Principal Certification Bridge to the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

Maryville’s highly acclaimed program is recognized throughout the St. Louis region as providing the best educational leaders. Across the country, school leadership continues to be extolled as the key to student success and the value of schools. We believe that educational leaders must lead with vision, strength of conviction, and a firm grounding in the belief that all students can learn and grow. We foster a philosophy of leadership that embraces the strengths of all democratic institutions and provides voice to all participants.

This program is for certified teachers already possessing master’s degrees who seek to become administrators. This 18-credit 1-year bridge program ensures admission to the full 2½ year Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. Students can apply for Missouri principal certification after completion of the Bridge program and the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.

Developing leaders with vision, this cohort program leads to the principal certificate with special emphasis on moral leadership and practical applications. Personal mentoring through active approaches and an internship make this a master’s degree that truly creates sought-after leaders. While this program allows you to be a principal upon passing a national licensure exam for the principal certification, it also prepares you for many levels of school leadership both within and outside classrooms and in school and district offices.

For more information: email us at or call 314.529.9542.

Program Features

Recognized for Excellence

Our program is nationally accredited and recognized regionally for being a leader in administrator preparation. You’ll work with outstanding faculty members and exemplary professionals in the field. You’ll enjoy small classes, innovative approaches and plenty of opportunities for professional growth. With a strong foundation of theory, practical application, and a developed personal philosophy about leadership, you’ll be a highly respected educator.

Cohort Based Experience

Our program is organized around a cohort plan: cohorts, or student groups, usually consist of 12 to 20 students who advance through their classes together. This builds camaraderie among your peers, provides another educational resource and helps you recognize your own strengths. This 18-credit program takes one year to complete (prior to the Ed.D.) by meeting just one night a week.

Connected to Schools

A field-based internship is required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and will occur during both a summer semester as well as selected, planned experiences throughout the year. Maryville University has a number of school districts that provide internship opportunities for students and these will be arranged.

Professional/Career Opportunities

Successful completion of this program allows you to pursue many levels of school leadership, both within and outside classrooms and in school and district offices. From the principal track of studies, you are prepared for the state principal licensure exam that you will need in order to obtain a Missouri principal’s license. Once you’ve successfully completed the exam, you can be an elementary, middle, or secondary school principal or assistant principal.

Degree Offerings and Requirements

  • Principal Bridge to the Ed.D. (18 credits post-masters)
  • Fall Year One:
    • EDL 606  Organizational Leadership (New Course Blend)
    • EDL 658  Using Data to Make Decisions
    • Spring Year One:
      • EDL 611  The Principalship
      • EDL 603  Staff Evaluation
      • Summer Year One:
        • EDL 613  Environments: Legal, Financial, Social & Political
        • EDL 602  Internship (300 hours begin in Fall of year one)
        • Fall transition to Ed.D. in Educational Leadership (2½ year program)

Admission Requirements

Students apply to both the Bridge and the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership programs at the same time.  For admission, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have completed a master’s degree at an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Submit official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work. You must have maintained at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA from your undergraduate studies; below 3.0 may apply for provisional acceptance.
  • Complete an application for admission to the Bridge and Ed.D. program (online).
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from qualified professionals.
  • Submit the application essay to demonstrate that you have the necessary competencies for the program.
  • Complete an interview and on-site writing sample with the program faculty.
  • International students must submit appropriate TOEFL scores.

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