Education, M.A., Educational Administration

Education, M.A., Educational Administration


You don’t work in education because it’s easy – you do it because it matters. You want to make a difference in people’s lives. That’s what we want, too.

At PLNU, we are here for the same reasons you are: We truly believe in the power of education, and we care deeply about individuals — including you.

When you join PLNU’s Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in educational administration, you will challenge yourself to become a more effective administrator. Everyone you encounter here will share that goal with you, from your admissions counselor to your professors. Rest assured, PLNU’s School of Education will take a personal interest in you and care about your concerns, experience, beliefs, and goals.

Lasting Network of Support

PLNU’s education alumni network, Education Associates, keeps you connected long after graduation. Faculty have a reputation for staying in touch and continuing to mentor students. Career counseling and additional professional development opportunities are always available to you.

Relevant Topics to Meet Real Needs

District partnerships ensure PLNU’s curriculum addresses current needs and topics facing educators. In addition to offering accredited programs grounded in research, PLNU equips you to integrate your beliefs, values, and goals with your teaching practice.

Customizable and Convenient

Whether you are a classroom teacher, or in a workplace or nonprofit teaching or training setting, this program can be tailored to meet your needs. Six certificate options allow you to specialize in an area of interest while developing transferable, employer-desired abilities and skills. Choose from multiple locations, full- or part-time schedules, and face-to-face, online, and hybrid course options.

Jill Hamilton Bunch


Jill Hamilton-Bunch, Ph.D.

Dr. Jill Hamilton-Bunch graduated from PLNU in 1990 with the desire to be a teacher, and that’s exactly what she’s done for the past 22 years — plus much more.

Read More

The best leaders have a deep understanding of history and tradition but are also forward thinking. They seek to impact tomorrow by transforming lives and institutions today.

In PLNU’s educational administration program, you will gain the skills and mindset to become the kind of visionary leader you know is needed today. Rooted in a solid awareness of historical practices and theories, our program will help you analyze (and even create!) the newest developments in the field. Whether you are currently working at a school site or aspire to be in school administration, we will further your ability to handle the demands of the diverse and rapidly-changing school environment. Because we know that leaders can’t be created in a vacuum, we specifically designed this cohort program to allow you to collaborate and learn from your peers and mentors in your region. Let us help you become the leader you were meant to be.

Degree and Credential Offerings:

When you and your classmates complete PLNU's M.A. in Education with a concentration in educational administration, you will be prepared to:


  • Promote the success of all students by understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context.


  • Promote the success of all students by modeling a personal code of ethics and developing professional leadership capacity.


  • Promote the success of all students by collaborating with families and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources.
  • The CPSEL* are embedded in each of the six courses. The six units of fieldwork are the application of the six CPSEL

*According to the California Teaching Commission (CTC), "The California Professional Standards for Education Leaders (CPSEL) identify what an administrator must know and be able to do to move into sustainable, effective practice. They are a set of broad policy standards that are the foundation for administrator preparation, induction, development, professional learning and evaluation in California. Taken together, the CPSEL describe critical areas of leadership for administrators and offer a structure for developing and supporting education leaders throughout their careers."

Professional Licensure or Certification

This program is approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and meets the requirements for educator certification in the state of California, where Point Loma Nazarene University is physically located. PLNU cannot confirm whether or not specific programs meet out-of-state requirements for Professional Licensure or Certification. Information about out-of-state requirements in teacher credentialing is available on this website

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Application Information

Are you ready to take the next step and apply?

We're here to make the entire process a simple one. We'll walk you through the application process, answer your questions, and get you one step closer to earning your degree.

Program Start Date(s):

  • Fall 2022 Quad I - August 29, 2022
  • Fall 2022 Quad II - October 24, 2022
  • Spring 2023 Quad I - January 9, 2023
  • Spring 2023 Quad II - March 13, 2023

Application Deadline(s):

  • Fall 2022 Quad I - August 1, 2022

  • Fall 2022 Quad II - October 10, 2022

  • Spring 2023 Quad I - December 19, 2022

  • Spring 2023 Quad II - February 22, 2023

Note: Not all programs offer entry for new students each quad. Check with your enrollment counselor for programs and start dates.

