Specialist Certificate in Administrative Leadership

Department Links: Overview
A master’s degree is the minimum prerequisite for admission to the Specialist Certificate. The Certificate can be taken with a career emphasis in the superintendency, the principalship, supervision, central office administration, or adult education administration. A cooperative relationship for the Specialist Certificate exists with the Department of Curriculum and Instruction for students with a reading supervision emphasis.

Eligibility and Admission

Applicants must meet these departmental requirements:
  • Completion of a master’s degree with a graduate grade point average of 3.5 or above (4.0 scale). The master’s degree may be in any field.
  • Written statement of professional objectives and educational experience.
  • Applicants not meeting the grade point minimum may be admitted upon submission of additional data to be specified by the Department chair.


  • Students wishing to obtain this certificate must declare their intention by applying to the program office or director.
  • All graduate certificate applicants—even those already enrolled in a UWM graduate program—must apply to the Graduate School through the Panthera Admission Application.
  • Graduate degree and previously admitted graduate non-degree students who decide to pursue a certificate program must submit the Panthera application before completing 6 credits in the certificate sequence.
  • Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree and have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average to be admitted in to a certificate program.

Certificate Requirements

Credits and Courses
Credit and course requirements depend upon the applicant’s degree field. For an applicant with a master’s degree in educational administration, the minimum credit requirement is 21 graduate credits, normally distributed as follows: 18 credits in administrative leadership, and 3 credits in a field-based practicum. As a capstone requirement, students must develop and submit a comprehensive portfolio which includes an action research project for review by faculty. The student must pass both the written part of the portfolio and the oral portfolio defense. Additional coursework may be required for administrative certification.

Grade Point Average Requirement
A minimum cumulative 3.00 grade point average in certificate courses taken at UWM is required.

Transfer Credit
No more than 20% of the required credits may be taken at an institution other than UWM. These courses are subject to Graduate School transfer policy and must be approved by the director of the certificate program.

Articulation with Degree Programs

  1. Credits and courses required for a certificate may double count toward meeting UWM graduate degree requirements subject to the following restrictions:
    • Degree programs must approve the courses from certificates that can double count toward the degree.
    • All credits taken in completion of certificate requirements may count towards a UWM graduate degree as long as they do not contribute more than 90% of the total credits needed to obtain the degree. (Note: Students in Ph.D. programs must still complete the minimum residency requirements)
    • Certificate courses used toward meeting degree requirements must be completed within the time limit for transfer credit.
  2. Courses completed for a degree may be counted toward a subsequent certificate, subject to all certificate policy requirements.
  3. A course may count toward no more than one certificate and one degree.
  4. Students may not earn a certificate subsequent to a concentration in the same area.

Time Limit

Certificate program time limits shall be established as follows:

18 or fewer credits/Three years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

19 or more credits/Four years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

For certificates that are designed as add-ons to degree programs and are awarded concurrent with the degree, the time limit shall be the same as that of the degree program.