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Cullowhee, NC 28723
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School Administration – Graduate Degree

Degree Offered: Master of School Administration (M.S.A.)

Certificate Offered:  Post Master's Certificate -Public School Leadership

Program Description

The Masters in School Administration is a 39 hour master’s degree leading to licensure in the state of North Carolina as a school principal. This cohort based program engages students in core courses in a proscribed order which generally consists of a course load ranging from 5 to 9 hours. The year-long internship aligns directly with courses and consists of 2 semesters hours across three semesters of competency based work which covers all aspects of principal responsibilities. A student who cannot complete the required EDL hours in a given semester will be required to petition the faculty to change to a different cohort. The program requires completion of the degree within six years of admission. Degree completion and licensure requirements are coordinated throughout the program but are independently granted. Degree completion does not guarantee licensure recommendation.                    

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Required Standardized Test

GRE General Exam or Miller Analogies Test (MAT)

Admission Requirements

  • Graduate School Admission Requirements
  • Program Admission Requirements
      • Hold or be eligible to hold a North Carolina Class A teaching license or a comparable license from another state.
      • Have completed at least 3 years of successful full-time teaching or equivalent experience in public schools. Pre-School teachers may include private sector experience. 
      • Document satisfactory scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (Verbal=400 and above; Math=380 and above; Total=800; Writing=4) or the Miller's Analogy Test (30th percentile or above) or a doctoral degree from an accredited university in an educationally-related field.
      • Submit three letters of recommendation from employers or former instructors who are in a position to judge the applicant's aptitude for graduate study and potential as a school leader. One recommendation must be from the current immediate supervisor.

Candidates not meeting preferred criteria may be admitted on a case by case basis and must meet additional criteria for conditional admission. Conditionally admitted candidates can expect to take a special topics seminar prior to full admission.

Note: Acceptance into the program does not constitute admission to candidacy, which is determined at the end of EDL 601.

The District Verification Form must be completed by the county personnel director or his/her representative. After completion, the form should be printed, signed by the official, returned to the candidate, and uploaded as a PDF file to Apply Yourself in the “Additional Documents” section.

After completing your application process in Apply Yourself, please contact the admissions coordinator, Denise Royer, at

Application Deadline
Cut-off dates for completed application to be considered for admission:

  • Fall: July 1
  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer: April 1

Prerequisites: None

Number of Graduate Faculty: 12

Number of Students: 60 MSA students and 90 Certificate students 

Location of Course Offerings: Online

*Out of state admission restrictions apply. For more information, click here

Program Contact Information:
Department of Human Services
91 Killian Building Lane, Room 208
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC 28723
Phone: 828-227-7310

Program Director:
Dr. Ann Allen

Denise Royer
MSA/Principal Add-On Pre Admissions Coordinator

Departmental Website: School Administration - M.S.A.


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