How to Apply

Instructions for applying to the Educational Leadership Program


M.Ed. & Principal Certification Fall admission: July 1
Spring admission: November 1
Summer admission: April 1
Ph.D. & D.Ed. Fall admission: January 6
Spring admission: October 15 (Funding not available for Spring admission)

Students applying for admission to the Educational Leadership Program at Penn State must submit all application materials to the Graduate School at Penn State. The Graduate School confirms eligibility for admission of all applicants. The Educational Leadership Program will select and recommend applicants for offers of admission.

Applying to the Graduate School

Complete the Admission Application to The Graduate School.

As part of The Graduate School application, you will be asked to upload/supply the following documents/information:

  • Three letters of recommendation: You will be asked to submit the name and email addresses of three referents that are best qualified to assess your ability to succeed in graduate school. The referents will be sent an email message directing them to the appropriate site to upload their letter of recommendation. You will be notified via email when a reference letter is submitted, but you will not be able to view the letter.
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae that, at a minimum, should include documentation of prior work experience and prior academic work completed.
  • Statement of purpose: In no more than 1,000 words please explain why you are applying to EDLDR. In writing your statement, you might consider some of the following questions: What background experiences led to your decision to apply to our program? What is it about EDLDR that most interests you? What types of career goals or plans do you currently have? How would obtaining a Penn State EDLDR degree further your career goals?
  • Writing sample 
    • Master's Degree students should write a reflection paper. A reflection asks you to take an idea, concept, or theme and use it as a frame (as in a window frame) through which to reflect ("see again") on an experience. For your writing sample, choose an idea related to educational leadership and reflect on an experience you have had in any educational setting as a student, teacher, or in another leadership position. Some examples of such ideas include, but are not limited to: leadership, learning, hidden curriculum, power, differences, high-stakes testing, school politics, educational policy, equity in education (what it is, how to measure/determine it), organizational structure, school/district improvement, ethics, and evaluation. The educational setting can be a Pre-K to 20 school, the military, athletics, the arts, community groups, or any other setting in which teaching and learning take place. The purposes of this reflection are to: (1) help us learn more about you and how you think; and (2) to assess the quality of your writing. The reflection should be no more than 1,000 words.
    • Doctoral Degree students should submit a writing sample that reviews and critiques an academic article related to education leadership or education policy that affects education leaders. The article review and critique should summarize the article and provide a critique of the article. The writing sample should be no more than 1,000 words.
  • A copy of official transcripts/documents from all post-secondary institutions of higher education attended must be uploaded to your graduate application. International applicants must upload university records in the language of instruction (and copies of an official English translation if English is not the language of instruction).
  • Doctoral students only need to submit official GRE score report (institution code for Penn State is 2660), Miller Analogy Test (MAT), or Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) from within the last five (5) years; and
  • Official TOEFL score report, if required.

Applicants recommended for admission by EDLDR will be notified via the online graduate admission system. Once a student accepts a program recommendation for admission, the Graduate School will request official/original transcripts/documents that must be sent from the originating institutions in the official language of the institution(s) attended (and if the language of instruction is not English, an official English translation must also be sent). The Graduate School will review and confirm all official documents before finalizing the offer of admission.