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Principal Certification Program

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.


Resuming an application: To resume an application, please log in to your student portal. You will find a saved instance of your application in the tab titled “My Applications”.


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 teaching experience and are motivated to learn the skills necessary to be an effective school leader.


Applicants must have a master’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a minimum of two years of creditable teaching experience by the semester of matriculation.

Application forms may be obtained HERE.

Resuming an application: To resume an application, please log in to your student portal. You will find a saved instance of your application in the tab titled “My Applications”.


In support of the application, candidates must submit:

  • Official transcripts of all college or university coursework
  • Two letters of reference (One reference must be from current principal or school supervisor.  The second reference may be academic or professional.)
  • Proof of valid classroom teaching certificate
  • Service record from school district(s)
  • Verification of campus support for practicum year (Principal Mentor Form)
  • Statement of intent
  • $85.00 application fee

Admission Interview

Applicants will be interviewed by members of the Education Admissions Committee when all application documents have been received and reviewed.

Timed Writing Sample

Applicants will have 60 minutes to submit a writing sample on the day of the interview.

Application Deadlines

Summer Entry: January 15

Late Deadline Entry for Summer: 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.

Rice University is committed to keeping the costs of the Rice Principal Certification program as low as possible. Incentives include significantly reduced tuition for all admitted students.

Tuition for the Rice Principal Certification program in the 2020-21 academic year is $2,010 per course (does not include parking, books, other supplies as needed, university required fees,  late fees, State exam fees, or State certificate fees.). This reflects a significantly reduced rate from normal Rice University tuition, and is designed to accommodate part-time students. 


Fees include but are not limited to:

Parking fee: $70-$240 per year; varies depending on the parking permit selected
Additional information regarding tuition and fees can be found on the Cashier's website.


Principal Fellow

Our Principal Fellows program targets school leaders, preferably those teaching in high-need schools, who are ready to take on the challenges of instructional and organizational leadership in public schools.

We are offering a select number of scholarships for our principal certification program that will reduce tuition by a minimum 25 percent of our normal per course tuition rate of the required courses.

Principal Fellow opportunities can be discussed during the interview stage of the application process.

Fellow applicants will need a letter of recommendation from his/her current principal.  (This letter is in addition to the letters of recommendation mentioned in the Admissions section.)

Letter of Recommendation from Current Principal

Please request a letter of recommendation from your 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


Completed letters may be emailed to or mailed to:

Rice University
Education Department - MS 146
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892


Principal Certification Program (15 credit hours)

  • Instructional Leadership
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Practicum for Principals I
  • Practicum for Principals II
  • Assessment OR Teaching Diverse Learners

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 an advising appointment or RSVP for an upcoming information session by completing the form below.