K-12 Principal Leadership Concentration

Master of arts

Admissions Deadlines

  • Applications accepted on an ongoing basis, allowing students to start four different times per year.
  • Official transcript from institution(s) where you completed your bachelor's degree and any graduate coursework
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Written statement

Student success

  • "WMU is a very special place where dreams become reality."Lisa Williams, Principal, '04, Read More

Program overview

This program is offered fully online via a blend of synchronous and asynchronous courses to meet the needs of working professionals.

This concentration is designed to prepare a student for the leadership role of being a building principal. Pending approval from MDE, students who complete this concentration will be recommended to receive, from the state of Michigan, the School Administrator Certificate. Program graduates may be endorsed to receive the administration certification outside of Michigan as well (depending on the certification process in state of residence). 

Interested in learning more? Please join us for an upcoming virtual information session! More coming soon.

Why this program at Western Michigan University?

  • This program has the fewest required credits of any similar M.A. in the state of Michigan, while still meeting all state and national standards. 
  • Ranked No. 41 in the nation and No. 2 in the state of Michigan for best online master's in education programs by U.S. News and World Report in the 2023 rankings.

  • 97% of WMU K-12 administrative candidates are were recently rated "effective" or "highly effective" by their school district within their first three years as an administrator. 
  • We are the only institution in the U.S. that includes an optional co-curricular designation known as the WMU Signature. Pathways include: Teaching & Student Success, Leadership, Diversity, Inclusion, Equity & Justice, and more! 
  • New! Earn up to 15 of the 30 required credits with our Prior Learning Assessment program. Learn more.

Application information

Applications are accepted on an on-going basis throughout the year. Admission decisions take approximately two weeks after all materials are received.

Note: To complete many course assignments, and to have a mentor for a two-semester principal internship, applicants must be employed within a K-12 setting OR have access to a school setting.


The K-12 Principal master's degree program meets the new standards for the Michigan K-12 administrator certification requirements, CAEP accreditation standards and the guidelines of the National Educational Leadership Preparation Standards (NELPS), and is Michigan State Department of Education principal preparation program approved.


The K-12 unit has successfully delivered the Educational Leadership MA and K-12 Administrator Certificate in the cohort model that is job embedded by utilizing local and intermediate school district resources and opportunities.  The department is willing to create cohorts that target specific school districts, counties, or regions.  If you have an interest in starting an educational leadership cohort, please contact Dr. Rusty Stitt.

Multi-year course offering/planning tools


The Lead is a monthly online publication that highlights the work of our Educational Leadership (K-12) programs, and contains a wide-array of information relevant to school administrators; it also celebrates the work of our alumni, students and faculty. Visit The Lead newsletter page for all issues.

Cost & Funding

Helpful links