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Education Specialist in Educational Leadership (EdS-EdL)

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100% Online EdS

Complete your studies on your own time.

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New start date every Monday

Start your first course when it’s convenient for you.

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18 Months to your EdS

Finish your EdS-EdL in just 11 courses.

Home » Programs » Education Specialist in Educational Leadership

Education Specialist in Educational Leadership

Help others learn and grow with the 100% online Education Specialist in Educational Leadership (EdS-EdL) degree program at National University. This program gives you the knowledge and skills you need to increase your impact as an educator and take on administrative-level roles. 

NU’s EdS-EdL program explores current topics for today’s education leaders. You will study the development of organizational leadership and learn how to improve performance and culture through effective leadership. You’ll study diversity in learning, principles of an effective leader, school law, and financial issues that are relevant to school environments.

Become an Effective and Informed Leader

Receive the personal attention you deserve through our unique one-to-one learning model that pairs you with a faculty member in each course you take. The EdS-EdL program is an ideal option for you if you want to take on leadership roles where you can shape policies and improve the system from within.

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The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

Course Details

  • Credit Hours: 33
  • Courses: 11
  • Estimated Time to Complete: 18 months

The Education Specialist in Educational Leadership (EdS-EdL) program can be completed in 33 credits. Each course runs 8 weeks, and you will receive 3 semester credits per course. 

The EdS in Educational Leadership requires two Foundations courses, two Research courses, six Core courses, and one Capstone course for a total of 33 credit hours.

Both the Education Specialist (EdS) and Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership (EdS-EdL) require that all foundations courses and specialization or core courses be completed prior to students starting the capstone course.

This foundational course will introduce you to the concepts and practices of advanced graduate study. You will examine concepts and expectations of advanced graduate study and academic integrity as well as investigate best practices of scholarship and research. You will explore university resources and supports associated with student success, including technologies for learning and research. You will also evaluate the program process and requirements for success. Finally, you will advocate for self-care and reflection during your studies.

Academic writing is at the heart of scholarly writing. How you explore and navigate your topic of interest is both a personal and professional matter. In this course, you will integrate effective research and writing skills, and evaluate standards of academic writing, honesty, and integrity. Literature and writing are closely related, so this course also offers you a first chance to examine the elements of conceptual and theoretical frameworks and critique the role of supporting literature and inquiry with conceptual and theoretical frameworks. Finally, you will synthesize the frameworks commonly used in educational research.

In this course, students will explore classic and contemporary approaches to organizational development from a leadership perspective. Major emphasis will be placed on theories, strategies, and leadership styles relative to implementing organizational growth. Students will address various organizational concepts leading to the development of their own organizational leadership plan.

In this course, you will explore theories, philosophies, and professional standards related to educational leadership. You will also examine diversity, equity, and inclusion in the context of school leadership. Based on best practices, you will develop a personal leadership approach and promote ethical behavior and decision-making to become an effective leader within your educational setting.

In this course, you will explore evidence-based decision-making in leadership to facilitate school and district performance. Utilizing authentic situations, you will analyze techniques to identify valid evidence to make informed decisions, processes in effectively collaborating with major stakeholders, and the effectiveness of the evidence-based decision making process.

Today’s educators must appraise, assess, and argue the best means to reach diverse and exceptional students. Additionally, individuals differ in gender, sexual orientation, age, cultural background, experiences, and abilities. In this course, you will explore different means to address the nature of cultural diversity, its sources, and its importance to educators. You will consider how districts can plan and prepare to meet the needs of diverse students, taking into consideration epistemological and axiological perspectives unique to many cultures.

This course will prepare you to apply general principles of education finance in any PK-12 educational setting. Beyond revenue and expenditures, this course will prepare you to address ethics, equity, and student achievement as components of the budgeting process. Demonstrating financial accountability through communication with various stakeholders across the community is also considered.

Although most local education authorities have their own legal counsel, all stakeholders benefit from a working knowledge of school law, especially those laws pertaining to the rights and responsibilities of school personnel and students. In this course, you will analyze state and federal legislation that impacts a variety of local school policies. Legal foundations for health, safety, attendance, and discipline policies will be addressed in addition to policies regarding the rights of students, teachers, parents, guardians, and other stakeholders.

In this introductory research course, you will explore the underpinnings of the research process, examine research paradigms, and investigate theoretical and practical foundations of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies used within educational research. You will identify criteria for the development of a quality research study that is ethical, accurate, comprehensive, cohesive, and aligned. Specific course topics will involve the ethics of conducting research; data collection and analysis techniques; and issues of feasibility, trustworthiness, validity, reliability, generalizability or transferability, and rigor. This course is intended to familiarize you with concepts and skills associated with conducting theoretical and applied research.

In this course, students will explore a leadership role involving the integration of technology within instructional practices by teachers. As the use of technology by students continues to advance and has often become a preferred method for their interaction and learning, educational leaders need to ensure teachers are effectively integrating technological advances as facilitators for student achievement. Topics will involve understanding technology integration trends, supporting teachers to effectively integrate technology within their instructional practices, developing technology integration evaluation criteria, and supporting parents with technology integration for student learning at home.

This course is the culmination of the Education Specialist (EdS) program. You will conclude your program by working with a specific educational program relevant to your current or future context. You will review the related literature and evaluate data that will help you to develop potential solutions and future areas of research related to your identified problem. Finally, you will reflect on your personal learning journey throughout your program.

Degree Requirements

The Education Specialist (EdS) in Educational Leadership (EdL) requires 33 credit hours for degree completion. The EdS-EdL program includes two foundational courses (6 credit hours) and eight core courses (24 credit hours) which must be completed prior to engaging in the final, 3 credit hour capstone course.

The EdS-EdL degree program has the following graduation requirements:

  • A minimum of 21 credit hours of graduate instruction must be completed through NU
  • Successful completion of all courses with a “B” or better
  • Official transcripts on file for all transfer credits accepted by the University

The University may accept up to 12 semester credit hours earned with a grade of “B” or better for graduate coursework completed at an accredited college or university and evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content with the required coursework for the EdS-EdL program. See the Transfer Credit Policy in the Course Catalog for additional information.

Career Potential*

  • Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program
  • Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School
  • Education Administrators, Postsecondary
  • Distance Learning Coordinators

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program specific requirements with an NU advisor. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of National University’s Education Specialist in Educational Leadership (EdS-EdL) program, you’ll be able to:

  • Apply quality standards to enhance instructional rigor and instructional strategies fostering student learning and development and augment teacher professional development
  • Analyze the aspects of professional capacity and resource needs for a quality professional learning community promoting an effective and efficient learning environment for all teachers, staff, and students
  • Facilitate effective educational leadership vision and integrity through strategic planning involving data-driven decision-making and evidence-based practice
  • Evaluate and select strategies to cultivate an inclusive and supporting learning environment to enhance accessibility, community collaboration, and student success
  • Synthesize current educational research and theory within educational evidence-based practice for ongoing school improvement

Hear From Our Faculty


National University’s dedicated admissions team is here to help you throughout the admissions process. We accept and review applications year-round and, once you are admitted, you can begin your studies as soon as the next week.

To apply to the Education Specialist in Educational Leadership (EdS-EdL) program, you must have a conferred post-baccalaureate master’s degree and/or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited academic institution or a qualifying international institution.

Questions? Call our admissions team at 866.776.0331 or request information and an advisor will be in touch soon. Ready to apply? Start your NU application today.

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.