College of Education and Human Development

Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development

K-12 administrative licensure certificate

in Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development

The U of M Administrative Licensure program offers an individualized program to prepare aspiring administrators as K-12 Principals, Superintendents, Directors of Special Education, and Directors of Community Education.

The State of Minnesota requires under MN Administrative Rule 3512 that approved programs provide the training and education necessary to meet the administrative competencies that define a Minnesota Administrative Leader. The competencies for each license are:

This program is not offered full-time and therefore is not intended for international students needing a visa to study in the United States.


  • Most students who enroll in the program are practicing, full-time educational professionals. The program is designed to best accommodate our students' status.
  • On average, students complete the program in 1.5-2.0 years.
  • Students may complete their program on-campus or as a member of an off campus cohort. Both the on-campus and off campus cohorts are in person.
  • Students outside of the seven-county Twin Cities metro area may complete their licensure program online.
  • Students may earn a PK-12 Administrative Leadership Post Baccalaureate Certificate.
  • Individuals already licensed in educational administration are eligible for a non-certificate option to complete Minnesota requirements for additional licensure.
  • The Administrative Licensure program may be completed concurrently with a MEd, MA, or PhD.

Profession builder

A unique feature of our program is the option to complete multiple credentials simultaneously. When you choose the University of Minnesota to further your education, you aren't limited to completing just one credential. As you complete the 60 credits that the State of Minnesota requires for administrative licensure, you can earn multiple credentials including degrees, licenses, and certificates.

Check out our Only At The U! Profession Builder to see how studying at the University of Minnesota will empower you to become a leader of educational leaders! Your time is valuable, so why not use it to accomplish as much as possible?


22-23 credits minimum completed in 1-2 years.

Students pursuing administrative licensure also complete a 320-hour field experience.

Courses are offered throughout the year. During the Fall and Spring semesters, courses are offered in the evenings. During the Summer term, courses may be scheduled in the daytime or evening.

Required for all licenses

  • OLPD 5324—Strategic Financial Planning and Policy for Educational Leaders (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5344—School Law (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5348—Leaders of Human Resource Administration (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5385—Licensure Seminar: Program Policies and Inclusionary Leadership (1 cr)
  • OLPD 5386—Leadership Portfolio Seminar (1 cr)
  • OLPD 5387—Leadership for Teaching and Learning (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5384—Special Education Law for Leaders (1 cr)
  • OLPD 5396—Field Experience in PK-12 Administration: Authentic Practice in Leadership (3 cr)

Note: OLPD 5384 is not required for the director of special education license. OLPD 5387 and 5384 are not required for the director of community education license.

Licensure-specific course requirements

K-12 principal

  • OLPD 5321—Principal as Leader of High Performing Schools (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5388—Leadership for Master(ful) Scheduling (2 cr)


  • OLPD 5322—Leaders in Superintendency and Central Office (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5376—Leading School Finance Elections (1 cr)

Director of special education

  • OLPD 5368—Leadership for Special Education Services (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5375—Special Education Finance: Program Models Policy and Law (2 cr)

Director of community education

  • OLPD 5389—Community Education Leadership (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5377—Leadership in Community Ed. Finance & Law (1 cr)
  • Plus credits in the following areas dependent upon undergraduate coursework or work experience: undereducated adults; strategies for teaching adults; children, youth, in society; early childhood/family education

Additional requirements

Exit requirements

  • Complete all coursework with a grade of S or C or better.
  • An electronic portfolio presented to a review panel made up of representatives from the University and licensed practitioners is required as the last step to earning licensure.

Further requirements: K-12 principal, superintendent, and director of special education

  • Possess or complete three years of teaching experience
  • 60 credits beyond a bachelor's degree to include a graduate degree
  • 320 hours of field experience

Further requirements: director of community education

  • A bachelor's degree plus 20 credits
  • 320 hours of field experience

Alternative licensure pathway

There is a route to licensure for aspiring principals, superintendents, and directors of special education who want to become licensed but do not have a teaching license. In addition to the licensure requirements listed above, you must also complete the following:

  • CI 5155—Contemporary Approaches to Curricular Instruction and Assessment (3 cr)
  • 1050 hours classroom experience

Licensure through non-certificate option

In some cases students may enroll in the non-certificate program. This option is available only with approval of an advisor and only if the candidate is:

  • already licensed as an educational administrator in Minnesota and seeking an additional license,
  • a licensed and experienced administrator from another state,
  • or has completed extensive coursework in educational administration.

