Master of School Administration

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Program Overview

MSA flyerThe Master of School Administration degree (MSA) is designed to prepare individuals to become school leaders. Program studies include a significant service-learning component. The MSA encourages and supports students to serve as problem-solvers, communicators, innovators, collaborators, and change agents in their respective schools and school districts. A supportive school and district setting is essential for MSA students as they immerse themselves into these service learning experiences. Upon admission to the program a "MSA Letter of Agreement and Support" will be signed by the student, principal, and superintendent to solidify a partnership with the MSA program and to establish guidelines of agreement for the MSA student, the principal, and the superintendent.
Program Details
Admission Procedures

To apply to a degree program, applicants should:

  1. Complete the degree application at
    If you have any questions or problems, please contact:
    The Graduate School
    East Carolina University
    131 Ragsdale
    Greenville, NC 27858-4353
    Telephone: 252-328-6012
  2. Take the GRE or MAT if the scores are more than five years old. These tests can be taken at the Testing Center, East Carolina University, D-102 Brewster, Greenville, NC 27858-4353 (telephone: 252-328-6811). Official score must accompany packet in order for it to be considered complete.
  3. Have transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work sent to the Graduate School as specified in the application.
Admission Resources
Additional Requirements (please send to the Graduate School):
  • MSA- must have a copy of entry-level school license, current resume, signed MSA/PLO Letter of Support Form, and a statement purpose and LEED scenario written response

Once the application file is completed and received by the department, an admissions interview is required. After the interview, the MSA Admissions Committee reviews all materials and makes an admission recommendation to the Graduate School. The Graduate School notifies all applicants as to whether the application has been accepted or rejected.

Please note that the number of applications from qualified individuals generally exceed the number of spaces available for new students; therefore, meeting the guidelines listed does not guarantee admission into a program.

NOTE: Licensure-only have separate admission guidelines (non-degree application).

Candidates for the MSA program should have a NC school license and a minimum of three years successful teaching/public school experience.

The MSA program is delivered in a hybrid model with evening sessions. For the North Carolina Principal Fellows Program, the program is delivered via face-to-face daytime class sessions on the ECU campus.

For more information on the MSA program or the North Carolina Principal Fellows Program, contact by email or 252-328-6135.

Application deadlines

(please check with advisor before applying to ensure that a cohort is available):

  • Principal Fellow Fall Admission: January 15
    • Cohorts start Fall semester every year on a full-time basis.
  • MSA Summer 2 Admission: January 15
    • Cohorts start Second Summer semester at regional cohort sites.
For a full listing of all of the names and descriptions of the courses within this program, please visit the School Administration section of the Graduate Catalog.

Master of School Administration Plan of Study

Participation as a North Carolina Principal Fellow (NCPF) enables the individual to obtain an MSA degree after completing a one year full-time academic program on campus and a full-time internship at a public school in North Carolina. A NCPF receives a scholarship loan which provides $30,000 the first year and 60% of a first year assistant principal’s salary and an internship stipend determined by the General Assembly the second year. The total amount varies according to the state salary schedule and the amount for the internship determined by the General Assembly. This year’s second year NCPFs will receive an internship stipend of $15,124 for ten months and $26,786 from the Principal Fellows Program.

NCPFs are expected to complete the MSA degree in two years and agree to meet the standards set by the NC Principal Fellows Commission. The NCPF agrees to practice as a full-time administrator for four years within six years following completion of the master’s degree. Individuals who do not complete the program or serve in an eligible position for four years must repay the debt in cash at an interest rate of 10%. (Specific requirements for details are included on the NCSEAA website under rules and regulations.)

For more information about the Principal Fellows Program, take about 10 minutes and watch the Principal Fellows Program Introductory webinar.

Service Leadership Projects (SLPs) encourage MSA students to lead through serving in schools throughout the state. Students are fully immersed in the culture of the school and choose projects on an as needed basis. Get more information about Service Leadership Projects.

Thinking about a Master's in School Administration?

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