Columbia University

The Summer Principals Academy at Teachers College, Columbia University is a transformative graduate program that is committed to promoting equity and excellence in education and overcoming the gap in educational access and achievement between the most and least advantaged groups in this country.  To achieve this goal, SPA's aspiring school leaders are encouraged to construct transforming possibilities for student learning, school improvement, social equity, and opportunity.  While some principal preparation programs are content to prepare school leaders to perpetuate schools as they currently exist, SPA strives to prepare leaders to create the innovative schools that our nation and world need.

Program Description

SPA is a cohort program enrolling over 180 graduate students each year in a rigorous 14 month, 36-credit program. Courses are delivered Monday – Friday, from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, over two consecutive five-week summer sessions. The 450-hour Administrative Internship takes place during the intervening school year, thereby enabling students to complete the internship requirements while maintaining their jobs in their current schools. The schedule supports the reality of aspiring leaders who are currently working teachers, team leaders, department chairs or supervisors who do not wish to leave their schools to attend a full-time program.

Program Requirements

  • Three years of full-time paid teaching experience;

  • Current position in a public school setting; Please Note: The Summer Principals Academy cannot place non-employed educators in Administrative Internships. If you are currently teaching, it is your responsibility to secure an endorsement from your school building leader to conduct your administrative internship at the school site.

  • Commitment to serving as a leader in a public school setting;

  • Demonstrated track record of success as an urban school educator;

  • Minimum of one year of leadership experience (may include formal and informal roles). Formal roles include: Assistant Principal, Principal and School Director. Informal roles include: Grade or Content Team Lead, Dean of Discipline or Dean of Instruction, and Professional Development Leader. All informal positions must be assigned by the principal.

  • Institutional Endorsement Form

Application Requirements

A completed application should include the following materials: 

  • Online Application

  • PDF Copy of your Application: Before submitting your application online, please download a PDF copy of your application and email the document along with your resume and personal statement to our SPA admissions team at

  • Institutional Endorsement Form

  • A Professional Resume

  • Two Professional Letters of Recommendation

  • Statement of Purpose

  • GRE Score

  • Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions from where you received academic credit.

  • Pay Application Fee

Application FAQs

Here are a few things that are helpful to keep in mind to ensure that the application process is as seamless as possible:

  1. When submitting transcripts with your application, you can upload unofficial copies directly to the online portal. If admitted, you will be asked to provide official copies.

  2. The Institutional Endorsement Form must be signed by your principal and uploaded into the application portal before the application can be submitted.

  3. Download a PDF copy of your application BEFORE submitting your application. You will not be able to access your application after it has been submitted. Retain a copy for your records and email the downloaded application along with your resume and personal statement to our SPA admissions team at

  4. Select the correct degree pathway: Admitted students who enter the program with a minimum of 24 credits of previously earned graduate coursework pursue the 60-credit Master of Education. The Master of Arts pathway is designed for admitted students who do not possess 24 previously earned graduate credits at the time of matriculation. Please be certain to indicate, based on previously acquired graduate coursework, the degree program to which you are applying.

For your application to be reviewed and processed by the admissions team, you must pay the Application Fee. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.