How To Apply

Interested in applying to PLI?

The application cycle for Cohort 21 (2020–2021) is complete. Watch this space for PLI Information Sessions, which will take place September–November of 2020 for the Cohort 22 (2021–2022) application cycle.

If you'd like to be notified as Information Sessions are scheduled, consider signing up for our monthly newsletter. (We occasionally send other updates, but you can usually expect no more than two emails per month.)

* Please note that the application requirements posted below have not yet been updated for the upcoming application cycle and are subject to change.

Applying to the Principal Leadership Institute

General Requirements

Graduate Application for Admissions and Fellowships

  • Scanned PDF's of official transcripts (uploaded via Graduate Application)
  • Statement of Purpose (showing evidence of leadership)
  • Personal History Statement
  • At least three Letters of Recommendation (online only)
  • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in the junior and senior years and/or a successful graduate academic history
  • Satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement. Choose one of the following: 
    • Pass the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST)
    • Pass the CSET: Multiple Subjects + Writing Skills Exam
    • Pass the CSU Early Assessment Program or CSU Placement Exams
    • Achieve qualifying scores on the SAT or ACT
    • College Board Advanced Placement (AP) exams
    • Pass a basic skills exam from another state 
    • For more information about the options for fulfilling the Basic Skills Requirement, read this handout.
  • Resume/CV (required for PLI candidates)

Principal Leadership Institute Supplemental Application

  • Current valid California clear or life teaching or services prerequisite credential †. Your teaching credential must also include an English learner authorization.
  • At least five years of full-time classroom teaching or pupil personnel services experience in the United States
  • High quality teaching experience (recent 10-20 minute video with accompanying lesson plan)
  • Commitment of the applicant's school or district administration to provide a practicum or field experience assignment during the period they are enrolled in the program
  • Commitment to Leadership Support Program (subsequent two-year Induction/Tier II, monthly seminars)
  • Commitment to equitable schools for students and families
  • Commitment to personal transformation
  • Ability to communicate well in group settings

Graduate Application for Admissions and Fellowships

The Graduate Application is available each application cycle beginning in November.

Before you begin your Online Graduate Application:

Graduate Division | UC Berkeley » Application » Start New Application 

  • Select Program: Select "Education-Admin Services Credential/MA (December 16, 2019)"
  • Select Cycle: Select "Graduate Application 2020-2021" application cycle to apply for the Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 terms. You may experience a warning that the deadline has passed if you are applying to the PLI after December 2; you can safely ignore this. Select Graduate Application 2020.
  • Under Intended Program of Study: Select "Summer 2020" Admit Term and select"Education-Admin Services Credential/Cred MA" Program.
  • Exam RequirementsThe GRE is NOT required for this program, but we are interested in your academic potential for rigorous graduate work. In certain situations, candidates who do not meet the 3.0 GPA requirements are accepted if they are able to demonstrate potential through GRE scores.
    • Applicants who completed their undergraduate degree in a non-English speaking country fall under the English Proficiency requirement and must complete either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Exam.
  • Statement of Purpose: This is a key part of your application because it is your opportunity to give us significant insight into your reasons for wanting to be a school leader, your current and past experiences, and your philosophy of education.
  • Recommender Information: Recommenders should be persons who can attest to your leadership/academic potential, e.g.:
    • a recent academic reference or someone who has seen/supervised you in a leadership role.
    • a colleague who can attest to your ability to collaborate/work with peers.
  • Other Items: Scanned PDF of the official CBEST passing verification (or equivalent) and list the date of the exam.
  • Resume/CV: While the Graduate Application notes that this section is optional, PLI candidates are required to submit a resume.
  • Honors/Awards or Publications/Presentations: Demonstrate potential for rigorous graduate work through recently written academic papers, or other venues (optional).

Principal Leadership Institute Supplemental Application

Please download our PLI Application Checklist (PDF) in addition to the Graduate School of Education Application Checklist (PDF).

The Principal Leadership Institute Supplemental Application (PDF) is comprised of:

  • Supplemental Application Form (This form contains sensitive personal information such as your social security number and date of birth, and is not secure against interception across the Internet, so should you choose to submit it electronically, you do so at your own risk. To protect your privacy you should send this form by U.S. mail or hand-deliver to the Admissions office - all others should be submitted electronically)
  • Essay Questions (PDF format)
  • Teaching Video: a recent 10-20 minute video (DVD or USB flash drive, or video sharing website) of yourself teaching in a K-12 classroom, with accompanying lesson plan (PDF or MS Word format)
  • California Teaching or Services Credential: A copy of your current valid credential (see How to Print Your Document), with no outstanding requirements. † Your credential should be clear or have only one or two outstanding requirements for clearing it. If it is not, please provide your timeline doing so, as it must be cleared in order to be eligible for an Administrative Services Credential. Your teaching credential must also include an English learner authorization. See PLI FAQ's » Credentials for recent changes to the requirements and a list of acceptable credentials.
  • Verification of Experience Letter: One letter for each position, including dates of employment. Letter must be on district or employing agency letterhead and signed by the superintendent, assistant superintendent, director of personnel, or director of human resources. We will need the original, hard copy of the signed letter with a wet signature. You must have five years full-time classroom teaching or pupil personnel services experience (or four and-a-half years experience, plus verification of full-time employment to complete the fifth year prior to start of the PLI term in June). See PLI FAQ's »Work Experience for information and exceptions.
  • Administrative Fieldwork Placement Confirmation Form: Obtain signatures of proposed site supervisor AND district official giving approval for fieldwork placement (usually signed by your Principal and the Assistant Superintendent responsible for your school). This can be submitted later, if you have not secured a position or will be changing positions prior to the start of classes in June. Simply submit the blank form with a notation of your circumstance.
  • Statement of Commitment Form

Email supplemental materials to (except online videos: share with

Mail or deliver your Verification of Experience letter(s) and any forms containing sensitive personal information, such as social security number and date of birth, to the address below:

Admissions Coordinator
Graduate School of Education
University of California, Berkeley
2121 Berkeley Way, Room 2210
Berkeley, CA 94720-1670

GSE Admissions Office Hours
2121 Berkeley Way, Room 2210
Monday–Friday, 9:00am–12:00pm and 1:00pm–4:00pm 

Timeline for 2020-2021 Application Cycle

  • September 3, 2019 Online Graduate Application opens
  • December 16, 2019 (8:59 PST) Submit completed online Graduate Application for Admissions and Fellowships
  • December 16, 2019 Completed PLI Supplemental Application delivered (or postmarked) to Department of Education Admissions Office (closes at 4pm)
  • February 5, 2020 Notification of Applicant Interviews
  • February 12 & 13, 2020 Daylong Applicant Interviews (invitees will attend one; save both dates)
  • March TBD, 2020 Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • March 13, 2020 Preliminary notification of recommendation​
  • April 2020 Notification of recommendation for acceptance by Graduate Division
  • April 2020 Complete online Statement of Intent to Register
  • May 20, May 27, & June 3, 2020 Pre-Seminars (6pm – 9pm)
  • June 15 & 16, 2020 Orientation (9:30am – 4:30pm)
  • June 17, 2020 Summer Session begins

Download the PLI Brochure

The forms and instructions on this site available for download are PDF's. You may need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader to view or print them. (The fillable PDF forms work best in Adobe; they may not function properly in Apple Preview or other non-Adobe PDF viewers.)