Educational Specialist in Leadership for Educational Organizations, Principal (License)

School of Education & Human Development


Degree: EdS License

Classroom Type: Online and on campus classes

Designed for individuals whose next career goal is to become a school principal. It is well-suited for individuals who already have a master's degree plus a teaching license or a master's degree with a special services license. Graduates receive the skills critical to success as a leader and to encourage diversity, equity, and social justice at elementary, middle, or high schools.

Application deadlines

April 30

Program Details

Interest Categories: Education & Counseling

Campus: CU Denver Online

What you'll learn

CU Denver’s EdS in Leadership for Educational Organizations with principal licensure is designed for individuals who wish to become school principals. Our program curriculum is designed to build your knowledge, skills and dispositions as a powerful and successful leader.

CU Denver prepares you with the wide breadth of knowledge necessary to create a school learning environment that is cooperative, safe, welcoming and reflects a growth mind-set. You will learn how to:

  • Collaborate across communities and stakeholder groups
  • Become well-versed in current educational issues and how to address them, and
  • Gain a deep understanding of the legal, financial and political dimensions of schools and school districts.

You’ll learn all of this with a focus on equity and social justice, ensuring that all students have equal opportunities for an excellent education.

There has never been a more important time to have great leadership in public schools. The demands of the job require personalized instructional development with practitioners and successful leaders. There are multiple options below for you to enroll and complete the 41-credit hour Leadership for Educational Organizations (LEOs) Principal Licensure program.

While earning the principal license, students will be placed in cohorts. Typically, cohorts are comprised of 25 principal candidates who move through the four-semester principal licensure program together. We welcome applicants from all districts into our principal licensure cohorts. However, we partner with metro-area districts to prepare leaders specifically for their schools.

Choose CU Denver's School of Education & Human Development

You can trust CU Denver to provide an education that will prepare you for excellence in your career as a school principal. We have a name that is recognized for preparing leaders of excellence who value equal opportunities in education. Additionally, CU Denver’s School of Education and Human Development is counted among U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools,” making us one of the top education schools in the country.


The 32 credit hour principal license is offered in four consecutive semesters. The additional nine credit hours for the EdS (for a total of 41 credit hours) are taken after the principal licensure coursework. Program content and clinical practice experiences are integrated throughout. Principal candidates generally use their own school as a clinical-practice site. Program credits are organized in four learning domains as outlined below.

Principal Licensure Courses

EDUC 5751: Principal/Administrator Licensing I

EDUC 5752: Principal/Administrator Licensing II

EDUC 5753: Principal/Administrator Licensing III

EDUC 5754: Principal/Administrator Licensing IV

Additional nine credits for the EdS Degree

Please consult with your faculty advisor when selecting these courses.

The LEO program requires a capstone final presentation, as well as the placement of major assignments on an electronic, web-based data management service.

Upcoming Cohorts

Summer 2024 Distance Learning Cohort

  • Applications accepted through April 1, 2024
  • Remote classes with synchronous meetings
  • Summer 2024: Wed, Thurs, Fri daytime synchronous meeting in mid-June
  • Fall 2024: synchronous meetings - two weekends (Friday evening and Saturday)
  • Spring 2025: synchronous meetings - two weekends (Friday evening and Saturday)
  • Summer 2025: meet on the last day of class - Friday, July 11, 2025
  • Register for a virtual info session

Fall 2024 Douglas County Cohort

  • Applications accepted through June 30, 2024
  • In-person instruction with online work and integrated clinical experiences.
  • Classes take place one Saturday per month from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. from Aug. 2024 – Dec. 2025 at a Douglas County School District facility.
  • Information sessions:
  • Face-to-face info session: Jan. 25, 2024, from 4 – 5 p.m. at the Legacy Campus Room 241, 10035 S Peoria St, Lone Tree CO 80134.
  • Register for a virtual info session

Fall 2024 Denver Metro Cohort

  • Applications accepted through June 30, 2024
  • Hybrid (in-person instruction, online coursework, and integrated clinical experiences)
  • Classes begin in August 2024 with the first in-person sessions slated for Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14. Classes take place one Friday per month from 5 - 8 p.m. and one Saturday per month from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. through Dec. 2025 at CU Denver.
  • Register for a virtual info session

Sample Courses

  • EDUC 7100 - Leadership in Education 3 credits
  • EDUC 7230 - Organizational Performance In Educational Contexts 3 credits
  • EDUC 7500 - Strategic Human Capital Development 3 credits
  • EDUC 7510 - Strategic Organizational Management 3 credits
Course Catalog

Recommended Completion Time:2 to 3 years

Required Credits for Completion:41

Admission Requirements

Application Deadlines

We practice "rolling admission" and after your application is complete, we strive to notify you of your admission status in no more than two to three weeks.

The following deadlines are firm, early submissions are encouraged.

Fall Semester: June 1

Spring Semester: November 1

Summer Semester: April 1

Application Requirements

  • 2 recommendation letters
  • Official Transcripts from all institutions attended
  • If applying for an endorsement, proof of teaching license or special services license is required
  • Resume/CV
  • Written Statement: Describe your interest in the program, your special strengths, and the goals you hope to achieve through your work in the program
  • $50.00 application fee
  • International Applicants only: Proof of English Language Proficiency (International applicants should review the following information regarding English language proficiency)
  • Admissions Interview: An interview may be required as part of the admissions process. If so, applicants will be contacted with more details.

For more information, email or call 303-315-6300.

Additional Information

The LEO program seeks students who possess:

  • High intellectual ability
  • Strong academic backgrounds
  • Clear leadership potential.

The EdS requires a completed master’s degree for admission plus a teaching or special services license. We also recommend a minimum of three years of licensed professional experience. The Colorado Department of Education requires three years of licensed teaching or special services experience for an initial principal license.

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