Tim Goodwin, alum of the sixth year educational leadership program at Quinnipiac University, meets with a student
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Sixth-Year Diploma in Educational Leadership

The School of Education offers a sixth-year diploma in educational leadership. Our accelerated program schedule is designed around your busy life as a full-time teacher.

Candidates who complete the program are qualified to earn an advanced diploma as well as the Connecticut Intermediate Administration/Supervision (092) certificate.

The program is open to certified teachers who possess a master's degree, have a minimum of four years of K-12 educational experience and meet other admission standards. 

The purpose of the sixth-year diploma in educational leadership program is to prepare graduates with perspectives, knowledge and skills to become exceptional school leaders. The diploma is not a degree, but is generally recognized by school districts and educational agencies as a valuable academic credential beyond the Master's degree and may provide a vehicle, as appropriate, for the fulfillment of certification requirements for the 092 Intermediate Administrator/Supervisor (in conjunction with the passing of the Connecticut Administrator Test (CAT) for the Connecticut State Department of Education). The program is fully accredited by the Connecticut State Department of Education, which participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Contract.

Why the Quinnipiac Program?

You have decided you want to earn your sixth-year diploma and possibly pursue a career as a school administrator. You have many colleges and universities to choose from and probably think they are all the same, so you are considering cost and location as your primary criteria for selecting a program. We think you need to consider other factors:

Is the program nationally recognized by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC)?

Attending a program that is nationally recognized by the ELCC is your assurance that the curriculum and course content are aligned with the latest standards for school leaders. These standards are rigorous and prepare you well for the field of school administration. The sixth-year diploma program at Quinnipiac University is nationally recognized, but not all Connecticut programs are. Visit the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation website to get the latest list of nationally recognized educational leadership programs in Connecticut.

Is the curriculum unique in any way? 

The Quinnipiac University sixth-year diploma program is highly innovative and is based on sound principles of teaching and learning. A major portion of the curriculum consists of a core set of three courses which carry six credits each. These eighteen credits integrate content around three major themes:

  • Leading and Managing the Contemporary School
  • Leading and Managing the Instructional Program
  • Leading and Managing School Improvement 

So that means you complete six credits in a semester, but only take one course at a time.  No need to take two separate (and often disconnected) 3-credit courses from two different professors. At Quinnipiac you dig deeper into the content in a more integrated manner, guided by one professor who has extensive experience as a school leader. Throughout the semester you complete an extensive field project where you apply what you learn. This bridge between theory and practice makes learning more meaningful and gives you the confidence you need before you enter your first position as a school administrator.

Does the program take advantage of online technologies?

The sixth-year diploma program at Quinnipiac is the only hybrid educational leadership program of its kind in Connecticut. That means you complete part of the requirements through our online learning community (about 45%), and part by attending classes on our beautiful North Haven campus. This gives you some flexibility in scheduling your learning time around the demands of your teaching job. During the fall and spring you will come to campus one day a week for about ten weeks. The other five weeks are online. During the summer, you will attend an intensive, five-week summer session that uses the online learning environment as well as campus meetings about two or three mornings each week. The summer session typically begins in early July, so that means you have no classes to attend during most of May and all of June, the two busiest times of the year for teachers. 

How well do students perform on the Connecticut Administrator Test (CAT)?

Since our program was launched in 2008, first-time pass rates among Quinnipiac University students have consistently been well above state averages.

We attribute our success to the six-credit course approach, the extensive field-work required of our students, and the fact that all of our professors who teach the six-credit courses are well versed in the standards assessed on the test. 

How long will the program take to complete?

Five semesters, including the intensive five-week summer session. When you are admitted, you are given a planned program of studies that outlines what you will complete each semester and when you should take the Connecticut Administrator Test. You are guaranteed a seat in these courses and you are assured the courses will be offered per your program of studies. 

When can I apply?

We accept applications on a rolling basis, meaning you can begin the program any semester, including the summer session. 


