PK-12 Principal Leadership

Master of Education
  • Overview
  • Course Information
  • Tuition
  • Benefits

Today's PK-12 schools need talented leaders with a firm grasp of school processes. NCU’s master’s degree in PK-12 Principal Leadership specialization will prepare you to meet the coursework, field experience and internship requirements needed to apply for certification as a PK-12 public school principal in the State of Arizona*. In this specialization, you will pair content courses with specialization courses designed to address issues, skills and knowledge specific to principal leadership, including school law and finance, and how to provide leadership and supervision as a PK-12 principal. A 16-week capstone internship is also required, and includes an action research project.

Students outside of Arizona are encouraged to contact their state department of education for guidance regarding reciprocity of Arizona licensure or completing a program approved by a Department of Education in another state to obtain certification.

View the Principal Leadership Handbook for More Information

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders worldwide by providing online graduate degree and certificate programs in education. NCU’s M.Ed. with a specialization in PK-12 Principal Leadership (MEd/PLCS) is approved by the Arizona Department of Education and the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education (AZPPSE), and is designed to prepare students to meet licensure requirements to become PK-12 principals in the State of Arizona. The PK-12 Principal Leadership specialization is also one of nine MEd specializations accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).  

There are several reasons why an educator would choose to pursue a graduate degree in educational leadership. Reasons may include:

  • Improve skills and professionalism in general or to pursue a formal leadership position outside the classroom.
  • Seek administrative licensure to become a principal or assistant’/associate principal.
  • Better prepare to be a department head or team leader.
  • "Move up" steps on the salary schedule.
  • Meet the needs of increasingly diverse students.
  • Work outside of a traditional K-12 classroom environment (trainer, educational consultant, etc).

Completion Period for Master's Degrees

Northcentral University allows 5 years to complete all 30 credit hour master's programs.(36 credit hours if enrolled in the PK-12 Principal Leadership specialization that prepares candidates to meet Arizona State certification requirements).   Students who are considering any degree program are strongly  encouraged to check specific state requirements carefully to be sure any degree program they consider will be accepted for purposes of certification or recertification, promotion, advancement on school district salary schedules, etc. Normal time to complete varies depending upon the rate courses are taken and credits transferred.

Note: Normal time to complete is also based on the policies in effect while students were enrolled. On January3, 2011 Northcentral implemented new continuous enrollment policies, which have decreased the expected time to completion. Additionally, on April 25, 2011, the MEd program was converted from 12 week courses to 8 week courses. 

See below for specialization courses specific to this program. To learn more, fill out the request information form below or view the course catalog.

Course Code


Course Description


Foundations for Graduate Study in Education

This course is an orientation to Northcentral University and to the essential skills needed to pursue a Master's degree in Education. Graduate level skills, such as academic integrity, time management, effective use of the Northcentral Library, comprehending complex scholarly texts and research articles, and APA form and style in professional communication are also introduced. Students will complete the course with a better understanding of personal goals, strengths, and challenges, and a roadmap to navigate their way to completion of their educational aspirations.


Contemporary Issues in Education

This course examines the major contemporary issues impacting education. Students evaluate the issues, attempt solutions, and develop personal professional positions. In a broader context, the education profession is affected by numerous and diverse issues that are highly political, emotional, and complex. It is imperative that students understand the issues; the effects the issues have on the profession, as well as formulating a personal response to the issues.


School and Community Relations

This course introduces educators to essential competencies and considerations needed to build and sustain positive, productive relationships with members of school communities and the external communities in which schools reside. Emphasis is placed on the development of effective communication policies and practices to instill public confidence in community schools, improve school quality, and improve student learning.


Supervision of the PK-12 Curriculum

Candidates enrolled in this course will develop skills and knowledge required to manage curricular resources and delivery to ensure congruence among the written, taught, and tested curricula. Curricular issues will be addressed from local/state, national, and international perspectives. Candidates will also build the skills and knowledge required to help faculty members implement consistent and equitable instructional programs, materials, and products to support student achievement and institutional goals.


