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How To Apply

2017-2018 Application Deadline: ​December ​16, 2016 

Fall 2016 Information Sessions (Please attend one)

  • Saturday, September 17, 2016, 1:00pm–3:00pm, Room 4635 Tolman Hall, UC Berkeley*
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 4:00pm–5:30pm, Room D220, Berkeley High School, 1980 Allston Way, Berkeley (Room D220 is in the Administration Building, across from the College and Career Center)
  • Thursday, October 13, 2016, 4:00pm–5:30pm, Room 111, Bret Harte Elementary School, 1035 Gilman Ave, San Francisco
  • Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 4:00pm–5:30pm, Library, Claremont Middle School, 5750 College Ave, Oakland
  • Saturday, October 22, 2016, 1:00pm–3:00pm, Room 2319, Tolman Hall, UC Berkeley*
  • Thursday, October 27, 2016, 4:30pm–6:00pm, San Lorenzo Unified School District Office Boardroom, 15510 Usher Street, San Lorenzo
  • Wednesday, November 9, 2016, 6:00pm–8:00pm, Room 3507 Tolman Hall, UC Berkeley*
  • Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 4:00pm–5:30pm, HR Conference Room, West Contra Costa Unified School District Office, 1108 Bissell Ave, Richmond

No registration required. Attendance is recommended but not required for eligibility. Attendees should plan to stay for the entire session.

* Tolman Hall is located on the Northwest corner of the Berkeley Campus, on Hearst Ave at Arch St. 4635 Tolman is on the fourth floor of the East Wing, at the end of the Northeast hallway. 2319 Tolman is on the second floor of the East Wing, in the long hallway across from the exit doors. 3507 Tolman is on the third floor of the East Wing, around alongside the elevator. 

View Getting to Tolman Hall on Google Maps
See also campus map, directions and public transportation, and parking information

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.)

Download the PLI Brochure

Download the PLI Information Sessions flyer

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

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  Cred/MA"
  • Select Cycle: Select "Fall 2016" application cycle (although PLI classes begin the preceding summer). You may experience a warning that the deadline has passed if you are applying to the PLI after December 3; you can safely ignore this.
  • Exam Requirements: The 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 or MS Word 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. See PLI FAQ's » Credentials for recent changes to the requirements and a list 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
1501 Tolman Hall # 1670
Berkeley, CA 94720-1670


Timeline for 2017-2018 Application Cycle

  • November 1, 2016 Online Graduate Application opens
  • December 16, 2016 (11:59 PST) Submit completed online Graduate Application for Admissions and Fellowships
  • December 16, 2016 Completed PLI Supplemental Application delivered (or postmarked) to Department of Education Admissions Office (closes at 4pm)
  • February 8, 2017 Notification of Applicant Interviews
  • February 15 & 16, 2017 Daylong Applicant Interviews (invitees will attend one; save both dates)
  • March TBD, 2017 Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • March 17, 2017 Preliminary notification of recommendation​
  • April 2017 Notification of recommendation for acceptance by Graduate Division
  • April 2017 Complete online Statement of Intent to Register
  • May 24, May 31, & June 7, 2017 Pre-Seminars (6pm – 9pm)
  • June 19 & 20, 2017 Orientation (9:30am – 4:30pm)
  • June 21, 2017 Summer Session begins