Improving Education Excellence

The Principal Certification program at SMU prepares you for Texas Principal Certification through hands-on, experiential learning with the best faculty and mentors in the profession. Graduate ready to positively impact student outcomes and tackle the unique challenges of principalship.

Program Structure

This 21-hour certification program is rigorously designed to prepare educators for a variety of leadership positions in pre-K through grade-12 public, charter, private secular, and religious schools. Our students work closely with both expert SMU clinical faculty and district mentors, so that in just one year they are equipped with the knowledge and field experience needed to lead educational organizations effectively.

Courses begin on a rolling basis and can be completed in 12 months. During the fall and spring academic terms, students take courses, plus an internship (Field Studies). The Field Studies course each semester involves internship activities on the student's campus of employment.

The curriculum reflects both the principal certification requirements established by the state of Texas and is consistent with national standards and empirical evidence on effective school leadership knowledge and skills.


Internship Overview

The internship is a three-way partnership involving the student, the administrative mentor on the campus where the candidate is employed, and a member of SMU’s adjunct clinical faculty. Three Field Studies courses include internship activities directly aligned to program courses and to the state 268 Principal CompetenciesBeginning in June 2020 and ending May 2021, interns must have completed 160 hours of field-based experiences that align with 268 Principal Competencies. 


As of Summer 2024, the Principal Certification Program is $825 per credit hour. Discounted tuition rates are available for both TFA members and educators working for district partners of SMU. Please contact to learn more.