Principal Preparation Program

INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP – With a focus on best practices, candidates will learn how to lead achievement of all students, evaluate instruction and lead learning.

HIGH-TOUCH – Small cohorts allow for individualized coaching, engaged discussions and meaningful feedback.

BALANCE – The simultaneous internship paired with coursework allows for interns to practice theory while reflecting on leadership effectiveness.

Willie Stewart '69


  • December 15: Priority application deadline
  • February 9: late application deadline

Applications received after Feb 9th will be reviewed on a space available basis through May 1. Applicants applying after February 9 may be ineligible for the AWSP intern grant.

Application Components

Supply all program admission items to PLU’s Education Office:

Pacific Lutheran University
School of Education
12180 Park Ave S.
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003


  • December 15 – Priority Applicant Deadline (all materials must be included for consideration)
  • January 12 – Priority Applicant Admission Notification
  • February 9 – Late Application Deadline (all materials must be included for consideration)
  • February 23 – Late Application Admission Notification
  • February 22 – AWSP Grant Writing Workshop
  • March 16 – AWSP State funded internship grant application due
  • May 1 – Final Application Deadline (no longer eligible for AWSP intern grant)
  • May 18/19 – CohortProgram Retreat
  • May TBA – Internship Coordination Meeting with District Supervisor and Program Coordinator
  • June 25 – Summer Coursework Begins*

1 year to Certification

The PLU Administration Certification program connects theory, research and practice in an intertwined and interdependent web.

  • Interns enter the program during the summer and enroll in  coursework that is focused on the foundations of  personal and instructional leadership. In addition to summer coursework, many interns begin the process of adding administrative duties to their school roles.
  • Fall coursework is focused on methods and application. Interns complete three classes as well as their internship and reflective seminar.
  • During the  spring semester, interns will complete one class, their internship, reflective seminar and be assisted on preparing for administrative interviews.


The PLU program is proud to be among the most affordable face-to-face programs in the state. The PLU program is provided at a reduced graduate-continuing education tuition rate of $500 per credit. The total tuition cost for the program is $16,000 with an estimate of $300-$400 for texts and program fees.

Convenient Schedule

Summer courses are held in the evenings to accommodate interns who are working throughout the day. This allows for interns to observe and practice what they are learning in coursework and also collect summer hours for their time log.

During the regular academic year, courses are held 1 to 2 evenings per week in the fall semester and less frequently in the spring.  During the spring, the cohort continues to meet for coursework and also to find opportunities for  support and reflection as interns transition into their leadership role.

Quality Instructors

Instructors, guest speakers and expert panels are identified from successful and experienced administrators in the South Sound region. Participants will be exposed to a variety of different districts and district leaders, ideologies and practices with the outcome of dynamic leadership growth.

Cohort Model

Adult learning theory affirms that adults learn best when working collaboratively to solve real world, relevant problems. The PLU cohort model focuses on preparing leaders of adult learners who can facilitate positive changes with the staffs and communities they will lead.  

Theory and Practice

Each PLU courses is created and reviewed through the lens of regional exemplary practioneers. Merging the most current research with applied practice, the PLU program is constantly advancing to stay current about what is facing the K-12 leader today.

Once administrative interns are admitted into the program, they are able to put their course content into practice immediately through practical assignments that are applied in their field experience.

High-touch Experiences

The PLU Education Department’s values of care, compassion, difference, service and leadership drive the design and outcome of the administrator program. Participants of the PLU program will be provided with high-touch experiences from admission to certification that will provide insight and advantages to participant’s leadership capacities.

Job Placement

Throughout their program, PLU participants are prepared and focused on the demands of the job market through their coursework, internships, interview workshops, job fairs, and more.

Pacific Lutheran University residency administrator program is a 12 month program built and advised by current district practioneers. The program provides candidates with the practical knowledge and skills they need to lead a school community in a responsive and results-oriented way.  Rigorous coursework and clinical experiences lead to the development of a Culminating Professional Portfolio which includes practical performance-based documentation of candidates’ knowledge, skills, dispositions and professional behaviors.

This practitioner focused program is lead in a cohort-based model by knowledgeable faculty and local practitioners. Small on-campus meetings are centered on adult learning models and collaborative practices that lead to a prepared and dynamic educational leader. The PLU program prides itself on high-touch practice beyond the normal scope of traditional and online programs. PLU interns are provided with support throughout the program for enhanced leadership opportunities.  Program coursework is built around the professional standards for educational leaders (PSEL and AWSP) and emphasizes value driven leadership, instructional leadership, data analysis, and special education.

Total Credits: 32 credits

Program Cost: $16,000 (Financial Aid Options Available)

Program Length: 12 months. Program may be extended on an individual basis.

