Frequently Asked Questions


Career, Licensure, Exam

Am I eligible for licensure upon graduation Is there an exam I need to take

In order to obtain licensure, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requires a 500-hour practicum and proficient scores on the Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (MAPAL). This graduate certificate program provides content-specific experiences, which align with the MAPAL, and provides support with the 500-hour school site practicum experience; however, earning a proficient score on the MA-PAL exam itself is requirement for licensure. The MA-PAL assessment can be taken at any point a student feels prepared or post-graduation.

Will the Graduate Certificate in School Leadership prepare me to take the exam

The tasks and assignments that are part of this graduate certificate will prepare participants for the Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (MAPAL) Exam, which they can elect to take on their own after they complete the program or any time during the program.

Is the exam completed as part of the curriculum or do students complete this on their own post-graduation

The completion of the four tasks required for the Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (MAPAL) Exam are aligned to the curriculum for this graduate certificate. The MA-PAL handbook designates acceptable forms of support from leadership programs such as: 1) ensuring the understanding of tasks 2) the alignment of tasks to coursework and field work, 3) discussions on how to demonstrate understanding and 4) practicing leadership skills related to the four tasks. The GCSL does provide support for students who wish to take the exam post-graduation or during the program.

How does the Graduate Certificate help to advance my career

The GCSL is a principal preparation program. If you are interested in being a school principal or assistant principal, in the state of Massachusetts, a license is required. We are a DESE sponsoring organization who has authority to endorse candidates for this licensure.

GCSL may also be attractive to other educators looking to enhance their leadership skills, as well as employers outside of school leadership, because this program educates about universal practices in leadership and equity along with racial understanding and organizational transformation.

Curriculum & Coursework

How many hours per week should I expect to spend on the courses and coursework for the program

Students should plan to spend a minimum of 10 hours per week for two classes. This time includes listening to lectures, participating in webinars, interacting on discussion boards, and digesting the material.

What are the synchronous hours required each week

During the program, there is one synchronous Zoom meeting per week. There is also the possibility of group work projects that may need an additional Zoom meeting within a one- or two-week cycle.

What is the requirement for practicum hours

At this time, we are planning to provide an in-person experience for the third semester, which will take place during the month of July 2022.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Am I eligible for Financial Aid

While students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in School Leadership are not eligible for financial aid, there are scholarships available. The tuition rate for this program is among our lowest at the College (at $880 per credit for a total of 18 credits plus student service fees).

Are there scholarships available

Yes, there are scholarships available for students enrolling in the Graduate Certificate in School Leadership.

Application & Admissions

I don’t currently work in an educational setting. Am I still eligible for the program

Yes, the GCSL is intended for both current and aspiring school leaders and professionals. If you are not currently working in a school setting where you can complete your practicum hours, we will work with you to find a placement.

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