Principal Certification

Designed for experienced educators, Rice Education's Principal Certification program prepares participants with the strategic skills needed to be effective educational leaders in K-12 learning environments.

A teacher in front of a class full of students.

Our Principal Certification program brings together the values and requirements of the Texas Education Agency with the academic quality of Rice University. You will learn how to develop a strategic vision that prioritizes high quality instruction and student achievement; establish a school-wide culture committed to improving student learning through clear goals, targets and strategies; cultivate a reflective practice that focuses on solutions, treat challenges as opportunities and support staff through organizational changes.


The Rice Principal Certification program is appropriate for educators who already hold a master's degree and a Texas teaching certificate and seek focused training in educational leadership. This eighteen-month program is designed for K-12 educators that have at least two years of teaching experience and are motivated to learn the skills necessary to be an effective school leader.

Application Deadlines

Summer Entry: January 15

Fall Entry: March 15

Spring Entry: October 15

Don't have a master's degree?

Learn more about our Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. The MAT plan of study facilitates a specialization in organizational leadership, allowing you to earn your MAT and principal certification simultaneously.

We keep the costs of the Principal Certification program as low as possible for our city’s educators. Incentives include significantly reduced tuition for all admitted students and course tuition aid. Additionally, tuition is priced per course to accommodate part-time students.

Tuition for the principal certification program in the 2017-2018 academic year is $2,800 per course (does not include books or other supplies as needed). This reflects a significantly reduced rate from normal Rice University tuition, and is designed to accommodate part-time students. For additional information on loans and other financial assistance, visit the Office of Financial Aid website.

For complete information about Rice University tuition, visit the university's cost of study web page.


We believe in the importance of developing education leaders, particularly those working in high-need schools. Our program offers a limited number of merit-based, partial scholarships to highly-qualified, prospective students.

Principal Fellowship

Our Principal Fellows program targets school leaders, preferably those teaching in high-need schools, who ready to take on the challenges of instructional and organizational leadership in public schools. We are offering a select number of scholarships for our new principal certification program that will reduce tuition to a minimum 50 percent of our normal per course tuition rate of $2800 for each of the five courses in this single-year program. Principal fellow applicants must submit an additional essay (described below), will participate in an additional focused interview and will receive an observation of your teaching through a school day.

Letter of Recommendation
Principal Fellow applicants will need a letter of recommendation from his/her current principal that includes the following information:
  1. Ways you are/would be an effective problem solver on your campus
  2. Why your principal would hire you as an administrator on your campus
An essay of your specific leadership skills will:
  • Explain why you want to be a school leader
  • Offer examples from your teaching career that show you will be a good teacher-coach
  • Include ways you help to solve problems on campus
  • Describe your vision for an ideal campus and the way you would implement that vision
  • Include any experiences that demonstrate you are a change agent


Fees include but are not limited to:

  • Student services fee: $8 per person
  • Parking fee: $70-$240 per year; varies depending on the parking permit selected
  • Graduate Student Association fee: $21 per session (no more than $42 per year)

Additional information regarding tuition and fees can be found on the Cashier's website.

Principal Certification (15 credit hours)

  • Instructional Leadership
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Practicum for Principals I
  • Practicum for Principals II
  • Professional Education Elective

For More Information

We regularly host information sessions on campus and invite you to join us for one at your convenience. Please view our calendar to find a time that works for your schedule. Also, you may request additional information or schedule an appointment to meet with an academic adviser. We welcome the opportunity to visit with you one-on-one to learn about your professional growth goals and discuss how our program will serve your needs.

Schedule Advising Appointment

RSVP for an Information Session