To earn the sixth-year diploma in educational leadership, candidates must take six required courses, complete an internship and pass the Connecticut Administrator Test (CAT). After successfully completing the first 21 credits (EDLD 601, 603, 605 and 607) and passing the CAT, candidates are eligible for the Intermediate Administration or Supervision (092) certificate from the Connecticut Department of Education. Upon completion of an additional three courses in educational program evaluation, school law and public school finance, candidates are eligible to receive the sixth-year diploma in educational leadership.




EDL 601

Leading and Managing the Contemporary School


EDL 603

Leading and Managing the Instructional Program


EDL 605

Leading and Managing School Improvement


EDL 607

Internship in Educational Leadership


EDL 609

Educational Program Evaluation


EDL 611

Educational Law


EDL 613

Public School Finance


Total 30

Successful candidates can expect to complete the requirements for the Intermediate Administration or Supervision (092) certificate within four semesters. Students can complete the requirements for the sixth-year diploma in educational leadership within five semesters.


Candidates must participate in an internship after completing EDL 601, 603 and 605 to gain authentic leadership experience. The Internship in Educational Leadership (EDL 607) consists of a series of coordinated activities related to the national standards for school leaders as established by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC). The specific experiences are cooperatively planned by the candidate, a faculty member and a school district mentor.

To demonstrate mastery of the ELCC standards, each candidate compiles an internship portfolio, which includes a description and analysis of activities related to the national standards, evidence of evaluating a portion of a school program for the purpose of improving student learning, evaluations from the administrator, mentor and University supervisor, a reflection journal describing leadership strengths and needs, a weekly log of activities and hours (a minimum of 216 hours are required), and artifacts from the internship. The internship is scheduled only during the fall or spring semester to ensure the most authentic experience possible.


The sixth-year diploma in educational leadership program is open to applicants who:

  • Have a master's degree in education or a related field from an accredited college or university
  • Maintained a graduate GPA of 3.0
  • Have four years of full-time teaching experience in a PK-12 setting
  • Have completed at least 36 hours, equivalent to 3 credits, of a special education course, although candidates may be admitted if they provide evidence of enrollment in such a course.
  • Have satisfactory writing skills as evidenced by a written essay
  • Have satisfactory leadership dispositions and a professional maturity to meet the demands of the program as evidenced during a formal interview

Candidates should possess a record of excellent teaching as well as excellent written and oral communication skills. Recommendations of supervisors are important components of the application process. Candidates also are required to submit an application, essay and participate in a personal interview with a faculty member.

Interested individuals must successfully apply to the University's graduate admissions office before being considered for matriculation into the sixth-year diploma in educational leadership program. Admission is conducted on a rolling basis throughout the year for the fall, spring and summer semesters.

Admission to the graduate programs is competitive. Candidates are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible to ensure consideration for the semester desired. Applications are not evaluated until all materials and fees are received by the University.

About the Director

Gail Gilmore, director of the sixth year educational leadership program, spent more than 25 years as a successful school administrator in Connecticut.

Gilmore was a former Connecticut superintendent of schools, as well as an assistant superintendent of schools. Prior to that, she served as the K-5 elementary principal and high school assistant principal in Bristol, Connecticut, for more than 20 years.

Gail has also served as the interim division director for educator effectiveness and professional learning at the Talent Office Bureau for the Connecticut State Department of Education. She also served as an educational consultant and facilitator for the Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES) and evaluator and assessor for the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) and the EASTCONN Resource Center.

Prior to Quinnipiac, Gilmore also taught research, curriculum development, and educational assessment at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut, and instructed superintendent studies and the internship program in the Educational Leadership Department at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut.

Gilmore is currently a member of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents. Her previous affiliations include:

  • Connecticut Association of Schools
  • Litchfield County Superintendents Association
  • Education Policy Fellowship Program of the Institute for Educational Leadership
  • Northeast Coalition of Educational Leaders
  • American Educational Research Association
  • Leadership in Educational Administration Development
  • Bristol Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors
  • Quota Club
  • United Way Education Division Co-Leader

Request More Information

For more information on this program please fill out our Information Request Form

Information Regarding Gainful Employment

The Gainful Employment Disclosure includes information relating to our graduation rates, the median debt of students,  the tuition and fee costs for the students who completed the program and other important information. View the Gainful Employment Disclosure.