Under this option candidates must complete a minimum of 6 credits through the University of Minnesota as well as other requirements as specified. Additional credits will be determined after your advisor reviews your transcripts.

Practice informed by research

This program is committed to honoring the diversity of communities and learners through integrating professional wisdom; research, inquiry, and reflection; and authentic practice in the life-long development of educational administrators. Project-based learning is embedded throughout the program to ensure authentic learning opportunities. 

Vision statement

The vision statement for the licensure program is its guiding light. The three elements of the vision statement are embedded in all aspects of teaching and learning within the program.

The administrative licensure program is designed to honor the diversity of communities and learners and integrate professional wisdom; research, inquiry, and reflection; and authentic practice for the lifelong professional development of educational leaders. These leaders focus their talents on collaborating, creating, managing, and leading organizations and systems so that each student entrusted to them will be prepared to enter the work force or college without remediation upon graduation from high school.


The mission of the administrative licensure program is to prepare individuals to successfully fulfill all of the requirements of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Board of School Administrators, and the University of Minnesota for licensing as school superintendents, K-12 principals, directors of special education, and directors of community education. The University of Minnesota is a land-grant university and is dedicated to providing for the educational needs of all of the citizens of Minnesota. To this end the licensure program welcomes both the traditional and alternative licensure candidates and strives to be inclusive of all diversity.

Core beliefs

We believe:

  • in the wisdom of those who drafted the guiding principles of MR3512 with particular emphasis on the shared role among the universities and field practitioners for preparing educational administrators.
  • that individuals bring to the program unique strengths, formal training, and experiences and that all of these must be valued and recognized in the cumulative and collective preparation of educational administrators. Therefore, our program must allow for individualization to accommodate each learner.
  • that educational administrators make an essential difference in the lives of children, communities, and the larger context of the role the children and youth will play as adults in the world. Therefore, administrators must be well prepared to meet the challenging responsibilities of leading educational organizations that respond to the needs of each child that comes to us.
  • that leaders must be able to recognize and analyze complexities, think about problems and solutions in ways that integrate multiple competencies in authentic practice situations, use research and model best practices.


Gary Prest
Director of Administrative Licensure
612-626-8647 |

How to apply

    Admission deadline

    Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis and may be submitted at any time.

    Applications are not complete until ALL required materials and fees have been received.

    Admission requirements

    Admission is open to degree-seeking or non-degree seeking students.

    GPA: Undergraduate 3.0

    GRE scores: Not required

    TOEFL/IELTS Scores (Not required for U.S. students):

    • TOEFL: Internet based = 79 or above
      (21 writing/19 reading)
    • IELTS = 6.5

    Application instructions

    Please note: All certificate program admissions will be processed by the Graduate School. There is a non-refundable $75.00 application fee that is paid upon submitting our application.

    1. Secure unofficial transcripts from your undergraduate and graduate studies (if you have degree(s) from the University of Minnesota your transcripts will be automatically attached to your application). Transcripts may be gathered electronically or may be scanned as PDFs for uploading.
    2. Complete a short leadership essay: 1-2 pages, double spaced, on a current topic of education that you want to significantly impact as a licensed administrator.
    3. Prepare a current resume/CV.
    4. Visit to create an application for graduate studies.
      1. If this is your first application, select “Create an account.” Complete all fields and be sure to save your password.
      2. If you have an application in process or are beginning a second application for a different program, select “Log In" and enter your credentials. Note: each program needs a separate application.
    5. Complete application sections as noted below:
      1. PROGRAM SELECTION: In the online application, where it states "Narrow your program options," choose "Education and Human Development" to "Filter by college/school," and then select "Administrative Licensure" in the drop-down menu beneath "College of Education and Human Development Programs."
      2. TERM SELECTION: Choose your proposed term of entry.
      3. BIOLOGICAL INFORMATION: Complete all fields.
      4. PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Complete all fields.
      5. ACADEMIC HISTORY (transcripts): Select "add institution" and follow directions in the pop-up; upload your transcripts for each institution as directed in the pop-up.
      6. TEST SCORES: skip.
      7. EMPLOYMENT: skip.
      8. MATERIALS:
        1. Personal Statement: Upload your completed Leadership Essay.
        2. Diversity Statement: skip.
        3. Extenuating Circumstances Statement: skip.
        4. Resume/CV: Upload your current resume/CV.
        5. Writing sample: skip.
        6. Description of research: skip.
      9. RECOMMENDATIONS: optional, not required.
    6. Sign, review, and pay the application fee as directed in the application portal.