Program Options: Residency Principal. This program is currently Certification Only, all applicants must have a Master’s degree

Internship: A 540 hour administrative internship will occur simultaneously with coursework from August – June

The PLU principal program is certification-only,non-degree seeking. Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) is not available. Alternatively private educational loans are available, which may be lower interest than graduate federal financial aid. To explore alternative educational loan options participants are encouraged to start with their own private banking agency to investigate  educational loan options. Additional resources are available below.

AWSP Grant

92% of PLU principal candidates who applied for last years grant received it

Alternative Loans

Also known as private loans, help bridge the gap between the actual cost of your education and the limited amount the government allows you to borrow in its programs. Private loans are offered by private lenders and there are no federal forms to complete. Click here to learn more about these loans and/ or apply.

Fast Choice

Private educational loan comparer (includes loan orientation). Credit-Score Based. In some cases, private educational loans are lower interest than federal financial aid and do not include fees. Click here to visit their website.

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Click on the question to expand and see the answer.

As I begin the application process, what do I need to consider?

It’s important to consider the total package of a program, beyond ease, schedule, cost, and proximity. We encourage all prospective candidates to look at a variety of programs as they make their selection. Additionally, it is important for the prospective candidates to pay attention to three different dates: (1) Their own districts’ deadlines and requirements for administrative interns; this may begin as early as November for the coming year; (2) the University’s application deadlines; and (3) AWSP Administrative Internship grant deadline.

How many years of service are required to apply to the program?

Washington State requires eligible participants to have completed a minimum of three years of public teaching by the time they enroll in a program.

How much is program tuition?

Program tuition is $16,000.

How long is the program?

Certification takes 12 months, or three semesters (summer, fall, spring) to earn. Program coursework occurs June – June. District internship work begins in the summer months.

Is a sample class schedule available?

Program Plan: During the first summer, classes are held on campus and online typically three-four weekdays per week. Fall and spring classes are held one to two weekday evenings and some weekends.

When is the program application deadline?

Priority applications are due February 16 in order to be eligible for the Washington State Intern Grant. Application will be accepted through March 25, however, candidates applying after February 16th will be ineligible for the state intern grant.

What needs to be included in the application?

The successful application will include: the online program application, $40 application fee, a copy of a valid Washington State Teaching or ESA Certificate, evidence of a Master’s degree, unofficial transcripts from all universities attended, 2 letter of recommendations, Letter of District Internship support, OSPI forms 4001F-C and 4201 and a current resume.

What if I do not hold a master's degree?

Since Pacific Lutheran University program is certification-only, a master’s degree is required. You may think about reviewing our Masters in Education Program or Alternative Routes here.

What is the Letter of District Internship support?

On the Administrator program webpage, there is a one-page document that can be downloaded. This document is then completed by the intern, the interns’ prospective supervising administrator and the district superintendent. This letters is intended to demonstrate the support of the district for the interns’ field-based preparation.

Can I keep my job within the K-12 school system while attending this program?

Yes, in fact you must be employed within the K-12 school system with either a teaching certificate or counseling ESA certificate in order to be eligible for this program.

Do I have to be chosen as an intern by my district?

Yes. Each district has a unique internal intern selection process. Pacific Lutheran University requires applicants to demonstrate the support of the district by completing the District Internship support document. We suggested contacting your district Human Resources in early fall to inquire into this process. We are happy to provide coaching during this process.

Where will I complete my required internship?

Candidates will complete a minimum of a 540-hour principal or 540-hours program administrator internship within their school district. If admitted, candidates will meet in May or June to review the internship handbook and develop their plan for the internship hours with their cooperating building leader.

Is financial aid available?

Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) is not available for this program. Private educational loans are available, which can at times be lower interest than graduate federal financial aid. To explore alternative educational loan options participants are encouraged to start with their own private banking for and/or explore this PLU Resource.

How may I send my application materials?

Most of the materials can be uploaded directly onto the online program application or emailed to The $40 application fee and an additional application materials may be sent via US mail to: Pacific Lutheran University, Partnerships & Professional Development/ 12180 Park Ave S./Tacoma, WA 98447.

Want to learn more?

Interested participants are invited to attend an information session, schedule an in-person or phone advising appointment, or visit the program webpage.

2017-2018 Campus Information Sessions – RSVP Required September – Thursday, September 21, 4:00-5:00pm, Morken 103 October – Tuesday, October 10, 5:00-6:00pm, Morken 103 October – Wednesday, October 25, 4:00-5:00pm, Morken 103 November – Thursday, November 16, 5:00-6:00pm, Morken 103 December – Tuesday, December 5, 4:00-5:00pm, Morken 103 January – Wednesday, January 10, 5:00-6:00pm, Morken 103

Schedule an advising appointment: Call 253-535-7272 or email