The University of Texas at Dallas
School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Teacher Development Center

Principal Certification

Urban Collaborative for Educational Leadership (UCEL)

The Urban Collaborative for Educational Leadership (UCEL) is a one year field-based administrator preparation program developed by The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), and the Dallas Independent School District (DISD). This is a program uniquely designed for graduate students seeking a master’s degree with Texas principal certification. Participants must be nominated for the cohort by their school district. The program is open to any school district which wishes to support one or more candidates.

Participants are identified by the school district and serve as campus or district administrative interns throughout the year-long program for a minimum of 1000 clock hours. This intensive field-based administrator preparation experience over the course of the year gives interns extensive opportunities to become highly qualified beginning administrators. Interns progress through the program together, taking 3-5 courses each semester as a cohort. Program participants spend one week-day away from their school campus at the University Center of Dallas where they attend classes and seminars in state-of-the art classrooms designed to meet the unique requirements of the program. Coursework requirements are tailored to the campus and district where the intern is employed. Faculty and experienced school administrators teach the classes and supervise the practicum with the support of special lecturers and programs by experts from business, academia, and government.

UCEL graduate students will take a total of 13 courses or 39 Semester Credit Hours (SCH) together as a cohort. Upon successful completion of the entire program, including passing the state certification exam, students will be awarded a master’s degree and be recommended for principal certification.

Because the program is designed for a maximum cohort of 25 participants, candidates must meet the most rigorous standards for potential placement as a public school administrator by the nominating district (which can nominate multiple candidates) as well as the admission requirements for the program.


I. Financial Responsibilities

    A. DISD (Or Other Participating ISD’s)

  1. The Participating ISD will fund the salary of participants who will be selected by the district and employed in an administrative capacity throughout the year of the  program.
  2. Classes will be taught at Universities Center Dallas (UCD) in rooms allocated to DISD.

     B. UT Dallas and UT Arlington faculty will be assigned as instructors of record.


  1. One half of the participating students will be assigned to enroll at UTA and will pay tuition and fees to UTA, and one half of the participating students will be assigned to enroll at UTD and will pay tuition and fees to UTD.
  2. Participants in the program will be individually responsible for tuition, fees, books, and supplies. The degree to which these expenses will be reimbursed will vary by district policy and upon the availability of scholarships and grants from the university and other sources. Tuition may vary based on actions taken by the Texas Legislature and UT System Board of Regents. It is anticipated that tuition for twelve-hours graduate credit at UTD for 2004-2005 will be approximately $2,800/semester.
  3. Upon successful completion of program requirements, students will be responsible for meeting application deadlines for university graduation and the state certification exam(s).

II. Program Matriculation Procedures

  A. Program Admission - Participants must meet both the district and the university-record            admission requirements as follows:

  1. DISD applicants will submit the UCEL application distributed to teachers by the school district to the director (Other participating districts will use similar procedures);
  2. The district admission requirements:

             a. Grade Point Average (GPA) minimum of 3.0 on last 60 undergraduate hours.

             b. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) acceptable score

        3. Upon acceptance into the program by the district, apply to the appropriate university of                      record as determined by the nominating district:

UT Dallas – The graduate application must be returned to the UTD School of Interdisciplinary Studies office by mid-May.   The following should also be sent: a. Official transcripts; b. 3 letters of recommendation; c. GRE scores; d. Application fee ($50). The address: The University of Texas at Dallas, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, 800 West Campbell Road - GR 26, Richardson, TX 75080-3021.

UT Arlington – Apply to the graduate school and return the graduate school application to the university graduate school by the deadline. The following should be sent to the university: a. Official transcripts b. 3 letters of recommendation c. GRE scores d. Any applicable fees.

       4.   All UCEL students must be admitted to the UTA Graduate School or the UTD School              of Interdisciplinary Studies graduate program before starting classes in the program in              July.

  B.   Program Withdrawal

         1.  If a student wishes to withdraw from the program, it is the student’s responsibility

               to officially withdraw from the university-of-record by the appropriate deadlines in

               order to receive a complete or partial refund.

        2.  No refunds are given for courses dropped after the census date each semester.

  C.   Program Continuation

         1. Each semester the university-of-record will clear students to register for courses the

               following semester.

         2. I t is the individual student’s responsibility to register and pay for the required

              courses each semester or to make arrangements with their district to pay the fees

              at the time of registration.

   D. Program Completion - In order to complete the program, students will be required to

        pass the state principal certification exam.

        1. Students enrolled at UTD who successfully complete the program requirements

              will receive the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree from UTD.

        2. Students enrolled at UTA who successfully complete the program requirements

             will receive the Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Policy

             Studies from UTA.