Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

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    Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

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About ELPS

Mission Statement

Our mission is to prepare and inspire educational leaders to maximize student learning and access, link theory to best practice, support collaborative partnerships, and promote culturally responsive leadership in a diverse environment.

Why consider obtaining a Preliminary Administrative Credential/Master of Arts Degree?

Simply stated, it provides you with career options in the field of education. The Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) Department Master’s/Preliminary Administrative Credential provides candidates the necessary skills for positions within the K-12 schools and institutes of higher education.

The Tier I, Preliminary Services Administrative Credential, is an 18 month, 33 units program that prepares current teachers and certificated personnel in the areas of educational and instructional leadership with a focus on the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to be successful 21st century school leaders.

Courses are held both on campus and in cohorts throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Additionally, the program can be completed on-line. New cohorts, both on-campus and off, are initiated every semester. Advisement and support in scheduling classes is available to all students.

The Tier II, Professional Administrative Credential Program is a one-semester, 12 unit program, designed for current school administrators who need to complete Tier II requirements in order to obtain a Professional Administrative Services Credential. Students combine course work and job-related experiences in order to meet the Tier II requirements. This program is held in school district offices/sites.

Master’s of Arts – Preliminary Credential – Professional Credential

The Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) offers students the opportunity to receive the Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration as well as achieve the Preliminary and Professional Administrative Services Credential. Many students already have a master’s degree in another discipline before entering the ELPS program. For others, this is their first master’s degree.

The typical career route for those interested in being school administrators in the State of California requires earning the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential. The Master’s degree program course requirements are the same courses necessary to earn the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential.

Once this has been acquired, and a first administrative assignment has been secured, individuals must earn the Professional Administrative Services Credential in order to receive permanent certification as a school administrator in California.

Master’s of Art’s Degree Only

Some students are interested in earning the Master’s of Art’s degree but not the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential. Often, these individuals have an interest in pursuing careers in higher education or may be foreign students who are not required to gain school administrator certification. The Master’s program requires a total of 33 units of study, 11 classes within the ELPS Department. The program concludes with the Comprehensive Examination which tests students in five areas: Finance, Law, General Administration, Organization and Administration of Elementary, Secondary, and Special Education, Curriculum Development/Supervision of Instruction.

Preliminary Credential only (also known as "Tier I")

A small percentage of students pursue the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential but not the Master’s degree. This program requires the same 33 units of study. A student may already have a master’s degree in another discipline and consider the Credential but not the Master’s degree. Since the requirements are the same, the Department typically advises students to earn the master’s degree, even if it is a second graduate degree. Obtaining the degree in Educational Administration is an advantage when seeking administrative positions. If you have questions related to the Tier I program please contact Dr. Jody Dunlap at 818-677-3078 or at

Professional Administrative Services Credential (also known as "Tier II")

The Professional Administrative Services Credential includes 12 units of work. The approach to this program is much different from that involved in the Master’s and Preliminary Credential. Students combine course work and job-related experiences in order to meet the Tier II requirements. The Tier II experience includes an on-site project done in collaboration with a CSUN faculty member and an on-site mentor.