Principal Preparation Program

Program Description

The Principal Preparation Program offered by the Department of Educational Leadership Studies in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky is designed to prepare premier educators across the Commonwealth for school leadership in P12 settings. This program provides candidates with individualized coursework, professional development opportunities, and field/clinical experiences.

The program is designed to meet Level 1 and Level II principal certification requirements while candidates earn a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership Studies.  The program of studies consists of 45 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework, including the 33 credit-hours of principal certification and leadership courses and 12 hours of research courses to support scholar-practitioner research to help address key issues in their respective schools and districts. Field/clincial experiences are expressly designed to support candidates as transformational leaders who can successfully facilitate the implementation of high quality practices in diverse school settings. Candidates will participate as a member of a cohort to support their academic success, as well as professional relationships.


The program as designed has several critical and unique features. A team of internationally recognized faculty members at UK have designed a statewide program in keeping with the mission of UK which will support candidates as transformational leaders who facilitate the use of evidence-based practice in schools and districts. Through this program, candidates will:

  • Meet the Level I and Level II requirements for principal certification
  • Earn a doctoral degree (or Ed.S. option)
  • Executive delivery format, with occasional weekend courses in Lexington
  • Participate in a cohort model to support student success and professional collaboration
  • Be prepared to lead the infusion of technology in schools
  • Experience a curriculum with a learner-centered focus
  • Participate in field experiences in diverse settings throughout courses
  • Use an electronic portfolio (e-portfolio) to support continuous learning
  • Leave with a Toolbox to support continued professional growth after graduation

Two Pathways

Students can choose one of two different degree options in completing their principal program at UK. Both program tracks require the same 33 hours of principal licensure courses. A student wishing to obtain an Ed.S. degree in Educational Leadership completes these and then an oral examination. In addition, the Ed.D. degree option allows students to complete an additional 12 credits of scholar-practitioner research oriented courses and complete our modified dissertation requirements on the way to obtaining their Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.

Program Faculty

Dr. Justin Bathon
Dr. Lars Bjork
Dr. Tricia Browne-Ferrigno
Dr. Amy Galloway
Dr. Chuck Hamilton
Dr. Wayne Lewis
Dr. John Nash
Dr. Beth Rous


We welcome applications to the program at any time, although cohorts are only admitted on a semester basis. Any questions can be directed to either Dr. John Nash, the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department, or Dr. Wayne Lewis, the Program Director for Principalship.

Download the EDL Principalship Flyer.

Download EDL Doctoral Program Flyer.