Educational Administration, CAGS

The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) Program in Educational Administration is housed in the College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Leadership in Education. The program is designed for applicants who are seeking Massachusetts licensure as a principal, or administrator of special education and want to pursue a variety of leadership roles in schools or related institutions. For those who plan to prepare for top-level positions in educational administration, the program serves as a foundation for further graduate study.

The CAGS is an advanced degree, suitable for students who already hold a master's degree in education and may be interested in a doctoral program in the future. Students who later enter the doctoral program (EdD or PhD) in our department can usually transfer three to six CAGS courses, thereby accelerating progress toward a doctorate.

All students in the program enroll in core courses providing a comprehensive view of educational leadership and in a practicum involving supervised work in the field. Within this common framework, students specialize through their pre-practicum and practicum experiences in preparing for roles as principal, assistant principal, or administrator of special education. The core includes classes in leadership, organizations and change, two advanced courses addressing the needs of English language learners and students with disabilities, courses in personnel supervision, school law, budgeting, multicultural perspectives in education, and how to use data for school improvement.

The program uses a cohort model and accepts students once a year, in the spring, to begin their studies in September. Students take two and one half courses each semester for two years, in addition to two courses in the intervening summer. Courses are offered to accommodate the educational practitioner – in the late afternoon and evening. A typical semester schedule might include two content courses on Tuesday evening (4:00 – 9:30 p.m.) and a half-course on alternating Wednesdays (4:00). Summer courses are usually held in the last two weeks of July and beginning of August.

To meet its goal of developing leaders who can be effective in improving schools, the program focuses on eight leadership learning objectives, which are aligned with the Massachusetts State Leadership Standards:

  1. Students will become Instructional Leaders who can connect curriculum, instruction and assessment to improve learning for all students.
  2. Students will become Anti-racist Leaders who can use knowledge and skills about race, gender, and culture to build school environments characterized by social justice and equity.
  3. Students will become Organizational and Cultural Leaders who can use solid understandings of organizational dynamics and of culture to move successfully toward a shared vision for a school.
  4. Students will become Managerial Leaders who can marshal the “nuts and bolts” of management and operations—human, financial, technological, and legal resources—to attain goals and serve a broader vision.
  5. Students will become Leaders of Other Leaders who can use their understanding of the best principles and practices of professional development to support the growth of staff members and colleagues.
  6. Students will become Data-oriented Leaders who can use data and enhance their organization’s capacity to use data for assessment, continuous improvement, and decision-making.
  7. Students will become Communication Leaders who can use interpersonal oral and written skills to work effectively with a variety of audiences, including parents and community members. 
  8. Students will become Reflective Leaders who can demonstrate the ability to integrate these tenets in context, to learn from practice, to assess strengths and weaknesses, and to plan for personal learning.


Thirty-six graduate credits are required to complete this program, as follows:

ADM G 691 – Advanced Seminar in Administration (Fall I)

ADM G 603 – Organizational Change (Fall I)

ADM G 610 – Research Design (Spring I)

EDC G 606 – Sociocultural Perspectives on Education (Spring I)

ADM G 627 – The Law of Public Education (Summer)

ADM G 632 – Facility Design and Fiscal Management (Summer)

ADM G 613 – Personnel: Administration, Supervision, and Evaluation (Fall II)

(ADM G670) – Special Education Law for PreK-12 School Leaders* (Fall II)

ADM G 655 – Advanced Seminar in Supervision (Spring II)

(ADM  G665) – Sociolinguistics for Educational Administrators* (Spring II)

ADM G 686 – Part-time Practicum in Educational Administration (Fall and Spring I)

ADM G 687 – Part-time Practicum in Educational Administration (Fall and Spring II)

* (courses in development)

Courses include a fieldwork component (most of which participants may complete in their own schools), providing hands-on opportunities to shadow administrators, analyze organizational dynamics, and evaluate programs. A 500-hour, two-year-long practicum or internship in educational administration is required of all students. Students normally begin their practicum in the first semester and continue adding hours over the next two years (although this schedule may vary with different districts).

The University of Massachusetts Boston requires a capstone experience for graduate degrees. All Educational Administration students must pass a comprehensive portfolio examination synthesizing a significant portion of their course work. The portfolio offers students an opportunity to collect and reflect systematically upon the various components of their own learning, drawing on readings, coursework, and pre-practicum and practicum experiences. The electronic portfolio becomes a long-lasting tool for career advancement.

Applicants seeking licensure as principal/assistant principal or administrator of special education must pass the communication and literacy portion of the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure to be recommended for state licensure. Students should submit evidence of successful completion of the MTEL with their application.

Applicants seeking licensure as principal/assistant principal will also be required to complete the Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL) before a state license is awarded. This is a complex test, which involves four tasks. Students will receive support and guidance on this test through the 12 courses.  

In addition to the CAGS in Educational Administration, students will receive the Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) endorsement for administrators upon graduation.

Application information can be found here. The application deadline is May 1.

For questions or assistance with the application process please contact:

Catarina A. da Silva, Ed.D.
Program Director, Educational Administration

Office: Wheatley Hall, First Floor, Room 077S