Specialist in Educational Leadership


Male teacher presenting to class.

Admissions requirements

  • A professional resume or curriculum vita
  • Must have at least three years of professional career or leadership experience.
  • A written narrative describing applicant's professional goals and how this specialist degree program fits with those goals. If you are NOT currently employed within a school district, explain how you will have access to such a setting for various assignments, and to a mentor for your required administrative internship.
  • Applicants must have a master's degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better as indicated on an official transcript.
  • Applicants must submit an official transcript from the institution from which you received your Bachelor degree, as well as a transcript from institution(s) where any graduate level courses or degrees have been taken/completed. Applicants are not required to submit an official transcript of courses taken/completed at Western Michigan University.
  • General GRE scores are no longer required for application to this program. 

Student TEstimonial

  • "WMU professors’ sophisticated intellect, unbridled dedication to the field, and seemingly unending fountain of knowledge provided inspiration and motivation throughout the course of my study.WMU professors’ sophisticated intellect, unbridled dedication to the field, and seemingly unending fountain of knowledge provided inspiration and motivation throughout the course of my study."Dr. Jill VanHof, alumni

Program overview

This program is offered fully online via a blend of synchronous and asynchronous courses to meet the needs of working professionals.

Offered fully online, the specialist degree in educational leadership 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.

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

Notification: Starting, January 2025, the State of Michigan will be requiring state testing for those that are wanting to attain a School Administrator license for either the Central Office or Building Level. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Why specialist in education leadership at Western Michigan University?

  • 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.
  • We are the only institution in the U.S. that includes an optional co-curricular designation known as the WMU Signature. Pathways include: Teaching & Student Success, Leadership, Health & Wellbeing, Diversity, Inclusion, Equity & Justice, and more! 


Applicants to the Ed.S. program should review admission deadlines, criteria for admission, and application link, which can be found on the admissions requirement page. A student must have a completed master’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA prior to beginning the Ed.S. in educational leadership program. No GRE required!

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.

Multi-year course offering/planning tools


The Lead is a monthly online publication that highlights the work of our Educational Leadership (K-12) programs, and contains a wide-array of information relevant to school administrators; it also celebrates the work of our alumni, students and faculty. Visit The Lead newsletter page for all issues.

Cost & Funding

Helpful links