danforth admissions

The Danforth Educational Leadership Program at the University of Washington offers initial principal and program administrator certification through the area of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the UW College of Education. If you are interested in applying to the Danforth program, please review the deadlines and requirements below.

Application Dates and Deadlines

A new Danforth cohort begins each summer with the Cohort Retreat in July. The following chart lists important deadlines in the admissions process for the upcoming cohort.

NEW: Priority Application Deadline October 15, 2017
Applications Due January 15, 2018
Scholarship Applications Due January 15, 2018
Applicant Interviews Mid-February*
Admissions Decisions Mid-March
Danforth 31 Orientation April 19, 2018
Danforth 31 Residential Retreat July 15-19, 2018

*Alternate dates may also be scheduled

Minimum Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Danforth program, you must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  • Master's degree from an accredited institution*
  • Evidence of academic commitment (minimum 3.0 GPA generally required)
  • Three years of educational or related experience (five or more years recommended)

*A master's degree is required for state certification as a principal or program administrator. If you do not have a master's degree, you can meet this requirement by simultaneously applying to the UW Master of Education program and completing the additional coursework to obtain your MEd while you are in the Danforth program.

Internship Requirement

Participation in the Danforth program requires a flexible work schedule that allows for exploring instructional leadership roles. Applicants must be able to obtain release from their regular work commitments to meet internship requirements and attend classes. See the Internship page on this site for more information.

Required Application Materials

The following materials are required to apply for admission to the Danforth program. More details are available in the Application Steps section below.

  • UW Graduate School online application and fee
  • Unofficial transcripts from each college or university attended
  • Resume (follow program template format)
  • Goal Statement
  • Three professional references and three reference letters. The letters can be from the same three people who complete the reference forms.
  • Copy of your current teaching or educational staff associate certificate

If you are also applying for the Master of Education program, you will need to submit the following additional materials:

  • GRE scores
  • More information in your Goal Statement about your research and scholarly interests and how the MEd program can help you achieve your goals.
  • Sample of your scholarly writing (for example, a course paper, article or essay) that demonstrates your ability to critically analyze and reflect on information. If you don't have an appropriate sample, you can submit a critical essay of 10–12 pages about a book you feel is central to your interests in education.

Application Steps

We recommend that you begin your application early, as there are a number of required materials and several steps. All materials must be submitted on or before the application deadline. For further guidance, see the application rubric used by our review staff.

Step One: Prepare to Apply

Get transcripts from each college or university attended. Download unofficial transcripts or scan printed copies from all degree-granting institutions and any other institution where you have received graded credits. You will need to submit these as part of the UW Graduate School application (see Step Two).

Distribute your three professional reference forms and solicit your three reference letters. These forms and letters should be completed and submitted by your most direct supervisor – such as your program director or principal – and two other colleagues who can speak to your educational contributions. If you are not currently working in an educational setting, choose a former supervisor who knows your work well.

Update your resume using the provided resume template. The template separates your leadership experiences – team leader, department chair, learning community facilitator, district leadership, etc. – from your classroom experiences and aids our reviewers when they examine your application materials. Also, be sure to include your educational degrees as well as all relevant awards, publications, presentations and other achievements.

Prepare your Goal Statement. This statement should be 4 -7 pages with a maximum of 1200 words, double-spaced, explaining:

  1. Your philosophy of education
  2. Qualities or characteristics of exemplary leaders
  3. How you demonstrate or embody these qualities or characteristics in your professional experience
  4. Why you are applying to the Danforth Program and want to be an educational leader in the 21st century
  5. How you will arrange half-time release for the internship

Applicants may also address the following questions:

  1. Describe your contributions as an equity-driven, learning focused, collaborative leader to improve or influence learning outcomes in your school, district, ESD, and/or at the state level.
  2. The University of Washington and Danforth actively seek and welcome students from diverse backgrounds. Please address any educational, cultural or economic opportunities or disadvantages that you have experienced and the way these experiences have impacted your decision to join the Danforth program and seek principal and/or program administrator certification.
  3. What do you plan to accomplish as an educational leader during and after completing the Danforth Educational Leadership program? How will you know you are successful?
  4. What level/pledge of support have you secured from district leadership?

If you are also applying to the MEd program, you should prepare an enhanced goal statement that includes more information about your research and scholarly interests and how the MEd program can help you achieve your goals.

Register for and take the GRE (Master of Education program only). Request that your official scores be sent to the University of Washington (code R4854). The age of the test scores does not matter; you can mail a copy of older scores to our office. To see if your GRE scores are already on file with the university, or if you qualify for an exemption, please contact us.

Step Two: Apply to the UW Graduate School

Fill out an online application for graduate study at the UW. Create an applicant profile; your login and password will allow you to save your application and return to it later. When prompted to select a program, choose the appropriate program name from the drop-down menu:

  • Certificate-only applicants should select "Education - Seattle (Certificate - Educational Leadership & Policy Studies - Danforth Educational Leadership Program)"
  • MEd applicants should select "Education - Seattle (MEd - Educational Leadership & Policy Studies - Danforth Educational Leadership Program)"

The application will ask you to upload all required materials, including your resume, Goal Statement, unofficial transcripts from each college or university attended and a copy of your teaching or ESA certificate.

All applications require a nonrefundable fee of $85, which is subject to change without notice. After you've submitted your application, you can check on its status at any time by logging into the application page.

Step Three: Interview

Once applications have been screened, selected applicants will be invited for an in-person team interview, which will include viewing and commenting on a classroom observation video. Interview teams typically include school- or district-level practitioners, current students and university instructors. Alternative interview arrangements can be made for applicants who live outside the greater Puget Sound area.


We are happy to answer your questions and provide more information about the Danforth Educational Leadership Program.