Ed.S. in Educational Leadership

  • Total Credit Hours: 30
  • Degree Format: Online

About this field

The Educational Specialist’s Degree in Educational Leadership program is a comprehensive program of study including course work and related clinical experiences leading to a Tier II Georgia certificate in Educational Leadership.  The Education Specialist’s Degree program incorporates clinical practice linking theoretical and philosophical frameworks of educational leadership to actual practice.  Through the combination of course work and performance-based activities, candidates will be able to develop the necessary competencies to become an educational leader.

The Valdosta State Difference

The candidate is expected to complete significant and varied administrative responsibilities under the guidance of the Candidate Support Team (CST) consisting of the candidate, a leadership mentor, and the VSU leadership advisor.  The goal is to develop one’s leadership and management abilities by engaging in problem analysis, collecting relevant data, collaborative problem-solving, participating in curricular and instructional activities, and participating in instructional supervision.  Candidates undertake activities addressing curriculum development, student and program evaluation, staff development, scheduling, interpretation and use of statistical data for school improvement planning, budgeting procedures, school/community relations, facility maintenance and operations, and the uses of technology for administrative and instructional purposes.

What You'll Learn

The Educational Leadership program is designed to provide future leaders:

  1. An opportunity to acquire practical experience in school leadership
  2. A linkage of theory and practice
  3. An integrated experience in problem resolution and decision-making as well as other selected aspects of educational leadership
  4. The environment to experiment with new ideas, approaches, and strategies in a low-risk, supportive environment
  5. A basis for assessing professional strengths and needs for further development

Cost and Length of Program

The prescribed Educational Specialist’s Performance-Based Leadership course sequence will allow you to complete the course requirements of the program within four semesters.  Based on completing 30 course hours, the cost of the program is approximately $11,000*. We encourage you to compare our cost with any other institution.  We think you will be pleasantly surprised to see the great value offered through VSU.

(*Cost computed based on Fall 2016 rates.)

Admissions Requirements

To be considered for admission to the education specialist degree program, the applicant must:

Have a minimum of a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

Hold Tier I Educational Leadership entry certification or a grandfathered L or PL certificate in Educational Leadership issued from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.  

Have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for a graduate degree, calculated on all work attempted in which letter grades are awarded; applicants having a cumulative grade point average between 2.75 and 2.99 on a 4.0 scale for a graduate degree must submit a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller’s Analogy Test (MAT) score.  Recommended scores for admission are:

  • GRE - 145 Verbal and 139 quantitative
  • MAT - 380

Complete the Georgia Ethics for Educational Leadership Assessment.  NOTE:  Applicants having completed this entry requirement for Tier I certification need not complete the assessment. A copy of a Certificate of Completion should be submitted with the application packet.

Hold a leadership position at either a P-12 school, system level, or in a related agency; individuals not serving in a leadership position, as described, may be enrolled if Valdosta State University and the employer establish a formal, written agreement specifying the candidate will be released from other responsibilities for a portion of the school week sufficient in length to allow the applicant to participate in, and successfully complete, residency performances.

Submit a Letter of Assurance form, signed by a system/agency administrator, verifying the candidate is serving in a leadership position. 

Be employed with a system/agency having an active partnership with Valdosta State University to supervise a residency experience for the candidate. Click here for a roster of partnerships.

Submit a career goal statement serving as a writing sample. The statement must demonstrate 1) the ability to organize and articulate thoughts, 2) writing skills including grammar and punctuation, and 3) the ability to set goals consistent with one’s desired career path.  The statement must address the applicant’s career goals, how the degree contributes to reaching these career goals, and why VSU was selected for this graduate work. This career goal statement should be no more than 250 words and is to be submitted to the Graduate School with the other application materials.

Proof of Liability Insurance

Provide proof of liability insurance coverage either through their place of employment or membership in a professional organization; e.g., PAGE or GAE. Click here for a District Waiver for Liability Insurance Form.

Program of Study

Area A: Leadership - 12 hours

Course Number & Title Credit Hours
LEAD 8620 Trends & Issues for Principals 3
LEAD 8520 Executive Leadership for Education 3
LEAD 8140 Leadership for Creating an Effective Learning Environment  3
LEAD 8630 Coaching & Mentoring for High-Performing Schools  3

Area B: Performance-Based Activities - 18 hours

Performance-based activities must be conducted at either the building or system level.

Course Number & Title Credit Hours
LEAD 8920 Leadership Performance-Based Activities I 6
LEAD 8930 Leadership Performance-Based Activities II 6
LEAD 8940 Leadership Performance-Based Activities III 6


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  • Curriculum, Leadership, and Technology Building
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    1310 N. Patterson St.
    Valdosta, GA 31698