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Pre-Kindergarten-12 Principal

Develops innovative scholar-practitioners and transformational leaders who use evidence-based research and critical thinking to solve complex problems of practice. 

Guide Students Through Their Most Formative Years

Grow upon your past knowledge and skills and prepare for your future in an administrative position in a Pre-K–12 setting. By specializing in Pre-K–12 principal at USD, you will become a reflective leader and skilled educator whose practices and decisions draw upon the best available theory, research and experiential wisdom. Our program is a great fit for students seeking an alternative route to an Ed.D. degree without the need for licensure. Reflective decision-making engages administrators in cycles of thought and action based upon theoretical, ethical and professional knowledge. Work with expert professors who offer mentorship as you design an individualized plan of study that emphasizes the administrative context and meanings that are most important to you.

Become a forward-thinking leader with marketable skills in primary and secondary education with a Pre-K–12 principal specialization at USD.

Degrees & Offerings

Educational Administration and Leadership: Pre-K–12 Principal (M.A.)

  Vermillion Main Campus and Online

The master's degree with Pre-K–12 principal specialization requires 32 credit hours through a non-thesis track. It is ideal for school district superintendents, elementary and secondary principals, special education directors, curriculum directors, adult educators, and higher education administrators and classroom instructors.

Learn more about the educational administration and leadership program

View Admissions Requirements

Educational Administration and Leadership: Pre-K–12 Principal (Ed.S.)


This program is designed as a post-master’s degree for practicing teachers and/or administrators in the field. The conceptual framework for this online degree prepares leaders who are skilled educators whose practices and decisions draw upon the best available theory, research and experiential wisdom.

Learn more about the educational administration and leadership program

View Admissions Requirements

Program Details





Graduate Admissions

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in educational leadership.
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Educational Leadership

Preparing education leaders to be effective educational administrators.

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Practical Internship Experiences

This program includes an administrative internship designed to prepare you for assuming the role of a school administrator through practical field-based experience. It will enable you to develop and put into practice real-world experiences that focus on a career as a Pre-K12 principal.

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Discounted Tuition for South Dakota Teachers and Vocational Instructors

If you live in South Dakota, be sure and take advantage of the 50% reduced tuition program for currently contracted elementary/secondary teachers and vocational instructors.


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Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 

Graduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Graduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees.

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.

Graduate Assistantships

USD offers opportunities for grad students to earn a reduced tuition rate in exchange for their teaching, research and service efforts to the university.


Alum success story

Success story Tara Jones smiling.
Before starting the program, I was skeptical about pursuing my master’s degree online due to the lack of personal connection but after being in the program I can truly say that this is not the case! Every single one of my professors were dedicated to their students’ success and made me feel like I was sitting in a face-to-face classroom. I truly believe that this program is a great fit for anyone who needs a flexible, challenging, and affordable master’s program from a great university.

Tara Jones

M.A. Educational Administration and Leadership, Adult & Higher Education '15
Training Coordinator, College of Southern Maryland
La Plata, Maryland

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