Superintendent, Graduate Certificate

Department of Educational Leadership

College of Education

This administrative certificate program is offered by the Educational Leadership department and prepares you for state certification as a superintendent in the public schools. Classes are offered in many locations across Arizona with admission applications being processed throughout the course of the year.

This program is nationally recognized by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC).

This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

    • Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit hours. Many graduate certificate programs require more than 12 credit hours.
    • No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 - 4 units) may be used on a graduate certificate program.
    • No more than twenty-five percent of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.
    • A 400-level course (undergraduate course) completed at another university is not eligible for transfer credit.
    • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of coursework with a Grade of "C" may be used in a certificate program.
    • A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.
    • Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College.
  • Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program).  See the “Details” tab for additional information.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Required Educational Leadership coursework (15 units)
  • Graduate elective Educational Leadership coursework (9 units)

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 24
Additional Admission Requirements Required
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Required
Some online/blended coursework Required


The purpose of the Superintendent Graduate Certificate program is to prepare its participants for Arizona State Administrative Certification as a K-12 public school superintendent.  To complete the certificate requirements participants must earn fifteen credits through required courses that translate theory into practice as the role of the school superintendent, organizational development, school funding and school law are examined.  This program also includes an internship in a school where participants will apply what they have learned in their courses.  Nine additional educational leadership elective credits or transfer credits from another program in educational leadership are required to complete the twenty-four credits required for the certificate.  Following completion of the Superintendent Graduate Certificate program participants will receive an Institutional Recommendation and may apply for state certification.  

Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes align with Standards from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC), and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC).
A district-level education leader applies knowledge that promotes the success of every student by:

  • facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a shared district vision of learning through the collection and use of data to identify district goals, assess organizational effectiveness, and implement district plans to achieve district goals; promotion of continual and sustainable district improvement; and evaluation of district progress and revision of district plans supported by district stakeholders
  • sustaining a district culture conducive to collaboration, trust, and a personalized learning environment with high expectations for students; creating and evaluating a comprehensive, rigorous, and coherent curricular and instructional district program; developing and supervising the instructional and leadership capacity across the district; and promoting the most effective and appropriate technologies to support teaching and learning within the district
  • ensuring the management of the district’s organization, operation, and resources through monitoring and evaluating district management and operational systems; efficiently using human, fiscal, and technological resources within the district; promoting district-level policies and procedures that protect the welfare and safety of students and staff across the district; developing district capacity for distributed leadership; and ensuring that district time focuses on high-quality instruction and student learning
  • collaborating with faculty and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources for the district by collecting and analyzing information pertinent to improvement of the district’s educational environment; promoting an understanding, appreciation, and use of the community’s diverse cultural, social, and intellectual resources throughout the district; building and sustaining positive district relationships with families and caregivers; and cultivating productive district relationships with community partners
  • acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner to ensure a district system of accountability for every student’s academic and social success by modeling district principles of self-awareness, reflective practice, transparency, and ethical behavior as related to their roles within the district; safeguarding the values of democracy, equity, and diversity within the district; evaluating the potential moral and legal consequences of decision making in the district; and promoting social justice within the district to ensure individual student needs inform all aspects of schooling
  • understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context within the district through advocating for district students, families, and caregivers; acting to influence local, district, state, and national decisions affecting student learning; and anticipating and assessing emerging trends and initiatives in order to adapt district-level leadership strategies
A district-level education leader applies knowledge that promotes the success of every student in a substantial and sustained educational leadership internship experience that has district-based field experiences and clinical practice within a district setting and is monitored by a qualified, on-site mentor.
  • Substantial Experience: The program provides significant field experiences and clinical internship practice for candidates within a district environment to synthesize and apply the content knowledge and develop professional skills identified in the other Educational Leadership District-Level Program Standards through authentic, district-based leadership experiences.
  • Sustained Experience: Candidates are provided a six-month concentrated (9–12 hours per week) internship that includes field experiences within a district environment.
  • Qualified On-site Mentor: An on-site district mentor who has demonstrated successful experience as an educational leader at the district level and is selected collaboratively by the intern and program faculty with training by the supervising institution.
For more information see Detailed Student Learning Outcomes

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • Teaching certificate
    • Principal endorsement
    • Completion of masters degree prior to enrolling in the program
Certificate Requirements
  • Take the following 24 units:

    • EDL 724, EDL 733, EDL 734, EDL 736, EDL 797 (15 units)
    • Graduate Electives: a maximum of 9 graduate elective units in Educational Leadership may be transferred in from another program, but not from a master's degree (9 units)
    Following completion of the Graduate Certificate program, students will receive an Institutional Recommendation and may apply for state certification.

  • This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate. Under both circumstances, federal financial aid can be used for this certificate.

  • For the 2018-19 and future catalogs, this certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate.  Federal financial aid cannot be used if the certificate is completed as a stand-alone certificate.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.