Specialist in Education

Program description

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. Persons seeking admission to the specialist in education program should be definite about academic and professional goals and aspirations. Students are cautioned that satisfactory completion of courses prior to admission to the department program does not guarantee admission to the program.

Application information

Three annual application cycles are available for the specialist in education degree, with application deadlines of Nov. 1, April 1, and July 1.

Program requirements

  • A minimum of 60 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree leads to an specialist in education degree.

  • Full alignment with the state central office administrator certification, if the appropriate courses are completed as follows or equivalents as determined by the student's advisor.

  • To support working professionals required courses are available at both the Kalamazoo main campus and the Grand Rapids regional site and are offered nights, weekends and online as well.

Program goals

  • A specialist in education program of study may be developed based on your goals.

  • This may lead to the receipt of a specialist in education degree and a recommendation to receive the central office administrator certificate from the state.

  • 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, 60 graduate credits will count toward the 90 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.

30 masters credits—educational leadership, K-12 principal concentration 
+ 30 specialist in education credits 
+ 30 doctorate in philosophy credits
—educational leadership, K-12 leadership concentration
= Your future in K-12 educational leadership.

Program of study

Unless otherwise noted all courses are three credit hours.

EDLD 6020: Educational Leadership, Systems and Change
EDLD 6060: Advanced Systems Thinking
EDLD 6300: Data-informed Decision-making, Research and Evaluation
EDLD 6610: School Law and Ethics
EDLD 6620: School Business Management
EDLD 6630: Personnel Administration
EDLD 6640: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
EDLD 6670: The Principalship
EDLD 6720: School Finance
EDLD 6730: Instructional Leadership and Supervision
EDLD 6740: School Community Relations and Cultural Competence
EDLD 6800: The Superintendency
EDLD 6810: Policy Development
EDLD 6850: Facilities and Technology Systems for Learning or EDT 6490: Planning and Implementing District Level Educational Technology
EMR 5400: Fundamentals of Evaluation, Research and Measurement
EDLD 7120: Professional Field Experience
EDLD 7200: Specialist Project
Electives: approved by advisor

Total minimum credit hours: 60


Depending on a student's goals, an specialist in education program of study, equaling at least 60 credits, other than the list of courses noted above may be developed by that student's advisor. This may lead to receipt of an specialist in education degree and a recommendation to receive, from the state, the K-12 administrator certificate.