Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) - Leadership

Specialist (Ed.S.) in Leadership

The online Ed.S. is a post-master's degree that does not require a dissertation. If you already have a master's degree and are thinking about pursuing a full doctorate in the future at ACE, the Ed.S. can be a great way to begin your studies. All Ed.S. coursework is applicable to the Ed.D. in Leadership. The program provides an excellent forum for problem solving and sharing current leadership issues. The culture of collaboration within the program is an invaluable resource for leaders working in fields such as education, nonprofit administration, business and public service.

Advance your career with an online education specialist degree in leadership. Start your application, or check admission requirements.

Leaders from all disciplines are welcome, including education, business, nonprofit management and community leadership. Applicants should hold a master's degree including an M.A., M.B.A., M.Ed. or M.S., with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, from a regionally accredited institution. International degrees may also be accepted. Please visit the Admissions page for more information.

The Ed.S. degree is a practitioner's degree, so it is designed especially for professionals currently working in their field. The degree does not include an internship or lead to a license or endorsement.

Students in the Ed.S. in Leadership program will:

  • Seek, interpret and utilize evidence to inform decision-making.
  • Develop a professional knowledge base through systematic inquiry.
  • Explore issues of equity, ethics, and social justice.

Program Summary

The Education Specialist degree is a practitioner’s degree at the post-master’s level for those who seek advanced credentials but not a full doctoral degree with a dissertation requirement. The objective of the degree is to develop skills and competencies that will make the student a more effective teacher, administrator, or leader. The Ed.S. in Leadership is designed principally for educators and other leaders who already possess licensure or certification as a teacher or school administrator, and who wish to expand their understanding of evidence-based leadership. The degree does not lead to professional licensure, nor does it include an internship.
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Program Outcomes

  • Collaborate in diverse communities of learning and build partnerships with states, school districts, or other organizations

  • Contribute to solutions for complex problems of practice

  • Analyze and promote best practices in leadership

  • Demonstrate evidence-based decision-making, integrating principles of equity, ethics, and social justice of civic concern in local and global communities

  • Develop and implement personal and organization-level knowledge and skills including technology

  • Demonstrate mastery of content knowledge through the utilization of critical and creative thinking

  • Demonstrate competence in the application of multiple research methods

Course Plan

Initial Courses (3 semester credits each, except if noted otherwise)

This Course to be taken at the beginning of program

LEAD6001 Introduction to Advanced Study (1 credit)

Remaining Courses (3 semester credits each, except if noted otherwise)

Classes to be taken during remaining terms (order based on availability)

LEAD6103 Evidence-based Learning and Teaching
LEAD6113 Ethical Leadership and Social Justice
LEAD6123 Management of Financial Resources
LEAD6133 Models of Leadership and Coaching
LEAD6143 Strategic Operations Planning and Innovation
LEAD6153 Policy and Governance
LEAD6163 Management of Human Capital
LEAD6183 Grants Writing for Leaders
RES6003 Applied Statistics
RES6013 Research Methods
RES6011 Research Tool: APA & Bibliographic Software (1 credit)
RES6021 Research Tool: Creating and Analyzing Measures (1 credit)
SEM6601 Doctoral Seminar I (1 credit)
CAP6923 Capstone in Leadership (1 credit)

Total: 37 semester credits

Core Courses

LEAD6001 Introduction to Advanced Study (1 semester credit)

Students will undertake an examination of the rigors of advanced graduate study and reflect on personal strengths and challenges at the start of their program. Topics include identity as scholar-practitioner, models of inquiry, self-assessment, and professional goals.

LEAD6103 Evidence-based Learning and Teaching

Students will design, implement, and assess evidence-based teaching strategies appropriate for the online course room. Students will demonstrate best practices for effective online teaching through course activities.

LEAD6113 Ethical Leadership and Social Justice

The course focus is on theory, research, and practices related to ethical administration. Students will assess ethical decision making and implications for policy.

LEAD6123 Management of Financial Resources

Students will examine principles and concepts of finance at local, state, federal, and international levels; strategies for maximizing and obtaining financial resources, and economic issues of the third sector.

LEAD6133 Models of Leadership and Coaching

Students will evaluate and compare different leadership and coaching models and determine appropriateness for diverse settings.

LEAD6143 Strategic Operations Planning and Innovation

Students will design, develop, and implement models of strategic planning that exhibit innovation.

LEAD6153 Policy and Governance

Students will analyze specific current and future public policies and conduct policy impact analyses. Students will evaluate best practices for working with local school councils, volunteer boards, advisory councils, and external stakeholders.

LEAD6163 Management of Human Capital

The course emphasizes principles and practices of personnel administration, including recruitment, selection, evaluation, staff development, and employee relations. Students will evaluate best practices for working with volunteer boards, advisory councils, and external stakeholders.

LEAD6183 Grant Writing for Leaders

Students will analyze funding sources and the process of applying for funds from an organization or agency. Students will develop and critique requests for proposals.

Research Courses

RES6003 Applied Statistics

Students will examine topics associated with statistics including parametric and non-parametric tests, hypothesis formation, frequency distributions, measures of central tendency and dispersion, inferential statistics, and correlation. Emphasis will be placed on the selection of appropriate statistical techniques. Students will conduct and interpret statistical analysis using SPSS.

RES6013 Research Methods

Students will examine foundations of research design, data collection, analysis, and presentation. Students will assess ethics of educational research and reporting.

Research Tools

RES6011 Research Tool: APA & Bibliographic Software (1 semester credit)

Students in this course will employ APA format for manuscripts and citations and compare bibliographic software for organizing references.

RES6021 Research Tool: Creating and Analyzing Measures (1 semester credit)

Students will assess existing measures of performance and effectiveness. Students will create sample online surveys for data collection, as well as examine and analyze survey results. Issues associated with the development of valid measures, interviews, questionnaires, and surveys will be addressed.


SEM6601 Doctoral Seminar I (1 semester credit)

Students will present a summary of an emerging real-world issue and engage in peer reviews.

Capstone Experience

CAP6923 Capstone in Leadership

The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the Educational Specialist in Leadership program.

Semester Credits Tuition Per Credit Total Tuition
37 $306 $11,​322.00

Applicable fees

  • Application fee: $100
  • Technology fee: $20 per credit hour (for a total of $740)
  • Capstone fee: $150
  • Program conferral fee: $150

2016 total program cost: $12,​462. For more information, visit the tuition section.

​Total program cost for students who are admitted, re-entered, or changed programs ​before the February 22, 2016 term: $12,415.75

Additional considerations for Ed.S. students

Access to an e-portfolio is provided through existing fees; no additional fee is charged.

Required course materials currently include bibliographic software that may be purchased using a discount negotiated by ACE.

Students may choose required statistics software, either for free or as a purchased tool.

Students are responsible for all expenses incurred for travel to required seminars. Required seminars (1 face-to-face seminar per year) may be chosen from options in different regions of the United States to minimize travel expenses.

American College of Education has completely changed my views on what it means to lead. My experience with ACE was one of the defining moments of my life and set me on a path that was not expecting, but thoroughly enjoy. I will be forever grateful for wherever it leads me.

Brenda Raccuia M.Ed. Educational Technology 2013