Sep 21, 2023
Includes Preparation for Principal Certification
The M.Ed. with a specialization in urban school leadership is designed to prepare candidates for leadership positions in urban schools. The program is designed to take a competency and experiential approach to educational leadership that emphasizes the unique and complex challenges leaders face in urban schools. This highly selective program seeks candidates who are committed to increasing social equity through public education.
Benefits of the program include preparation for Texas Principal Certification, practical experience with an emphasis on action learning, a second-year residency on an urban campus, mentoring supported by a successful school principal and an emphasis on organizational leadership featuring experienced practitioners. Substantial scholarship support for virtually all students ensures the affordability of this program. Because scholarship availability is significant, a contract of commitment to work a specified amount of time in select urban school districts is required of candidates for acceptance into the program.
Program Structure. This 36-hour degree program is designed for working professionals and can be completed in two years (including two summer sessions). Students take courses in a prescribed sequence through two seven-week modules in the fall, two seven-week modules in the spring, and a four-week module during the first summer of enrollment and a two-week module during the second summer of enrollment. During the fall and spring academic terms, classes usually meet Wednesday evenings and Saturdays. Note: Some classes meet all day in the summer sessions. Summer session classes meet four or six days per week, with the exception of residency and preresidency classes, which meet on an as-needed basis. Candidates for Principal Certification in the state of Texas must take and pass the state Principal Certification exam as well as required training that is delivered via EPL 6140 - Instructional Leadership Development .
The Urban School Leadership Specialization is a cohort program with a tightly structured and integrated design. Courses taken outside the degree are generally not accepted for transfer.
The second year is a campus-based residency (12 credit hours) in which candidates are paired with a mentor principal and a clinical faculty member. Candidates gain experience and apply their skills in an urban setting, while receiving support, coaching and feedback that prepares them for a principal position.
Requirements for the Specialization
Admission is based on the following criteria; any exceptions to these requirements must have the approval of the academic adviser and department chair:
- A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.
- A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.000 (on a 4.000 scale). Applicants not meeting this requirement must provide proof of other qualifications, such as long-term experience or expertise in a related specialized field, as justification for consideration for admission.
- For applicants from countries where the predominant language is not English, official scores on the TOEFL English language proficiency test administered by the Educational Testing Service. The minimum verbal score for admission is 26.
- GRE Requirements:
- ASLP specialization: The GRE graduate school entry exam is required for students who have an undergraduate GPA lower than 3.000. If needed, scores from the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections of the GRE, taken within the last five years. The institution code is 7464 for the Simmons School. For the GRE taken prior to August 1, 2011, preferred scores are 500 or higher for the quantitative reasoning section, 500 or higher for the verbal reasoning section, and 4.5 or higher for the analytical writing section. For the GRE taken after August 1, 2011, preferred scores are 144 or higher for the quantitative reasoning section, 153 or higher for the verbal reasoning section, and 4.5 or higher for the analytical writing section.
- Urban Leadership specialization: The GRE graduate school entry exam is required for students with a GPA lower than 3.000. In such cases, the GRE must have been taken within the previous five years and the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing scores must be submitted. The institution code is 7464 for the Simmons School. Alternative graduate testing may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Higher Education specialization: Scores from the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections of the GRE graduate school entry exam, taken within the last five years. The institution code is 7464 for the Simmons School. For the GRE taken prior to August 1, 2011, preferred scores are 500 or higher for the Quantitative Reasoning section, 500 or higher for the Verbal Reasoning section, and 4.0 or higher for the Analytical Writing section. For the GRE taken after August 1, 2011, preferred scores are 151 or higher for the Quantitative Reasoning section, 151 or higher for the Verbal Reasoning section, and 4.0 or higher for the Analytical Writing section.
- Teaching Certification Requirements:
- ASLP specialization: A valid Texas teacher certification, if interested in principal certification.
- Urban Leadership specialization: A valid Texas teacher certification, if interested in principal certification.
- Teaching Experience Requirements:
- ASLP and Urban Leadership specializations: Two years of teaching experience in an accredited public, private or charter school.
- Recommendation Requirements:
- ASLP and Urban Leadership specializations: Recommendations and evidence of a high degree of support from the school of employment.
- Higher Education specialization: Three letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional references.
- Application Requirements:
- ASLP and Urban Leadership specializations: Evidence of leadership capacity and demonstration of leadership in the applicant’s school.
- Higher Education specialization: An essay and writing sample.
- Urban Leadership specialization: Finalists for the Urban Leadership program must participate in in-depth screening interviews and situational problem-solving activities with the Teaching Trust, SMU’s nonprofit partner in this program, prior to final admission decisions. A contract of commitment with the Teaching Trust to work a specified period of time in select urban school districts is required of candidates for acceptance into the program.