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Educational Leadership, Ed.S.

The educational leadership program at Saint Louis University's School of Education is a long-standing, highly respected graduate program preparing educational leaders through the specialist in educational leadership degree. The educational leadership specialist degree is designed to prepare students to become executive-level educational leaders. 

Students enter the SLU program with a master’s in educational leadership or a related field. The specialist degree is used by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to qualify students who do not yet have a doctorate for advanced, superintendent certification.

In addition to a master's degree, 30-36 credits in educational leadership coursework are required by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for program coursework to count toward the superintendent certificate.

Educational leadership students with a job opportunity dependent on early certification or a salary increase in a school district salary schedule may apply for the specialist degree while completing doctoral coursework.

Students engaged in the concentration in Catholic education can achieve an Ed.S. by ensuring they complete the courses outlined in the roadmap if wishing to get certification as a superintendent.

Curriculum Overview

The degree requires the completion of 30-36 credits of coursework. The course offerings are aligned with the state requirements for accreditation, as well as the course requirements students must have to qualify for certification. Those courses are set over a three-year cycle so all entering students have access to the courses they need.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

The program includes site-based activities aligned with coursework. Those students wishing to acquire superintendent certification must ensure they complete a three-hour internship in the field.


The educational leadership specialist degree program prepares students to fill a variety of leadership roles including superintendent, assistant superintendent, director,  program director and curriculum/teacher leader. 

Admission Requirements

Begin your application for this program at

Application Requirements

  • Master's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Transcript(s)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Résumé
  • Professional goal statement

Requirements for International Students

Along with the general admission requirements above, the following must be provided by prospective international students:

  • Demonstration of English Language Proficiency.
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University.
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University.
  • Academic records, in English translation, for postsecondary studies outside the United States. These must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Application Deadlines

Domestic students should apply for the fall semester by June 15, for the spring semester by November 1 and for the summer semester by April 1.

International students should apply by May 1 for the fall semester, October 1 for the spring semester and February 1 for the summer semester.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed by committee.

Apply Now


Tuition Cost Per Credit
Specialist in Education (EdS) in Ed. Leadership $970

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

Net Price Calculator

Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Scholarships and Financial Aid

For priority consideration for graduate assistantship, apply by Feb. 1. 

For more information, visit the student financial services office online at

  1. Graduates will apply discipline-based literature to educational administration practices.
  2. Graduates will apply evidence-based practices in educational administration, aspects of running a school district, and educational theories to analyze issues related to executive-level administration.
  3. Graduates will articulate arguments or explanations about evidence-based practice in leadership, communication, legal, financial curriculum/instruction/assessment/ and management in educational leadership.
  4. Graduates will propose and conduct research related to educational leadership practices emphasizing professional integrity in the field.

A minimum of 30 credits beyond a master’s degree is required for the specialist degree, as required by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The educational leadership certification officer reviews the student’s transcript, audits the courses that qualify for the 30-36 credits and approves the request for the specialist degree.

Elective Courses
Select 30 credits from the following:30
EDL 5914
Internship: Superintendent Internship
EDL 6110
School District Administration
EDL 6190
School, Community, and Politics
EDL 6200
Ethics of Ed Leadership
EDL 6300
Advanced School Law
EDL 6390
Gateway Leadership Institute
EDL 6400
Sem: Human Resources Admin
EDL 6450
Managing the District Level Curriculum
EDL 6470
School Facilities
EDL 6690
School Business Administration
EDL 6730
District Level Professional Development and Teacher Evaluation
EDSP 6110
Special Education Administration
EDR 6971
Research Topics EdD
Research Courses0-6
Total Credits30-36

Research Courses

Students must complete master’s-level graduate research courses prior to program completion. If the student does not have some or all of these courses prior to admission, they may take the courses during the specialist program. Students are required to successfully complete two of the following prerequisite research courses prior to program completion. For those enrolled in the Catholic Education Concentration, one of these two courses must be EDR 5100 Introduction to Inferential Statistics.

EDR 5000General Research Methods for Education3
EDR 5100Intro to Inferential Stats: Ed3
EDR 5400Qualitative Research in Education3
EDR 5500Evaluation of Education Programs3

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
EDR 6971 Research Topics EdD 3
EDL 6110 School District Administration 3
EDL 5100 Foundations of Ed Admin (optional) 3
EDL 5630 The Principalship (optional) 3
EDL 6190 School, Community, and Politics 3
EDL 6470 School Facilities 3
EDL 5913
or EDL 5914
Internship: Building Principal
or Internship: Superintendent Internship
EDL 6390 Gateway Leadership Institute 2
EDSP 6110 Special Education Administration 2
Year Two
EDL 5913
or EDL 5914
Internship: Building Principal
or Internship: Superintendent Internship
EDL 6300 Advanced School Law 2
EDL 6450 Managing the District Level Curriculum 3
EDL 5913
or EDL 5914
Internship: Building Principal
or Internship: Superintendent Internship
EDL 6200 Ethics of Ed Leadership (optional) 3
EDL 6730 District Level Professional Development and Teacher Evaluation 3
EDL 6690 School Business Administration 2
Year Three
EDL 6400 Sem: Human Resources Admin (optional) 3
 Total Credits41

The Ed.S. degree requires 30 credit hours (36 credit hours if a student has not completed the six hours of research prerequisites). The courses that comprise the 30 credit hours will be different for each student. Each student's specific roadmap will vary depending on courses taken during their master's degree program and their certification goals.

Apply for Admission

For additional admission questions, please contact:
Saint Louis University School of Education