Public School Leadership (leading to Principal Licensure) (Western Carolina University)

Contact me about
this program
Email this info
Program info
Admissions info
Tuition and fees
110 Cordelia Camp Bldg Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC 28723

Program Information

WCU's Public School Leadership Certificate programs prepares educators for North Carolina Certification: Administrator 1, Principal. Although Western Carolina University is a regional comprehensive university, courses take place over the Internet in both synchronous and asynchronous online environments. Instruction in the program focuses on the establishment of intimate online learning communities. Candidates work with a cohort and a group of peers based on region. A “virtual” group exists for candidates in remote locations. Experiences offer a substantive grounding in research and theory blended with intensive reflection and introspection, as well as, continual application. The programs have both been recently redesigned with a focus on moral and ethical leadership based on our mantra, “Lead your Leadership Journey Courageously” © (2007, EDL Faculty, WCU). New cohorts are admitted each semester, including summer.

A full schedule of courses is offered during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Candidates will attend two weekend workshops, one the weekend before classes start for their first semester in Hickory, N.C. and one at the end of their program in Cullowhee. Candidates should plan to meet regionally once per semester, for a Friday afternoon-Saturday seminar. Our goal is to build regions in which no individual must travel more than 1.5 hours, although there may be exceptions. In addition to coursework, each candidate will complete three semesters of internship. The internships are usually completed in the candidate’s home school so as not to disrupt employment. Internships are competency-based to promote a wide range of leadership experiences. The program strives to take advantage of the diversity of participants and to prepare leaders capable of serving not only North Carolina's children but also children of other states and other countries.


 The Public School Leadership Certificate program prepares educators for North Carolina Certification: Administrator 1, Principal.   Candidates must hold a graduate degree in a related field and an “A” license in teaching, and have 3 years teaching experience in public schools.

Candidates will complete 18-24 credit hours, including a two-semester competency-based internship that can be completed while working.


Prospective students must apply to the Graduate School online and provide

  • three letters of recommendation (see form here),

  • transcripts of all university work (undergraduate and graduate),

  • evidence of scores on GRE or MAT, and

  • reflective writings on the seven standards for N.C. School Executives.

Tuition and Fees

For information on tuition and fees, click here.