Specialist in Education

New: Potential course credits now available via Prior Learning Assessments (PLA). Learn more.

Program description

Offered fully online, the specialist in education in the Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology at Western Michigan University will prepare you for leadership roles in educational administration positions and is appropriate if you are seeking a post-master's degree, but not a doctoral degree. In addition to the Ed.S. degree, a student can be recommended to receive Michigan Administrator Certification.

Join us for an upcoming information session! 

Wednesday, December 14 at 5 p.m.

Tuesday, January 17 at 6 p.m.

Application information

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Admission decisions take approximately two weeks after all materials are received.

Note: To complete many course assignments, and to have a mentor for an administrator internship, applicants must be employed within a K-12 setting OR have access to a school district setting.

Program features

  • There are two options to choose from or a program of study may be developed based on your goals.
  • Full alignment with the state administrator certification, if the appropriate courses are completed as follows or equivalents as determined by the student's advisor.

  • To support working professionals, ALL required courses are available fully online.
  • After completing your specialist in education degree in educational leadership from WMU, if you are admitted to the Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership program, at least 30 graduate credits will count toward the 60 credits required for the doctorate in philosophy program, provided they are post-bachelor credits. The minimum required credits to be taken at WMU after admission is 30 credits, including dissertation.


For All Options, a Completed Masters Degree is Required Prior to Admission to the Ed.S., with at least 30 credits of courses with a B or better

Option 1: School Administrator Certification Central Office Endorsement (at least 24 credits taken at WMU after admission to the program) 
*EDLD 6060 – Organizational Change for Complex Systems
EDLD 6630 – Maximizing Human Capacity with Adaptive Personnel Practices
*EDLD 6650 - Principals and Practices of Adult Learning
EDLD 6720 – Strategic District Finance and Operations
EDLD 6800 – High Impact District Governance & Community Relations
EDLD 6810 – Law, Policy and Ethics for District Leaders
EDLD 6850 – Dynamic Systems for District Instructional Leadership and Assessment
EDLD 7120 – Professional Field Experience/Internship
*Note: For EDLD 6060 and EDLD 6650, other course(s) may be taken at WMU as approved by advisor.
Option 2: K-12 School Administrator Certificate: Building Level Endorsement (the following 27 credits, of which 24 credits must be taken at WMU after admission to the program) 
EDLD 6300 – Data-Informed Decision-Making, Research and Evaluation
EDLD 6610 – School Law & Ethics
EDLD 6620 – School Business Management
EDLD 6640 – Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Leadership
EDLD 6670 – The Principalship
EDLD 6730 – Instructional Leadership and Supervision
EDLD 6740 – School Community Relations and Cultural Competence
EDLD 6793 – Principal Internship I
EDLD 6794 – Principal Internship II
Option 3: Specialized Program
Depending on a student's goals, a specialist in education program of study (equaling at least 24 credits taken at WMU after admission to the program) other than the list of courses noted above may be developed by that student's adviser. This will not lead to State Administrator Certification.
Multi-Year Course Offering/Planning Tools

additional information and advising