Instructional Supervision and Leadership for PK-12 Principals

In this course candidates will examine supervisory leadership for PK-12 principals within the economic, social, political, and educational context of schools. A concept of supervision and leadership is presented to help educational leaders build a repertoire of approaches and strategies that will enhance professional growth while showing the importance of sensitivity to individual teacher needs. Emphasis is placed upon supervisory leadership as it applies to individual teachers, faculty teams, and the improvement of instruction in PK-12 settings.


School Law for PK-12 Principals

PK-12 Principals need a working knowledge of school law, especially as it pertains to the rights of students and teachers. Concepts addressed in this course focus on the role of federal case law in setting public school policy. Topics include Constitutional student rights regarding free speech and search and seizure. Legal foundations for safety, building emergency, and attendance policies will be addressed in addition to policies regarding teachers’ rights, due process, and contractual employment considerations. Information in the course is critical to understanding the basic local, state, and federal legal structures pertinent to schools, teachers, and students.


School Finance for PK-12 Principals

In this course, candidates will gain knowledge of and practical experience with the major concepts and tools in school finance. Candidates will explore the three distinct components of education finance: (1) evaluating revenue sources, including school aid; (2) developing and defending budgets; and (3) managing the finances and business operations of a school district. The objective is to provide prospective school principals with an understanding of the general principles of education finance that can be applied in any PK-12 educational setting.


Multicultural Relationships in Educational Organizations

The effects of cultural diversity on organizational behavior are complex and powerful. What is diversity and what are the goals in achieving a more diverse society? This course examines the educational community's thinking on race, language, culture, gender and disability in the educational setting.


Educational Policy and Practice

This Master’s level course focuses on research and theory in developing effective schools. Topics include: aligning contemporary educational practice with Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards, collaboration, communication, decision-making, and conflict management. Current educational trends will be addressed to promote the establishment of effective educational climates for teaching and learning.


The PK-12 Principalship

In this course, candidates will explore fundamental skills necessary for administrative leadership in PK-12 school settings. Using the ISLLC standards as a base, students will evaluate the myriad ways in which PK-12 principals promote the success of every student. Strong leadership is fundamental to the creation of successful centers for learning. Topics include developing PK-12 school vision and mission, leadership styles and developmental stages, analysis of school report card data, facilitating teacher leadership, and planning for action research.


Capstone Internship I

In the first of the two 8-week internship courses comprising the required capstone immersion experience, administrative interns draft the initial internship action plan, begin to implement the action research project, start adding required artifacts to their e-folios, begin working with required project components, participate in required on-line seminars, and prepare to submit weekly reflections and internship logs. Internship experiences are designed to guide candidates through specific standards-aligned experiences with resulting growth in competencies demonstrated through application in practice.


Capstone Internship II

In the second of the two 8-week internship courses comprising the required capstone immersion experience, administrative interns will complete the initial internship action plan, finish the action research project, add all remaining required artifacts to their e-folios, complete the required project components, participate in required on-line seminars, and continue to submit weekly reflections and internship logs. Internship experiences are designed to guide candidates through specific standards-aligned experiences with resulting growth in competencies demonstrated through application in practice.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the NCU’s MEd costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $628
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $1,884
  • Program cost: $22,958
  • Average book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Learning Management Fee (one-time per program): $350
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors. For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.

Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)

 The Northcentral University Master of Education Program, which is designed to prepare professional educators to become effective leaders, reflective practitioners and successful communicators within the diverse field of education, centering on improving teaching, learning, research and leadership contributions throughout PK-12 Education, is granted Initial Accreditation by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) for a period of five years, from June 24, 2013 – June 24, 2018.This accreditation certifies that the forenamed professional education program has provided evidence that the program adheres to TEAC’s quality principles. To view the Summary of the Case that has been posted on the TEAC website (

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