1. To be considered for admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates. 

  2. International applicants may be required to satisfy an English proficiency requirement; see GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

  3. Although not required for admission to the program, the Pennsylvania Department of Education Superintendent PK-12 Letter Requirements state that the applicant must satisfy the requirements set forth in 24 P.S. § 12-1209 relating to good moral character.

  4. Although not required for admission to the program, Pennsylvania Superintendent PK-12 Letter Requirements include verification of a minimum of six years of satisfactory school experience, of which at least three must have been in a supervisory or administrative capacity. This requirement must be completed by the completion of the EDLDR 595 before certification endorsement is granted by Penn State University.

The Graduate School at Penn State uses an online platform to begin the admission process, which includes a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

  1. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

  2. GPA Applicants must present evidence of at least a 3.0 grade-point average in the last two years of undergraduate work. A grade-point average of 3.50 in prior graduate work is required of those desiring admission to the graduate certificate program.

  3. Three references - You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names and email addresses of three references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. 
    Ask for recommendations (completion of an online form and an attached recommendation letter) well in advance of the application deadline. Notify all recommenders that they must submit their recommendation in order for your application to be complete.
    List the names and contact information of academic and professional recommenders. At least one of the recommendors should be your current school district superintendent or supervisor. Remaining recommenders should include individuals who have supervised you in an academic or professional setting, who can speak to your intellectual ability, communication and problem-solving skills, creativity, sensitivity to others, and educational leadership potential.

  4. Current Résumé or Curriculum Vitae - Upload your Curriculum Vitae or résumé to the online application. At a minimum, this should include documentation of prior work experience and prior academic work completed.

  5. Statement of purpose - Write a brief statement of about 1,000 words explaining your interest in the Penn State University Educational Leadership program. In addition, applicants should address the following questions: 
    a) What experiences have led to your decision to apply to the Penn State Superintendency Certificate program?
    b) What are your current career plans or goals?
    c) How would obtaining a Penn State Superintendency graduate certificate further your career goals?

  6. Writing Sample - elect an academic article related to education leadership or education policy that affects education leaders.  In a maximum of 1,000 words, present a review and critique of your chosen article and demonstrate your reasoning. Include a complete citation for the article in your writing sample.

The best-qualified students will be accepted up to the number of spaces available. Special backgrounds and experiences may allow for conditional admission to those not meeting stated criteria, at the discretion of the program.

Semester of Admission Deadline
Fall June 15
Spring November 1
Summer March 15

If you are ready to proceed to the application but have NOT read the Graduate School requirements, please visit that website at

Applicants for admission to the Superintendency Graduate Certificate program at Penn State must submit all application materials to the Graduate School at Penn State by the application deadline. The Graduate School confirms eligibility for admission of all applicants. The Educational Leadership Program will select and recommend applicants for offers of admission.

If you have read the Graduate School and program requirements and are ready to apply, you may proceed to the application at

Go to Graduate School Application