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Become a superintendent through a 100% online program – from the state’s flagship university.

Do you want to be part of the next generation of superintendents to lead instructionally effective school districts? The University of Kentucky Superintendent Certification Program is fully online and interactive. The 12-hour coursework is designed so you can progress through the program without putting your career on hold. Courses for the Superintendent program may be applied towards our doctoral degree programs.

  • During your online classes, you will participate in problem-solving sessions with our faculty and invited presenters. “Flipped” style learning enables you to prepare for leadership and problem-based seminars with experts.
  • Our faculty are prominent in the state and nationally, with relevant experience in school districts. We also partner with practicing experts in the field so you can build useful connections beyond the program.
  • We work with you to guide work-embedded learning, encouraging you to integrate the knowledge you gain with your current career. Our courses are research-based, performance-assessed, and standards-aligned and are based on the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL).

Our online Superintendent Certification Program begins in the Summer semester, and ends in May each year. However, students may also be admitted in the Fall and Spring semesters.

We are available to help during your application process.

Questions About the Application Form, Checking for Completeness, Uploading Materials

Questions About the Programs, Materials or Qualifications Related to the Application, or Entrance to the Programs



The superintendent certification requires 4 courses, each for 3 credits.

Year 1: Academy Year    




  • EDL 676: The School Superintendency
  • EDL 677: School System Administration
  • EDL 678: Strategic Management in Education
  • EDL 682: Leading District Change and Innovation

These courses in the superintendent program may be used as a specialized area of study for the Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) and Interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree programs.



Our Program Experience

Specific Focus on Executive Leadership Skills

High Quality Online Courses with Nationally-Respected Professors

Relevant, Authentic Problems of Practice in School District Contexts


We value:


Superintendents need to be more than just effective managers. They are Chief Executive Officers and Chief Education Officers and should have a vision for their schools and local area. Superintendents can make their community a great place to learn, work and live.


We value executive leaders who are capable of leading change within schools and across districts. Superintendents must ensure their districts are taking steps to deepen the learning experience of every student. In an era of technology shifts, economic uncertainty, and global challenges, school districts must deliver high-quality learning experiences to children on a daily basis.


The superintendent licensure program is specifically structured to reflect the annual workflow of the superintendent position. You will understand school district contexts and superintendent work cycles.

Multiple Leadership Roles…

Successful superintendents have multiple leadership and management roles and work closely with district office and district-wide teams.


During the program, participants are introduced to practicing experts in the field throughout the coursework. These supplemental faculty are interwoven into the overall experience and help to build useful connections beyond the program.

Problem Solving…

School districts are large, complex organizations requiring informed decision-making processes to change practices and launch new initiatives.

Balancing Theory and Practice…

We provide aspiring superintendents and district-level staffs with an understanding of educational leadership concepts to effectively manage and strategically lead change practice.


All courses integrate individual and group learning, field-based activities, high-quality virtual class meetings, and research and reflection to assure relevance and applicability.


School district superintendents are responsible for ensuring that all children receive equitable learning opportunities. Our program unapologetically prepares leaders to make schools places that value diversity through welcoming school cultures and socially just policies.


All candidates select, in consultation with the faculty, a superintendent mentor to assist them in development of Capstone projects that focus on district-level work. We expect these relationships to persist throughout your career.

Program Outcomes

Diverse learning experiences across the program prepare you to serve as a:

  • School superintendent
  • Headmaster
  • International school CEO
  • Assistant/associate superintendent
  • Chief academic officer
  • Schools director


Words From Our Alumni


I searched for quite some time to find the right post-masters leadership credential. As the director/CEO of a large international school, I have found this program to be practical, beneficial, relative, manageable, and I believe I am now a better educator and leader. I can highly recommend this program to anyone looking to improve their practice and obtain a leadership certification.

Mark Lentz, Head of School/CEO, GEMS American Academy in Qater




Test-Free Policy

GRE scores are not required for admission to programs in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies.

The test-free admission policy applies to all graduate certificate, master’s degree, education specialist, and doctoral programs in the department.

We recognize the challenges prospective students experience because of the inequities these tests perpetuate. The Department of Educational Leadership Studies is able to evaluate applicants for admission without the use of test scores through non-test factors that honor the spectrum of experiences our applicants have. A test-free policy is one part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (read more about that here).

In 2017 we announced this policy for our master’s and education specialist degrees and for our graduate certificates. In March 2021, we announced that this policy is being extended to our doctoral programs.

You must meet the admissions requirements established by the UK Graduate School and by the Department of Educational Leadership Studies.

A link to the online application is available here:


To be eligible to join the superintendent certification program you must have:

  • At least two (2) years of full-time experience in a position of school principal, supervisor of instruction, guidance counselor, director of pupil personnel, director of special education, school business administrator, local district coordinator of vocational education, or a coordinator, administrator, or supervisor of district-wide services. Other administrative experience may be substituted for this requirement with the approval of the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) (show on resume)
  • Three (3) years of teaching experience (show on resume)
  • Completed a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education with a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (provide unofficial transcript)

Those outside Kentucky seeking to obtain the superintendent certificate should contacts us and consult with your state certification agency. While the UK Superintendent Certification Program follows standards that are common across most state-approved licensure programs, every state has different licensure requirements. Reciprocity and acceptance of university courses are entirely at each agencies discretion. To see a full list of state-by-state certification info please visit

To Apply

The application for admission must contain:

  • A current professional educator certificate
  • A written statement of and evidence of leadership experiences at the school building or district level (included in your “Portfolio,” Part II)
  • Professional resume
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Four letters of recommendation including one from a supervisor/education agency representative attesting to your suitability for serving as a school leader. Online applications may be expedited by submitting letters directly to the Department of Educational Leadership Studies.
  • Evidence of having completed the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA) Test.
Application Process



Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?
If I miss the December 1 deadline for Spring, the April 1 deadline for Summer, or the May 1 deadline for Fall, may I take the superintendent certification program courses?
How long is the program?
What is the cost of the program?
How can I get more information about this program?
What degree is earned at the end of this program?
What are your refund policies?

Check out our departmental FAQ page for useful information about our programs.

State Authorization and Licensure

If you plan to complete a University of Kentucky online program while living outside of Kentucky, you should check the Out-of-State Students page to determine if the University of Kentucky is authorized to provide this program in your state of residence. If you plan to use the degree to seek licensure, you should also determine if the degree meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state.