Start Application

The Selection Process

The educational context at PLNU will challenge you to live a full life that integrates the pursuit of knowledge with beliefs, values, and actions. While honoring diverse perspectives and beliefs, Christian values and principles are woven into the educational experience. We understand your application is not only a reflection of you as a student; it reflects you as a person. At PLNU, we holistically evaluate your academic history, work and life experience, background, and circumstances to determine admission into a graduate program. Your undergraduate GPA is an important piece of your application, but if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0, you may still be eligible for admission based on your application package as well as the exceptions policy per your particular program.* Therefore, we strongly encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor, who will advise you regarding your qualifications and provide specific information about the admission under exceptions process.

To be admitted into PLNU's Master of Arts in Education program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript.

If you have any questions about your qualifications or the program in general, we encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor.

Application Checklist

Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  1. Submit an online application for admissions (including $50 non-refundable application fee, which is waived for PLNU alums, current or former military and their dependents, and PLNU employees).
  2. Submit official transcripts with proof of earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. (If you are a PLNU alumnus, please notify your counselor to have your transcripts retrieved. You do not need to request transcripts from the PLNU Office of Records.)

    Official transcripts must be sent to:
    Point Loma Nazarene University
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    3900 Lomaland Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92106

    Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to:
  3. Submit a personal essay, 2-3 pages in length and double spaced, that addresses the following topics:
    • Describe your professional career goals for the next five years.
    • Describe the variety of experiences that helped you determine these goals.
    • Explain what motivates you to work in California’s diverse schools.
    • Explain why you are applying to PLNU, a private Christian university.
  4. Provide two professional recommendations. You will be asked to register your recommenders by providing their names, titles, and email addresses.
  5. For credential seekers only: Submit basic skills exam (CBEST or equivalent) scores. This can be demonstrated by taking the CBEST exam
    • OR Multiple Subject CSET plus writing skills examination
    • OR CSU Early Assessment Program or the CSU Placement Examination
    • OR providing proof of a valid California teaching credential

Start Application

*Exceptions Policy: If you have below a 3.0 GPA in your baccalaureate degree, you will need to speak with your enrollment counselor for more information on the exceptions materials needed for your particular program.

Career Opportunities

The Master of Arts in Education with an educational administration focus will prepare you to lead at the school site or district level or to continue leading at those levels with greater effectiveness.

Career opportunities include:

  • Principal or Vice-Principal
  • District Administrator
  • Instructional Coordinator
  • Curriculum Specialist
  • Program Director
  • College or University Provost or Dean
  • College or University Department Chair
  • Admissions Counselor
  • University Registrar
Teaching Viewpoint Article

A Reputation for Excellence: PLNU Forms Committed San Diego Educators

Our School of Education is one of the top producers of education candidates not only within San Diego, but the state of California. Read more about the work being done at PLNU.

Financial Aid and Student Support

We take seriously the role of providing you with financial, academic, and career support so you have the tools you need to be successful at PLNU and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Financial Aid and Student Support

Frequently Asked Questions

What is required to be admitted into this program?

To be admitted into PLNU's Master of Arts in Education program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript. You must also have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you don’t meet the minimum GPA requirement, please contact your enrollment counselor regarding the exceptions process. You will also need to take a basic skills test, such as the CBEST, if you are interested in earning a credential as part of your M.A. All applicants will also need to submit a writing sample and complete an interview.

See the application checklist to learn more about what's required to apply and be admitted into the program.

Can I work while completing the program?

Yes, candidate must hold a valid CA teaching credential and must have a minimum of three years of teaching experience before being admitted to the program. It is recommended that students continue teaching while enrolled in this program.

What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available to me?

You will have the option to apply for scholarships, grants, loans, and other special types of aid through Student Financial Services. Contact your enrollment counselor for more information.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The preliminary program takes twelve months from start to finish. Because the courses are not sequential, interested candidates can begin the program at the start of any quad.

