Graduate Edition 2021-2023

Program Description

Elizabeth City State University provides a challenging and supportive environment that prepares its students for knowledgeable, responsible participation and leadership in an ever-changing, technologically advanced society. It continues to promote excellence in teaching as its primary responsibility to meet the needs of the students and citizens of the state, nation, and the world.

The Department of Education offers the Master of School Administration (MSA) degree. The Master of School Administration Program is interdisciplinary in scope and offers students both full-time (accelerated) and part-time (regular) options. The Master of School Administration (MSA) program meets state standards for North Carolina Level I administrator licensure. The degree requires 36-42 semester hours and is delivered in a blended format (50% online, 50% face-to-face) and closely links educational theory to 21st century school leadership practice. Students engage with the content of leadership preparation through various assignments, observing schools and school leaders in the field, and performing tasks under the supervision of a school-based and university mentor during Internships. Courses are offered in the evenings during the Fall and Spring terms and at various times in the Summer term.

The Master of School Administration program seeks to fulfill its mission by preparing 21st Century Professional Educators to:

  1. Effective Instructional Leaders
  2. Skilled in Visionary & Distributed Leadership
  3. Successful Communicators
  4. Technology Leaders able to utilize digital-age tools to enhance student learning, teacher growth, and overall school performance.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the Master of School Administration Program must meet the requirements below and submit the required documents to the Office of Graduate Studies Education:

1. ECSU Graduate School Application

2. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution;

3. North Carolina "A" teaching license and/or the equivalent from another state;

4. A minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) or 3.0 cumulative GPA in a Master's degree program

5. Possess three years of successful teaching experience

6. Provide official transcripts from all institutions attended;

7. Typewritten essay on provided educational leadership topic

8. Submit 3 graduate recommendation forms from persons qualified to evaluate the applicant’s abilities to pursue graduate academic coursework and leadership potential (one recommendation must be from your current School Administrator)

9. Interview with the MSA Coordinator and/or faculty.

The MSA must have a cohort average of at least a 3.0 to meet accreditation requirements. If a student’s GPA from their most recent degree is under a 3.0 the student may be admitted under provisional status or as a special student until the 3.0 GPA requirement is met.

The requirements described above are minimum requirements and do not guarantee acceptance. Students are selected and admission decisions are based on consideration of several factors (i.e. potential leadership ability, admission interview, past teaching/academic performance, and professional communication skills). A limited number of students who do not meet the minimum standards may be allowed to enroll with special student status as approved by the MSA Program Coordinator. We encourage you to apply.

Course Load

A full load is nine (9) semester hours. The maximum number of hours in any semester is twelve (12).


Candidates in the Master of School Administration program must meet the Elizabeth City State University residency requirements. No more than six credit hours may be transferred from other institutions. Thirty-six to forty-two semester hours must be earned by degree-seeking students.

Time Limitations

The Master of School Administration degree must be completed within six successive calendar years. Programs remaining incomplete after this time period are subject to cancellations, provisions, or special examinations. A special appeal must be made, in writing, to the Chair of the Department of Education for appropriate action to be taken.


Advisors for MSA students are assigned by the Graduate Coordinator. The Coordinator submits advisor assignments to the Office of Graduate Education. The students will be notified of their advisors in the initial admission letter.

Graduate Advisement Committee

The student, with the assistance of his or her advisor, selects the members of his or her Graduate Advisement Committee. The Committee shall consist of the advisor and a minimum of two additional members. One member should be a university faculty member from outside the student's major department. The Graduate Advisement Committee shall be responsible for the evaluation and approval of the candidate's CAP (Comprehensive Assessment Portfolio). The committee is also responsible for conducting the oral examination of the candidate. Each committee member must sign the Graduate Advisement Committee Agreement Form, indicating agreement to serve on the Committee. This Committee must be approved by the Chair of the Department of Education.

Admission, Matriculation, and Exit

We believe that school leaders must be proficient in a wide variety of leadership and technical skills and tasks to be successful educational administrators as seen in the guiding question, "How shall schools be organized and operated to produce high student achievement?" However, a supporting and equally important question to organization and operation is what are the external socio-cultural factors that administrators must consider in designing and running effective schools? To this end, courses are designed and infused with critically reflective curricula and strategies that stimulate candidates to think beyond current ways of knowing and behaving in order to study, research, and implement leadership practices that have positive impact for P-12 students. The synthesis of scholarship, leadership, and reflective thinking occurs in the completion of the six evidences required in the Electronic Portfolio. The analysis and synthesis occurs throughout the program, from admission to exit.


To gain approval to proceed with exit requirements, each student must:
1. Complete a total of 12 but no more than 15 hours of graduate credit with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better (Advance to Candidacy).
2. Receive no more than 2 grades of a C in any graduate coursework



Upon admission to the program, the student is expected to assume the following responsibilities:

  1. Follow all policies of the Office of Graduate Education and the program area as specified in the Graduate Catalog;
  2. Consult with an assigned advisor before registering for courses each semester;
  3. Meet with the advisor to review the degree plan of study and obtain all the necessary signatures;
  4. Obtain permission from the advisor before making substitutions or altering the plan of study.

Exit Requirements

In order to be awarded the Master’s Degree in School Administration each student must:

  1. Complete a minimum of 36-42 semester hours of graduate credit applicable to the program;
  2. Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0;
  3. Complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of credits in courses offered by ECSU;
  4. Submit an Admission to Candidacy Application;
  5. Complete four Internship Labs and the iinternship in School Administration Capstone II for a total of 500 hours
  6. Complete an electronic portfolio including required Hallmark Assignments and six Evidences, and orally defend the components of the portfolio. The oral and written submissions of the electronic portfolio will be evaluated using Task Stream;
  7. Meet a passing score on the Oral Defense as determined by committee member consensus
  8. Complete an exit interview with the graduate coordinator to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Master of School Administration program.

Oral Examinations

MSA candidates seeking a North Carolina principal level I license must successfully prepare an electronic portfolio housing appropriate artifacts and pieces of evidence demonstrating their proficiency in all of the standards for school executives. The portfolio will include material drawn from the student's coursework and internship and provide documentary evidence of meeting state leadership standards. MSA faculty members will review the student's portfolio for approval and submit to North Carolina's Department of Public instruction (DPI) for final recommendation.

The following actions will be implemented in reference to MSA oral portfolio presentations:

In the semester that the Master’s level student is scheduled to graduate, the student will be required to submit a complete copy of the Comprehensive Assessment Portfolio (CAP) to the Program Coordinator, Department Chair, and the Office of Graduate Education. The deadline dates for the student to present the oral comprehensive exam are listed below are listed below:

Fall Semester – Mid November

Spring Semester – Mid April

The student will be expected to be prepared to defend their Comprehensive Assessment Portfolio to Graduate Faculty and other individuals interested in the student's product.

Please Note: The Capstone course is separate and apart from the responsibilities of each student and the committee that will hear and assess the oral presentation. The Capstone course instructor is responsible for guiding each student through the preparation of his or her finished products for the oral examination of the electronic portfolio.

NCATE Accreditation Statement

The Teacher Educator Program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), 210 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036.  The program is approved by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).