    Official transcripts

    You must submit official transcripts from all of your previous schools before registering for your first term. The Graduate School will place a hold on your student record preventing registration in courses until official copies of all transcripts have been received. Transcripts must be sent by mail directly from your school to the University of Minnesota (most do this electronically):

    Attention: Transcripts

    Graduate School
    University of Minnesota
    309 Johnston Hall
    101 Pleasant St SE
    Minneapolis MN 55455-0421


    International applicants

    Click here for more information about TOEFL Scores.

    International students who will have completed 16 semester credits (within the past 24 months) in residence as a full-time student at a recognized institution of higher learning in the United States before entering the University of Minnesota are exempt from the testing requirement, but may be asked to take locally administered English tests after arrival on campus.

    After you submit your application

    Admission decisions are communicated to applicants online through the admissions system. A decision for admission notice will be available once your application is carefully reviewed by the department’s admission committee. You will receive an email prompting you to log into your application to view your admission decision once it is posted. You will also find a notification to complete the Enrollment Confirmation form at the bottom of your Application Status page. Your admission is not finalized until after you confirm your enrollment.

    Once you have been accepted you will be notified to pay the Administrative Licensure Program Fee. See information beneath "Fees," at right.


    If you are pursuing multiple administrative licenses you will pay an administrative licensure program fee of $550 for the first licensure program and $275 for subsequent licensure programs. At least half of the $550 program fee is due at the time a student accepts enrollment for the first licensure program.  For subsequent administrative licensure programs the $275 fee is due at the end of the administrative licensure program.

    If you are pursuing a Ph.D.  in addition to an administrative license, there administrative licensure program fee of $275 for each license sought. Applications to the doctoral and licensure programs are separate processes.

    If accepted into an administrative licensure  program, you will receive a welcome email indicating the option of paying the administrative licensure program fee via check or credit card. Please respond to the email with your preferred form of payment.

    If you have any questions please contact Malaika Bigirindavyi, Licensure Program Associate at

    Tuition and funding

    Tuition information: CEHD | OneStop

    Financial aid: CEHD | OneStop


    If a graduate student in an OLPD program has become inactive they must follow the readmission procedures.

    Whether you seek reactivation after accidentally being discontinued this term or want to return after a long absence these are the steps needed to re-apply.

    1. Complete the proper online readmission application.

      If you have been away from the program less than five years use the Express Readmission Application and email it to All others must submit the Online Application for Readmission
    2. Once received, the department will forward your application to the appropriate admissions committee. Readmission decisions are normally determined by the program’s admissions committee, not any one individual faculty member.

      Readmission is never guaranteed. Decisions for readmission are based on a review of previous progress toward degree completion, the proposed timeline for completion, the availability of faculty resources, and/or any additional application materials they may request from you. Individual programs/tracks reserve the right to readmit students under the current graduate program requirements, rules, and guidelines. They may also request an applicant to provide additional information prior to making a decision.
    3. Once the committee makes their recommendation, the department’s DGS will sign off on the decision and forward the result to the central Graduate Admissions Office for processing. Once processed, you will be notified of the decision.

    Individual department programs and tracks reserve the right to require readmitted students to retake coursework if they deem it appropriate. Readmitted students are also required to abide by current time-to-degree policies as determined by the University, which may differ from the policy in place when they first started the degree program.

    Individuals seeking readmission to the Ph.D., Ed.D., and M.A. program tracks in the former EDPA, WHRE, and WCFE majors can only reapply to the appropriate program track under the Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD) major name.