Education Specialist (EdS) in Organizational Leadership

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Just as teachers are now in greater demand than ever before, educational leaders are needed to manage and assist schools, school districts, state educational boards, and institutes of higher learning as they work to improve their instructional capabilities. This specialization prepares you for leadership roles within educational organizations by providing you with the tools necessary to make things happen. The program is grounded in applied research and explores issues and resolutions in contemporary organizations. Coursework provides a foundational understanding of communication, leadership, and research techniques, while the specialty studies focus on strategies that forge alliances, build confidence, and inspire a shared vision.

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

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Admission Requirements 

A conferred post-baccalaureate master’s degree or doctoral degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution or an international institution determined to be equivalent through an approved evaluation service.


The Education Specialist (EdS) program requires two foundational courses, two research courses, six specialization 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 other courses be completed prior to starting the capstone course. The estimated time needed to complete this program is 23 months.

Course Details

Course Listings

Your communication abilities have a big influence on your professional reputation. In this course, you’ll develop skills to establish yourself as a competent professional with strong communication skills. You’ll learn competencies related to written, oral, and visual forms of communication appropriate to specific media and audiences. You’ll also explore how the iterative nature of preparing communications and integrating feedback into your work products can support your development and advancement as a professional.

Leadership during times of change can be challenging. This course supports your professional development as an effective leader of educational organizations during periods of change. You’ll explore strategies and techniques for self-reflection, evaluating culture, integrating stakeholder feedback, and incorporating data as part of improvement processes. To conclude the course, you’ll synthesize these skills to design a comprehensive improvement plan that addresses a specific problem within an educational organization.

This course introduces you to the research process by exploring its underpinnings, examining its paradigms, and investigating the foundations of qualitative and quantitative methodologies used in educational studies. You’ll identify criteria for the development of quality research studies that are ethical, accurate, comprehensive, cohesive, and aligned. Specific course topics involve the ethics of conducting research; data collection and analysis techniques; and issues of feasibility, trustworthiness, validity, reliability, transferability, and rigor. The goal is to familiarize yourself with the concepts and skills associated with conducting theoretical and applied research.

Select One of the Following Two Research Courses:

A focus on qualitative research methodology and the designs and methods used to collect and analyze data in educational research. You’ll examine the principles of qualitative research and explore commonly used designs (also referred to as qualitative traditions or genres) with a focus on application and feasibility. Qualitative data collection and analysis methods will be examined for their suitability with regard to the research design selected. Alignment between qualitative designs and research methods, issues of trustworthiness, and the responsibilities of the qualitative researcher will also be explored.

An exploration of quantitative research methodologies and associated designs and methods. You’ll examine paradigmatic perspectives along with the tenets and conventions of quantitative research. Topics for examination include feasibility, validity, reliability, variable operationalization, inferential designs, and analytic software applications used within the quantitative research paradigm. You’ll also look at the components of quantitative research designs that support meaningful studies within the field of education.

As the capstone to your EdS studies, you’ll work with a specific educational program relevant to your current or future professional aims. You’ll review the related literature and evaluate data to inform your development of potential solutions and future areas of research related to your identified problem. Finally, you’ll reflect on your personal learning journey throughout the EdS program.

Specialization Courses

OL-7100 Conflict Resolution and Mediation

Conflict is a normal part of living and working together, and it can present opportunities to learn and grow both personally and professionally. Of course, conflict also comes with many negative aspects. In this course, you’ll examine conflict and mediation within a variety of educational organizations. You’ll evaluate a variety of conflict management skills and practices while considering the implications of diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural responsiveness in the process of conflict interpretation and management.

OL-7101 Building Organizational Capacity

In this course, you’ll assess multiple factors that influence capacity, and then use those factors to analyze the capacity of educational organizations across diverse contexts. As you consider leadership skills and approaches that build and enhance capacity, you’ll also recommend solutions that align with the organization’s guiding statements. Throughout the course, you’ll consider the extent to which organizations use culturally-sustaining practices in planning and implementing progression.

OL-7102 Leadership Ethics to Attain Organizational Excellence

An exploration of the role of ethical leadership in attaining organizational excellence. Given the many types of educational organizations that exist, you’ll examine leadership competencies that relate specifically to ethical behavior in your choice of organizations. Organizational leaders create a culture of ethical behavior. Through case studies and other methods, you’ll analyze and critique the techniques those leaders use to communicate decisions, manage conflict, and address ethical dilemmas within the educational organization.

OL-7103 Theory and Practice of Organizational Leadership

This course will strengthen your application of leadership theories, styles, attributes, and practices. You’ll examine the influence of leadership on organizational culture and consider how data can inform leadership decisions. As you consider your own leadership practices, you’ll also explore how social and economic trends have shaped historical leadership practices.

OL-7104 Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations

This course explores the fundamental concepts of leadership in nonprofit educational organizations. From the basics of board governance to the leader’s role in cultivating reciprocal community partnerships, you’ll consider the unique needs of different types of nonprofit educational institutions. You’ll also learn about the role of leadership in managing human and financial resources and in communicating with internal and external stakeholders.

OL-7105 Leadership in Organizational Change

In this course, you’ll analyze change management processes and evaluate real-world change management situations in the context of various educational institutions. You’ll explore resources for planning and for implementing change, and you’ll examine the forces that influence organizational productivity and culture. Finally, you’ll investigate the leadership practices necessary to lead educational organizations through change processes.

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop skills to support educational practices across diverse instructional and organizational settings
  • Communicate with diverse audiences about educational theories, research, and practices
  • Analyze professional skills, dispositions, and technology options for learning and educating diverse groups
  • Apply evidence-based solutions for addressing educational, organizational, and societal issues
  • Analyze current research, theories, and instructional practices in educational and organizational environments

Why Choose National University

  • Four-Week Courses
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We’re proud to be a Veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 240,000 alumni worldwide.

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Program Disclosure

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