principal Certification only, Superintendent Certification.

PROGRAM DESIGN All M.Ed. programs are offered in an online environment provided by highly qualified and experienced professors. The online program allows students the flexibility to complete their coursework in a timeframe convenient for them.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS To be accepted for degree or professional certificate work, students must first meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School. Application forms are available through the Graduate School office and should be returned to the Graduate School office. Applicants must have a grade-point average (GPA) of 2.50 or higher overall. The admission process is designed to ensure a good match between the applicant and the department. Applicants must satisfy department requirements, including an application and professional profile. Should you have questions, please contact Dr. Barbara Qualls, coordinator of the Principal Preparation Program, at

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE Financial assistance is available for eligible students who are Texas residents with clear admission into the Principal Preparation Program at Stephen F. Austin State University. This tuition exemption makes the cost of the program approximately $7,500 for the 30-hour master's degree in educational leadership or approximately $4,500 for the 18-hour principal certification only program for those who already have completed a master's degree. Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice by action of the Board of Regents or the Texas State Legislature. Installment plans require an additional fee of $25.00. Parking permits can also be purchased for a fee. Fees required by the State of Texas for principal certification, SFA Principal Preparation Program application fees and the $100 SFA Educator Preparation Program application fee are not included in the program costs. Cost of the Perkins College of Education student account for the Live Text data system is additional. If a student drops a course after classes begin, the full cost of the course without the financial aid will be charged to the student. Scholarship is for Texas residents only.

Department of Human Services and Educational Leadership
Stephen F. Austin State University
P.O. Box 13019, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962-3018
Phone: (936) 468-6478

Information for Current Students

Important Dates and Deadlines

The Registrar's Office maintains a listing of important dates including graduation application deadline, final exam schedule, etc.

Remember: Check the D2L course calendar in each course you are taking for other important dates.

Practicum and Mentor Information
  • What are the requirements for a mentor:
    • appropriate active certification
    • 3 years principal or supervision experience
    • currently hold position
    • on contract during the time practicum hours are verified
  • When to secure agreement with mentor?
    • Principal: EDLE 5316
    • Superintendent: EDLE 6394
  • What are the requirements for the Coordinator Practicum:
    • 160 documented hours for both Principal and Superintendent
    • Principal: EDLE 5316, 5365, 5319, 5349, 5352 require 15 hours in each course, then 85 hours in AED 554
    • Superintendent: EDLE 6394 requires 40 hours, EDLE 6396 requires 120
    • Check the Mentor and Practicum Information in each course for specific requirements
Financial and Tuition Information

The tuition reduction program is for the M.Ed. Leadership degree and Principal Certification, not for the Superintendent Certification Program.

Nonpayment can keep you from being able to register and can remove you from classes you have already registered for but have not paid for.

All questions, protests and appeals concerning billing and tuition must be processed in the appropriate business office: Registrar, Financial Aid, Educator Preparation Program and so on. No financial decisions are made in the Department of Human Services and Educational Leadership, and no financial issues can be resolved there.

Registering for Classes

Your tracking form that is created at the time of admission determines the order of courses and automatically permits you for next classes, as you complete a semester.

You must request and receive permission to change the order or semester in which a class is listed on the tracking form

Academic holds may be lifted. Contact the coordinator for more information. Financial holds must be resolved with the appropriate business office.

At this time, there are no pre-requisites in place. The Tracking form (which functions much like a degree plan) determines your courses. However, we may change the process so that a system of pre-requisites replaces the need for an ordered degree plan.

Beginning in Fall 2019, candidates are expected to enroll in EDLE 5154 with or without a passing score on the 268 Principal as Instructional Leader Exam. There will no longer be a pre-requisite for passing the exam prior to registering for EDLE 5154. If your course content material conflicts with this statement, it is because the content has not yet been updated.

Certification Process
  • In order to be certified as Principal:
    • Complete all required coursework
    • Obtain 160 verified hours of practicum activity
    • Pass 268 exam
    • TEA approval of PASL
  • In order to be certified as Superintendent:
    • Complete all required coursework
    • Obtain 160 verified hours of practicum activity
    • Pass 195 exam
  • Testing process
    • When to test: Principal during second/third semester (near completion of EDLE 5319 and EDLE 5349), Superintendent during EDLE 6394
    • How to register: [clearance instructions + Pearson link]
    • How to prepare: SFA review, CertifyTeacher, TEA links PASL
    • First availability for submission of PASL is Fall 2019
    • Link to TEA webpage
Contact Information
  • - 936.468.6478
  • Program-level questions about admission, graduation, requirements, mentor, etc.
  • Course-level questions must be directed to a specific professor