How many days a week do classes meet?

Classes meet one night a week from 4:30 to 9 p.m.

How large will the classes be?

Class sizes are estimated to be 20 to 30 people.

Are international students eligible to apply?

Yes! As an international student, you can apply as a senior in university or any time after you obtain your bachelor’s degree. If you earned your baccalaureate degree outside of the United States, all documents must be translated into English and evaluated by members of National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). You must also submit official proof of English proficiency (TOEFL). Please contact Graduate Financial Aid and Student Support Services for more information.

PLNU is a Christian university, but I am not a Christian. Would I feel out of place in this program?

We welcome and encourage people of all backgrounds as students in our programs. Issues that relate to faith may be discussed in some classes, and engaging in discussion with individuals with alternative points of view will be encouraged as learning opportunities. Students will work within a learning community that is supportive academically, spiritually, and emotionally.

How do district partnerships work?

PLNU has agreements with districts throughout the San Diego and Bakersfield areas. PLNU will place you at a district to complete your fieldwork hours and clinical practice (student teaching hours).

What if I would like to earn a certificate or added authorization without completing a master’s degree?

This option is available.

I am not yet working in education. Is this the right program for me?

The M.A. in Education is geared toward seasoned education professionals or business professionals who instruct others as part of their work. For aspiring teachers like you, PLNU offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). The MAT is most likely to meet your needs if you have just completed your undergraduate degree or are transitioning to education from another field, but please contact your enrollment counselor if you would like more personalized information.

When can I start this program?

Candidates may start the this program only after they hold a valid California prerequisite credential in teaching, designated subjects, pupil personnel services, library services, speech-language pathology services, clinical or rehabilitative services, or school nurse services. Eligible candidates may begin the program at the beginning of any one of PLNU’s six seasonal quads.

Are there other requirements to earn the preliminary credential?

Yes. The University can only recommend a candidate to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) for the preliminary credential after all PLNU coursework is completed AND after the candidate has completed five years of full-time service at a California public, private, or non-public school while holding a valid prerequisite credential.

How many units are required?

To earn just the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, candidates must complete 18 units of credential coursework and six units of administrative fieldwork. The total for the entire credential program, therefore, is 24 graduate units. The entire program is designed to be completed within 12 months. Students can also choose to simultaneously work toward a Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in educational administration. In addition to the 24 units of credential coursework, the candidate will need to earn 12 additional units in specific PLNU coursework — including a master’s research design project. These additional “finishing courses” can be taken concurrently with the credential coursework so that the entire program can still be completed in twelve months, or can be taken following the credential program and extending the period of study. The total amount of units for the master's and credential is 36 units.

What is the difference between coursework and fieldwork?

Students will be enrolled in coursework over six consecutive quads. Each course focuses on a specific strand of leadership skills specified in the California Administrator Performance Expectations (CAPEs) established by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). These six courses of three units each comprise the bulk of the credential program and are taught by PLNU professors who are either practicing administrators currently serving in San Diego County or recently retired administrators who are still current in the trends and requirements of successful school administration. Currently, these six courses are only taught face-to-face on Tuesday nights at the Mission Valley Regional Center campus.

While students are enrolled in their coursework, they are simultaneously enrolled in fieldwork that supports the concepts and instruction within their credential coursework. In each of the six one-unit fieldwork courses, the candidate will be assigned a university supervisor to mentor and support the candidate’s fieldwork experiences. Along with a site mentor from the candidate’s workplace, the supervisor helps the candidate plan and execute required and discretionary fieldwork activities, and leads reflective conversation at the conclusion of each eight-week experience. Each PLNU supervisor is a recently retired, longtime school administrator who is well-skilled in supporting our preliminary candidates.

How long do I have to complete the program?

Although it is rare when a candidate cannot complete the program in twelve months, PLNU will allow candidates seven years to complete the coursework — until such time that the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) changes course and fieldwork requirements.

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Education, M.A., Educational Administration program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Department Faculty