Principals Institute

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  • Master of Science in Education: 39 credits or
  • Master of Education: 36 credits

A program designed for leaders in New York City public schools.

Earn School Building Leader certification.

Aspiring leaders who work in NYC public schools are eligible for Bank Street's Principals Institute, which has graduated more than 25 cohorts of leaders. Candidates qualify for a variety of educational leadership roles, including assistant principal and principal positions. While covering the full range of competencies needed for effective school leadership, candidates focus on the challenges of urban education, on effective strategies for educating diverse learners, and on the "nuts and bolts" of NYC school leadership.

Distinctive Features

  • Study with a cohort of NYC aspiring leaders. You will proceed through the program with a group of committed NYC educators, gaining a strong professional network.
  • Move into leadership roles while continuing your present job. Supervised fieldwork generally takes place at your own site.
  • Study strategies for urban school reform. Coursework and supervised fieldwork focus on case studies of effective instructional improvement in urban settings.

Career Opportunities

  • NYC leadership roles: Leadership in New York City is an explicit emphasis of the program.  However, your degree and certification will also make you eligible for leadership roles elsewhere.
  • Supervisory roles in schools: principal, assistant principal, department chair, staff developer, coach.
  • Supervisory roles in districts (for those who take the 5-credit School District Leader certification program after completion of the Principals Institute program): superintendent, assistant superintendent, district curriculum coordinator, district staff development coordinator.

Certification in Education

Program completion leads to:

  • New York State School Building Leader (SBL) certification for those who meet experience requirements and pass the state assessments.
  • New York State School District Leader (SDL) certification for those who complete the five-credit SDL sequence after completion of the Principals Institute, meet the experience and credit requirements, and pass the state assessments. (SDL link)


Courses at Bank Street provide students with the opportunity to engage in readings, discussions, direct experience, and reflection, encouraging a constant interplay between theory and practice. Explore the courses for the Principals Institute master's degree program.

Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement

  • Supervised by a Bank Street advisor who is an experienced NYC school leader.
  • Extends over the full duration of the program.
  • Generally located at the site where you currently work, with visits from your advisor and mentoring from your site supervisor.

Admission Requirements

  • Employment as an educator in a NYC public school.
  • Excellent academic record and references reflecting strong leadership potential.
  • To qualify for New York State SBL certification, candidates must have successfully completed three years of teaching or pupil personnel service work in N-12 settings.
  • For School District Leader (SDL) requirements, see our School District Leader program.
  • See the Admissions Criteria.