Transfer Credits

Transfer credits are defined as credits coming from an outside institution or credits taken in non-degree status at MSU.  A total of nine (9) transfer credits can be applied to a degree seeking graduate Program of Study.  All eligible credits to be transferred are subject to approval by the student’s graduate committee, graduate department, and The Graduate School.

Transfer of credits is governed by the Graduate School Policies and Procedures.  Click for full detail regarding credit transfer.

Program Standards

Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
Professional Standards for School Leaders
Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC)

  1. A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision.
  2. A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.
  3. A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by ensuring management of the organization, operations, and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment.
  4. A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by collaborating with families and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources.
  5. A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by acting with integrity and fairness, and in an ethical manner.
  6. A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context.

Degree Process

The major steps in the process include:

  1. Complete the online application through the graduate school online application system;
  2. Acceptance by the Graduate School and the Department of Education Graduate Program. (There is a committee within the Educational Leadership Unit that reviews the applications and recommends acceptance or rejection. A temporary chairperson/advisor will be assigned.)
  3. Begin taking courses that fit into the outlined program;
  4. Select a permanent chairperson for your committee;
  5. With the chairperson, work out the details of your program and select two (masters) or four (doctorate) committee members;
  6. Submit the Program of Study and Committee form for approval; and
  7. When the course work is near to being completed, take a written comprehensive examination. (For doctoral students, the written comps are followed by a 2-hour oral clarification meeting with the committee.)

    For Doctoral Students only:

  1. Develop a research topic with your chairperson and prepare a research proposal;
  2. Meet with your entire committee to seek approval of the proposal;
  3. Complete the research and write up the dissertation; and
  4. Defend the dissertation before your committee and any faculty members who choose to attend.

OPI Internships and MSU Field Experiences

All programs in educational leadership require a practical experience (internship/field experience) to provide real life opportunities to implement, adapt, and/or confirm leadership theories. Field experiences are adapted to each participant's needs and situation, and can be categorized as MSU or Doctorate/Superintendent.

OPI Internships are for persons working on a Master's Degree in educational leadership while concurrently assigned to a school district administrative position for which they are not yet certified. This program provides temporary full certification. More intensive supervision from MSU requires some costs to be paid by the district and/or intern. Interns are assigned a mentor, collaborate with that person and a University supervisor, and complete a variety of assignments for the University supervisor.

MSU field experience courses are designed for persons at the master's level who are seeking principal certification. The field experience involves a set of required and optional experiences in which students participate, keep logs, and report to an on-site supervisor/mentor and to an MSU coordinator/supervisor.

Doctoral and Superintendent certification field experiences are uniquely designed for participants in view of their needs and situations.

Field Experience Requirements (EDLD 574)

Field Experience is one of the final experiences in the graduate education leadership program at Montana State University - Bozeman. It is designed to provide students who have finished or who have nearly finished their program to experience what it is like to provide leadership at the district level. It is an opportunity to apply and further develop leadership and administrative knowledge and skills under the guidance of a certified school leader/administrator in a site outside of the university environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cohort and when do principal preparation cohorts start?

Application materials for admission into a principal preparation cohort should be submitted by April 1st. Our principal preparation cohorts, a group of students that proceed through the program as a group, begin each summer around mid-May.

A limited number of students may be admitted into the principal preparation program during fall and spring semester provided a sound reason exists for an exception. 

Do I need to be admitted into the principal licensure program even if I already have a Master's degree and wish to complete the program as a non-degree student?

Yes, all students seeking to take principal licensure coursework need to be admitted to the program prior to completing their second semester of courses. Ideally, students should be admitted into the principal licensure program prior to taking coursework.

Do I need to apply for admission into the school superintendent certificate program?

Yes, all students seeking to take school superintendent certificate coursework need to apply and be admitted to the program. The Educational Leadership Program offers the School Superintendent Certificate Program to prepare candidates to complete all state requirements for licensure as a School Superintendent in Montana.  The Montana School Superintendent Certificate Program is a 15-credit certificate with coursework designed to be completed through an intensive summer program with a semester long internship following the coursework.

Where do I get the Advisor/Alternate PIN needed for course registration each semester?

You may get the Advisor/Alternate PIN needed to register for graduate courses from the Graduate Coordinator. You can contact the Graduate Coordinator at [email protected] or 406-994-6786, to obtain the appropriate PIN number.

How are advisors assigned?

Advisors are full time faculty members in the Educational Leadership program that monitor and facilitate a student's progress, ensure the student takes the courses appropriate to his or her goals, advocate for the individual student, and serves as Chair of the student's Graduate Committee. An Advisor is assigned to each student at the time of admission; however, the student may select his or her advisor when completing the program of study. NOTE: Students selecting an advisor different from the faculty member initially assigned need to obtain the faculty member's permission before listing them as an advisor.

When do I submit my Program of Study?

The Program of Study is a listing of courses that the student will need to take to be graduated and/or recommended for administrative licensure. It needs to be completed by the student and submitted to their advisor by the end of the student's second semester of enrollment into the program. The form may be obtained from the Graduate School website under the heading of "forms." The required courses for your program option are listed elsewhere on this website by cohort.

Who do I contact if I have further questions about program specifics?

Any of our Educational Leadership faculty will be happy to discuss the specifics of the program or the application requirements with you. 

Dr. Jason Cummins, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership
Phone: 406-994-4142 Email: [email protected]

Dr. Bill Ruff, Professor of Educational Leadership
406-994-4182  Email: [email protected]

Dr. Tena Versland, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership
406-994-6799  Email: [email protected]