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Certification Pathway Program

Preparation for the School Administrator certificate can be accomplished through the Certification Pathway Program, for those who already hold an education-related master’s degree. The Certification Pathway Program includes a minimum of 18 credits earned in the Department of Educational Administration. Students without administrative experience will complete an internship, which increases the total credits to 21.

Decisions about courses required for an individual participating in the Certification Pathway Program are guided by the Michigan Standards for Building-level Administrators. 
Find the standards on the MDE website.

To assure that our students meet MDE standards, an advisor will conduct a review of past coursework (MA or MS degree) and professional experience, and, in consultation with the student, develop a program plan. Certification Pathway students generally complete the core courses required in the K-12 Masters in Education Administration.

If you wish to speak with an advisor about the possibility of the Certification Pathway Program, please contact Dr. BetsAnn Smith via email at or call the Department of Educational Administration at 517-353-8480.

Certification Pathway Program Frequently Asked Questions

Certification Pathway Program Courses

The Certification Pathway Program includes a minimum of 18 credits earned in the Department of Educational Administration. Students without administrative experience will complete an internship, which may increase the total credits to 21.

EAD 806 3 credits The Evolving Practice of School Leaders
EAD 811 3 credits Inquiry and Analysis of Teaching and Learning
EAD 812 3 credits Inquiry and Analysis of School Organizations
EAD 822 3 credits Engaging Diverse Students & Families
EAD 852 3 credits Principalship
EAD 853 3 credits Educational Finance and Resource Allocation
Students may also be required to complete:
EAD 820 3 credits School Leadership Internship                                        (register Fall, stretches across Fall and Spring)

Application and Registration

Students pursuing the Certification Pathway Program do NOT submit an application through the Online Graduate Education application portal.

Please complete a LifeLong Graduate Education application. On the application, select yes on the question "Do you plan to use any courses to renew or upgrade a valid or expired State of Michigan teaching certificate." In the same section of the application, please select "administrator" in the drop down menu.

Completing a Lifelong Graduate application does not guarantee admittance to the Certification Pathway Program. Students must still apply to the department. To apply, please provide:

  1. At least two letters of recommendation.
    The applicant should choose persons who are familiar with their academic and/or professional abilities. Those individuals writing reference letters should be encouraged to be as specific as possible in their comments.
  2. Your professional resume, listing each activity that accounts for your time since earning a bachelor’s degree (e.g., employment, military service, travel). Be sure to include the type of activity, name of your employer, city/state, and dates. List the most recent activity first.
  3. A personal statement.
    This required statement should describe: how the applicant's professional and educational experiences have influenced the desire to pursue graduate study, the broader, long-term career interests of the applicant and how the K-12 program relates to those interests, and the applicant's goals and objectives for graduate study. This statement is used to determine if the applicant's goals are consistent with those of the program and to assess the clarity and coherence of the applicant's writing.
  4. Applicants should also request copies of offical transcripts showing confirmed Bachelor's and Master's degrees.


These items may be submitted to, or via mail


K-12 Educational Administration
c/o K-12 EAD Admissions Assistant
Department of Educational Administration
Erickson Hall
620 Farm Lane Rm. 402
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034


Questions can be directed to the K-12 Admissions Assistant at, or by telephone at (517) 353-8480

Students should understand that they cannot transfer more than 9 Graduate Certification credits into any MSU degree program. 

Certification students should not register for classes that are not approved by the advisor.