Effective Fall 2023, the Administrative Leadership Specialist Graduate Certificate has suspended admission.

A master’s degree is the minimum prerequisite for admission to the Specialist Certificate. The Certificate offers a career emphasis in the superintendency and licensure as a school district superintendent. 

Our rigorous program, led by faculty who are actively engaged in research in the field, meets Wisconsin state licensure requirements and will give you the skills you need to succeed in today’s challenging educational landscape.

The Department of Administrative Leadership is committed to developing educational leaders, particularly for service in metropolitan areas. We believe that excellent educational leaders nurture leadership among others in the school community; create positive work environments for students, staff and parents; contribute to the improvement of teaching and learning; and engage in practices that ensure equity and access for all students.


Admission Requirements 

Effective Fall 2023, the Administrative Leadership Specialist Graduate Certificate has suspended admission.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


  • 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 into a certificate program.


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.

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. For an applicant with a master's degree in a field other than educational administration, the minimum credit requirement is 24 graduate credits.  Additional coursework may be required for administrative certification.

Additional Requirements

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.

Grade Point Average Requirement

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

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 PhD 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.