Master's Degree & Licensure

Master’s Plus Principal/Initial Administrator Licensure (M+IAL)

Quick Facts

  • 45 credits
  • Six terms to a master's degree and initial licensure
  • Hybrid format combines face-to-face and online learning
  • Admits every term. Once admitted, you will be assigned to an IAL cohort. Cohort coursework starts in spring or summer term and continues through the following spring term.  

Effective 21st-century school administrators can’t successfully lead from behind a desk in a closed-door office. To meet the needs of all learners and staff, you need to be creative and driven, crafting engaging ideas--and being able to back them up with action that includes everyone. The Master’s Plus Initial Administrator Licensure (M+IAL) program offers a master’s degree combined with a Principal License/Initial Administrator License (IAL). This allows you to become a principal or other building-level school administrator. An IAL gives you the skills to lead positively, creatively, collaboratively, and proactively in your diverse communities. With a background in responsive leadership, feel confident making strong decisions when it matters most and move cutting-edge educational practices forward. 


Stefanie Randol
Admissions Advisor


Susan Carlile
Program Coordinator

Program Benefits

  • Practical experience: Apply ideas discussed in the classroom to practices in the field.
  • Problem-based learning: With this integrated curricular approach, focus on problems of practice, not traditionally discrete academic disciplines.
  • Portfolio development: Collect materials that attest to your administrative beliefs, accomplishments, and experiences. This portfolio is valuable in seeking administrative employment.
  • Career guidance: Interact with successful local school principals and district superintendents about prospective career plans as a principal or school administrator.
  • District support: Enjoy strong school and district support as you earn your administrator license.

Program Specifics

  • Enjoy convenient, hybrid scheduling for working professionals, including face-to-face and online learning environments where students learn individually and in groups
  • Benefit from your peers’ knowledge and experience in our unique cohort model

About the program

The M+IAL program requires the completion of at least 45 credits. This includes:

  • Professional Studies Core (17 credits)
  • IAL License Cohort (28 credits)

The M+IAL program of study includes:
Professional Studies Core (17 credits required)
Professional core courses may be completed prior to, during, or following the IAL License Cohort coursework. Please note that you will not be eligible to be licensed until the master's degree has been awarded and appears on your transcript.

  • ELP 511 Principles of Educational Research and Data Analysis I (4)
  • ELP 520 Developmental Perspectives on Adult Learning (4)
  • ELP 551 Social Foundations of Education (4) OR ELP 554 Philosophy of Education (4)
  • ELP 568 Educational Organization and Administration (4)
  • ELP 506 IAL Independent Study (1 credit) 

The IAL curriculum (28 credits) involves direct instruction and group problem-solving assignments. In addition, each cohort member completes a full-year guided administrative practicum. All newly admitted students must agree to complete the entire cohort program even though they may have already completed courses with numbers or titles similar to those required.

  • ELP 569 Introduction to Educational Administration (4 credits)
  • ELP 570 Human Relations and Educational Foundations (4 credits)
  • ELP 571 Teaching, Learning and Curriculum (4 credits)
  • ELP 572 Human Resource Development and Organizational Change (4 credits)
  • ELP 573 Educational Leadership Project I (1 credit)
  • ELP 574 Educational Leadership Project II (1 credit)
  • ELP 575 Educational Leadership Project III (1 credit)
  • ELP 509 Practicum: IAL (9 credits)

The IAL administrative practicum

The 360-hour field-based practicum is the equivalent of working 120 hours per quarter or 12 hours per week in a building-level or district/agency administrative capacity. You will seek opportunities to develop fully as an educational leader and to acquire proficiency in the seven areas of administrative responsibility. (These are outlined by TSPC's Performance Standards.)

Initial Administrator License Requirements

Candidates seeking recommendation from PSU for the Preliminary Administrator License must:

  • Have completed the Master’s degree plus Initial Administrator License program at Portland State University
  • Have completed three years of successful licensed teaching or personnel service experience in public schools or regionally accredited private schools at the time of application for the administrative license
  • Apply for the Principal License within one year of completing the IAL program. Currency of your coursework is a consideration by TSPC in granting licensure.

Our graduates

M+IAL graduates are eligible to become licensed administrators in K–12 settings.

Why PSU?

PSU is the public research university for the Portland metro area. The IAL courses are taught by experienced, practicing school administrators with years of experience who help you learn how to become a principal or other building-level school administrator. As much as it is known for its theory and research, PSU is also known for its commitment to forward-thinking progress, inclusive goals, and supporting diverse communities. At PSU, our deep welcome and inclusive environment unlocks the hidden potential in all students. The M+IAL program follows this. Our individual support resources and real-world applications incorporate the needs of the whole person. This nurtures strong convictions and fearless confidence critical to academic success.