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 at the MDE website.
To assure that our students meet the 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 Master's 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Department of Educational Administration at 517-353-8480.
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.
|The Evolving Practice of School Leaders
| Inquiry and Analysis of Teaching and Learning
|Inquiry and Analysis of School Organizations
|Engaging Diverse Students & Families
|Educational Finance and Resource Allocation
|Students WITHOUT administrative experience will complete
|School Leadership Internship (register Fall, stretches across Fall and Spring)
Application and Registration
Students pursuing the Certification Pathway Program do NOT apply to the MA program.
Please register under Graduate Certification status by completing the Lifelong application and checking the box that indicates coursework is taken for certification. Graduate certification status allows the student to avoid paying matriculation fees. Students should understand that they cannot transfer more than 9 Graduate Certification credits into any MSU degree program. Students who decide to earn credits under the Graduate Certification status must still apply to the Department. To apply, please contact Angela Card at
Certification students should not register for classes that are not approved by the advisor.
Check the Schedule of Courses.
Certification Pathway Program Frequently Asked Questions
MDE certifies individuals who have completed an approved certification program, not by credit accumulation. The Program does not accept prior degree credits or transfer credits. An MA degree in an education field is required to be eligible for enrollment.
Educators without an MA degree may earn certification through completion of the MA in K-12 Educational Administration.
The Program is delivered through a hybrid format that brings students to campus one or two times per month. It is offered in 3 central and southeast Michigan locations: East Lansing, Birmingham and Detroit. We do not offer an all online option.
We enroll most students summer (=May) and fall (=late August). Winter (January) admissions occur but do not always present the most efficient schedule for applicants. To see the schedule of Certification Program courses listed on the Certification web link above, see http://schedule.msu.edu/
Candidates who wish to apply to the program should contact K12adm@msu.edu. Application materials include: a professional resume, official transcripts of all earned degrees, an academic statement, a personal statement and letters of recommendation.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Applicants should also request copies of offical transcripts showing confirmed Bachelor's and Master's degrees.
These items may be submitted to email@example.com, or via mail
K-12 Educational Administration
c/o K-12 EAD Admissions Assistant
Department of Educational Administration
620 Farm Lane Rm. 402
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034
To calculate costs visit the Student Account’s Tuition and Fees Calculator.
Currently, federal laws restrict access to financial aid for non-degree certification coursework. We hope this will change.
Transfer of Pathway credits to future degrees
Credits from the Pathway program are not transferable to our Ed.D or Ph.D program. Educators who are considering a doctoral degree in the near future should speak with a program advisor before beginning the Pathway Program.
If you have further questions, please send them along to Professor BetsAnn Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org